Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Highlights

  • Hopping from island to island to discover the rich and distinctive Azorean culture
  • Stunning volcanic peak of Pico, rising like a majestic silhouette
  • Walking through the magnificent and wild landscapes of Sao Jorge Island
  • Discovering the Island of Hydrangeas, Faial
  • Exploring the historical monuments and beautiful marina in the capital, Ponta Delgada

This extraordinary archipelago in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean has vivid green and lush landscapes, unspoilt geological wonders, volcanic peaks and dormant craters. The islands of the Azores also boast a profusion of exotic gardens and vibrantly-coloured flowers due to their temperate climate.

This itinerary takes in no less than four islands; from the most famous, Pico, with its dramatic 2351m volcanic peak; to Faial, the Island of Hydrangeas, this is a journey of discovery, blending fantastic walks with visits to wild and remote places. Take a whale watching tour and with luck view sperm whales and dolphins frolicking in the ocean and follow trails through “fajas”, fertile headlands dotted with orchards and hamlets.

A coastal hike from Candelaria to Magalena reveals a region with a unique method of viniculture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk through vineyards surrounded by stone walls made of black lava and admire the views over the ocean and Pico volcano.

DAY 1: Arrive Ponta Delgada

This tour of the Azores begins in Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel Island, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 1,360 km west of the Portuguese coast. Transfer to your hotel located in the city centre. Depending on the arrival time, dedicate your afternoon to the discovery of Ponta Delgada. Administrative capital of the archipelago, it is home to many historical monuments, traditional small streets and a beautiful marina.


Overnight:  Ponta Delgada


DAY 2: Flight to Pico. Walk Candelaria to Madalena

After breakfast transfer to the airport and fly to Pico Island, named after its giant volcano, which is literally twice the elevation of any other peak in the Azores. After another short transfer you start your walk at Candelaria and walk to the port of Madalena. Follow trails through vineyards, surrounded by stone walls of black lava. This extraordinarily beautiful man-made landscape of  long linear walls has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The walls were built to protect the thousands of small, contiguous, rectangular plots from wind and seawater. Evidence of this viniculture, whose origins date back to the 15th century, is manifest in the early 19th-century manor houses, wine-cellars, churches and ports.


After the walk there is a short transfer to the south cost and the village of Lajes.  


Overnight: Lajes


Walk: 11km, 200m elevation gain, 150m elevation loss


DAY 3: Pico Island Whale Watching

This morning is dedicated to whale watching. You will board a boat and spend three hours at sea with a specialist to observe dolphins and whales. The most frequently observed species is the sperm whale, although you may also see the short-finned pilot whale and from March to the end of May you may also spot the giant  baleen or blue whales! The afternoon can be spent at leisure to discover the intriguing surroundings, such as ancient watchtowers, factories that processed whales and the frail hunting boats.


Overnight: Lajes


DAY 4: Fajas Walk - "Pilgrim’s Path"

Transfer to Sao Roque on the north coast and from here take the ferry to Velas on Sao Jorge Island, one of the greenest and most lush in the archipelago. Transfer up into the peaks and walk down to the coast via the "fajas", fertile headlands with hamlets and orchards. This trail is called the pilgrim's path and takes you through paths lined with hydrangeas and junipers until you reach Faja de Santo Cristo, an isolated hamlet overlooking the open ocean lagoon and only accessible on foot. From here you'll walk along the coast to Faja dos Cubres.


Overnight: Velas


Walk: 9.5km, 400m elevation gain, 700m elevation loss


DAY 5: Faja de Sao Joao to Vimes

Today you'll be transferred to the south coast of the island to discover Faja de Sao Joao, a small village situated on a cliff with characterful cottages and narrow streets. A cobbled coastal path connects this “faja” to that of Vimes, further west. Between vine crops, yam and local vegetation such as pittosporum (evergreen shrubs), this trail has panoramic and beautiful views of the south coast and the distant islands of Faial and Pico.


Overnight: Velas


Walk: 11km, 450m elevation gain & loss


DAY 6: Ferry to Faial. Walk Horta to Praia do Norte

Say goodbye to Sao Jorge Island as you board a ferry to Horta and Faial Island, a place that used to be a famous stop for transatlantic sailors. This island has been nicknamed the “Island of Hydrangeas”, for obvious reasons, but also the Blue Island, because of its houses painted in varying shades of blue. For your walk today you'll transfer to the central crater. After skirting the edge of the caldera at 1000 meters in altitude, follow a levada on a ridge and then descend through the lava fields and hydrangeas to Praia do Norte. At the end of the walk transfer back to Horta.


Overnight: Horta


Walk: 12 or 16km, 300m elevation gain, 900m elevation loss


DAY 7: Capelinhos Lighthouse Walk

Transfer to the south coast for a short walk to the Capelinhos, site of a tremendous volcanic sea eruption in 1957, which lasted for 13 months! As a result this caused much of the local population to emigrate to North America. Take a short but amazing walk to the Capelinhos Lighthouse and view the volcanic landscapes. Perhaps you would like to take a swim in the Atlantic before heading back to Horta where you can spend time at leisure to discover its colonial architecture, the incredible history of American whaling ships and telegraph companies that make up this cosmopolitan atmosphere. At the end of the afternoon fly back to Ponta Delgada.


Overnight: Ponta Delgada


Walk: 5km, 150m elevation gain & loss


DAY 8: Onward Travel

The tour finishes after breakfast with a transfer to Ponta Delgada Airport to fly home.


Accommodation

This self-guided walking tour in the Azores includes 7 nights in 3* and 4* hotels and a guesthouse. All of the accommodations have been specifically chosen for their comfort and also for their great locations.


Alternative accommodation

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Meals

7 Breakfasts are included. You can eat dinner in restaurants in the towns and villages close to your hotel or at your accommodations. For lunches you can find local cheeses, meats and breads in local shops or markets.



 

 

 




Casa Hintze Ribeiro - Ponta Delgada

A cosy and comfortable boutique hotel centrally located in Ponta Delgada's historical centre. Relax on the poolside terrace or explore the town's sights, most of which are just a stone's throw away.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Aldeia da Fonte - Lajes

This 'nature hotel' lives up to its description with a beautiful space for exploring, there is even a whale tower for wildlife spotting! The hotel Aldeia has everything you may need, including an on-site restaurant.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Casa do Antonio - Velas



Casa do Antonio - Velas

This charming and well-located guesthouse (just 100m from the port) has large rooms with views across to Pico island. There are plenty of dining opportunities nearby and complimentary tea, coffee and pastries.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel do Canal - Horta

The rooms in this hotel are bright and airy with modern wood furnishings. The property itself is located just 100m from the beach and offers great views over the bay.


 

 

 

Availability

This trip is available to start from the beginning of April to the end of September. Please note that depending on the ferry schedules and internal flight times, the order of the walks may change.We will adapt your itinerary accordingly for you and let you know about this when we confirm the booking if this has been necessary. The flight on Day 2 may not be a direct flight and we will also let you know about this if this is the case. The direct flight from Ponta Delgada to Pico usually operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays only but can change.


If you are booking your internal flights yourself, we recommend that you try to book the earliest flight possible on Day 2 from Ponta Delgada to Pico which will allow you to do the walk that day.


Time of Year

The Azores Islands are best enjoyed from April - September


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


Grade & Terrain

This walk is graded easy to moderate and includes daily walks of between 5-16 km following footpaths, tracks and costal paths. This tour is suitable for people that are in good physical condition. Although the daily distances are not that far, you should be aware that there are some elevation gains on all of the walks.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

You will be provided with detailed route notes and the itineraries traced out on maps which will be integrated into the route notes to help you find your way. This tour also has access to the Macs Adventure Navigation Smartphone App - we highly recommend using it, or at least having it on your phone ready to use should you ever be in any doubt about your direction.


The walks mostly take place on coastal or inland footpaths and at times rocky tracks (driveable). Some of them are marked. However, please be aware that the trails are often poorly maintained and after rain can be slippy. It is therefore a good idea to bring hiking boots with good grips. Always bring a warm outer garment for walks on the caldera rims and ridges as it is can get cooler at the higher elevations.


Baggage Transfers

Daily door to door baggage transfer is included in the price of your trip. We ask you to keep your baggage to a maximum of 1 bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/cycling gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Getting to and from Ponta Delgada

On arrival at Ponta Delgada Airport a transfer is included to your hotel. The journey from the airport to Ponta Delgada takes around 20 minutes. Ponta Delgada Airport is served by TAP Portugal and SATA Air Azores. SATA have direct flights from London Gatwick every Saturday between April and October.


Another option is to take a flight on a low-cost airline to Lisbon, then take SATA or TAP from here to Ponta Delgada.


The two flights in the itinerary are not included in the price, but as an optional extra. If you wish you can either book the flights through Macs Adventure, or you can book them directly through SATA Air Azores on their website.

Getting to and from Ponta Delgada

On arrival at Ponta Delgada Airport a transfer is included to your hotel. The journey from the airport to Ponta Delgada takes around 20 minutes. Ponta Delgada Airport is served by TAP Portugal and SATA Air Azores. SATA have direct flights from London Gatwick every Saturday between April and October.


Another option is to take a flight on a low-cost airline to Lisbon, then take SATA or TAP from here to Ponta Delgada.


The two flights in the itinerary are not included in the price, but as an optional extra. If you wish you can either book the flights through Macs Adventure, or you can book them directly through SATA Air Azores.


Included

  • 7 Nights in 3* and 4* Hotels and a guest house
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Baggage transfers
  • Transfer to and from Ponta Delgada Airport
  • All transfers mentioned in the itinerary
  • Ferries
  • Whale watching trip
  • Detailed maps, information pack, route notes
  • GPX tracks and access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone Navigation App
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in the Azores/France and our office

Excluded

  • Travel to and from Ponta Delgada
  • Flight from Ponta Delgada to Pico
  • Flight from Horta to Ponta Delgada
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • 24/7 emergency assistance

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the holiday
  • Single room supplement if single room is required
  • Solo traveller supplement

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is extremely popular especially over May/June and July/August. However, we will always try our best to accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

Our itineraries are graded easy to moderate and are suitable for those with a relatively good level of fitness. This tour is rated easy to moderate. Although the daily distances are not that far, you should be aware that there are some elevation gains on all of the walks.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person.

What equipment do I need?

Your detailed information pack will be sent to you after you book. This has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/cycling/trekking gear such as good walking/cycling boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.

When is the best time of year?

Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better. Although I believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.

What will I receive in advance?

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

An azores experience

4

Since the Azores are islands in the middle of the Atlantic and so beautiful by the way , they are subject to weather ... wind, rain etc so whale watching or other activities can be postponed ... maybe an extra day in the end at Faial who be a good addition .. we had to miss 2 of our hikes there to fit in whale watching which we missed in Pico due to bad weather . ..boat for whale watching is open and very bumpy and not good for those with bad backs

Nomad

USA

A trip of a lifetime!

5

My daughter and I booked an Azore Island Hopping adventure through Macs Adventure. We were very happy with just about everything about the trip. The accommodations were wonderful; each had a special ambiance and character. We found the hotel staff at each location to be more than accommodating and very helpful in everything we needed. The rooms were clean and the locations perfect. The transportation from the airport to each hotel and to the beginning and end of each hike were exceptional. The drivers were extremely pleasant, timely and professional. We were truly impressed. We found the Azore Islands to be clean, safe and beautiful. We would definitely recommend this trip to friends and family. I do have a few suggestions that would have made our trip easier. We did not receive the packet with maps etc. before we left for our trip. The packet arrived at our home on the Tuesday following the day we started the trip (that is 4 days AFTER we flew out). The first hotel we stayed at printed out the packet information so we had paper copies but on our first hike the paper map and directions for the hike were totally obliterated because of pouring rain. Also perhaps we would recommend the directions for the hikes be more detailed. I don't know how often these are updated but it would be helpful to really document clearly the turns and landmarks.

Jackie

Middleton,WI

true

Brilliantly well organised

5

The whole travelling experience was very well organised. Taxi drivers arrived on time and were extremely helpful in making sure my sister and I knew where we were going. Clear instructions in the form of a booklet giving all tel numbers of taxi drivers and hotels although there were occasional inaccuracies in estimating timing of walks which again the drivers helped us with. Also some of he directional aids were a little confusing but not worryingly so. We were unlucky enough to have poor weather and heavy rain meant we couldn't do one of the walks so had to replan the days but again the taxi drivers came to the rescue . We travelled in May when things are very quiet. Would recommend this holiday if you don't want too much of a walking challenge and like plenty of time to relax. One days walk involved walking round the crater and gradually descending the mountain to the coast. This latter section included a very long road walk which was extremely tedious. We felt this part of he walk could have been shortened by advising the driver to pick us up at the end of the levada walks.

Bibibabe

Nottingham

true

we thought it was all great>>

5

The great things were the on time cabs with their pick ups and drop offs. The drivers were all great, fun and acommodating. we felt we were in good hands and they actually took care of us. All the inns were great, except for the afore mentioned which if you can get another hotel in Sao Migel that was up dated, it would be better, I out of 6 found it just fine however. The food the people the hiking was spectacular and of course the weather was very cooperative.!

do not have one

Maine USA

true

Azores Island Hopping

4.8 4

100.0

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