Portugal & the Azores

Trip Code: ZMSPC

Why we love it

Take a walk through the idyllic coastal city of Porto and understand why the birthplace of fortified wine is renowned for its narrow lanes, charming buildings and delicious cuisine., Explore the country’s oldest university when discovering the historic riverfront city of Coimbra – once the capital of Portugal., Walk through the secluded Schist Villages, hidden between the mountain slopes, and consider the option of an authentic cooking class run by local residents., Uncover the wonders of Sao Miguel on a day tour of the island, from plantations of tea and pineapples to an active volcano and some truly memorable viewpoints., Hike through the UNESCO-designated vineyards and over black volcanic earth on the island of Pico, then be rewarded for your efforts with a tasting session at a fantastic local winery.

Is this trip right for me?

Don’t let the heat keep you from exploring the world! Summer temperatures can be extreme in Portugal (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season. Please note that only some of our hotels and public trains in this region have air-conditioning.

In mainland Portugal the primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. Trains are a fast way to cross long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. They are comfortable and all have toilets, however, can sometimes be quite busy. Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find specifics under ‘Packing’ in the ‘Essential Trip Information’ section. On the Azores Islands this trip includes some ferry rides between the islands. With temperamental weather, some of these ferry trips may be a little rocky.

There are two internal flights included on this trip. In order for our local operator to be able to buy tickets we need your passport details preferably at the time of booking, but at least 6 weeks prior to the trip's departure. Please note that the internal flights have a luggage limit of 20kg. Please pack accordingly as exceeding this limit may incur additional charges at the airport.

This trip does not require any physical preparation, however, a good level of fitness will be an advantage. The Azores are a natural wonderland and the best way to discover them is on foot. There are few included walks and lots of opportunities to discover the islands further in your free time.

As accommodation on this trip is twin share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. However, if you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together/apart.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent.
2. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for internal flight tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 6 weeks of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
3. The luggage limit for airlines we use for the domestic flights on this trip is 20kg. Exceeding this limit will incur an excess baggage charge, payable by the traveller. However, we must stress that due to the adventurous nature of this trip and the amount of public transport we use on it, this limit far exceeds Intrepid's recommended luggage weight for this tour (15kg).

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

Physical rating

 
2

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Some trips may have individual inclusions that may be of a higher physical rating compared to the overall rating of the trip. Please read the day-to-day itinerary carefully to find out more details on each day's activities, and whether they are suitable for you. Activities can be opted out of if you don't want to participate.

SCHIST VILLAGE & NATURE WALK
A moderate level of fitness is needed to fully enjoy the walk as it has some steep and rocky sections. If you don't like to participate you can opt out and enjoy the picturesque village instead.

EXPLORING EUROPEAN CITIES
One of the pleasures of travelling in Europe is the ease at which cities can be explored on foot. Your leader will take you on frequent orientation walks, and you will be able to further explore in your own time. We recommend you pack comfortable walking shoes for this trip. Many of our customers are surprised at how much they end up walking, however this is entirely up to you, and public transport to take you back to our accommodation is never far away.

Joining your group

Hotel Moov Porto Centro, Praça da Batalha, Porto, PORTUGAL

Situated in a historical Art Deco building from 1839, formerly housing the cinema Águia D’Ouro, Moov Hotel Porto Centro offers modern rooms with free Wi-Fi. Rooms are decorated with cinematic photography and each has a desk and a private bathroom.

Joining instructions

If you arrive at Porto International Airport (airport code OPO) your best way to arrive at our hotel is by metro line E. The ride takes about 25 minutes. Exit the metro at Trindade station, from where it is another 15 minutes by foot to the hotel. Alternatively taxis are readily available outside the arrivals hall and the drive should take 15 to 20 minutes, depending on traffic.

Pre booked arrival transfer from Porto airport: If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +351 934230435

Finishing your trip

Hotel Horta, Rua Marcelino Lima Horta, Faial Island, PORTUGAL, Phone: +351 2 9296 5707

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 13

Lunches included: 2

Dinners included: 

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

BREAKFASTS
There are some continental breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).

VEGETARIANS
Vegetarians might find the menu selection in Europe less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

CUISINE ON THE AZORES
Azores' cuisine tends to be much more country rustic than mainland Portugal’s. Dishes are rich with the flavours of the main ingredients, rather than created with sophisticated blends of spices. Seafood, stews, sweet desserts and rich dairy products can be found on the islands, among many others.

Climate & seasonal information

SUMMER
Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

SHOULDER SEASON
In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher altitudes. If you travel at the start or towards the end of the European season please pack accordingly with warm and/or waterproof clothes (preferably layers). The advantage of travelling during this time is that there are less tourists around.

WEATHER ON THE AZORES ISLANDS
Located in the temperate area of the Northern Hemisphere, the Azores are characterised by their mild climate throughout the year. Clouds and rain are a possibility any time of the year, although the summer months – between June and September/October – have longer periods of sunshine and higher temperatures. The average air temperature ranges between 13.6°C (minimum) and 22°C (maximum) throughout the whole year.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

If you have booked an arrival transfer, and you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly on the number listed in the joining point instructions in the section above.

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +49 8677 9186 657

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

FACILITIES
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transportation

TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a local train, watching the scenery roll by from the window of a long distance bus, arriving on a high speed train in the city centre of your next destination, or navigating each city's public transport system. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.

TRAIN TRAVEL
In mainland Portugal you will predominantly travel by train. Portuguese trains are known to be comfortable and punctual. Between Coimbra and the Schist Villages you will travel on a private minibus.

DOMESTIC FLIGHT
On this trip we will jump on an internal flights between Sao Miguel and Sao Jorge islands. Please note that we require your full passport details (including your middle name) before the start of your departure in order to secure your flights. There is a luggage weight limit of 20kg on this internal flights, so please pack accordingly. If the weight of your luggage will be exceeded you will incur extra charges at the airport.

FERRY TRANSPORT
In addition, there will be a couple of ferry trips between the islands. It’s the most convenient and efficient way to move around the Azores, however with temperamental weather some of the rides may be little rocky. Please make sure you have your own motion sickness medication should you need to use it.


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