Portugal | Active Azores | Adult Only
Experience the unique culture, food, landscape, and hospitality of this fascinating Portuguese archipelago!
9 days / 8 nights
Activity LevelActivity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Experience an active journey hiking the lakes of the volcanic crater of Sete Cidades. Bathe in natural thermal pools in the midst of the outdoors and learn about the volcanic formation of the islands in Capelinhos Volcano. Cook your dinner in natural volcanic ovens and sip the wine of the tsars in the UNESCO World Heritage designated Pico Island vineyards. Enjoy a world-class whale watching excursion to discover the marine wildlife of the Azores Islands such as our resident sperm whales, common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins. This adventure is an all-encompassing Azorean experience!
An esteemed, veteran travel writer for Forbes magazine recently said of this trip, “Wonderful itinerary, incredibly balanced, enough activity and plenty of local culture. Bravo!” And if he’s impressed, then you know this trip is something truly special. The accommodations are often historical landmarks, including a 16th century fort. The activities are varied, from biking a trail along a volcanic rim to whale watching via zodiac boat to walking across volcanic soils to hiking (and camping atop) the island chain’s highest mountain. While certainly an active tour, culture is infused throughout too as you explore a UNESCO heritage site, cook at traditional meal over hot lava stones, visit a local cheese factory, savor traditional barbeques, indulge in thermal baths, enjoy a “Viola da Terra” (traditional Azorean guitar) live music, and so much more!
- Learn about the fauna, flora, history, and volcanic formation of the island
- Tour Horta City, their famous marina, and the infamous Peter’s Café for tales of whalers and sailors that called this island home
- Learn about the formation of the Azores’ longest lava cave formed from the flow and cooling of subterranean magma rivers
- Explore the Vinhas da Criação Velha vineyards to learn about this unique style of vineyard and the varietal found here
- Visit a local cheese factory and discover São Jorge’s delicious cheeses
- Walk to a coffee plantation in Fajã dos Vimes to learn how volcanic soils are very conductive to plant growth
- Savor a traditional barbeque at a site overlooking the sea while enjoying a “Viola da Terra” (traditional Azorean guitar) live music performance
- Indulge in an exquisite private night bath in the naturally iron-rich hot water that has a temperature of 35-40ºC
- Stop at Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lake Calderas), to cook the famous “cozido das Furnas”, using ingredients you purchased at the market and which will cook underground for six hours using only geothermal heat
- Learn how to make specialty cocktails with local ingredients
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Spot up to 25 cetacean species, along with turtles, seabirds, and other marine life, during a whale watching excursion.
Discover the seafaring history of this island archipelago alongside knowledgeable guides.
Cook your own meal over hot stones at a Horta restaurant, creating a delicious masterpiece of your own making.
Ponta Delgada, Portugal PDL
Ponta Delgada, Portugal PDL
Ponta Delgada / Sete Cidades / Ferraria
Arrive and transfer to your hotel for check-in and a welcome breakfast (rooms are booked to guarantee your use immediately). Meet your companions and guide at noon for a short meeting. Head to Sete Cidades volcanic complex and lake. Hike the crater rim to learn about the fauna, flora, history, and volcanic formation of the island. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the lake shore – complete with a welcome drink and toast. Transfer to Ferraria, to swim in oceanic pools heated by volcanic vents. Transfer back to hotel to rest before dinner. Pre-dinner meeting with guide introductions, schedule review, discussion of weather forecast, necessary gear, meals, etc. Family-style dinner in the city center, followed by a short walk throughout the Azorean capital.
About Hotel do Colégio
Located right in the historical center of the city of Ponta Delgada, Hotel do Colégio exemplifies 19th century Azorean architecture, a result of the riches that came with the golden age of the orange trade with England. The building was once a manor house, then a private school and the first address of Ponta Delgada’s Music Conservatory. The Hotel was completely renovated in 2017.
Ponta Delgada / Faial Island
Short walk to Ponta Delgada Marina for whale and dolphin watching excursion, where you can spot up to 25 cetacean species, along with turtles, seabirds, and other marine life. A biologist will explain which species you’re observing, how to respect the animals and their ocean habitat, historical facts, and safety procedures. Lunch at local restaurant, followed by a walk to main city attractions such as São Francisco Square, the seafront, city hall, and forts. After you fly to Faial Island and transfer to your hotel, you’ll meet your guide in the hotel lobby and set out for a short walk to dinner at a local restaurant.
About Pousada Forte da Horta
Your hotel for these two nights is a 16th century fort located in the city of Horta on the Azores’ Faial Island. Built along the Bay of Horta, it was registered as a National Monument in 1947. It is eight minutes’ walk from the beach with breathtaking views over the island of Pico and the marina, the fourth-busiest in the world. They have an outdoor pool, games room, restaurant, bar, complimentary Wi-Fi, and most rooms have a balcony with a view of the sea.
Capelinhos Volcano / Horta City
Transfer to Capelinhos Volcano which last erupted in 1956-57. Visit the volcano’s interpretive center, then hike up to the historic lighthouse for a view of the island. ‘Walk the moon’ across the volcanic area, examine the unique vegetation, then enjoy a picnic lunch in a natural forest reserve. Tour Horta City, their famous marina, and the infamous Peter’s Café for tales of whalers and sailors that called this island home, with a refreshing gin & tonic in hand. Cook your own meal over hot stones at a Horta restaurant using fresh fish, local seafood, and meat.
Pico Island / Casa da Montanha
After a hearty breakfast at your hotel, transfer to Pico Island via ferry. Walk through the Vinhas da Criação Velha vineyards (a UNESCO heritage site) where you will learn about this unique style of vineyard and the varietal found here. Visit Gruta das Torres, the Azores’ longest lava cave formed from the flow and cooling of subterranean magma rivers. Lunch outdoors among the beautiful vineyards. After fueling up with lunch, hike up Casa da Montanha (Mountain House) and ascend to the top. Camp at the summit, from sunset to sunrise, and, if the weather is right, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of up to five of the neighboring Azorean Islands.
*Note – While this trip is classified as “moderately easy” the hike up Mount Pico is difficult. Please be advised that you will be hiking up mountainous terrain at a high elevation.
About Casa da Montanha camp
Enjoy 360-degree views of up to five Azorean islands (weather permitting), cool breezes, and a ‘digital diet’ (no Wi-Fi).
Casa da Montanha / Madalena
After you wake from your mountaintop camp to a beautiful sunrise (weather permitting), descend Casa da Montanha to a local restaurant for a well-deserved and invigorating lunch. After lunch, enjoy a drink in Cella Bar while overlooking the mountain views of Faial and São Jorge Islands. Check in at your hotel to rest for the rest of the afternoon. Dinner is at a special restaurant in Madalena that offers a unique atmosphere and panoramic views of the Islands of Pico and Faial.
About Baía da Barca
Boasting panoramic views of the Atlantic, these apartments are tucked away in a quiet bay and provide you with a great base during your time on Pico Island. The units are just 50 feet from the ocean. Wake up to vistas of Ponta de Pico, Portugal’s highest mountain. If you get up early enough you can watch the sunrise from your own balcony or terrace. Amenities include a natural pool, fireplace in each guest room, hot tub and sauna, bar/lounge, and free Wi-Fi.
Fajã dos Cubres
This morning we journey to Fajã dos Cubres for a coastal hike towards Caldeira do Santo Cristo. Enjoy the guide’s insights into the story of this magical place where clams grow in a salt water lagoon and surfers rock what are considered some of the longest waves in Europe. Then indulge in a special, local meal on a typical house terrace with ocean views and the sound of nearby waves breaking. Hike back to Fajã dos Cubres and transfer to the hotel to check in before dinner. Enjoy a delicious dinner on your hotel terrace, overlooking the ocean and Pico Mountain.
About Cantinho das Buganvilias
The Cantinho das Buganvílias Resort is located in Carregadouro, near the village of Velas and the local airport. Just 200 meters from the sea, offers guests a fantastic view of Pico and Faial Islands and an immersion with nature. There is a restaurant, gym, both indoor and outdoor pools, jacuzzi.
São Jorge / São Miguel Island / Furnas
Start the day with a visit to a local cheese factory to learn about São Jorge’s delicious cheeses. Walk to a local coffee plantation in Fajã dos Vimes (a Fajã is a land formation of volcanic origin that are very conductive to plant growth). Return to Velas to lunch at a local restaurant. Transfer to the airport for flight to São Miguel Island then transfer to Furnas. Savor a traditional barbeque at a site overlooking the sea while enjoying a “Viola da Terra” (traditional Azorean guitar) live music performance. Indulge in a private night bath in the naturally iron-rich hot water that has a temperature of 35-40ºC, an exquisite experience! Drinks served under the stars complete this perfect moment of relaxation.
About Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, in the heart of São Miguel Island, is often considered to be the best Hotel in the Azores, having won many international accolades. Located in Furnas Valley, it is nestled in one of the world’s best “Green Retreats,” as deemed by Condé Nast Traveler. The hotel’s Art Deco interior also introduces contemporary elements and materials, integrating it with their lush Terra Nostra Garden. The hotel offers reading and game rooms, indoor heated pool, gift shop, outdoor thermal pool, two outdoor jacuzzies, laundry services, room service, babysitting (on request), free admission to Terra Nostra Botanical Park, and free Wi-Fi.
Furnas / Furnas Lake / Salto do Prego
This morning we have an early start as we shop for ingredients for tonight’s dinner at the local market. We then head to Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lake Calderas), where we prepare the famous Portuguese dish “cozido das Furnas” and let it “cook” underground for six hours using only geothermal heat. While we wait for dinner to cook, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and transfer to Faial da Terra for a hiking tour of the island interior. Reach Salto do Prego’s waterfall and enjoy refreshments. After the hike, savor a coffee in town as we mingle with the locals. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time to dip in the amazing tank of iron-rich hot water in front of the hotel. Your dinner will be served at the hotel in the beautiful art-deco restaurant, with views of the iconic botanical park. After dinner, a cocktail workshop with local ingredients awaits.
Lagoa do Fogo / Caldeira Velha / Ponta Delgada
After breakfast, enjoy a van tour of Lagoa do Fogo. You’ll have awesome views from atop Fogo Mountain of the lake within the volcano’s crater and over the island and ocean (this vivid blue lake is known as one of the most beautiful lakes of the island). Upon descent, we’ll stop where you can take some time to bathe and relax in Caldeira Velha’s thermal pool which is surrounded by endemic fauna and flora. After lunch, we will transfer to João Paulo II Airport.
*Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.
Arrival & Departure
Please plan on arriving early on the day of your trip departure (or, to be safe, at least one day prior to your trip departure). Day one of your itinerary starts at São Miguel airport depending on your arrival time. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the São Miguel airport or your São Miguel hotel.
Hiking: Up to 11km with one mountain climb to 7713ft (a climb of 3,776ft), some technical hiking. Please note that the Casa da Montanha trail is technical because most of the way is very steep and rocky. At this time of the year the top of the mountain is unlikely to be covered with ice and snow, but the nights are cold. This hike is not recommended for people with knee or ankle problems. Picnic dinner and camping gear included.
Kayaking: Easy to moderate lake kayaking.
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions, and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
Learn about the fauna, flora, history, and volcanic formation of the island. Explore oceanic pools heated by volcanic vents. Spot up to 25 cetacean species, along with turtles, seabirds, and other marine life, during a whale watching excursion. Discover the seafaring history of this island archipelago. Tour Horta City, their famous marina, and the infamous Peter’s Café for tales of whalers and sailors that called this island home. Cook your own meal over hot stones at a Horta restaurant. Learn about the formation of the Azores’ longest lava cave formed from the flow and cooling of subterranean magma rivers. Explore the Vinhas da Criação Velha vineyards to learn about this unique style of vineyard and the varietal found here. Visit a local cheese factory and discover São Jorge’s delicious cheeses. Walk to a coffee plantation in Fajã dos Vimes to learn how volcanic soils are very conductive to plant growth. Savor a traditional barbeque at a site overlooking the sea while enjoying a “Viola da Terra” (traditional Azorean guitar) live music performance. Indulge in an exquisite private night bath in the naturally iron-rich hot water that has a temperature of 35-40ºC. Shop for dinner ingredients at the local market. Stop at Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lake Calderas), to cook the famous “cozido das Furnas”, using ingredients you purchased at the market and which will cook underground for six hours using only geothermal heat. Learn how to make specialty cocktails with local ingredients.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.