Day 1: Depart for Sao Miguel Island
We fly to Sao Miguel - a direct flight from Toronto.
Day 2: Ponta Delgada
We arrive and transfer to our hotel in Ponta Delgada for an early check-in and breakfast. This afternoon we have a walking tour of Ponta Delgada, through the cobbles streets of the old city, passing the fortress of Sao Bras, the 17th-century Baroque Igreja do Colegio, the cathedral of Largo Martires and city gates. We’ll stop at a cafe at the marina for a coffee. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
Day 3: Geo Tour / Fly to Faial Island / Horta
(2km with no ascent). On our full-day Geo Tour a local geologist will explain how the island was formed and how various eruptions have changed the landscape. We’ll stop at Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lakes), a crater lake that forms one of the island’s 3 volcanoes, then have lunch and free time in the village of Caldeiras. There will be short walks throughout the day. Later we fly to Faial.
Day 4: Caldeira / Capelinhos / Horta (9km with 380 ascent)
Today we explore Faial (known as the “Blue Isle”) by bus and on foot. We start with a short drive to the caldera in the centre of the island, where we can walk from the view point to the island’s highest point. Then we drive to the coast and Capelinhos, site of the Azores last volcanic eruption in 1957. There are options for short walks in the area and a visit to the Capelinhos Museum, which tells the story of the eruption.
Day 5: Sail to Pico Island / Horta (14km with 650m ascent)
We’ll walk to the ferry and cross over to Pico - the most volcanic island, dominated by the impressive volcanic cone of Pico Alto - Portugal’s highest point. On Pico our walk begins near a small cave called Frei Matias, and follows paths of cinder gradually descending to Madalena, passing fertile fields and Quinta das Rocas Gardens. After the walk we’ll go to the guide’s adega and try Pico wine and cheese, then ferry back to Faial. There will be an option to ascend Mt. Pico - the highest mountain in the Atlantic (only recommended in clear weather).
Day 6: Monte Guia and Porto Pim / Horta (3km with 145m ascent)
We enjoy a walk to Monte Guia and Porto Pim, and in the afternoon we enjoy a whale and dolphin watching cruise.
Day 7: Sail to Sao Jorge Island / Velas (3km with 152m ascent)
We ferry over to Sao Jorge for a 3-night stay in Velas, the island’s lovely capital. This afternoon we’ll walk from the hotel to the small volcanic cone and the Chapel of Senhora Livramento. En route we’ll stop at a beach where we can swim or snorkel in the warm Atlantic waters.
Day 8: Three Fajas Walk / Velas (10km with 675m descent)
Purported to be the best walk in the Azores, it begins at the top of the island and descends 700m to sea level through some of the Azores’ most beautiful scenery. The hydrangea-lined path takes you through ‘forests’ of tree heather down to Faja do Santo Cristo where ‘clams’ are farmed in the sweetwater lagoon. We continue through two more “fajas” (volcanic debris fields) before ending at the café in Faja dos Cubres.
Day 9: Sao Jorge Spine Walk / Velas (10km or 17km with 270 ascent / 1053m descent)
This high-level walk follows a cinder track along the spine of the island between the lush green crater peaks (including the highest, Pico da Esperanca). When it’s clear, there are spectacular views over the sea and the other islands. The walk undulates across the top of the island, then descends to Norte Grande. From here we can transfer to Faja Ouvidor for a refreshing dip in the sea!
Day 10: Fly to Terceira Island / Angra (3km with 295m ascent)
We fly to Terceira and transfer to the Pousada Sao Sebastao in Angra do Heroismo (this city is a UNESCO Historic World Heritage Site). Our hotel is by the harbour, a short walk from the historic city centre. Later we’ll walk in the town with its wonderful 17th and 18th century architecture, meticulously restored after the 1980 earthquake. Those wanting to walk further can continue up to the volcanic cone of Monte Brasil where there is an old fortress, chapel and whale lookout post.
Day 11: Island Exploration / Angra
A full day tour of Terceira with some short walks. The centre of the island is a mix of pristine juniper forests and areas of dense sphagnum moss. A highlight is Algar do Carvao (Cavern of Coal) - a volcanic lava tube with a cathedral-like dome. Those wanting to explore the depths of the volcano can follow a well-lit tunnel to the small lake at the bottom. From here we proceed to the wine growing region of Biscoitos, known for its Verdelho wines.
Day 12: Fly to Sao Miguel / Ponta Delgada
We return to Sao Miguel and our Ponta Delgada hotel. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 13: Sete Cidades Walk (12km with 577m descent)
We drive to the famous crater lake known as Sete Cidades (Seven Cities), the largest in the Azores. The rim is covered in lush vegetation of Himalayan ginger and blue hydrangea hedges. Our walking path offers wonderful views down towards the mystical blue and green lakes, as well as the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 14: Furnas (6km with minimal descent)
We drive to the volcanic basin of Furnas - a volcanic hot spot where it is possible to see pools of boiling mud and sulphurous steam being forced out of the ground. We’ll walk around Furnas Lake before heading down to the Parque Terra Nostra and its thermal pool for a swim. The garden here is one of the world’s finest.
Day 15: Home
We fly back to Canada - direct to Toronto.
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