Walking Holidays in Portugal - Azores - Azores - Central Islands


Holiday Highlights
  • Explore the three contrasting islands of São Jorge, Faial & Pico
  • Opportunity to adventure to the top of Volcanic Mount Pico at 2351m
  • Charming fishing villages, lush ravines and spectacular views from high cliffs


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São Jorge has the most-jagged coastline of the Azores Islands and offers spectacular waterfalls, lush ravines and the chance to explore the interesting fishing village of Velas.

Faial is famous for its stewed octopus in wine amongst the Azoreans - you should most certainly try some! The walking here takes you to volcanic crater rims with breathtaking views and the opportunity to explore the lighthouse and museum which shows the history of volcanic eruptions.

Pico is the most volcanic of the Azores Islands and renowned for its almost perfectly coned mountain of Pico Alto standing at 2352m making it the highest peak in all of Portugal. Our adventurous walk takes you to the top of this fascinating mountain. You can also enjoy stunning walks through interesting fauna and picturesque villages.

Self-Guided Itinerary (please note these are proposed itineraries,  they are subject to change if flight times change).

Arrive in the Azores from your home country. Dependent on the time you can transfer straight to São Jorge, but due to limited flights it will may likely be the next day.

Day 1: Fly in the morning from São Miguel or Terceira to São Jorge, check in to your hotel and take the opportunity to explore the small fishing village of Velas, or take a walk to the top of a nearby hill for panoramic views. Overnight São Jorge (B&B).

Day 2 A real ‘must do’ walk with great variety from misty hills, lush ravines and waterfalls to high cliffs and an insight to life on the Fajas. Plenty of places to linger by the sea for a picnic so be generous with your time in arranging return transport. Overnight São Jorge (B&B).

Ascent: 100m. Descent: 700m. Distance: 5 miles. Time: 4 hours.

Day 3 An easy walk through meadowlands to the light house at the far end of São Jorge. Although the lighthouse is of little appeal, the views from the cliffs are spectacular. Sit here for a picnic and feel the real remoteness of these islands with possible sightings of dolphins and whales. Overnight São Jorge (B&B).

Ascent: 200m. Descent: 200m. Distance: 6 miles. Time: 3 hours.

Day 4 Take the ferry from São Jorge to Pico (45 minutes) and enjoy an easy walk down the lower slopes of Mount Pico with interesting lava tunnels at the start and superb views over to Faial. Or you can opt for a more adventurous walk to the top of Mount Pico (2351m) guide compulsory, best arranged in advance. Overnight Pico (B&B – HB if staying at Whale’come).

Ascent: 120m. Descent: 250m. Distance: 7 miles. Time: 2.5 hours (excluding the top of Mount Pico).

Day 5 This is a stunning walk but with mostly descents from 800m down to sea level.  The first section is very easy amongst wild scenery contrasting with the second half which is mainly down through interesting vegetation and forest leading to the picturesque village of Sao Roque. This could be a superb full day walk using your extra time to explore Sao Roque, visiting its Whaling Museum and maybe having a swim in the sea.Overnight Pico (B&B – HB if staying at Whale’come).

Ascent: 45m. Descent: 825m. Distance: 4.5 miles. Time: 3.5 hours.

Day 6 Take the ferry over to Faial (1 hr 15 mins) and choose one of our walks on here, for example walk from the Caldera to Parque Florestal do Capelo. In good weather this is the highlight of walking on Faial. Walk around the rim of a volcano (dormant), the Caldeira crater, it is breathtaking with views over Faial and to the ocean and islands in the distance. Overnight Faial (HB).

Ascent: nil. Descent: 800m. Distance: 10 miles. Time: 4.5 hours.

Day 7 A superb walk with stunning views and an opportunity to explore the crater rim of Cabeco Verde, ending at the Lighthouse and  Museum in Capelinhos showing the history of the volcanic eruption.  This museum is underground beneath the existing lighthouse which was atop a two storey building engulfed by the ash of the 1957 eruptions. Overnight Faial (HB).

Ascent: 300m. Descent: 295m. Distance: 4 miles. Time: 2.5 hours.

Day 8 Return home via Lisbon, Terceira or São Miguel (may require an additional overnight depending on flight times).

Guided Walking

We include four guided walks in a 7 night stay (two on São Jorge, one on Faial and one on Pico for this island combination). Walks are from 4 - 8 miles in length and considered easy or moderate.

In São Jorge we offer guided walks which take you up to the highest mountain on the island and to the western corner along stunning cliffs. We offer guided walks to lava fields and vineyards with stunning panoramic views over the mountain and ocean in Pico. In Faial we offer a guided half day or a guided full day of the island which takes you to the highest point and stops at Capelinhos (the remains of the last volcanic eruption).

Please note guided walks require a minimum of 2 people. All walks include an English speaking guide and all necessary transportation.

This map is for illustration purposes only and we cannot be held responsible for its accuracy.

Hotel São Jorge, São Jorge - 3 Star

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Located in the harbour town of Velas, Hotel São Jorge is just 15 minutes’ drive from the airport. All the spacious rooms face the sea with a view of Pico and its iconic volcano from the balcony. Buffet breakfast is taken in the hotel. There is an outdoor swimming pool open in the summer.

All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television, telephone, air conditioning and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and hairdryer. 

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Hotel Casa do Antonio, São Jorge - 2 Star

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Located only 100 metres from the harbour and 15 minutes’ drive from the airport, this small hotel was lovingly created by the owner Antonio Pedroso a local artist, keen walker and musician. There are 8 spacious rooms many with views across the harbour. There is a larger tower room available at a supplement which has a harbour view and a bath. A delightful breakfast is taken in the hotel.

All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television, telephone, air conditioning and private bathroom with WC and shower.


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Pousada da Horta, Faial - 4 Star

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The Pousada was fully renovated in 2004 and is housed in a 16th century historic fort. The hotel is well located on the harbour front of Horta. Buffet breakfast is served daily and can also be enjoyed on the poolside terrace. They also have an on-site restaurant which serves delicious local dishes.

All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television, telephone, air conditioning and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and hairdryer. 

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Hotel Do Canal, Faial - 4 Star

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Located on the ocean front, this boutique hotel has great panoramic views over the city bay and Mount Pico. The staff are very friendly and welcoming, you will relax here in no time. Breakfast and dinner are taken in the hotel restaurant which serves local specialities.

All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television, telephone, safe, air conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and hairdryer.


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Whale'come, Pico - 2 Star

Located in Lajes do Pico, you can stay at this characteristic hotel if you have opted to pre-book the whale watching excursion. Some of the comfortable rooms offer lovely views of the sea or mountains. Breakfast and dinner is taken in the on-site cosy restaurant.

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Alojamento Bela Vista, Pico - 3 Star

Situated in Lajes do Pico this lovely hotel offers bright, comfortable rooms, some with mountain or sea views. The communal sun terrace has beautiful views over rooftops towards the sea and Mount Pico. Buffet breakfast is taken in the hotel and dinner in a nearby restaurant behind the church facing the sea.

All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television, telephone, air conditioning and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and hairdryer. 


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Hotel Caravelas, Pico - 4 Star

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Located on Madalena, Pico Island, Caravelas is just opposite the ferry terminal surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on 3 sides and overlooks Faial Island. The pleasant rooms feature private balconies with ocean, courtyard or Mount Pico views. Buffet breakfast is taken in the hotel and dinner in a nearby restaurant. There is an outdoor swimming pool available for guests to use.

All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television, telephone, air conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and hairdryer.  

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Availability Information

Walking is possible all year around in the Azores. Spring is early so April and May are good times and Autumn extends into November. Being islands in the middle of the Atlantic it does tend to rain with the wettest months from October to March. The driest are July and August. There is only a 9°C variation (15 - 24°C) in average day time temperature between the coldest and warmest months so it is never very cold nor are there any prolonged hot days.

Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit. 

When to book your walking holiday in Portugal - Azores - Azores - Central Islands

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