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Highlights of the Azores

Highlights of the Azores

From $ 2,455 AUD

Description

Although modern Portugal can be credited for its contributions to art, architecture and world-class dining, there’s a distant remnant of the Old Empire lying far from the mainland. From the rolling blue hydrangeas of Faial, the steep cliffs of Sao Jorge and the black volcanic soil under the vineyards of Pico, the Azores offer a delightful insight into both island and Portuguese living. Discover a new side to ancient Portugal on this island-hopping Atlantic adventure.

Trip Name
Highlights of the Azores
Last Updated
2021-06-19
Days
7
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Uncover the wonders of Sao Miguel on a day tour of the island, from plantations of tea and pineapples to an active volcano and some truly memorable viewpoints.
  • Step out for a spectacular hike around the Caldeira Santo Cristo on Sao Jorge Island – the cinematic views of the island’s colourful and diverse landscape are sure to stop you in your tracks.
  • Hike through the UNESCO-designated vineyards and over black volcanic earth on the island of Pico, then be rewarded for your efforts with a tasting session at a fantastic local winery.
  • Travel to the island of Faial, visit the island's resident volcano, Capelinhos, and learn about how its last eruption in 1957 dramatically changed the landscape of the island.
  • Experience a lunch like no other – a ‘Cozido das Furnas’ is a delicious stew cooked underground by steam from a volcano.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. MUSEUM VISITS & OPENING TIMES Please note that many sights, attractions and museums are closed on Mondays (and sometimes even Tuesdays). We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where required/possible.

Day 1 - Sao Miguel Island / Ponta Delgada
Welcome to Sao Miguel Island, treasured as the vibrant Garden of the Atlantic thanks to its lush surrounds – hopefully you get a glimpse of this through the plane windows on the way in. Your island adventure begins with a welcome meeting that takes place at your hotel at 6 pm. If you arrive early, perhaps wander along the seaside promenade of Ponta Delgada town, pick up a plate of bacalhau (dried and salted cod) at the farmer’s market in Mercado da Graca, or even sample some fresh seafood at the local restaurants.
Day 2 - Sao Miguel Island / Ponta Delgada
Sao Miguel is home to some stunning scenery and by the end of the day, this should be more than obvious. Take a visit to Arruda’s Pineapple Plantation located at Faja de Baixo. These glass greenhouses often take two years to grow the delicious fruit within, and there might be an opportunity to snack on some during the visit. You’ll then skim along the south coast of the island towards Furnas. Marvel at the volcanic activity of the Furnas volcano and visit the great lagoon, then sit down to a truly unforgettable experience. Your lunch today is ‘Cozido das Furnas’ – a delicious stew cooked underground by the steam from the volcano – you’ll lava it! After lunch you’ll have the option to take a relaxing dip in a geothermal hot pool, then it’s time to hit the road again and travel to the fabulous Pico do Ferro viewpoint. Stop in at a local tea plantation for a tour and to sample some of the only tea grown in Europe – the only tea plantations on the continent are found in Sao Miguel! Finally, pay a visit to Miradouro de Santa Iria where you’ll soak in sweeping views of the north coast of the island.
Day 3 - Sao Jorge Island / Velas
The morning is yours to discover more of the magic of Sao Miguel. You may like to pay a visit to Lagoa das Sete Cidades, an emerald green lake in a volcanic caldera that would look right at home on another planet. If you’d like to learn about Azorean natural history then the Museu Carlos Machado is the place for you, and the building it sits in, a 16th-century convent, is as much of an attraction as the museum itself. This afternoon, board a flight bound for Sao Jorge Island (approximately 1 hour), one of the most scenic islands in the Azores thanks to its steep cliffs and narrow landmass. In the evening you may like to get to know Velas, the island’s capital, by visiting one of the many local bars or sampling some of the region’s famous (and strong) cheddar.
Day 4 - Sao Jorge Island / Velas
Start the day with a visit to a local bakery to pick up a tasty snack, or if the days line up, you may instead go to the local market. Then it’s time to discover the island’s beauty on foot during a hike to the spectacular Caldeira do Santo Cristo. Begin your walk at Serra do Topo and climb a wide trail upwards. You’ll have the option to detour to a beautiful waterfall, then continue along a cobbled path towards Fajã da Caldeira do Santo Cristo. The views you’ll come upon on this walk are simply unforgettable – each one more breathtaking than the last. Follow the trail to the natural debris field of Fajã dos Cubres and explore the lagoon while your leader fills you in on the flora and fauna of the region. Stop off at a scenic spot along the trail to appreciate the views and enjoy a picnic lunch. Return to Velas after your hike for an evening at leisure.
Day 5 - Faial Island / Horta
Today you'll travel to Faial Island by ferry (approximately 2.5 hours), sometimes referred to as Ilha Azul (Blue Island). Raul Brandao, the Portugese poet, famously made note of the iconic blue hydrangeas that bloom on Faial during the summer months, quipping 'the man that had the idea to border the road with these plants should have a statute on the island.' Visit the island's resident volcano, Capelinhos, or rather the volcano centre as the climb up is not considered safe. Capelinhos last erupted in 1957 and changed the island permanently, adding an extra kilometre of land mass and blanketing the surrounding area in five metres of volcanic ash. The rest of the day is free to explore the local port town, Horta, and discover its long maritime history.
Day 6 - Pico Island / Faial Island / Horta
Leave Faial for the day to visit Ilha do Pico (Pico Island). Known as Ilha Preta (Black Island) for its black volcanic earth, Pico is the proud home of UNESCO-designated vineyards that have played a major part in the community’s development. Today you will set out on a marvellous hike through these historic vineyards and the surrounding villages, passing by wine cellars, shelter houses, tide wells and “relheiras” – tracks left by ox carts. Stop in at a winery for a well-deserved tasting of the celebrated local vino and learn a little more about its history on the island. Later in the day, you may like to take part in an optional whale watching tour. Up until 1980, the island supported a substantial whaling industry due to the deep waters of the surrounding Atlantic. Fortunately, the end of the industry means whale watching has become a popular activity for sea-faring visitors. You'll be back on Faial Island for the evening and that means there's time for a cheeky G&T at Cafe Sport (aka Peter's Bar), perhaps the most famous sailor's bar in the world. This watering hole was once a crucial post office and gossip stop for travelling sailors in a pre-internet era. For some, it still is.
Day 7 - Faial Island / Horta
Say goodbye Azores! Your trip comes to an end today after check-out.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
21-08-202127-08-2021AUD $ 2,455-
04-09-202110-09-2021AUD $ 2,455-
18-09-202124-09-2021AUD $ 2,455-
02-10-202108-10-2021AUD $ 2,455-

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nights),Guesthouse (2 nights)

Transport

Plane,Ferry,Private vehicle,On foot,Taxi

Map