Exploring the Azores Triangle

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****# Based on 11 customer reviews
  • One of the world's most beautiful and diverse archipelagos offering superb walking
  • Verdant gorges, sparkling waterfalls, hot springs
  • Luxuriant tropical flora: ginger lilies, passion fruit, azaleas, bananas and bamboo
  • UNESCO volcanic vineyards; lava plateaux; unusual rock formations
  • Varied bird species - many endemic to the Azores
  • Opportunity to spot whales, swim with dolphins and relax in thermal pools

What's included?

  • Please call for departure dates
  • 7 nights, twin centre
  • All continental breakfast and 5 picnic lunches included
  • Managed by our sister company, Exodus
  • Sustainability rating: 76%
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Inter-island ferries and flights included

Excellent for...

Exploring the Azores Triangle

This exciting guided walking holiday explores the very best of the Azores, one of the most fascinating archipelagos in the world and a paradise for walkers.

After an initial night in Sao Miguel (where we return later in the week), we take the short flight to the majestic 'Black Mountain Island' of Pico. We explore its UNESCO-listed, curious lava stone vineyards before making our way across to Faial where we spend the next three nights. From our base on Faial we head across by ferry to discover the natural lava pools of 'The Brown Island', Sao Jorge, in the centre of the archipelago. We enjoy panoramic views over neighbouring islands as we follow paths through verdant gorges and along coastal terraces to pastel-coloured villages. Enjoy an unforgettable whale watching trip (optional) before spending time on 'blue' Faial, the newest part of the Azores, where verdant craters give way to the stunning lunar landscapes of Capelinhos. Our final three nights are spent back on the 'Green Island' of Sao Miguel, where we follow forest paths through Japanese cedars and luxuriant tropical flora to discover Furnas Valley with its geysers, thermal waters and beautiful green and blue lakes.

We spend the first and last three nights in the hotel Marina Atlantico, a modern hotel in the centre of Ponta Delgada, overlooking the marina and harbour. On Faial, our base is the Hotel do Canal; set just above the harbour in Horta, it offers commanding views across the sea to majestic Mount Pico.

The paths are generally flat and well maintained, but some of the routes cross rougher terrain with longer ascents and descents. Some of the paths are quite narrow and stony underfoot and, at times, you'll be walking on coarse volcanic rock so durable walking boots, with protective ankle support, are essential.

Typical day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in the Azores

Arrive at your 4-star hotel in the centre of Ponta Delgada.

Day 2 - Pico and Santa Luzia Vineyards Walk 9km/6mi/3hr

This morning, we take the 1 hour flight to Pico, the 'wildest' island in the archipelago, whose dark volcanic soils are famed for producing quality wines. This afternoon, we descend to the sea to follow a circular loop through the exotic Santa Luzia vineyards, now part of a UNESCO World heritage Site. Built as a means to protect vines from harsh sea winds, the result is row after row of black horseshoe shapes that score the lush green countryside. look out too for the many signs of track marks left in the lava by the carts that used to transport the wine. Then on to Faial by ferry where you spend the next three nights at the 4-star Hotel do Canal.

Day 3 - Sao Jorge and Faja Dos Cubres Walk 10km/6.5mi/3hr

Today we take the ferry (1hr 40mins - 2hr 20mins, dependent on the time of year) across to the fascinating spear-like island of Sao Jorge; lying in the centre of the archipelago, it commands stunning views over neighbouring Pico, Faial and Graciosa. It is the longest island too, famous for its fajas (crumbling cliffs) with a line of spent volcanic craters rising up as verdant foothills along its spine. These slopes of the north coast open up to us as we pass vine terraces en route to Faja dos Tijolos, a tiny village, set in the cliffs. We skirt around Caldeira de Santo Cristo lake, a great lunch stop, before ending our walk with an optional dip in Faja dos Cubres and catching the ferry back to Faial. This is by far the longest day of the tour, but it is well worth it to view the fourth island.

Day 4 - Free day

If you're up to the challenge, we can arrange an optional guided climb up Portugal's highest peak, Mount Pico - it will take about 8 hours (1200m up and down) so isn't for the faint hearted! Other less strenuous options include a 3-hour whale watching safari - fin, sperm and blue whale have all been spotted here - or half a day swimming with dolphins. For the even more adventurous, you can opt to swim with sharks (Jun-Sep only)! Please note: all these activities are subject to weather/sea conditions, and incur additional charges (payable locally).

Day 5 - Capelinhos and Sao Miguel 7km/4.5mi/2.5hr

We explore the colourful marina at Horta before verdant craters give way to a lunar landscape as we approach the swirling ash dunes of the Capelinhos Volcano, the newest square of land formed by the 1958 eruption. We have lunch in Peter Cafe Sport, one of the most famous yachting pubs in the world, and visit the adjacent Scrimshaw Museum with its impressive collection of engraved whales' teeth and bones. We then take a late afternoon flight (1 hour) back to Ponta Delgada.

Day 6 - Lagoa do Fogo and Sete Cidades 12km/7.5mi/4hr

After breakfast we climb to the lush centre of Sao Miguel to Bassosa's mountain, where we walk along a levada with many species of endemic plants, arriving at a viewpoint over the Lagoa do Fago, or Fire lake. Formed from a volcanic eruption in C16, and surrounded by verdant jagged peaks, the lake has incredibly limpid waters, fringed in parts by glorious white sands. In the afternoon we head on to Sete Cidades, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal, where we are rewarded with breathtaking views of tranquil lakes and blue hydrangeas bordering the crater rim from our viewpoint at Vista do Rei. A final stop at the Caldeira Velha waterfall and its steaming geyser for a well-earned dip, before heading back to the hotel.

Day 7 - Furnas Walk 11km/7mi/2hr

Today we visit the tranquil Furnas lake where we walk around the crater lake to volcanic vents to find locals cooking their famous cozidos casseroles by burying sealed pots in the baking soil - this is the best example of a 'natural kitchen' you will ever see! We sample a cozido for lunch in a local restaurant, before continuing to the Terra Nostra Botanical gardens - a park filled with lakes, winding paths, exotic flowers, centuries-old trees and thermal hot springs. Our final stop is at the gorreana tea plantations where we visit the plantations and try the green and black teas.

Day 8 - Leave the Azores

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

Hotel Marina Atlantico, Ponta Delgada   (4 Star)

hotel room

Ideally situated in the centre of Ponta Delgada, the Marina Atlantico faces the marina and harbour. The nautical theme of the hotel gives an impression of being onboard a ship. The hotel also boasts an indoor swimming pool, onsite fitness centre, plus a sauna, and steam bath.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Hotel do Canal, Horta   (4 Star)

Seatin in Hotel do Canal

Located on the historic ocean front in Horta, in close proximity to the town’s port and marina, the Hotel do Canal enjoys excellent views over the bay and out across the water to Pico Mountain. It is this stretch of water (the ‘Canal’ - which separates the islands of Faial and Pico) that lends its name to the hotel and is responsible for Horta’s maritime heritage.

This same heritage can be seen in the carefully thought out décor of the hotel which is strongly influenced by the ocean and reflects, in such features as its nautical motifs of sail boats and codfish, the history of the island itself. The tradition of the island dictates that there always be a safe port and this is an ideal that the hotel has tried hard to capture for itself. In addition to the bar/lounge, the hotel also houses a variety of spa features designed to help relax the weary sailor.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Travel options

Transfers included from Ponta Delgada airport at 17:15, and back to Ponta Delgada airport for the 08:40 flight.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com to arrange connecting flights.

Customer reviews

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Reviewed by Mrs Harper on 15/09/2016

*****
A varied and memorable experience of some of the spectacular Azores, aided by an enthusiastic and well informed guide, Walking with good company was very enjoyable, and just the right level of exertion for us. My only slight reservation was the amount of time spent to do with air travel, given that this was only 7 days in total

Reviewed by Mr Plimmer on 13/09/2016

*****
The Azores are just wonderful; superb sights and experiences. The accommodation was very good and the travelling well planned (though two flights were delayed). In my opinion though too many islands are visited in just one week and the inter-island travelling is significant. There is enough to do and see on Faial and Sao Miguel for a month let alone a week.

Reviewed by Mrs Hardie-Hammond on 19/07/2016

*****
Beautiful landscapes especially in early July when every lane and road, every hillside and field margin is decked in hydrangeas. The local guide went over and above the call of duty and introduced us to the best of Azorean hospitality and local fresh food in little cafes and restaurants or family homes that we would never have found ourselves. The two boot grading suggests tougher walking than it really is. The walking was quite easy but the travelling between islands by plane and boat was exhausting and in the first half of the week most of us were shattered and couldn't even remember what island we were on! Exodus who run this holiday, rate it at 3/10 for walking difficulty which is a more accurate reflection of difficulty levels.

Reviewed by Mrs Brennan on 21/07/2015

***#.
The Azores Triangle trip was full on, non stop, apart from the free day on the Tuesday. We joined the Exodus group, who were International with mixed activity abilities. Very challenging walking. The itinerary was changed according to the weather conditions, to accommodate us holiday walkers. It became a joke ' wonder what Bruno will change today ' It was a friendly group who gelled very well, looking out for each other. Could have done with extra days stay to recover. Loved the holiday, thank you.

Reviewed by Mrs McMahon on 26/07/2014

*****
The Azores are beautiful and unspoilt islands and walking is one of the best way of seeing them.

Reviewed by Mr Child on 03/06/2014

***#.
Unfortunately it was the tour leader's first tour in the Azores as a leader and the handover from the last guide did not appear to have been carried out in a polished and full way. Although Kristaps grew in confidence through the week the practical arrngements for the Monday for the holiday were not terribly customer friendly - I will be writing a short note about this to you for you to share with Exodus. Otherwise both hotels were very good and the islands are a delight as are the Azorean people.

Reviewed by Mrs Piggott on 18/09/2013

***#.
The grading of the holiday made it sound easier than it actually was. The actual package was delivered by Exodus and there was not enough information about the level of difficulty presented by the terrain. Also there was very little information about what was actually involved in some of the optional activities. The last day's activity included a substantial lunch and a farewell dinner which most people felt was too much. It would have been better to have this programme the previous day so that the farewell dinner could be properly enjoyed on the last evening!

Reviewed by Mr Smith on 04/09/2013

***#.
An enjoyable introduction to the Azores

Reviewed by Mrs Eginton on 24/07/2013

*****
After a two year wait to visit the Azores I was not disappointed. The islands are stunning, everyone is friendly and help to make the most of your stay there. The walks were of interest and not too long or arduous and the vistits to local attractions added an extra insight to the life there. For anyone wanting to go somewhere a little bit different, away from the crowds, the Azores are the perfect place.

Reviewed by Mr Joseph on 05/06/2013

***#.
This was the first time that the trip had run. In general it was another excellent Headwater holiday; the link up with Exodus worked much better than I had anticipated. There was no cutting back on Headwater's standards. The Azores present a challenge; 4 islands in a week means many complex transfers. Inevitably there are some aspects of the programme that could, and perhaps should, be changed for the future. This includes the basic question of whether to try and reach 4 islands in a week and the detail of some of the days. I'm sure your agents are already discussing this.

Reviewed by Mis Smith on 05/06/2013

***#.
Enjoyable way to explore the Azores, however if I had known it was an Exodus trip I would have booked direct to gain more certainty on booking details.

Departure dates & prices

No on-line prices available

Unfortunately we do not have on-line prices available at this time. Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com for further details.

2016 departures Tour only 
May 21 $2004
Jun 4 $2004
Jul 9 $2208
Aug 20 $2208
Sep 3 $2208

Holiday details

Minimum group sizes

A minimum of 4 people (in total) are required for each departure.

Holiday type

Guided walking, twin centre. Managed by our sister company, Exodus.

Departures

Please call for departure dates, for 8 days (7 nights).

Meals

All continental breakfast and 5 picnic lunches included.

Other details

Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information. Please call us for single room supplements, room upgrade options and child prices.

Starting your tour

Transfers included from Ponta Delgada airport at 17:15, and back to Ponta Delgada airport for the 08:40 flight.

Enquire about this holiday

Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.

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We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. Morning calls will be between 9:00-13:00, afternoon calls between 13:00-17:00, and evening calls after 17:00.
Let us know any queries you might have about departure dates, similar holidays or tailor-made options.

 

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