Discover four of the nine beautiful Azorean islands on our 11-day tailor-made tour, visiting Sao Miguel, Faial, Terceira and Pico. This comprehensive itinerary is perfect for first-time visitors to the Azores, and return visitors keen to see more than just the main island of Sao Miguel. Tour the picturesque cities and towns on each island, travel out to remote countryside areas, see UNESCO World Heritage Sites, freshwater lakes cradled in ancient volcanic calderas, majestic waterfalls and truly magnificent scenery.
Begin your holiday in Ponta Delgada, capital of Sao Miguel Island. Transfer to the Hotel Vila Nova or similar and check in for a four-night stay. Head out for an evening walk along the waterfront before heading to the Old Town for a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants in Ponta Delgada. For a great introduction to Azorean cuisine - try grilled limpets with Molho Afonso sauce or a dessert made from juicy Sao Miguel pineapples.
One of the main highlight of any trip to the Azores is to visit Sete Cidades and stand on the rim of these stunning volcanic crater lakes. Separated by a thin slice of land, one lake glows turquoise green while the other is a deep blue. On this half day trip travel along mountain roads to Vista do Rei Belvedere for one of the most magnificent panoramic spots in Azores. After visit one of Sao Miguel’s famous pineapple plantations for some tasty pineapple liqueur tasting. Free afternoon. (B)
Today enjoy a full day trip to Furnas, stopping at the village of Vila Franca do Campo en route for a view of Ilheu Da Vila, the remains of an old volcano crater, where the sea has breached part of the crater wall. Continue to Furnas valley, driving past the lake to the area of geothermal activity, just north of the lake, where caldeiras bubble and smoke. Watch local people and restaurateurs dig up huge pots of cozido nas caldeiras, which you will try for lunch - mountains of thermally cooked meats and vegetables! Take a relaxing swim in the hot natural water pool at the botanical gardens before making a stop at a tea plantation on the return to Ponta Delgada. (B,L)
Enjoy a free day to explore the streets and harbour of the Azores’ capital, Ponta Delgada, at your leisure, or travel out to discover more of Sao Miguel’s stunning countryside. Sao Miguel is known as the green island, Ilha Verde, thanks to its supremely fertile volcanic soil ensuring that valleys and pastures are carpeted in greenery year-round. Perhaps book a whale watching excursion by catamaran or exhilarating rib boat from the town’s busy harbour. (B)
After breakfast transfer to the airport for the short flight to Terceira. On arrival, transfer to Azoris Angra Garden Hotel or similar and check in for 2 nights. Terceira is part of the Central Group of Azores Islands, home to a patchworked countryside of walled-off fields and vineyards, lovely little villages and a rugged volcanic centre. This afternoon explore the pretty town of Angra do Heroismo, named as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1983. Explore the museum of Angra do Heroismo, visit the gardens of the Duke of Terceira, the old square, Palace Capitaes Generais, the main Cathedral and City Hall. (B)
Today, enjoy a full-day jeep tour around Terceira with a local driver/guide, visiting some of the hidden sites of the island. Follow coastal roads offering stunning panoramas, head inland to discover the volcanic heart of Terceira, stop at local pastures and experience milking a cow or learn how Azorean wine is made in the village of Biscoitos. For lunch, head to the islands’ best traditional Azorean restaurant and sample the delicious local dish, ‘Alcatra’ - mouth-watering beef cooked in a clay pot for 12 hours to intensify all flavours and textures. One of the many highlights of today is a visit to the ancient Algar do Carvao lava vent - a 900 metre deep volcanic chimney that reaches deep into the earth, marking the path that lava once took to reach the earth’s surface. (B,L)
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Faial island. On arrival, transfer to Hotel Azoris Faial Garden Resort or similar and check in for 4 nights. Home to a huge abundance of blue hydrangeas, Faial is known locally as the blue island, and is truly spectacular during July and August when the flowers are in bloom. The centre of the island is dominated by a scenic volcano caldera. (B)
Today take a short trip by ferry across to your fourth island, Pico, and keep your eyes peeled on the water for whales. The warm waters surrounding the Azores are famously home to a wide variety of species of whale and cetacean year round, including bottlenose dolphin, sperm and pilot whales, and also sit on the migratory routes of blue whales. On this island you have a chance to learn more about the role whaling, and more recently whale watching, has played in the life of the Azores at Pico’s whale museum. Your tour will take you up on the slopes of Mount Pico, the 7,700ft retired stratovolcano that dominates the island. On the return to the main town of Madalena, stop and sample wine at the famous UNESCO heritage wine vineyards that grow in the volcanic soil, and trace tidal pools crafted by the volcano along the Misterios de Sao Joao. Take the ferry back to Faial. (B)
After breakfast, enjoy a jeep tour of Faial and enjoy the natural beauty of one of the Azores’ most scenic islands. Take in the valley of Flamengos, a fertile valley home to many native species of flora, before moving on to Caldeira - the highest point of the island boasting great views across the stratovolcano caldera. Continue north to Capelinhos Volcano and see the remains of the last volcanic eruption in the Azores, which took place in 1957 and visit the fascinating museum here that show the story of this eruption. (B)