I am currently on a train heading to Vancouver to catch my flight to the Azores. The Azores is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal, an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 850 mi west of continental Portugal. Wildland doesn't currently go to Azores but my mission to find out everything these beautiful islands have to offer and from the looks of it I am in for a real treat!
Photos by Futurismo
The Azores has a lot to offer adventure travelers: world-class whale watching (25 cetacean species), natural thermal pools, UNESCO sites, out of this world kayaking and paddle boarding, incredible volcano hikes, the only tea plantation in Europe and so much more.
Here's a breakdown of my itinerary and make sure to follow our Instagram to see my trip on folding. I will be posting daily photos and videos that you won't want to miss!
Day 1 - Mountain Bike & Kayak in Sete Cidades & Ferrria: Sete Cidades is one of the most famous and legendary lakes São Miguel Island and our day starts by hiking down into a volcanic crater to access the lake. Once at the lake we plan to kayak and bike around the lake. My evening is going to be filled with meeting local experts and guides to learn everything Azores offers travelers. We'll end the night by exploring Ponta Delgada, the Azorean capital.
Day 2 - Thematic Tour to Caldeira and Capelinhos: Early morning flight to Faial Island and then we visit Caldeira - a massive volcanic crater with beautiful views of the sea and Pico Island. We'll hike along the Capelinhos Volcano examining the uniquely preserved vegetation until we reach an area affected by the most recent eruption in 1957. After, we head to Caldeira's historic lighthouse to overlook sections of the island that have been rebuilt since the eruption. From the lighthouse, we'll embark on a 'walk on the moon'. The contrast of black volcanic rocks, sand, and blue ocean is supposed to make you feel like you've been transported to another planet.
Day 3 - The Mountains & Wines of Pico Island: Early morning flight to explore the mountains of Pico Island, featuring Portugal's highest peak, Mount Pico, at 7713ft. We start the day exploring the UNESCO designated vineyards of Vinhas da Criação Velha, where we'll learn about the unique style of vineyard and the varietal found on the island. After I'm headed Gruta das Torres, a geological formation created by the flow and cooling of the subterranean magma rivers that make up the longest lava cave in the Azores. Next, we'll drive to São Roque to visit a traditional winery that produces, "Verdelho do Pico" ("Adega A Buraca"), where a traditional meal and wine awaits! After lunch, we visit a former whaling station that has been converted into a museum.
Day 4 – Cultural Tour of Terceira Island: This morning we fly to Terceira Island to discover the peculiar traditions of Terceira Island and the UNESCO designated city of Angra do Heroísmo. First stop is a short visit to Praia da Vitória - one of the first regions populated on the island. From there we'll explore the coast, with its colonial churches and traditional 'impérios', colourful small chapels dedicated to the worship of the Holy Spirit. Next, we have the truly unique opportunity to walk inside an extinct volcano whose chimney remains intact. Known as Algar do Carvão, the black colors of the interior give visitors an unmatched glimpse into the inter-workings of a volcano. After we head to Monte Brasil to enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the city that was once the most important trading port in the Atlantic.
DAY 5 – Whale & Dolphin Watching: Flight to São Miguel Island and then onto our whale watching boat. The whale watching in the Azores is truly exceptional but we also have a chance to see turtles, seabirds and other marine life. Next, we head to the city of Ponta Delgada for lunch and then to Furnas. Furnas lies on the bottom of a crater in one of the three central active volcanoes on the island of São Miguel. It is known for its fumaroles, the beautiful lake, and Terra Nostra Botanical Park - one of the most beautiful gardens of the Azores, dating back to the eighteenth century. Here we bathe in the iron-rich hot water baths that have a temperature up to 40ºC, I am really looking forward to this!
Day 6 – Bike Tour in Furnas & Hike in Sanguinho-Salto Do Prego: Today I will experience the volcanic origins of the Island in Furnas. The morning begins with an easygoing bike through the village. We'll stop at the market to buy produce from the local merchants and then pedal a short distance to Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lake Calderas), where a local chef awaits to teach us how to cook the famous, "Cozido das Furnas." Once prepared, the meal will cook underground for 6 hours using only the steam of the Earth. While dinner is in the oven we have a walking tour of the island's interior. Our walk starts on a steep narrow road that leads us to Sanguinho – a village that was abandoned since the early 70's and is now undergoing restoration. Upon reaching Salto do Prego's waterfall, we'll enjoy views of the beautiful waterfall.
Day 7 – Jeep Safari to Caldeira Velha & Lagoa Do Fogo: We start the day with a visit to the only tea plantation in Europe. Here we visit the working tea factory and have a lovely break to taste the locally produced tea. In the morning, we'll experience nature at its best in the volcanic crater of Fogo Lake. The lake is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved lakes in the Azores. We wrap our adventure up with lunch on Praia de Santa Bárbara (Santa Bárbara Beach), a black sandy beach with stunning coastal views. Then back to Seattle….
What do you think, should we design some trips to Azores? Leave a comment and let us know.
Also, don't forget to follow my adventures on our Instagram!
Keeping it wild,