The Azores – Jewels of Portugal

The Azores – Jewels of Portugal

São Miguel, Açores, Portugal

Enter an untouched paradise on an adventure through the Azores, the archipelago gems of Portugal. Explore the entire rim of the Sete Cidades Caldera. Spend 2 nights in a lava stone house overlooking the Atlantic. Indulge in a traditional Cozido das Furnas meal, which is cooked by the heat of the volcanic earth. Admire an exclusive viewpoint of Furnas Lake during lunch at the Terra Nostra Tea House. Sample local dairy goods at a family-owned cheese shop. Descend into Algar do Carvao, an ancient lava tube known as the “Cavern of Coal,” with an expert guide. From thermal pools and lush craters to local farms and volcanic cuisine, delve into the culture of Portuguese island life.

Includes:

• Choose to swim in Biscoitos natural volcanic pools or hike along the lava fields and vineyards.
• In Lajes, choose to visit the whaling museum or take advantage of free time in town to explore the area independently.
• Discover Pico’s volcanic vineyards and sample its exclusive wines.
• Descend into Algar do Carvao, an ancient lava tube, with a local expert.
• Admire views of Pico Volcano, the highest point in Portugal.
• Experience a truly unique Cozido das Furnas lunch in Furnas valley.
• Sample cheeses and get an inside look into production at a family-owned cheese factory.
• Visit a local bakery that makes queijadas, a pastry made with egg yolks.
• Traverse the entire rim of the Sete Cidades caldera and gaze upon the twin lakes from Lagoa do Canario viewpoint.
• Delight in an exclusive visit to the Terra Nostra Tea House for lunch.
• Spend 2 nights in the eco-friendly lava stone houses of Aldeia da Fonte.

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10 days

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View Itinerary

Day 1: Overnight Flight
From volcanic craters and thermal waters to lush vegetation and picturesque coasts, enjoy the natural splendour of this Portuguese archipelago and see why the Azores are commonly referred to as “the Hawaii of Europe.”

Day 2: São Miguel, Açores, Portugal - Tour Begins
This is the Azores. A set of islands virtually untouched by urban development. Your adventure begins on São Miguel, the largest of the nine volcanic islands. Sit along the seaside promenade and breathe in the mild air of the Atlantic. Get to know Ponta Delgada, the capital city of the Azores, on a brief walking tour of the area. Celebrate the beginning of your journey with a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 3: São Miguel
Leave the main road behind and embrace an off-road adventure on the “Green Island.” Traverse the dirt roads and pass by dairy farms before pausing at the highest point of the island, taking in the all-encompassing natural beauty at your feet. Venture to Sete Cidades, the striking blue and green mirror lakes, where you’ll navigate the rim of the entire crater. As you circle these bodies of water, gaze down upon the dazzling blue lake (reflecting the sky) and the adjacent green lake (reflecting the earth). Take a short hike to emerge at the peak of the island and take in the astounding viewpoint of Lagoa do Canario, the island’s most recognized landscape. Return to Ponta Delgada with free time to relax in a local café or meander through the streets. Or, continue your exploration with an optional tour…perhaps you’ll choose to swim with a pod of dolphins or embark on an intimate whale watching excursion.

Day 4: São Miguel
On your way to the dynamic volcano complex of Furnas, get a glimpse of Portugal’s sweet side at a family run queijadas (pastry) bakery. Trading the warm aroma that wafts through the air of the bakery for the encompassing scent of floral splendour, wander through the organic paradise of Terra Nostra Botanical Garden on a guided tour. Immerse yourself into a heated pool of rejuvenation in the natural thermal waters of the Furnas valley. Watch as your lunch is raised out of the heat of the volcanic earth and served as a traditional Cozido das Furnas meal. As you dig into your food, admire an exclusive viewpoint of Furnas Lake from the Terra Nostra Tea House. Continue on to the pastures of Porto Formosa, home to one of the only European tea plantations. Enjoy an evening of leisure in São Miguel.

Day 5: São Miguel - Terceira
Wish São Miguel goodbye and say hello to the colourful island of Terceira. Stand along the edge of the crater at Serra do Cume viewpoint and take in the island’s patchwork of infinite green. Continue your journey and swap the grassy fields for sandy shores at Praia Victoria, or “Beach of Victory.” Get to know Angra do Heroismo as you walk the streets this afternoon with a guide. Recently restored in traditional style, admire the white facades and colourful trims of the iconic buildings in this UNESCO World Heritage site. Get a taste of Azorean culture during dinner at a local restaurant where you’re invited to try alcatra, the savoury meat stew Terceira is known for.

Day 6: Terceira
Enjoy a free morning to choose how you experience Terceira. Maybe you’ll decide on an optional tour, embarking on an adventurous hiking drive/journey along two volcanoes at Misterios Negros Nature Reserve. Next we gather and head underground to experience the ethereal Algar do Carvao, the “Cavern of Coal,” with an expert guide. Feel the quiet stillness around you as you descend into this ancient lava tube, gazing up at the looming stalactites hanging above you. Then, it’s your choice! Choose to swim* in the natural volcanic pools of Biscoitos -OR- hike along lava fields and vineyards. Enjoy leisure time in Angra afterwards or entice your taste buds on an optional Portuguese wine and tapas experience.

Day 7: Terceira - Faial - Pico
Say bom dia (good morning) to Faial, the “Blue Island” of the Azores. With hydrangeas as far as the eye can see and stunning coastlines, discover the remarkable beauty of this island. Peek into the daily life of dairy production when you drop by the family-owned Morro cheese factory, where you’ll sample the fruits of their production. Encounter the volcanic vitality of Faial when you take in the collapsed Caldeira and the ash hills of the Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre. Your exploration continues as you embark on a ferry ride to Pico, the nearby island known for its lava fields and vineyards. Make a stop at Lagoa do Capitao, your eyes following along the landscape to spy Sao Jorge Island in the distance. Settle in amongst the lava stone houses of Aldeia da Fonte. Here, overlooking the sea, the sounds of rolling waves will serenade you to sleep for the next two nights. Enjoy dinner at this innovative cliff-side abode, stroll through the luxurious gardens, and let the incomparable view of the Atlantic wash over you.

Day 8: Pico
Walk along the surreal landscape of grapes that grow between plots of rocky stone walls as you explore Pico vineyards (UNESCO). In the centre of the vineyard, climb the bright red windmill and take in a new perspective of the stretching fields, lava rocks, and vines. Introduce yourself to the history of this island’s vineyards at the Pico Wine Museum. Next, taste these exclusive wines of limited production at a wine collabourative. Then, it’s your choice! In Lajes, choose to visit the whaling museum highlighting the historical ties of the industry to the culture of the islands -OR- take advantage of free time in town to explore the area independently.

Day 9: Pico - São Miguel
Depart Pico for São Miguel and enjoy some time at leisure. Whether you want to relax on the sandy shores, wander the streets of the capital city, or get one last taste of Portuguese pastries, spend the day however you please. Tonight, toast to the end of your Azorean adventure with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 10: São Miguel - Tour Ends
Say adeus (goodbye) to the Azores as you depart this Atlantic archipelago.

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