Azores Island Hopping

Faja dos Cubres, Sao Jorge Island
Landscape of Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel Island
Sete Cidade, Sao Miguel Island
Gorreana tea plantations, Sao Miguel island
Atlantic striped dolphin
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Explore!

Bathed in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, these nine volcanic islands rise up from the mid-Atlantic ridge. On a series of easy walks we explore five of these unspoilt islands: San Miguel, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial. We discover crater lakes, thermal springs, deep gorges and craggy coastlines. There are also opportunities to take boat trips in search of whales, and to spend time in picturesque fishing villages.

Sete Cidades - Crater walk to Vista do Rei for stunning lake views
Furnas Valley - Thermal springs, natural ovens and bubbling mud pools
Angra do Heroismo - Lovely UNESCO World Heritage Site, a town with a colourful history
Sao Jorge - Walks through an unusual and varied landscape of cliffs, valleys and gorges
Pico - Coastal walk to the small whaling village of Lajes with the opportunity to go whale watching
  • Portugal
  • Azores
  • Europe
  • Porto
Tour Types
  • Active
  • Small Group
  • Walking
  • Scenic
  • Island Hopping
  • Adventure
Day 1: Join tour at Ponta Delgada, on the island of Sao Miguel
Arrive Ponta Delgada and check-in at hotel. Located on the harbour of Sao Miguel, the Azores largest island, Ponta Delgada is a charming historic city with narrow cobbled streets and some interesting buildings worth a visit, such as the Municipal city hall with its reflecting pool in the city centre of Baixa.

Day 2: Walk around Sete Cidades, see the colourful crater lakes
Basing ourselves at Ponta Delgada, the island's capital, we spend our first 3 days exploring Sao Miguel - the largest of the islands we visit. We use a mixture of local and private buses to transfer us to and from our walks. For our first day walking we drive to Sete Cidades. From here we walk within and around some of the crater to Vista do Rei to view the splendid blue and green lakes before returning to Ponta Delgada by bus later that afternoon. Todays 8km walk is expected to take around 2.5 hours with a descent of 270m.

Day 3: Enjoy lakeside walk and lunch amongst volcanic scenery
Our second days walking begins by driving to the north side of the to Lagoa das Furnas where we take a short walk of approximately forty-five minutes on the shores of the lake, stopping to see the natural ovens (cavities in the rock). Here in the huge hollow of Furnas Valley, diverse volcanic activity has also created thermal springs and boiling mud pools. Today we have an included lunch - a traditional Cozido cooked in the volcanic fumeroles. We also have time to visit the botanical gardens of Terra Nostra, planted over 200 years ago, with an outdoor thermal pool where we can bathe (optional). Back on the bus we continue to a viewpoint to Lagoa de Fogo, the islands highest crater lake, where we will stop to take photos before continuing back to Ponta Delgada.

Day 4: Free day; optional boat trip to look for whales
Today is left free to explore more of the island on and off shore. You may wish to do one of the many walks around the island however another option is to take a whale searching trip or to swim with the dolphins.

Day 5: Fly to Terceira Island, explore Angra do Heroismo town
An inter-island flight brings us to the island of Terceira. During our stay here, our base will be the small harbour settlement of Praia da Vitoria. After transferring to our hotel, we cross the island by local transport to the largest settlement on Terceira, the old town of Angra do Heroismo. An afternoon here gives us time to explore the town, with its distinctive architecture, its cathedrals and churches. Angra was the first settlement in the Azores to receive city status, in 1534, and remains one of the finest examples of Renaissance town planning. It was the Azores’ seat of government until the early 19th century and its palaces and churches are the legacy of it's supremacy. A walk up to the fort gives good views over the harbour and the narrow streets of the old town are well worth exploring at your own pace. You may also want to visit the Algar do Carvao caves, the only volcanic pit you can visit in the world, before returning to Praia.

Day 6: Coastal walk to Biscoitos
Using local transport, we head for the northern regions of the island, which we will explore on foot. From Quatro Ribeiras an easy walk follows the contours of the coast with marvellous views out to sea. We arrive at Biscoitos, where there is the chance to swim in the lava rock pools. In the late afternoon we return to Praia da Vitoria by local bus. Todays 12.5km walk is expeted to take around 3.5hrs with total ascent of 314m and total descent of 465m.

Day 7: Fly to Sao Jorge Island, free time to explore Velas town
There may be some free time in Praiada Vitoria, depending on the flight time, before we take the short flight to Sao Jorge. This curiously elongated island is some 56 km long, but only 8 km wide, having been created by a series of linear volcanic eruptions. The island remained almost isolated for many centuries, due to the lack of shelter offered to ships. After transferring to our hotel, we are free to wander the streets of the small maritime community of Velas, where we are based. Alternatively we can take an optional walk to the old whale watching tower which is positioned on a volcanic crater from where we can enjoy views down on to Velas town (2hrs).

Day 8: Walk through Caldeira de Cima gorge down to the coast
We can spend two full days walking on Sao Jorge, a place of precipitous cliffs, narrow valleys and tiny coves. On our first day, using local taxis we'll head from Velas to the north side of the island. A stunning walk starting from the 700m high ridge of Sao Jorge leads us through the beautiful gorge of the Caldeira de Cima and down to the coast. From here we follow the rocky coastline and walk to Faja do Cubres. Fajas are the small plains at the foot of the steep coastal cliffs which are dotted with traditional hamlets and fertile orchards. Todays 12km walk is expected to take aorund 4hrs total descent of 595m.

Day 9: Free day; choice of optional walks
Our second day is left free for optional walks, and your tour leader will advise on the various possibilities. Views of the surrounding islands are excellent from Pico da Esperanca ridge walk (1053m) in the centre of the island, while a walk along the fajas on the south coast of the island offers a contrast in scenery from the north.

Day 10: Ferry to Pico Island, free time to explore local area
This morning we take a boat to Pico and transfer to our accommodation at Madalena. The rest of the day is free to explore this small fishing port, or perhaps take a walk through the coastal vineyards or visit the Grota do Torres Lava Tunnel.

Day 11: Coastal walk to Lajes, optional boat trip
Pico is dominated by its volcano, Pico Alto, reaching up to 2,350m. The island covers some 42 km by 16 km. For those interested in the history of the island, there are many small fishing ports, several with reminders of the old whaling industry once so vital to the island. Today's walk is along the south coast of Pico. We walk to the village of Lajes, which has a small whaling museum. There is the opportunity to take a whale-watching trip (optional) from Lajes to spot sperm whales as well as several
species of dolphins. Todays 6.5km walk is expected to take around 2hrs total descent of 450m

Day 12: Free morning for optional walks, take the ferry to Faial Island
The morning is free to do another walk or for an ascent of Pico, a very strenuous 6-7 hour climb. Those interested in walking can take taxis part way up Pico Alto, from where there are fine views across the straits to Faial, while behind the peak of the volcano rises into the clouds. There are dozens of small volcanic cones on the slopes of Pico Alto and some caves created by past lava flows to explore for example, Furnas Frei Mateus (optional, approx 3 hours walk 1,020m ascent and descent). There are magnificent and unforgettable vistas of neighbouring islands. In the afternoon, we cross by boat to the charming island of Faial, where the harbour is often full of yachts, half way through their transatlantic crossing.

Day 13: Free day; optional tour of island or boat trip
Today is free to explore the Ilha Azul. You can go whale watching again (optional). You could take the opportunity to do some more walking (optional), alternatively take a taxi tour of the island (optional). We can head for the stunning Caldeira often shrouded in cloud, where we view the lush green-carpeted crater. The views over the island are particularly impressive in summer, when the wild blue hydrangeas that form many of the hedges are in flower. We then continue to the western end of the island to visit the Capelinhos volcano, now extinct, then we can swim of the volcanic sandy beaches at Porto Pim. Later we return to Horta, an attractive little town with some good restaurants.

Day 14: Tour ends in Horta, Faial Island
Tour ends after breakfast.

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
15-May-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
15-May-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
29-May-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
29-May-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
12-Jun-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
12-Jun-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
26-Jun-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
26-Jun-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
10-Jul-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
10-Jul-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
24-Jul-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
24-Jul-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
07-Aug-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
07-Aug-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
21-Aug-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
21-Aug-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
04-Sep-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
04-Sep-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
18-Sep-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
18-Sep-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
02-Oct-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
02-Oct-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website
16-Oct-2021 for 13 Nights Visit website
16-Oct-2021 for 13 Nights Flight Included Visit website

Touring with Explore

Explore have been creating award-winning adventures for over 35 years and are experts when it comes to unique travel experiences.

Their small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981 and today, Explore are one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 600 trips to more than 130 countries. At Explore, they are passionate about travel and have developed a wide range of unique activities and experiences which gives their customers an unforgettable adventure with a team of award-winning Explore leaders .

With Explore, you'll get to see your destination from a whole new perspective that takes you away from the typical well-trodden tourist track. You'll have the chance to meet, dine and stay with local people, rest in authentic accommodation with other like-minded explorers and travel to must-see destinations with a unique Explore twist.

From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking on mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore. They will provide their expert knowledge, exciting itineraries and outstanding service as part of their sustainable travel experiences which take you under the skin of the country you're visiting for the adventure of a lifetime.


tour details

This tour is operated by Explore!

13 nights from pp; per Night
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Group Size:0 - 16
Suitable For: Adult
Difficulty:Easy to Moderate
Meals:Breakfast: 13 Lunch: 1
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