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São Miguel: The Green Island

São Miguel: Walking the Green Island in Style

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. Sao Miguel is the largest island and maybe the most fascinating due to the great variety of landscapes it offers. Walk in woods of aromatic trees, green pastures, humid primaeval forests with lush vegetation and impressive geological reminders of a turbulent volcanic past. Discover the Azores Geopark while enjoying the luxury of charming 4-star hotels with all transfers included.

  • Volcanic lakes with thermal waters
  • Lush green forests 
  • Picturesque villages
  • Beautiful, rugged coastline
  • The thermal baths of Terra Nostra Garden

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival São Miguel Island

Private transfer from the airport to your first hotel in Capelas, in the north of the island. In case you arrive early, you’ll have time to take a stroll around the hotel.

Day 2: Sete Cidades Crater | 12 km

A private transfer will bring you to the beginning of the walk in Mata do Canario. After a demanding ascent, you will walk around the crater of the Lagoa Azul volcano, enjoying impressive views of the northern and southern coasts of the island, the lake, the caldera and the village down by the lake, Sete Cidades, where your walk finishes. You have the option of taking a detour to the fantastic viewpoint of Boca do Inferno. Transfer from Sete Cidades to your hotel in Capelas.

  • Walking for the day: approx. 3.5 to 4 hours, 12 km ­↑­­­­130 m ↓570 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Vale do Navio, Capelas

Day 3: Rota do Agua | 9 km

Today’s walk begins in Remédios, near Lagoa. After a 30-minute car transfer, you start an ascent along a dirt track and across fields and pastures. Don’t forget to look back while climbing to enjoy the views of Ponta Delgada and Lago in the distance. Then you enter the woods through a series of tunnels and aqueducts. The highest point is Janela do Inferno, a stunning vertical wall with a small spring and home for many salamanders. Transfer to Furnas, where you will spend the next four nights. Furnas is famous for its Caldeiras, volcanic hot springs where they boil the ‘Furnas stew’.

Day 4: The Caldeiras of Lagoa das Furnas | 12-15 km

Today’s walk begins and ends in Furnas and goes around the Furnas crater lake. If you feel fit enough, climb to the viewpoint at Pico do Ferro, where you’ll get magnificent views of the lake and the surrounding area. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Jose do Canto Forest Garden, with a Gothic church and a waterfall (entry fee not included). The final, rather demanding part of the route takes you to another fantastic viewpoint over Furnas.

  • Walking for the day: 3 hours, 12 km ­ ↑150 m ↓150 m (easy option) or 4 hours, 15 km ­ ↑380 m ↓380 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Terra Nostra Garden, Furnas

Day 5: Trails of the Southern Coast | 11 km

Morning transfer to the start of the walk, just outside of Furnas. Follow an easy woodland track that takes you at first to Ribeira Quente, a fishing village near Furnas. Then you will follow another coastal path towards Provoaçao. On the way, you will take in magnificent views of Sta Maria Island and walk through beautiful woods that will provide shadow on hot days. Pick-up in the afternoon and return to Furnas for the overnight.

Day 6: Salto do Prego | 5 km

After a 35-minute transfer, our driver will bring you to Faial da Terra. Today’s circular route is a rather short one and leads to Salto do Prego waterfall through a fairy-tale forest. For the return, you will take a detour to Sanguinho, a picturesque village with no car access. Return to Furnas. If you return early to Furnas, visit the thermal baths of Terra Nostra Garden or Poça da Beija. Terra Nostra’s pool is characteristic of its brownish colour. If you plan to visit the botanical garden, it will take you at least one hour, so plan accordingly. In Poça da Beija, you have more options and ample opening hours.

Day 7: Lagoa do Fogo | 11 km

On your way back to Ponta Delgada, you will stop mid-way to do an exciting and varied route to Lagoa do Fogo. With good weather, you will have very nice views of the area of Vila Franca do Campo on your way up and down. First, along dirt tracks, the path reaches a forest followed by a so-called Levada (water canal) almost up to the lake. Once by the lake, take your time to breathe some fresh air and watch the seagulls flying around. Finish your day by the beach, where you can take a refreshing drink, an ice cream or a dip in the sea if you want. Transfer in the evening, and soak up the atmosphere of vibrant Ponta Delgada, the unofficial capital of the Azores.

Day 8: Departure

Your holiday ends today after breakfast with an airport transfer.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in three superior 4-star hotels; you will spend the first two nights in Capelas, the next four in Furnas and the last one in Ponta Delgada. All hotels have swimming pools/spa facilities. 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.

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*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 the 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 5-15 km following footpaths, tracks and coastal paths. The 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 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; only the week between Christmas and New Year is on request only. 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.

The weather is good all year round in São Miguel. It has a mild maritime climate, which is drier in the summer and wetter in the winter. On average, the warmest months are July, August, September and October, with average daily temperatures of 22°C – 24°C. These are also the best months for swimming. December is the rainiest month.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 overnight stays with breakfast included in 4-star hotels
  • Luggage transfers when changing hotels (1 piece up to 20 kg per person)
  • All transfers on walking days as listed in the programme
  • Airport transfers
  • 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
  • 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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