23579
Azores

Hiking the Azores: A Nature Lover’s Paradise

Learn about the Azores’ island beauty as you join expert naturalists on hikes to the woodlands, thermal spring pools, caves and volcanic landscapes of Europe’s best-kept secret.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23579RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
3,599
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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9 days
8 nights
20 meals
8 B 7 L 5 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Terceira Island, Orientation, Walk Angra do Heroismo
Angra do Heroismo
B,D
HOTEL CRUZEIRO

Activity note: Driving approximately 13 miles from airport to hotel; less than 1/2 hour. Hotel check-in available from 7:00 a.m. Walking up to 2 miles; about 1.5 hours; easy, mostly level terrain with some inclination. Concrete and cobble stones sidewalks. Some parts up and down steps

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet breakfast featuring a variety of hot and cold selections such as cold cuts, cheeses, pastries, an egg dish, and fresh fruits, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: After checking in, feel free to unpack, settle in, and relax.

Lunch: This meal has been left out of your program to allow you to unpack and relax at your own pace

Afternoon: We will meet our Group Leader and fellow participants in the hotel for Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Next, we’ll set out on a walk with our local historian and Group Leader in order to become more familiar with Angra do Heroismo.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty welcome dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Monte Brasil, Algar do Carvao-Lecture on Geothermal power
Angra do Heroismo
B,L
HOTEL CRUZEIRO

Activity note: Hiking approximately 5 miles total for the day; about 2.5 hours; easy, mostly level terrain with a gentle slope to the summit at approximately 640 feet (195 meters) above sea level.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our first hike of the program will be a trek along the Monte Brasil trail. Setting out from the hotel, we’ll head to Relvao Municipal Park, and then towards the Fortress of Sao Joao Batista where we will begin our ascent of Monte Brasil until we reach the highest point known as “Pico do Facho.” At the top, our hiking instructor will give a talk, during which we will learn about the historical importance of the island whilst enjoying panoramic views of the UNESCO-recognized town of Angra do Heroismo, and the Atlantic from an old whaling look-out point and former World War II station.

Lunch: At the top of the Monte Brasil trail, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll take a short motor coach ride to enjoy an expert-led field trip to visit Algar do Carvão, an ancient volcanic magma chamber, with its vent located in the central part of the island, and take a walk through them along the walkways to get a closer look. Don’t worry, they’re no longer hot! Walk to the Centro de Ciencia (Science Center) of Angra do Heroismo for a lecture on the Thermal Resources of the Azores.

Dinner: Tonight dinner is on your own to try the local restaurants

Evening: The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Prepare for check-out in the morning and transfer.

DAY
4
Agualvas Trail, Thermal Pools & Vineyards at Biscoitos
Angra do Heroismo
B,L,D
HOTEL CRUZEIRO

Activity note: Getting on/off bus; driving approximately 42 miles throughout the day; about 1.5 hours total. Walking approximately 2.5 miles (4 km); about 2.5 hours; mostly level terrain, with uneven and steep stairs getting in and out of the cafes. Getting on/off plane; flight transfer is less than 1 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll travel via motorcoach to the northern part of the island to start the Baía das Agualvas trail. A mainly coastal walk, the trail offers unique panoramic views along the shore and impressive evidence of the strong volcanic activity that has taken place there. The trail is also popular with bird watchers spotting species that breed in the Azores at the Bay of Pigeons, and nature lovers who can identify both endemic and exotic plants along the route.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a family-style meal with house wine, beer, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll set out on the cultural trail of Biscoitos, a charming little town known for its long wine-growing tradition and unique thermal pools. While here, we’ll walk with our hiking instructor through the famous vineyards protected by dark basalt walls. Later on, we’ll stop at a local wine maker’s facility for a cheese and wine tasting session, during which we will learn all about the local produce through a presentation given by the winery owner. Return to the Hotel.

Dinner: At the Hotel Reastaurant

Evening: The remainder of the evening will be at leisure.

DAY
5
Sete Cidades & Cumeeira da Caldeira.
Ponta Delgada
B,L,D
HOTEL MARINA ATLANTICO

Activity note: Driving approximately 42 miles throughout the day; about 1.5 hours total. Walking approximately 4 miles throughout the morning; about 3 hours; elevation stating at about 2,460 feet and descending about 1,650 feet to an elevation of roughly 820 feet; mostly level terrain, some uneven earth steps to climb to viewing points.

Breakfast: Early continental breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Transfer to the airport for the transfer flight to Sao Miguel (45 Minutes) boarding a motor coach, we’ll travel to Mirador da Grota do Inferno with panoramic views over the four lagoons inside the crater of to Sete Cidades, a massive volcanic crater measuring about 7.5 miles around with a 2-mile radius that contains four large lakes and is home to one of the island’s most iconic viewpoints, the Vista do Rei (The King’s View), São Miguel’s most beautiful scenery within the crater, including the Twin Lakes and the Grota do Inferno, located within the protected landscape of Sete Cidades. Board the motor coach and drive down to the village for lunch.

Lunch: At a traditional farmhouse-style restaurant called Quinta da Queiro in the village of Sete Cidades, we’ll have a family-style meal, with house wine, beer, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch enjoy some free time to explore the twin lakes before boarding our motor coach to take a short drive to the start of the next trail Sete Cidades to Vista do Rei - 5 miles – approx 2:30 hours ascending to 500 meters to reach the Cumeeira da Caldeira and Mirador da Vista do Rei Upon arrival at the King’s View viewpoint, board our motor coach and return to Ponta Delgada for check-in to your hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant near the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Viola Beach & Lomba da Maia Trail - Ponta Delgada walk
Ponta Delgada
B,L
HOTEL MARINA ATLANTICO

Activity note: Driving approximately 51 miles throughout the day; about 1.5 hours total. Walking approximately 4.5 miles; about 4.5 hours total (3 morning hours and 1.5 afternoon); mostly level terrain with some uneven parts and dusty tracks in tea plantation fields.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll travel by motor coach to the village of Ribeira Funda where we will get dropped off and make our way on foot to the rural village of Fenais da Ajuda. The coastal descent trail of Lomba da Maia begins in the center of the community passing by a traditional Baroque church (Senhora da Afliçao). Then, as we make our way through the farming fields and lush vegetation, viewing the Australian cheesewood, giant reeds, and ginger lilies, we will learn from our hiking instructor about how and why some of the more exotic species came to the island. Hiking along streams that lead to the ocean, we will survey the ruins of old water mills, once used to grind cereals and corn to make bread for local communities. As we contemplate the impressive views of the ocean and island, we’ll make our way up from Viola Beach to the waiting motor coach and return to Ponta Delgada.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a family-style meal with house wine, beer, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will learn about Ponta Delgada and its most important landmarks on a guided walk visiting the local Municipal Market, Portas da Cidade (City Gates) the sanctuary of Senhor Santo Cristo and the most important religious icon on this island, ending by the Fortress of Sao Bras which houses the Military Museum. The rest of afternoon is at your leisure.

Dinner: Tonight dinner is on your own. This meal has been left out of your program cost to allow you free time to unpack and relax at your leisure. The group leader will be on hand to offer advice and suggestions.

Evening: Before dinner meet your Group Leader and fellow participants at the hotel bar for a cocktail hour and an opportunity to decide where to go for dinner tonight on your own or with fellow participants. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
CEMIF at Furnas Lake - Cozido lunch - Terra Nostra Garden.
Furnas -Sao Miguel
B,L,D
Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

Activity note: Today is a transfer day, driving a total distance of 25miles, taking 4 hours getting on/off the coach, visiting CEMIF center for 1 hour, walking approximately 2.5 miles(1 hour) around Furnas lake, forest trail mostly level terrain, some loose pebbles. Walking around Terra Nostra garden on level terrain for about 1.5 Hours

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel we board the motor coach to transfer to Furnas, arriving at the shores of Furnas Lake to the start of the trail. Upon arrival, we’ll pass by the Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Vitorias and the Mata José do Canto Garden before stopping at the renowned CMIF Interpretation Center, founded in 2011 to promote the actions of ecological preservation work undertaken in the area. While here, we’ll learn from one of their experts about what is being done as we watch a presentation. We leave the center to walk around Furnas lake to the fumaroles where we will watch the retrieval of a famous Azorean delicacy, known as Cozido, a varied selection of meats or fish with vegetables, layered in a big pot and lowered into underground holes where the volcanic steams will cook the food for up to six hours. Once we have witnessed this local spectacle board the motor coach again driving the short distance to Caldeiras das Furnas. Accompanied by our local expert instructor, we’ll take a walk around the area and explore different types of thermal springs. We can also sample some of the local spring water if we so wish before continuing our drive to the hotel, where we will be welcomed to sample the famous Cozido dish for ourselves.

Lunch: At the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, we’ll enjoy the traditional Azorean cozido catered meal with house wine, beer, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then check in at the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel and take a little time to settle in. In the mid-afternoon, We meet in reception with a local expert in charge of the Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens, who will share her expert knowledge on all areas of the park with us. Afterwards, you may wish to take some time to explore the grounds independently or to take a dip in one of the thermal pools before dinner tonight. (The botanical garden is closed to the public from 6:00 PM till 10:00am but open exclusively for hotel guests)

Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Faial da Terra - Sanguinho Trail - Forest & Waterfall
Furnas -Sao Miguel
B,L,D
Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

Activity note: Driving approximately 14 miles each way; less than 1.5 hours round trip. Hiking approximately 4 miles; about 3 hours throughout the day; forest trail with a mix of uneven earth and rocks. Many parts of the trail are steep inclines and descents; particularly the final part of the trail with a very steep descent on cobble stones. If it rains these stones may get very slippery and require an extra level of due care, attention, and good balance. Some narrow bridges over streams

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Leaving the hotel, we’ll drive to the village of Faial da Terra where we will set out on the Sanguinho Trail by following the stream through the entrance to the forest and beginning our ascent with our hiking instructor. As we traverse a short narrow cliff-edge path, we’ll contemplate the abundant flora, including the cryptomeria japonica and pittosporum undulatam, as we encounter wooden bridges crossing over the small creeks that feed the main stream. If weather allows, we’ll make our way to the impressive waterfall known as Salto do Prego for some rest and to cool off. Continuing our ascent, we’ll walk through the local farming fields and orchards to the old lost village of Sanguinho where we will stop for a traditional lunch.

Lunch: Lunch will be a box lunch on a picturesque stop on the trail.

Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll continue along the trail down to the main road where we will meet the motorcoach for transfer back to the hotel in Furnas. We’ll then have time to relax before a cocktail hour at the hotel bar prior to dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, we’ll enjoy a delicious plated farewell dinner with house wine, beer, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences of the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure, with a farewell session. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
9
Gorreana Tea Plantation- Program Concludes
In Flight
B,L

Activity note: Departure day, leaving the Hotel to transfer to the Airport we will drive approximately 30 miles with stops. Getting on/off the coach. Walk for about 45 mins at Gorreana tea factory, level flat terrain, then at Ribeira Grande. Carrying your own luggage at the airport. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After check out of our rooms and we board the motor coach and drive to Gorreana Tea factory for a visit and to see the plantation next to it. Then drive to Ribeira Grande, for some free time to explore the city center.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route

Afternoon: Following lunch, transfer to the airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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