Azores Islands Tour Portugal | Adventure Hiking & Hot Springs

Hiking and Hot Springs in the Azores Islands

Azores Islands – Portugal – Sao Miguel

Tour Dates: May 3 – 15, 2018

Prices: Starting at $1,999 CND for a 8 Day Experience in Sao Miguel

Mt. Pico Add on: $499 CND for a 4 Day Experience

Group Size: Maximum of 12-14 people

Discover the Azores Islands!

Natural hot-springs, volcanoes, semi-tropical forest, great food and culture, incredible hiking, local wine and spirits; the Azores offer an island vacation chock-full of adventure, well off the beaten track.

Azores Mt Pico

Azores Mt Pico

Our hiking itinerary will immerse you in the natural beauty of the Azores. In the evenings you’ll be able to soak up culture to your heart’s content as we sample local cuisine and enjoy all that the free-spirited Portuguese culture has to offer.

In the centre of the Atlantic lies the semi-tropical Azores archipelago. With volcanic origins, the collection of tiny islands offers crystal waters, verdant vegetation, inspiring coastal scenery, plentiful hot-springs, and a myriad of amazing hiking opportunities. Portuguese culture is strong with local wines and spirits, delicious island cheeses and fresh seafood dishes.

This is the perfect destination for you if you want an active island vacation. Still off the main tourist trail, the Azores offers the chance for real exploration, with amazing sights and experiences around every bend. Where else can you cook your lunch in a volcano?!

If you enjoy hiking, whale-watching, discovering a vibrant new culture, and relaxing in thermal waters, then our Azores itinerary is the next essential trip for you. With new flight service from Toronto, the Azores is just being discovered as an incredible vacation destination, making right now the perfect time to beat the crowds and experience the unspoiled Azores.

About your Guide – Heather Christie

We connected with Heather in 2015 and instantly became life long friends. Heather shares the same passion for travel and exploring those hidden gems off the beaten path and around the corner. We’re so excited to have her on board to guide this experience.

Here’s more about Heather:

“I was introduced to adventure at a young age.  As a child I remember long and exciting moorland or mountain walks with my family, friends, and faithful dog.  Weather was never a factor to consider when planning these adventures, and I have as many memories of laughing in a storm as smiling in the sun.

After my first journey to Canada (source of the current incorrigible travel bug) I attended university in Swansea, known as the wettest city in the UK, and somehow achieved a degree in Geography despite the temptations of the surfing, sailing, hiking, and climbing culture.  Since then I’ve developed my professional education with hiking guide qualifications with the IGA (Interpretive Guides Association), Wilderness First Responder first aid, and ongoing professional adventure and naturalist guiding.

A passionate ski-tourer and advocate of cool weather, I love the wild weather of the mountains, coast, and really anywhere in the world!  Winter I aim to spend somewhere with snowy mountains, while in summer you’ll find me in the Canadian Rockies or on the rugged coast of BC guiding hiking and wildlife viewing trips.  In the fall I’ll be found guiding polar bear trips in Churchill, Manitoba, and spring is the time for exploring all that Europe has to offer.

Heather Christie - Travel Roots Guide

Heather Christie – Travel Roots Guide

Heather Christie - Travel Roots Guide

Heather Christie – Travel Roots Guide

I can’t say enough good things about all the amazing, life-enriching experiences that can be gleaned from travel of all kinds.  I’ve lived, backpacked, skied, hiked, and explored in many countries over the last twelve years, and every adventure inspires new ideas and plans.  From New Zealand to Georgia (the country!) to India to the interior mountains of Mexico; everyday my ‘favourite’ destination changes!  Sometimes I’ll even tell you the best place to travel and experience new things is right at home, wherever that may be.”

Highlights:

  • Marvel at the dramatic volcanic landscape on beautiful day-hikes.
  • Visit the scenic turquoise waters of Lagoa Azul.
  • Dip in the warm ocean of Ponta Do Ferreira, where a natural hot spring heats the sea
  • Indulge yourself in historic Furnas, home to probably the most incredible hot-spring experience in the world…in our humble opinion!
  • Partake in the most unique picnic you’ve ever dreamt of – cooked in a volcanic fumarole.
  • Explore pristine craters, waterfalls, and lakes buried deep in semi-tropical forest.
  • Cruise the coast on the look-out for sperm whales, porpoises, and sea turtles
  • Visit a family-run liquor factory to learn about and taste a wide collection of locally produced liquors

    Day One:
    Travel from Canada. Arrive on the island of Sao Miguel in time to settle in to the hotel, enjoy a tasty meal in a local restaurant, and meet your guide.

    Day Two:
    Half-day hike and sight-seeing on the island. We’ll drive towards pristine Lagoa Azul, taking full advantage of the scenic overviews. Today’s hike explores some beautiful volcanic lakes with views out to both coasts of the island.

    After a picnic lunch we’ll take an afternoon visit to an incredible spot where natural hot waters drain straight into the ocean. The most unique swimming spot ever!

    Day Three:
    Full day hike in the spectacular volcanic scenery, with a picnic lunch.

    After the hike we’ll enjoy an evening meal of caldera-cooked local stews, followed by a soak in local hot-springs, where a series of hot pools has been created by artful diversion of a natural hot river. Expect hot waterfalls and decadent soaking!

    Day Four:
    This morning is a little slower-paced, and time to experience some of life on the island with a visit to a local liquor factory, and a tea plantation too. We’ll also make a stop to put our lunch inside an active volcanic ‘caldeiras’ where it will slow cook and be ready in time for the most unusual and delicious picnic you’ve ever experienced!

    After the picnic lunch we’ll take a short afternoon hike to nearby waterfalls.

    Day Five:
    Today we’ll move hotels, to the incredible Terra Nostra in Furnas.
    On the way though, we’ve planned a hike to a sunken volcanic lake deep in a crater full of tumbling semi-tropical forest. You’ll believe that dragons could roam here!

    A picnic lunch will be provided on the way.

    We’ll aim to arrive at Terra Nostra Hotel in time to enjoy the gardens in the afternoon, and dip in the magical outdoor thermal lake.

    Day Six:
    Waterfalls are the name of the game today as we descend to a ‘faja’, or flat coastal plain surrounded by high cliffs, and take a relaxed day hike through the forest.

    Day Seven:
    Today is a day of dramatic views. We’ll start with a coastal drive, stopping en-route at an amazing clifftop garden on the southeast coast.
    And then we’ll spend the rest of the day enjoying the views as we hike up an extinct volcano to a viewpoint where the remote east end of Sao Miguel is spread like an emerald tapestry before our feet.

    Dinner will be in a town on the north coast, then we’ll return to Ponta Delgada to check in to our hotel there.

    Day Eight:
    Today there will be time to relax and explore the coastal town of Ponta Delagda. We’ll take a whale-watching cruise for a couple of hours, and can also organise optional excursions to the local Pineapple Plantation.

    In the evening we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner.

    Day Nine:
    Group splits.

    If you’ve opted for our basic itinerary then today you’ll depart the island and return to Canada

    or Optional Trip Extension!

    If you felt like your trip to the Azores wouldn’t be complete without summiting Mt Pico, then today we’ll depart Sao Miguel and travel to the island of Pico.

    In the afternoon there will be some free time in Madalena.

    Day Ten:
    Enjoy breakfast in the bakery in Madalena, followed by a full day hike to Pico mountain summit, weather dependant. If the weather is not ideal then we will take a coastal hike instead, and save Mt Pico for tomorrow.

    Day Eleven:
    We’ll take a coastal hike on Pico Island – unless the weather yesterday did not cooperate, in which case we have a second chance to summit Mt Pico today!

    Day Twelve:
    It’s time to say farewell as today we depart and transfer back to Canada

    About the Azores

    Geography:
    The Azores archipelago is a world-class hiking destination consisting of nine small semi-tropical islands located in the middle of the rolling Atlantic Ocean. Rising from the waves like a succession of emeralds, the Azores boast heated volcanic origins. Their birth of fire has left a legacy of dramatic hills, fertile soils, rich forests dripping into extinct volcanic craters, and some of the most amazing hot-springs in the world.

    The Azores are actually some of the tallest mountains in the world, if you measure them from their true roots on the ocean floor. As it is, Mt Pico is the tallest mountain in Portugal at 2351 metres.

    The Land:
    The Azores are considered to be sub-tropical, and this is evidenced in the lush green vegetation that runs rampant over the islands. Agriculture thrives, and wild hydrangeas bloom willingly on the roadsides. The relief of the islands is great enough that a day hike can take you through several different vegetative zones, from the coastal flora through the mid-altitude forests, and sometimes up to the higher altitude alpine vegetation too.

    Culture and History:
    The Azores were originally settled by the Portugese over a span of 200 years from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries. They are still an autonomous region of Portugal, and so you’ll find a wealth of European culture on these small islands. Local cheeses, wines, and liquors are still produced by established families. Every island boasts delicious specialty dishes, and an array of delectable fresh seafood delicacies. There’s even a tea plantation and pineapple farm on the main island of Sao Miguel.

    Climate:
    The Azores may lie fairly far north, but they bask in a comfortably mild maritime climate, influenced by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. Year round mild temperatures range on average between 16° and 30° C. In fact, temperatures lower than 3° C and higher than 30° C are pretty much unheard of in the Azores.

    8 Day Sao Miguel Adventure
    Price: $1,999 CND per person (double occupancy)

    4 Day Mt. Pico Adventure
    Price: $499 CND per person (double occupancy)

    What’s Included:

    • All accommodation including breakfast every day
    • Airport transfers and all transportation while in the Azores
    • Full professional guide services from meeting in Ponta Delgada until you depart from the islands
    • All activities as listed in the itinerary
    • Welcome dinner on your first night, and a farewell dinner on the last night. Other meals will be organised and you can choose to dine with the group or alone. Your guide will suggest collecting a kitty in the region of $20-30 per person to buy supplies for group picnic lunches during the trip
    • Full information pack and support throughout your trip

      Not Included:

    • Flights (the Travel Roots team can assist you with your bookings)
    • Travel Insurance
    • Alcoholic beverages, activities not listed in the itinerary, and items of a personal nature
    • Island of Pico Add On

      Optional Add On:

    • Stay a little longer to visit the island of Pico. While there, experience a guided hike to the summit of Mt Pico, the highest mountain in Portugal!
    • At 2356m, Pico is an exciting day hike/scramble with picture-perfect Atlantic views from every aspect of its classical conical volcanic slopes.
    • Also on the island of Pico we can visit traditional vineyards, marvel at the sheer perseverance that made wine-production viable on the island, and taste some of the local wines and spirits.

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