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Our Azores Soft Outdoor Adventure is perfect for adventuresome travelers looking for varied outdoor activities combined with diverse European Island culture. Walk, Bike, Paddle! We have planned a fantastic varied itinerary on this unique and spectacular island archipelagos adventure!
Composed of 9 unique lush green islands of volcanic origin the archipelago is teeming with dramatic vistas, wildlife, geological wonders and picturesque villages. Located about two thirds of the way between the east coast of the United States and Portugal the area enjoys a pleasant temperate climate all year round.
The main attraction of the Azores is the immense beauty of the natural and human-modified landscape. Active travelers interested in island culture and activities will find a match here. Activities include trekking, biking and kayaking to name just a few. Here you’ll find islands with tropical characteristics but European character. You can walk, bike or boat during the day, then sit down to a great meal with fine (and sometimes local) wines at night.
We’ve planned a great itinerary where we’ll visit 4 different islands and engage in a combination of unique day trips, sometimes walking interior or coastal trails, other times biking from village to village and at other times taking half day easy kayak trips either along the spectacular and rugged coastline or on the interesting and beautiful interior crater lakes. In the evening we’ll normally retire to a local hotel or B&B and enjoy a fine meal. On a couple of the trips we will have the option to spend the night out camping in order to experience some truly special places.
We will spend time on at least 4 Islands, starting with Sao Miguel where you will fly in to. Other Islands will likely include Pico, Sao Gorge, and Terceria, spending a couple of days on each (perhaps also Flores and Corvo).
Azoreans have developed their own distinct regional identity and cultural traits, from a combination of continental Portuguese customs brought by various waves of immigration and local political and environmental factors. Because these once-uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries, their culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions vary considerably.
The islands were known to exists in the fourteenth century and parts of them can be seen, for example, in the early Atlas Catalan. It is suspected that in 1427, one of the captains sailing for Henry the Navigator, possibly Gonçalo Velho, rediscovered the Azores. After that the archipelago was settled over the centuries largely from mainland Portugal. Portuguese settlers came from the provinces of Algarve, Minho, Alentejo and Ribatejo as well as Madeira. São Miguel, the largest island, was first settled in 1444, the settlers – mainly from the Estremadura, Alto Alentejo and Algarve areas of Portugal, under the command of Gonçalo Velho Cabral – landing at the site of modern-day Povoação.
From a geo-structural perspective the Azores is located above an active triple junction between three of the world’s large tectonic plates (the North American Plate, the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate), hence the existence of the many faults, fractures and volcanoes. The westernmost islands of the archipelago (Corvo and Flores) are located in the North American Plate, while the remaining islands are located within the boundary that divides the Eurasian and African Plates. The island’s volcanism is associated with the rifting along the Azores Triple Junction; the spread of the crust along the existing faults and fractures has produced many of the active volcanic and seismic events. Most of the volcanic activity has centered, primarily, along the Terceira Rift. From the beginning of the island’s settlement, around the 15th century, there have been 28 registered volcanic eruptions (15 terrestrial and 13 submarine). The last significant volcanic eruption, the Capelinhos volcano (Vulcão dos Capelinhos), occurred off the coast of the island of Faial (in 1957); the most recent volcanic activity occurred in the seamounts and submarine volcanoes off the coast of Serreta and in the Pico-São Jorge Channel.
(Note:this is a suggested itinerary only, conditions on each trip may vary, in fall 2016 we added Pico & Sao Jorge Islands and will visit different attractions on Terceria) For spring 2018 itinerary will vary again, check with us for specifics )
Day 1: April 11
Arrive Sao Miguel (Thur April 11), There is Azores Airlines flight arrives that arrives at 7:30am from Toronto (departs Toronto on Wednesday Night)
(Some may choose to arrive earlier)
We will meet at the Royal Garden Hotel in the late afternoon and then all go out for dinner.
Day 2: April 12
Island Tour by Van. Visit Lagoa do Fogo(or Lagoa Azul) one of the most amazing volcanic lakes in Azores and natural park area. Perimeter Crater Hike.
Optional Visit Tea Plantation, 2nd Crater Lake or Natural Hot Springs(Caldera Velha)
picnic lunch and full day easy activity
Night back at Furnas Hotel
Day 3: April 13
Walking tour of furnace Crater Lake & Hot spring, (easy level) and visit to the Interpretation center.
Tour of furnace village & Hot Springs, + Time to enjoy the Terra Nostra garden and the thermal water swimming pool
Dinner at the hotel
Night in Terra Nostra hotel
Day 4: April 14
Transfer to Ponta Delgada
Flight to Terceira 10:00-10:40
Transfer to Angra do Heroismo
free time to visit Angra do Heroísmo, city classified by UNESCO as World Heritage
Half Day Bike Tour of Island, (medium level activity)
Night in Angra do Heroísmo
Day 5: April 15
Walking tour in the Natural Park Area, full day activity, difficult level – Rocha do Chambre with picnic lunch
at the end, visit the volcanic pit “Algar do Carvão”, transfer for the Hotel
Night in Angra do Heroísmo
Day 6: April 16
Sea Kayak Day Trip (weather permitting) along the coast of Terceria Island
Walking tour Full day Santa Bárbara, the highest point of Terceira island to the west coast, inside the Natural Park Area
Night in Angra do Heroísmo
Day 7: April 17
Flight to Sao Jorge 10:50-11:20 (flight SP610)
Transfer to Topo and walking tour half day in direction of ‘Fajã de Santo Cristo’, a small village near the sea that can only be reached by foot
Night in a small rural lodge in Fajã
Day 8: April 18
Walking tour from ‘Fajã de Santo Cristo’ to ‘Fajã dos Cubres’
Transfer to Velas
Ferry boat to Pico
Night in Madalena
Day 9: April 19
Walking tour and visit to the vineyards classified by UNESCO as World Heritage site
Visit to Gruta das Torres, a lava tunnel with 4 km long
Farewell dinner at Cella Bar (classified as one of the most beautiful bars in the world)
Night in Madalena
Day 10: April 20
Ferry boat from Pico to Faial
Transfer to Horta airport
Flight to Ponta Delgada
Flight from Ponta Delgada to Toronto
* Please note: It’s the nature of remote travel that uncontrollable factors like poor weather, pilot judgment, forest fires, and mechanical problems can affect our schedules and cause delays. We regret these situations but cannot accept responsibility for hotels, flight rebookings, and other costs you may incur.
Participants responsible for booking their flights from Toronto to S. Miguel-PDL(Azores)
Return from Flores (Azores) to Toronto
(+ 3 internal flights $100×3)
Merrilyn Lindsay business owner
David Wilkie, DVM professor and veterinarian
Peter Milliken, PC lawyer and politician
Didier Maclaine Pont invester/paddler
James Gardner vp – marketing
Chris Cunningham author