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Highlights of the Azores

Although modern Portugal can be credited for its contributions to art, architecture and world-class dining, there’s a distant remnant of the Old Empire lying far from the mainland. From the rolling blue hydrangeas of Faial, the steep cliffs of Sao Jorge and the black volcanic soil under the vineyards of Pico, the Azores offer a delightful insight into both island and Portuguese living. Discover a new side to ancient Portugal on this island-hopping Atlantic adventure.

7 days, from


per person


12 people max


Trip code: ZLSI
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer


Countries Visited:  Portugal
Accommodation: Hotel (4 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights)
Transportation: Plane , Ferry , Private vehicle , On foot , Taxi
Included Meals:

  • 6 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12
Minimum Age: 15

  • 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.

  • Step out for a spectacular hike around the Caldeira Santo Cristo on Sao Jorge Island – the cinematic views of the island’s colourful and diverse landscape are sure to stop you in your tracks.

  • Check out the lava tunnels on Pico Island, visit a family-owned distillery and learn about life on the island over a tasting of their products and be amazed by the stunning UNESCO-listed landscape of Pico's vineyards.

  • Travel to the island of Faial, visit the island's resident volcano, Capelinhos, and learn about how its last eruption in 1957 dramatically changed the landscape of the island.

  • Experience a lunch like no other – a ‘Cozido das Furnas’ is a delicious stew cooked underground by steam from a volcano.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Sao Miguel Island / Ponta Delgada

Welcome to Sao Miguel Island, treasured as the vibrant Garden of the Atlantic thanks to its lush surrounds – hopefully you get a glimpse of this through the plane windows on the way in. Your island adventure begins with a welcome meeting that takes place at your hotel at 6 pm. If you arrive early, perhaps wander along the seaside promenade of Ponta Delgada town, pick up a plate of bacalhau (dried and salted cod) at the farmer’s market in Mercado da Graca, or even sample some fresh seafood at the local restaurants.

Day 2: Sao Miguel Island / Ponta Delgada

Sao Miguel is home to some stunning scenery and by the end of the day, this should be more than obvious. Take a visit to Arruda’s Pineapple Plantation located at Faja de Baixo. These glass greenhouses often take two years to grow the delicious fruit within, and there might be an opportunity to snack on some during the visit. You’ll then skim along the south coast of the island towards Furnas. Marvel at the volcanic activity of the Furnas volcano and visit the great lagoon, then sit down to a truly unforgettable experience. Your lunch today is ‘Cozido das Furnas’ – a delicious stew cooked underground by the steam from the volcano – you’ll lava it! After lunch you’ll have the option to take a relaxing dip in a geothermal hot pool, then it’s time to hit the road again and travel to the fabulous Pico do Ferro viewpoint. Stop in at a local tea plantation for a tour and to sample some of the only tea grown in Europe – the only tea plantations on the continent are found in Sao Miguel! Finally, pay a visit to Miradouro de Santa Iria where you’ll soak in sweeping views of the north coast of the island.

Day 3: Sao Jorge Island / Velas

The morning is yours to discover more of the magic of Sao Miguel. You may like to pay a visit to Lagoa das Sete Cidades, an emerald green lake in a volcanic caldera that would look right at home on another planet. If you’d like to learn about Azorean natural history then the Museu Carlos Machado is the place for you, and the building it sits in, a 16th-century convent, is as much of an attraction as the museum itself. This afternoon, board a flight bound for Sao Jorge Island (approximately 1 hour), one of the most scenic islands in the Azores thanks to its steep cliffs and narrow landmass. In the evening you may like to get to know Velas, the island’s capital, by visiting one of the many local bars or sampling some of the region’s famous (and strong) cheddar.

Day 4: Sao Jorge Island / Velas

Start the day with a visit to a local bakery to pick up a tasty snack, or if the days line up, you may instead go to the local market. Then it’s time to discover the island’s beauty on foot during a hike to the spectacular Caldeira do Santo Cristo. Begin your walk at Serra do Topo and climb a wide trail upwards. You’ll have the option to detour to a beautiful waterfall, then continue along a cobbled path towards Fajã da Caldeira do Santo Cristo. The views you’ll come upon on this walk are simply unforgettable – each one more breathtaking than the last. Follow the trail to the natural debris field of Fajã dos Cubres and explore the lagoon while your leader fills you in on the flora and fauna of the region. Stop off at a scenic spot along the trail to appreciate the views and enjoy a picnic lunch. Return to Velas after your hike for an evening at leisure.

Day 5: Faial Island / Horta

Today you'll travel to Faial Island by ferry (approximately 2.5 hours), sometimes referred to as Ilha Azul (Blue Island). Raul Brandao, the Portugese poet, famously made note of the iconic blue hydrangeas that bloom on Faial during the summer months, quipping 'the man that had the idea to border the road with these plants should have a statute on the island.' Visit the island's resident volcano, Capelinhos, or rather the volcano centre as the climb up is not considered safe. Capelinhos last erupted in 1957 and changed the island permanently, adding an extra kilometre of land mass and blanketing the surrounding area in five metres of volcanic ash. The rest of the day is free to explore the local port town, Horta, and discover its long maritime history.

Day 6: Pico Island / Faial Island / Horta

Leave Faial for the day to visit Ilha do Pico (Pico Island). Known as Ilha Preta (Black Island) for its black volcanic earth, Pico is the proud home of UNESCO-designated vineyards that have played a major part in the community’s development. Today you will set out on a marvellous tour on the island. Firstly learn about the island's volcanic past by visiting Arcos do Cachorro (lava tunnels) - the fascinating rock formations reveal this special force of nature. Then the hidden gem of a family-owned distillery awaits. Enjoy a tour through the distillery and learn about their special techniques and chat about the life on Pico Island over a tasting of their wonderful products. Next up is a stop at Criacao Velha for the stunning view of the UNESCO-listed landscape of Pico's vineyards. Free time afterwards and you may like to take part in an optional whale watching tour. Up until 1980, the island supported a substantial whaling industry due to the deep waters of the surrounding Atlantic. Fortunately, the end of the industry means whale watching has become a popular activity for sea-faring visitors. You'll be back on Faial Island for the evening and that means there's time for a cheeky G&T at Cafe Sport (aka Peter's Bar), perhaps the most famous sailor's bar in the world. This watering hole was once a crucial post office and gossip stop for travelling sailors in a pre-internet era. For some, it still is.

Day 7: Faial Island / Horta

Say goodbye Azores! Your trip comes to an end today after check-out.