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Azores Island Hopping 34

Azores Island Hopping

Overview

The Azores are a spectacular archipelago in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, offering lush landscapes, unspoilt natural beauty, volcanic peaks and dormant craters. Our Azores island hopping tour takes in three of the most beautiful islands: Pico, São Jorge and Faial island, which are located in close proximity. Each of them is unique, however. On Pico you will take in the highest mountain in Portugal; on São Jorge enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of its Fajãs, and on Faial, there is the Caldeira crater in the heart of the island and the most recently active volcano of the Azores, Capelinhos.

  • Hopping from island to island
  • The stunning volcanic peak of Pico, the highest mountain in Portugal
  • The magnificent and unspoilt landscapes of Sao Jorge
  • Faial and the Caldeira crater

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Pico Island

Private transfer from the airport of Pico to your first accommodation in the south of the island. If you arrive early, you will have enough time to try spotting a whale in the sea from this special eco-friendly hotel or, weather permitting, relax by the swimming pool.

Day 2: Pico: Along the Southern Coast | 13 km

In the morning, our driver will pick you up to go to the route’s starting point, just above Silveira village. Being the highest mountain of Portugal, the Pico volcano, with its 2351 metres of height, will accompany you along most of the route. The second part of the route follows the coastline back to the hotel, showing some of the best-kept secrets of the southern coast of the island.

Day 3: Pico: Caminho dos Burros | 10 km

Today you head to the central plateau of the island. This route takes you down to the northern coast with great views of the Pico Mountain, São Jorge Island in front, and you pass through a fairy-tale forest you will never forget. The taxi will pick you up from a bizarre beach with no sand but full of round stones shaped by the sea.

Day 4: Pico: Lagoa do Capitão or Vineyards Walk | 9-10 km

On your last day on Pico Island, the taxi picks you and your luggage up at the hotel and takes you to the start of the walk. For today you have 2 options:

  • Option 1: An amazing route from Lagoa do Capitão lake down to São Roque, first along red dirt tracks but them downhill through an amazing forest. In order to avoid a long demanding descent, it is better to opt for the other option. The taxi will pick you up at the end of the walk to go to the harbour.
  • Option 2: A route along the eastern coast of the island through World Heritage vineyards. This route ends in Madalena’s harbour (Note: this route can also be left for the last day when you return to Pico from Faial and in case your flight departs in the afternoon. Extra cost for the transfer might apply, to be paid on the spot to taxi driver).

Once on São Jorge, a taxi will take you to your next accommodation.

  • Walking for the day: 3 hours, 10 km ­ ↑0m ↓770m (option 1) or 2.5 hours, 9 km ­ ↑100m ↓100m (option 2)
  • Accommodation: Sao Jorge Garden or Quinta do Canavial in Sao Jorge

Day 5: São Jorge: From Pico da Esperança down to the Coast | 18 km

The driver will take you to Pico da Esperanza, the island’s highest point (1053m). This easy but relatively long walk will boast magnificent views of the four islands around São Jorge: Pico, Faial in the south and Graciosa and Terceira in the north. The route ends in Fajã do Ouvidor, where you cannot miss the natural blue volcanic pools by the coast. You can avoid the last demanding descent and wait in the previous village for the transfer back to Velas.

Day 6: São Jorge: The Northern Coast | 11 km

Today a 50-minute transfer takes you to the beginning of this unforgettable walk. Following a trail passing through endemic vegetation, you descend to the Fajãs (flat arable portions of land by the sea) of Caldeira do Santo Cristo, known for its tasty clams and Fajã dos Cubres, both of them with crystal clear lagoons. On the descent, don’t miss a refreshing waterfall and a balcony with great views of the first Fajã.

Day 7: Faial: Monte de Guia | 13 km

Today you leave for Faial island. In the morning, a taxi will pick you up and take you to the harbour to take the ferry to Horta, where a taxi will also be waiting for you. Option for doing a short and easy route in Hortas or just relax on the beach or by the marina of this peaceful village.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 1.5 hours, 4.5 km ↑160m ↓160m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Horta in Faial

Day 8: Faial: Caldeira Crater | 13 km

After a 30-minute transfer, you arrive in the Caldeira crater, which is 2 km wide and 500m deep. It is the highest point of Faial Island and, in good weather, provides clear views of Graciosa, Sao Jorge and Pico Islands. The route goes along the edge of the crater and then downhill along a red dirt track through the forest. A levada (water canal) will guide you before ascending to another crater, Cabeço do Fogo. A descent through the Reserva Florestal de Capelo will take you to the picnic area near Capelo, where the route ends.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 3.5-4 hours, 13 km ↑150m ↓700m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Horta in Faial

Day 9: Faial: Capelinhos Volcano & Lighthouse | 12.5 km

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! Take a short but amazing walk to the Capelinhos Lighthouse and take in the volcanic landscapes. Continue your walk along the southern coast until Varadouro and relax by the natural swimming pool. Transfer back to the hotel in the afternoon.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 3 hours, 12.5 km ↑300m ↓400m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Horta in Faial

Day 10: Back to Pico. Departure

Your arrangement comes to an end today after breakfast. Ferry to Pico and transfer to the airport. If your flight is in the afternoon, you can do the optional Day 4 vineyards walk before departing.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in three welcoming 3 or 4-star hotels; you will spend three nights on each island. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included every day. When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before.

Difficulty & terrain

This walk is graded easy to moderate and includes daily walks of between 5-16 km following footpaths, tracks and coastal 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 walks (read more about difficulty grades). The walks mostly take place on coastal or inland footpaths and, at times, rocky tracks. Some of them are marked. However, please be aware that the trails are often poorly maintained and, after rain can be slippery. It is, therefore, a good idea to bring hiking boots with good grips. You can always call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime if you need assistance. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available during the whole year. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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Our recommended airport for this tour is Pico (PIX). Complimentary private transfers from/to Pico Airport are included in your package.

Inclusions

Included

  • 9 overnight stays with breakfast included in welcoming 3 or 4-star hotels
  • Luggage transfers as needed
  • Transfers according to the programme, including boat fares
  • Private transfers from/to Pico airport
  • Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps. Please note that the info pack is emailed to you prior to departure, and no printed documents are mailed or provided on-site.
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and transfers not explicitly listed as included in the programme
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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