Visit four of the most intriguing and scenic islands the Azores have to offer. See breathtaking crater lakes in the old volcanoes of Sao Miguel; explore the city of Angra do Heroismo in Terceira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; visit the quaint port of Horta, Faial; and stand below the awesome Pico Mountain on the Island of Pico. Enjoy the striking volcanic scenery, rich flora and fauna, and the peaceful way of life these islands are known for. Gain insight into the culture, history, and geography of these mystical islands. Our agents will make sure that you are well taken care of once you arrive. Remove the stress from travel and leave all the planning and details to us!
Day 1 - Terceira
Arrival to Terceira airport (aka Lajes) and pickup the rented car. Head to Angra do Heroismo, about 24 kilometers away. Spend 3 nights at a Hotel (4 stars) with daily buffet breakfast included. Terceira translates as "third", the third island to be discovered in the Azores archipelago. It's also the third largest in size. Walk the streets of Angra do Heroismo and you will feel transported back in time. This museum quality city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It's snug harbor is protected by a volcanic cone which made Angra a major staging point for European ships bringing back the wealth of their New World colonies during the 16th to 18th centuries. In Angra, ships formed convoys to Europe as protection from pirates. Climb the hill behind the pretty public gardens for a grand view of the city and the volcanic cone of Monte Brasil.
Day 2 - Terceira
Suggestion: Depart by the south coast to Praia da Vitoria via Porto Judeu, a small fishing village. Then stop at Sao Sebastiao and its 15th parish church. Nearby is an "Imperio", a small chapel that is characteristic of the towns in the Azores. Imperio are central to the religious festivals of the Holy Ghost (Espirito Santo) popular throughout the Azores. These festivals are of medieval origin but are now seldom seen in mainland Europe. Terceira boasts the most colorful imperio. Praia da Vitoria is a charming town with a main square and a pedestrian shopping street. Time for lunch (not included) in Praia. Take the mountain road up to Serra do Cume for a view of the rolling, multi-hued green fields, bordered by stone walls and hydrangeas and the harbor of Praia in the distance. Then to Algar do Carvao, a huge lava tube about 300 feet long with stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is open June 1 through September 30. Continue to Biscoitos on the north coast to see the natural lava swimming pools and to visit the wine museum. Return to your hotel by way of the typical villages of Altares, Doze Ribeiras and Sao Mateus.
Day 3 - Terceira
Day 4 -Terceira/Faial
Check out from the Hotel, return the car at the airport and flight to Faial. Arriving and pickup the car at the airport. Spend 3 nights at a Hotel (4 stars) in Horta with daily buffet breakfast included. Since their discovery in the 14th century, the Azores Islands have played an important role as a staging and victualing point for ships crossing the Atlantic, an enviable location for nations with New World colonies. Many conflicts between colonizing nations (Portugal, Spain, England) took place near Horta. Today now peaceful Horta is famous for its yacht harbor, a haven for trans-Atlantic yachts and sailboats. Visiting crews paint the harbor walls with names and pictures of their vessels.
Day 5 - Faial
Suggestion : Depart the hotel via the mountain road overlooking the Valley of Flamengos, toward Caldeira, the highest point on the island. Continue north to Capelinhos, site of the last volcanic eruption in the Azores. This 1957-58 event added 2 square km to the island. Earthquakes and ash destroyed much of the west side of the island prompting many islanders to emigrate to North America. The elements are slowly eroding the ash. There is a nearby museum detailing the eruption.
Day 6 - Faial/ Pico/ Faial
Trip to Pico Island. Leave the car in Horta and take a 30 minutes ferry trip to Pico. Pickup the car in the morning and drop off by the end of the afternoon at Madalena do Pico Harbor, according to the ferry schedule.
Day 7 - Faial / S. Miguel
Check out from the Hotel, return the car at the airport and flight to Sao Miguel. Arrival and pickup the car at the airport. Sao Miguel is the largest and most geographically diverse of the islands. Upon arrival in Ponta Delgada, pickup the rented car. Spend 3 nights at a Hotel (4 stars). Ponta Delgada is the largest city as well as the capital of the Azores. Urban sprawl is beginning to set in but the historic central part of the city is still charming. The hotel is well located for walks through the old section. Balance of the day at leisure.
Day 8 - S. Miguel
Suggestion: Trip to Furnas. Just outside of Ponta Delgada, the rural life of Sao Miguel dominates. Depart along the south road passing the village of Lagoa for a viewpoint at Caloura. Continue to Vila Franca, once the capital. Upon arrival in the Furnas area, visit the lake and hot springs, and see the holes in the ground where meals are cooked by underground steam. Pots full of various meats, sausages, potatoes, and vegetables are steamed for 7 hours to produce "Cozido das Furnas" (Caldeira Stew). Continue to the charming town of Furnas for a lunch stop. Visit the beautiful botanical gardens established in the 18th century (entry fee not included) with the opportunity to swim in the hot springs swimming pool. Cross the island to the north coast, stopping for a fine view of both the south and north coasts from an interior highland. On the way, visit a tea plantation, the only one in Europe.
Day 9 - S. Miguel
Suggestion: Trip to the twin Lakes, Lagoa das Sete Cidades. Head west to one of the most awesome natural sights in the world, the twin caldeira lakes of Sete Cidades. The view from "Vista do Rei" (King's View) high on the crater's rim is stunning. Far below, next to the lakes, is the pretty village of Sete Cidades (Seven Cities, named for a mythical kingdom). Descend into the caldeira to visit the town. Before returning to Ponta Delgada, stop at a pineapple plantation. The Azores are not warm enough to grow pineapples in the open but they thrive in the greenhouses with careful cultivation methods.
Day 10 - S. Miguel
Check out from the Hotel and return the car at the airport.