Map of Highlights of the Azores including Portugal

Discover a new side to Portugal on this Atlantic adventure

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.


Start
Sao Miguel, Portugal
Finish
Faial Island, Portugal
Destination
Portugal
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
ZLSI
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • 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.

Is this trip right for you?

  • There is an internal flight included on this trip. In order for our local operator to be able to buy tickets we need your passport details preferably at the time of booking, but at least 6 weeks prior to the trip's departure. Please note that this internal flight has a luggage limit of 20kg. Please pack accordingly as exceeding this limit may incur additional charges at the airport.

  • This trip includes some ferry rides between the islands. With temperamental weather, some of these ferry trips may be a little rocky.

  • This trip does not require any physical preparation, however, a good level of fitness will be an advantage. The Azores are a natural wonderland and the best way to discover them is on foot. There are few included walks and lots of opportunities to discover the islands further in your free time.

Itinerary

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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Your island adventure begins with a welcome meeting that takes place at your hotel at 6 pm. Please have your insurance and next of kin details on hand to pass over to your leader during this meeting. It's important that you attend this meeting, so if you're not going to make it please let reception or your travel agent know.
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sao Miguel - Island Day Tour
  • Sao Miguel - Arruda’s Pineapple Plantation at Faja de Baixo
  • Sao Miguel - Cozido das Furnas Lunch
  • Sao Miguel - Tea Plantation Visit & Tasting
  • Sao Miguel - Miradouro do Pico do Ferro & Miradouro de Santa Iria
Optional Activities
  • Sao Miguel – Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas Geothermal Pool - EUR3
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sao Miguel - Lagoa das Sete Cidades - Free
  • Sao Miguel - Museu Carlos Machado - EUR2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
While your flight is expected to depart Sao Miguel in the afternoon, please note that the flight schedule is subject to change. Please also note that Sao Jorge is quite remote even for Azores standards and accommodation options are limited. We stay in a locally owned guesthouse, and while it is clean and conveniently located in Velas, please be aware that rooms are basic and do not have air-conditioning.
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sao Jorge - Hike to Caldeira do Santo Cristo with Picnic Lunch
  • Sao Jorge - Visit to Bakery or Local Market
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today's hike is about 10 km and will take you across loose rock and uneven surfaces. Your leader will be able to fill you in on the details of the walk, but if you have concerns it's no problem for you to opt out and enjoy Velas and its surroundings instead.
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Faial - Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pico Island - Day Trip
  • Pico Island - Wine Tasting
  • Pico Island - Criacao Velha Vineyards UNESCO World Heritage Site
Optional Activities
  • Pico Island - Whale Watching Excursion - EUR62
  • Pico Island - Gruta das Torres Lava Tubes - EUR8
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Say goodbye Azores! Your trip comes to an end today after check-out.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Plane, Ferry, Private vehicle, On foot, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Sao Miguel - Island Day Tour
  • Sao Miguel - Arruda’s Pineapple Plantation at Faja de Baixo
  • Sao Miguel - Cozido das Furnas Lunch
  • Sao Miguel - Tea Plantation Visit & Tasting
  • Sao Miguel - Miradouro do Pico do Ferro & Miradouro de Santa Iria
  • Sao Jorge - Hike to Caldeira do Santo Cristo with Picnic Lunch
  • Sao Jorge - Visit to Bakery or Local Market
  • Faial - Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre
  • Pico Island - Day Trip
  • Pico Island - Wine Tasting
  • Pico Island - Criacao Velha Vineyards UNESCO World Heritage Site

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Highlights of the Azores trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

From 01 September 2021, all travellers on Intrepid trips will be required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Excludes Australia, New Zealand and Cook Islands tours. Read details here.

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for internal flight tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 6 weeks of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
3. The luggage limit for airlines we use for the domestic flights on this trip is 20kg. Exceeding this limit will incur an excess baggage charge, payable by the traveller. However, we must stress that due to the adventurous nature of this trip and the amount of public transport we use on it, this limit far exceeds Intrepid's recommended luggage weight for this tour (15kg).

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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