Excursions in Azores
Get to know the island of São Miguel, from a different perspective, off the beaten track roads, and with a spirit of adventure.
The best scenery and the most interesting sights can be found on the western part of the island; visit the places than can only be reached by 4x4 vehicles.
Discover Sete Cidades and the beautiful view over the famous twin lakes. Visit Ponta do Escalvado and Mosteiros, with its beautiful coastline, shaped with lava rocks that contrast with the blue sea. On the way to Ferraria, visit the old lighthouse in Ginetes (only possible on Wednesdays). Then get ready to head to Ferraria and experience a relaxing swim in the hot sea water natural swimming pool.
For bird watching enthusiasts and others, this tour is the best way to spot some of the birds in the Azores. In this archipelago, 227 bird species can be seen, 33 nest here and a third of these are endemic subspecies. With specialised guides, the guests will have the chance to observe these endemic birds, their behaviour, diets and much more, always surrounded by magnificent landscapes.
On the Island of Pico, and considered one of the world's most beautiful volcanoes, Pico presents a real challenge for all those who enjoy climbing mountains. When seen from a far, it looks easy enough to climb and therefore surprises many visitors to the island.
With an altitude of 2.351 meters, it is the highest point of Portugal.
It is crowned by Pico Alto, a round crater with a diameter of about 500 meters and a depth that reaches 30 meters, covered by thick endemic vegetation, which becomes scarcer and scarcer until it disappears at an altitude of roughly 2000 meters.
For something truly different, why not step back in time and experience a taste of life on the island, a century ago.
Situated on the southeast coast of São Miguel, in an area that includes the villages of Ginetes, Sete Cidades, Mosteiros and others, each with its unique characteristics to be enjoyed, Quinta das Raiadas allows you to discover the best there is in natural beauty, in this area of the island.
Let yourself be driven in a horse carriage around the village of Ginetes and its surroundings and enjoy the journey into the past - appreciate how bread was made in the olden days, maybe learn how to milk a cow and try a hand at working the land.
A meal served with regional products, completes this amazing experience.
Swimming with dolphins is a wonderful way to visit the dolphins in their natural habitat. Entering the water provided with a mask and snorkel you get surrounded by blue water and as the dolphins joyfully glide by, you can watch them as well as hear them, an amazing experience.
Before the trip a briefing takes place to explain the cetacean species that can be observed, safety measures on board and the protection procedures of species at sea. On board each passenger is required to wear a life vest. The organizers provide wet suits and snorkeling masks. Approximate time of journey - 2 hours.
This activity depends 100% on weather conditions and on the behavior of the animals. Dolphins may come close to swimmers because they are curious and like to relate by nature. The proximity and interaction is entirely decided by the dolphin - after all, they are free animals.
The Azores Islands are considered by many as the best spot in the Atlantic to do whale watching. The sea around them is incredibly rich. It is probably the place in Europe with the biggest sea diversity, and the existence of resident and migrating species allow for observation, all year round! The abundance of dolphins is amazing - they are everywhere, in groups of variable size, travelling from one place to another, feeding or simply playing their never-ending social games. On a single trip it may be possible to see the common Atlantic spotted dolphin, the bottlenose, rissos dolphins and striped dolphins. One must never forget that these beautiful animals are running free in their own habitat so it is never guaranteed to see them.
Departure to Lagoa do Fogo driving by the south side of the island towards Barrosa Mountain. Stop at the belvederes to admire not only the beautiful quiet lake, but also the landscape of the surroundings. The descent towards the north coast to visit the city of Ribeira Grande where the clients will have the opportunity to observe the Barroc Architecture from the XVII and XVIII centuries. The drive goes on along the north coast making stops at viewpoint of Sta Iria, tea plantations at Gorreana and view of Pico de Ferro. From this viewpoint it is possible to see the biggest and oldest volcanic crater where Furnas Lake and spas are settled.
Departure from Angra do Heroísmo to Monte Brasil, following the South side of the island and passing by the villages of Serretinha, Porto Judeu, Baia da Salga, São Sebastião and Cabo da Praia. Arrival at Praia da Vitória town, for a short stroll and to visit the main church. Continue to Serra do Facho with a magnificent view over the town and the sea, and along to Serra do Cume from where you can enjoy the view to the manta de retalhos (the way the pasture fields are delimited gives the appearance of a patchwork). Lunch will be served at local restaurant.
This is a walking tour to the center of Angra Heroismo, UNESCO World Heritage since 1983.
By 09h00, departure from the hotels in Angra do Heroism passing the following locations: Convento São Gonçalo (entrance fee not included -optional and payable directly), the Bettencourt Palace, the Cathedral of the Azores, Angrense Theatre, Palace of the Captains-General, College Church, Garden Duke of Terceira, Old Market Square, Town Hall, Church of Mercy, Heroism Creek Marina overlooking the fortress of S. John the Baptist, stop at the Embroidery House. Throughout the tour there is plenty of opportunities to stop at the city cafes for a drink and a local cake (optional and not included - payable directly), and buy some traditional crafts of the Azores.
Departure from Ponta Delgada to Povoação driving along the south road of the island. This village, situated in the most south eastern part of the island, is where the first Portuguese navigators arrived. Povoação means settlement because it was in fact the first settlement of the island. Stop to walk at the seaside. Next stop is Ponta da Madrugada, one of the most pleasant view points of the island. Continue to Nordeste and stop for lunch. Walk around the center of Nordeste. Drive through the several villages on the mountain foot of Pico da Vara, the highest point on the island a very impressive landscape. Drive up to Salto do Cavalo where you can enjoy the view of practically the whole island. The belvederes in Nordeste are particularly beautiful. Return to Ponta Delgada along the north coast.
Departure from Ponta Delgada towards Fajã de Baixos pineapple glasshouses - an opportunity to visit the various greenhouses, see the fruit in the various stages of growth, and learn of the different methods used, to produce the worldÂ´s most famous pineapple. Amazing really, when you think that this fruit, when introduced to the island in the 19th century, was merely for decorative purposes.
The tour continues along the north coast to Pico do Carvão from where it is possible to see both sides of the island. At the viewpoint of Vista do Rei, you can enjoy fantastic views of the two lakes Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde that lie in the crater of Sete Cidades extinct volcano. Return to Ponta Delgada.
This walk takes us to the North coast of the island and has an estimated time of about 3 hours. Beginning in Lomba da Maia, the trail goes along contrasting landscapes, as it follows under dense vegetation, then along running streams and opens for amazing sea views.
On the way, as we head down towards the Praia da Viola beach, where there is a chance to swim, some old typical watermills are a reminder of an ancient industry. After enjoying one of the most beautiful beaches in the Azores we continue to the end of the trail, with astonishing views of the North coast.
In the afternoon we go to Furnas, one of the most exotic areas of S. Miguel, to visit the most important fumaroles fields in the Azores and try assorted mineral waters.
This walk takes place in the south-central area of S. Miguel. A part of this walk is done along a Levada (a derivation channel). In this path you will see well preserved species of the Azorean endemic flora - the laurustinus (Viburnum tinus), the cranberry (Vaccinium cylindraceum), the laurel (Laurus azorica) and the holly (llex perado ssp. Azorica). The high point of the walk is the arrivals at Lagoa do Fogo, one of the most beautiful lakes of the Azores. Lagoa do Fogo is located at 575 m of altitude and occupies the bottom of the caldera of the volcano of Água de Pau.
This walk takes place at the south-east part of the island, in a place named Faial da Terra. On the way we visit Sanguinho, a traditional village that has been uninhabited since 1970. The trail is lined by exotic and luxurious vegetation from the five continents, as well as some Azorean avifauna such as the blackbird (Turdus merula azorensis), the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs moreletti), the buzzard (Buteo buteo rothschildi), the native canary (Serinus canaria) and the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla). During the walk we stop by the beautiful waterfall of Salto do Prego where it is possible to take a swim.
Discover the west side of the island. This walk takes place in an area that is known for its beauty and legends. It starts at the Vista do Rei viewpoint and ends by the lake of Sete Cidades, with some stops on the way to point out some endemic and exotic species, such as the incense (Pittosporum undulatum), the cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica) and the yellow ginger lily (Hedychium gardenarum); at the lake, some ichthyologic fauna as the Rutilus macrolepidotus, the trout (Salmo fario), the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and the perch (Perca fluviatilis), can be found.
Enjoy amazing panoramic views of the north and west coast of the island. On the way back to Ponta Delgada there is a short stop at the viewpoint of Santiago lake.