Walking Holidays in Portugal - Azores - Azores - Eastern & Central Islands


Holiday Highlights
  • Island hop across São Miguel, São Jorge, Pico, Faial & Santa Maria
  • Have the opportunity to experience a fantastic whale watching excursion on Pico
  • Walk around the crater rim of legendary Sete Cidade twin lakes


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Guided walking holiday - Click here to find out more about Guided walking holidays   Self Guided walking holiday - Click here to find out more about Self Guided walking holidays          

 
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São Miguel is the largest of the Azores Islands and offers a wide variety of walking around attractive villages, volcanic crater rims, colourful lakes and winding Levadas.

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.

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.

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.

Santa Maria is the oldest of the Azores Islands where our walking routes will take you to dramatic cliffs, fascinating rock formations and stunning fauna (it is a geologists and botanist’s paradise).

Guided Walking

We include eight guided walks in a 14 night stay (two on São Miguel, two on São Jorge, one on Pico, one on Faial and two in Santa Maria for this island combination). Walks are from 3 - 9 miles in length and considered easy or moderate.

We offer guided walks to the major volcanic lakes as well as coastal and rural walks in São Miguel. 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). In Santa Maria we offer guided walks to the highest point on the island Pico Alto, through the “red desert of the Azores” and walks past waterfalls and vineyards.


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


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

Day 1 Arrive São Miguel. Overnight São Miguel (B&B).

Day 2Take the bus (timetable provided) to Furnas and walk to the Lagoa das Furnas. The walk starts and finishes in the attractive village of Furnas, with an optional extra walk round the village at the end of the main walk. Confirmation of the volcanic origins of São Miguel is nowhere more evident than here. The picturesque Parque Terra Nostra is in the village centre, together with thermal baths. Overnight São Miguel (HB).

Ascent: 160m. Descent: 160m. Distance: 7 miles. Time: 2.45 hours (excluding possible extensions).

Day 3 Take the bus (timetable provided) to Sete Cidades, set within the volcanic crater containing Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde, a must on any visit to São Miguel. One route takes you up to the crater rim on the west side of the lakes, finally descending to the small village of Joao Bom. Overnight São Miguel (HB).

Ascent: 480m. Descent: 510m. Distance: 9 miles. Time: 4 hours.

Day 4 Take the bus (timetable provided) to Povocao. This walk takes you from almost sea level, steeply uphill across meadows, through dense woodland, alongside a levada (water channel), and finally over heather covered mountainside to arrive at the remote shore of Lagoa do Fogo, the highest lake of São Miguel. Overnight São Miguel (HB).

Ascent: 610m. Descent: 610m. Distance: 8 miles. Time: 4 hours.

Day 5 An early start if you wish to get a walk in before your flight to São Jorge. Take a short taxi ride to Nine Windows Wall where the route takes you around the east and north sides of the crater rim of the twin lakes of Sete Cidade. After only a short climb the track undulates along the ridge, affording splendid views on both sides. An option exists to extend the walk to cover the west rim as well as far as Vista do Rei, and then descend past Lagoa Verde to the village.

Ascent: 130m. Descent: 590m. Distance: 7.25 miles. Time: 3.5 hours (excluding possible extensions).

Transfer to the airport to take an afternoon flight to São Jorge (50 minutes). Transfer to your hotel to relax for the evening. Overnight São Jorge (B&B).

Day 6 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 7 An easy walk through meadowlands to the lighthouse 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. There are possible sightings of dolphins and whales. Overnight São Jorge (B&B).

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

Day 8 Take the ferry over to Pico 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 is staying at Whale’come).

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

Day 9 Take a half day whale watching (optional extra) or take the following walk. 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 is staying at Whale’come).

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

Day 10 Transfer to the port of Magdelana for the ferry across to Horta on Faial, check in to the hotel and take one of our walks to Rocha da Faja. This shortish walk is ideal as an introduction to the Fajas of the Azores. Overnight Faial (HB).

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

Day 11Choose another of our walks on Faial, 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 along 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 12  This walk is superb with stunning views and an opportunity to explore two crater rims, ending at the Museum in Capelinhos showing the history of the Capelinhos eruption, which only happened just over 50 years ago. Then take an evening flight to Santa Maria. Overnight Santa Maria (HB).

Ascent: 450m. Descent: 500m. Distance: 5 miles. Time: 3 hours.

Day 13 Today’s walk is the first section of the round island GR walk and can be done alone or combined with the next section. It is an exhilarating walk, first along the cliffs then the sea edge for the last section of the walk.  It is a dream for amateur geologists and botanists with the fascinating rock formations and the profusion of plants, beautiful flowers and butterflies.

Ascent: 260m. Descent: 262m. Distance: 4.25 miles. Time: 3 hours.

The second section, if you wish to continue on today, takes you through sleepy hamlets, past a whale observation point and close to some impressive hexagonal basalt formations like those found on the Giant’s Causeway. Overnight Santa Maria (HB).

Ascent: 660m. Descent: 355m. Distance: 5.5 miles. Time: 4 hours.

Day 14 This fantastic walk could be done as one very long day’s walk – almost 25km and 10 hours of walking, but can also be tackled in sections, or a variety of combinations of sections from east to west.  It starts at the beautiful São Laurenço Bay on the east coast and immediately climbs up a dramatic cliff, thereafter undulating through picturesque countryside and gradually ascending into the Alpine-looking forest to the highest point of the island (587m) where you are rewarded with spectacular views all around.  A delightful, easy descent through lovely woodland brings you back to follow the path along the north coast past the island’s tiny ‘desert’ and along stunning cliffs with spectacular views to the sea below and ahead towards the plain.  The walk finishes in Anjos, where you can see the chapel where Columbus went to Mass on his return from the New World. Overnight Santa Maria (HB).

Stage1: Ascent: 215m. Descent: 245m. Distance: 4.25 miles. Time: 2.5 hours.

Stage 2: Ascent: 500m. Descent: 150m. Distance: 4.5 miles. Time: 3 hours.

Stage 3: Ascent: 60m. Descent: 405m. Distance: 3.25 miles. Time: 2 hours.

Stage 4: Ascent: 160m. Descent: 370m. Distance: 4.75 miles. Time: 3 hours.

Stages 1-4 combined: Ascent: 935m. Descent: 1170m. Distance: 16.75 miles. Time: 10.5 hours (combined total, can be split into 4 sections as shown above).

Day 15 Transfer to the airport for your flight back to São Miguel for your flight home.

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

Hotel Vila Nova, São Miguel - 3 Star

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This charming hotel is well located near the harbour of Ponta Delgada. Local buses and the guided pick up point are very close (if you have opted for guided walking). There is a lovely outdoor swimming pool (seasonal) for guests to use. You can enjoy a buffet breakfast and dinner in the modern Atlantis Restaurant which serves a selection of local and international dishes.

All 102 rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television, telephone, air conditioning, safe and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and hairdryer.

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Hotel Do Colégio, São Miguel - 4 Star

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This beautiful hotel is located on a quiet side street within the historical centre of Ponta Delgada yet is still within easy walking distance of all the places of interest. The building dates back to the 19th century and was later adapted to house a private school; it was also the first address of the Regional Conservatory of Music with some of its original features maintained. There is also an outdoor swimming pool for guests to use. You can enjoy breakfast and dinner in Cantina do Colégio Restaurant which serves a signature cuisine made from locally grown ingredients. 

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


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Hotel Talisman, São Miguel - 4 Star

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This charming Art Deco Boutique hotel is located in the historical centre of Ponta Delgada and dates back to the 18thcentury. The partially covered outdoor swimming pool offers stunning views over the city, ocean and mountains. The Palm Terrace Restaurant has two modern dining rooms with an outdoor terrace serving seafood and Portuguese cuisine. There is also a Skylight Bar and Lounge where you can enjoy an after-dinner cocktail.

All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television, telephone, air conditioning, safe, tea/coffee making facilities 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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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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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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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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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 Santa Maria, Santa Maria - 3 Star

This pleasant hotel features a large green garden with a lovely outdoor swimming pool (seasonal). The rooms are spacious and warmly decorated each with a garden view. The Insula restaurant offers a selection of international and Portuguese dishes for your buffet breakfast and dinner.

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

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Charming Blue, Santa Maria - 4 Star

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Located in the heart of Santa Maria, this hotel is indeed very charming. Delightfully modern and welcoming, Charming Blue has recently been renovated with beautiful exposed stonework and huge windows peering out onto the gardens and outdoor swimming pool. Try delicious Portuguese cuisine at their lovely restaurant Mesa d’Oito.

All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, television, telephone, air conditioning, safe, tea/coffee making facilities and private bathroom with WC, shower/bath and hairdryer. https://i0.bookcdn.com/data/Photos/853x540/541/54125/54125719/Bringue-photos-Exterior-Photo-album.JPEG

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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 - Eastern & Central Islands

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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