Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Highlights

  • Walking to sparkling waterfalls, hot springs and crater lakes
  • Viewing the green peaks of long-dormant volcanoes
  • Taking a whale watching trip to spot sperm whales and other cetaceans
  • Discovering verdant tropical forests with millennia-old trees
  • Spotting endemic species of birds in Lago do Fogo
  • Exploring the historical monuments and beautiful marina in the capital, Ponta Delgada

Sao Miguel is the largest island in the Azores archipelago with a hauntingly beautiful volcanic landscape.

Discover the many facets of this incredible island on this drive and hike tour; the pretty capital of Ponta Delgada, the botanical wonderland of Terra Nostra, startlingly blue and green crater lakes, hot springs, Europe’s only tea plantation and hikes through scenery which is beyond compare.

Like Iceland, Sao Miguel was created by torrents of lava surging up from the ocean floor millions of years ago. It spans the mid-Atlantic Ridge (also like Iceland) where tectonic plates collide and this has resulted in an amazing geology and an island awash with thermal baths, dormant volcanoes and millennia-old forests.

Explore Ribeira Grande, a town with Baroque architecture, the caldera of Sete Cidadas which has a green lake bordered by blue hydrangeas, sandy beaches and fishing villages. Immerse yourself in the distinctive local culture and explore Sao Miguel’s staggering and unique landscapes.

DAY 1: Arrive Ponta Delgada

The Azores are Portuguese Islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and North America. Upon arrival in Sao Miguel Island and the capital of Ponta Delgada, you may dedicate your afternoon to its discovery. It is home to many remarkable 17th century Portuguese buildings, traditional small streets and a beautiful marina.


Overnight: Residencial Alcides**, Ponta Delgada


Situated in Ponta Delgada’s historic centre, this hotel offers spacious rooms with large windows, a restaurant, terrace and a bar.


DAY 2: The Sete Cidades Crater

Discover the western part of the island and the large fairy-tale crater of Sete Cidades. Admire the two crater lakes, one green and one blue, separated by a seven-arched bridge that symbolically represents the seven cities of the lost continent of Atlantis. Local lore states that these twin lakes were formed by the tears of two star-crossed lovers. At the end of your walk drive along the north coastal road through sheltered and peaceful villages.  


Arrive in the small and pretty settlement of Capelas, where you will spend the next two nights.


Overnight: Solar do Condo***, Capelas


This hotel has a lovely swimming pool with a terrace, a restaurant and is surrounded by a botanical garden. The rooms are spacious and have modern facilities.  


Walk: 12km, 400m elevation gain & loss


DAY 3: Lago de Fogo Walk

After driving through the town of Ribeira Grande with its Baroque architecture (stop for a visit if you wish), the road climbs up the side of the Lago de Fogo volcano (an approximate 30-45 minute drive). Here you park and take a walk through the nature reserve and around the caldera. Here you will see many species of birds and endemic plants. Take a refreshing dip in the  waters of the caldera which is surprisingly warm for a mountain lake. Then drive back to your hotel in Capelas.


Overnight: Solar do Condo***, Capelas


Walk: 6km, 300m elevation gain & loss


DAY 4: Drive to Furnas. Day at leisure.

Your hotel this evening is in Furnas and en route (it is an approximate 1 hour drive from Capelas to Furnas with no stops.) we recommend a stop at Gorreana to discover the only tea plantation in Europe. There is still an 19th century atmosphere at the tea factory which has been in operation since 1883. After a tea-tasting, why not take a pleasant walk through the plantations. Drive to Furnas, where you will spend the next three nights.


Overnight: Vista do Vale***, Furnas


All the rooms in this exceptionally well-located hotel have balconies with views of the surrounding landscapes and a modern décor. Relax in the lovely outdoor spaces, the gardens, by the swimming pool, or on your balcony.


DAY 5: Furnas Crater Walk

Furnas is awash with thermal baths and today you will walk up to its crater and through lush vegetation of ferns, palms and conifer trees. This is what European forests looked like before the Ice Age, which left the Azores untouched. You will see the only active volcano of the archipelago (fumaroles and sulfur springs) and experience the gastronomic traditions of this valley; the famous "cozido" stew slow-cooked in pots underground. Take a bath in the warm waters of Terra Nostra Garden.


Overnight: Vista do Vale***, Furnas


Walk: 10.5km, 150m elevation gain & loss


DAY 6: Ribeira do Faial da Terra Walk

Today you head further south and east towards Faial da Terra, (an approximate 45 minute drive). Begin your walk through the Ribeira do Faial da Terra. Ascend through a typical valley of exuberant and endemic vegetation, such as Japanese cedars and Australian Cheesewoods. Also cross narrow bridges over steams and walk past old mills and waterfalls dotted along the way, before arriving in the small village of Sanguinho with its traditional stone houses.


Overnight: Vista do Vale***, Furnas


Walk: 4.5km or 5.5km,  400m elevation gain & loss


DAY 7: Whale Watching. Drive to Ponta Delgada

Today drive along the south coast of the island and stop in Vila Franca, a typical fishing port whose prosperity was founded by the cultivation of pineapples. Here enjoy a three-hour whale watching tour on which you may also spot some dolphins. The most frequently observed species is the sperm whale, although you may also see the short-finned pilot whales and from April to the end of May you may also spot the giant baleen or blue whales! Then continue in the direction of Ponta Delgada. From Furnas to Ponta Delgada it is an approximate 45 minute drive with no stops.


Overnight: Residencial Alcides, Ponta Delgada


DAY 8: Onward Travel

Drive to Ponta Delgada Airport in your rental car, where the tour finishes.


Accommodation


 

 

 




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.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Solar do Conde - Capelas

This hotel has a lovely swimming pool with a terrace, a restaurant and is surrounded by a botanical garden. The rooms are spacious and have modern facilities.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Vista do Vale - Furnas

All the rooms in this exceptionally well-located hotel have balconies with views of the surrounding landscapes and modern décor. Relax in the lovely outdoor spaces, the gardens, by the swimming pool, or on your balcony.


 

 

 

This self-guided walking tour in the Azores  includes 7 nights in 2* and 3* hotels. 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.

Availability

This walking tour is available to start on any day from April to the end of September.


Time of Year

Walking in the Azores is best during the months of April to the end of 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. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Grade & Terrain

This tour is suitable for people that are in good physical condition. 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.


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 - with helpful hints such as information on local restaurants, museums, etc. 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 may be slippery. 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.


Equipment

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.


Car Rental

Car rental is included in the price of this trip. A  Peugeot 107 or a similar model will be provided. You will begiven a car rental voucher before departure and you can pick up the carat Ponta Delgada Airport upon arrival. You will also drop it off at theairport upon departure. Also included in the rental is Collision WaiverProtection and Theft Protection Insurance.


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 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 you can pick up your rental car and drive to your first night's accommodation. 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.


You will drop off the car at the airport on completion of the trip.

Getting to and from Ponta Delgada

On arrival at Ponta Delgada Airport you can pick up your rental car and drive to your first night's accommodation. 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.


You will drop off the car at the airport on completion of the trip.

 


 


Included

  • 7 Nights in 2* and 3* Hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Car Rental
  • 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 and our office

Excluded

  • Travel to and from 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 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 regular walkers. Most days offer between 4.45-12km walking on coastal or inland footpaths and at times rocky tracks.

Does this trip include baggage transfers?

As you will have a hire car for this trip, we do not include baggage transfesrs.

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 gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and aday pack.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

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

Does this trip include car rental?

Car rental is included in the price of this trip. A  Peugeot 107 or a similar model will be provided. You will be given a car rental voucher before departure and you can pick up the car at Ponta Delgada Airport upon arrival. You will also drop it off at the airport upon departure. Also included in the rental is Collision Waiver Protection and Theft Protection Insurance.

As beautiful as it looks!

5

This was a perfect get away to celebrate my daughters birthday. We're both active and wanted to see something new. Such a beautiful, amazingly green island. Plus, Macs Adventures really came through when we had passport problems and were delayed two days coming. Sarah managed to get everything moved at no extra cost. Thank Sarah and I'll definitely book with Macs Adventures again!

Inga

Canada

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Azores: Green Island Trails

5.0 1

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