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Azores, island hopping (Pico, Faial, São Jorge)

€895 per person

Three islands in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, a part of the Azores archipelago, waiting to be explored on foot and by boat! An amazing self-guided walking adventure, full of diverse landscapes and natural phenomena. Faial Island, the island of hydrangeas and precious beaches, was the theater of a great volcanic eruption in 1957. The island of Pico, and its majestic volcano rises its characteristic silhouette over the ocean. Wilder and more secret, the island of São Jorge stretches like a ship and offers magnificent landscapes between sea and mountains. Accommodated comfortably in the heart of the villages, enjoy the overseas Portuguese lifestyle, always with a swimming possibility nearby.

  • Destination
  • Duration
    8 Days I Difficulty: 2/3 (of 5)
  • What is included
    7 nights bed and breakfast (en-suite rooms throughout in a combination of 3- and 4-star hotels); Luggage and people transfers (D1: Horta Airport - Hotel; D2: Hotel - Caldeira; Praia do Norte - Horta; D3: Hotel - Harbour; Ferry Horta - Madalena; Candelaria - Madalena; D4: Madalena - Sao Roque; Ferry Sao Roque - Velas; Velas - Serra do Topo; Faja dos Cubres - Velas; D5: Velas - Pico Esperança & Faja de Ouvidor - Velas; D6: Luggage Hotel - Harbour; Ferry Velas - Horta; Horta /- Capelinhos + luggage at the Hotel; D7: Capelinhos - Horta; D8: Hotel Horta - Airport); Pico ascent with local guide; Detailed route description and maps; Emergency support phone line
  • What is not included
    Drinks and other meals, museum entry fees
  • Best period
    April, May, June, July, August, September, October
1
Day 1. Faial Island
The hiking trip starts in Horta on Faial Island, where a meeting at the airport will be arranged. Transfer to your hotel located in the city center. Depending on the arrival time, afternoon dedicated to the discovery of Horta and its beautiful and colorful marina. Have a drink at the Peter's café - it is an institution known by sailors all over the world for its famous "gin tonic do mar". Night in Horta.
2
Day 2. Faial Island, Caldeira (12-16km, 4,30hrs, +300m/-900m)
Transfer to the central crater of Faial. After skirting the edge of the caldera at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level, we follow a Levada on a shelf path (famous trails, following the "levada" irrigation channels, found also in Madeira). Descent through the lava fields and hydrangeas to Praia do Norte. Transfer back to Horta. Overnight in Horta.
3
Day 3. Pico Island, South Coast (11km, 3hrs, +200m/-150m)
This morning you will board a boat to Pico Islands, named after its giant volcano. Arrive at Madalena and drop off your luggage in the hotel, which is within minutes walk from the harbour. From Madalena starts a coastal hike between small ports (where you can swim) and vineyards, surrounded by stone walls of black lava (which may have seen also on some of the Canary Islands like Lanzarote). This unique method of cultivating the vine was the reason why this area was declared a World Heritage Site (UNESCO). Night in Madalena.
4
Day 4. Pico Ascent (classic option: 5hrs, +1100m/-1100m or easier option: 10km, 3,30hrs, +100m/-750m)
Today you will have an option to choose between a classic (but harder) ascent on Pico volcano, or go for an easier walk. Should you wish to choose the easier one, this must be advised at the time of booking! Classic option: Accompanied by a local licensed guide, you follow a hiking trail carved in the lava stones to conquer this still active giant, the highest peak of Portugal (2351m). The path rises gradually in the middle of low and endemic vegetation before becoming steeper to reach the heart of the crater. Although more difficult than the other hikes on this trip, your efforts will be rewarded with a magical lava universe and a breath-taking panoramic view of the ocean and the neighboring islands. Easier option: Transfer to the ridges of the island where a multitude of small volcanoes are lined up and covered with low vegetation. The walking path follows a stretch of an old mule track that once linked the village of Lajes, on the south coast, to Sao Roque, on the north coast. The trail descends towards the sea to reach the Prainha nature reserve and offers a splendid view. You will discover the Misterio da Prainha, a lava field resulting from the eruptions of 1952-54. Swimming is possible at the end of the walk. Transfer back to Madalena. Night in Madalena.
NB: this hike is considered challenging and takes place in a multi-national group accompanied by a certified guide.
5
Day 5. São Jorge: Faja do Santo Cristo (10km, 3hrs, +200m/-880m)
Transfer to Sao Roque on the north coast to take the ferry to Velas on São Jorge Island. Wild and steep, São Jorge spreads along the edge of ocean, its "fajas", fertile headlands where hamlets and orchards nest. As soon as you land in Velas, you will be picked up by the transfer vehicle for a short ride to your hotel, where you will drop off your main luggage, and immediately proceed for the trailhead to the peaks (Serra de Topo). Walk down the pilgrims’ path between hydrangeas and junipers until Faja de Santo Cristo, isolated hamlet overlooking the open ocean lagoon. From this village, accessible only by foot, you will walk along the coast to Faja dos Cubres. Transfer back to Velas, where you will stay for two nights.
6
Day 6. Pico da Esperança (17,5km, 4-5hrs, +340m/-1095m)
Transfer to the starting point of your hike (20min). You continue along the volcano trail and arrive at the highest point of the island of São Jorge: the "Pico da Esperança" (1053 m). Panoramic view and sweep of the clouds! Transfer back to the hotel (30 min).
7
Day 7. Capelinhos Volcano (5km, 1,30hrs, +150m/-150m)
Ferry to Horta. As soon as you land in Horta, you will be picked up by the transfer vehicle for a short ride to your hotel, where you will drop off your main luggage, and immediately proceed for the trailhead. Transfer to the south coast for a short walk to the lighthouse Capelinhos, theater of a tremendous volcanic sea eruption in 1957. The accumulation of lava and ash formed an almost-island connecting the earth. Options to swim in the area. Back to Horta early in the afternoon and time at leisure to discover its colonial architecture, history or to join a whale/dolphins watching trip (self-arrangements, payable locally).
8
Day 8. Departure day
Transfer to Horta Airport.
Please mind that the itinerary may have to be adapted should the ferries timetable require such changes.

TOUR LOCATION

Price
895 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (01/4-26/5; 01-31/10)
990 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (27/5-30/9)
* N.B.: If your travel period falls into two periods with different prices, the one with the higher price will be invoiced!
Single room & Solo Traveler supplement
Single room supplement:
280 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (01/4-26/5; 01-31/10)
360 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (27/5-30/9)
Solo traveler supplement: N/A (min. group size: 2 pax)
Tips
Daily departures from the beginning of April till the end of October. The Azores' climate is neither too hot nor too cold (15-17C in winter, and 22-26C in summer). The best time to go to the Azores is from May to September. Indeed, even though temperatures are pleasant all year round, it is quite rainy from October to April. Although it is possible to go as early as May, a month in which it does not rain much, we recommend that you go from June to August, when the water temperature is between 20 and 25C. With close to 24 different species of cetaceans, the Azores are known for being one of the world's largest whale sanctuaries. Go and explore the Atlantic and watch the whales and dolphins around you. You can go all year round: in summer to come across spotted dolphins, sperm whales and baleen whales and in winter to encounter blue whales.
Accommodation
A combination of 3-, and 4-star hotels, en-suite rooms incl. breakfast (x3 nights in Horta (Faial); x2 nights in Madalena (Pico); 2x nights in Velas (São Jorge). Options for dinner are readily available around or inside each place where you stay overnight.

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