Day 1: Depart Malta
Meet at Malta International Airport for our flight to Lisbon and then to Azores Islands. (Flights will be purchased separately). During our adventure we will be staying on São Miguel island, the largest island of the Azores archipelago. Also known as ‘Ilha Verde,’ the Green Island, São Miguel encompasses Jurassic-like forests, volcanic peaks, azure lakes, large calderas and a dramatic coastline by the wild Atlantic Ocean. During our time here we will explore natural parks and spend time out in nature. So get ready for an active but pleasant adventure!!!
Our boutique hotel is located in the southern capital Ponta Delgada…a graceful blackand-white affair, with mosaic cobbled streets and intricate balconies meandering down to a marina lined with restaurants for the perfect dinner, and several bars for a relaxing drink in the evening.
Day 2: Hike Moinhos do Felix & visit a Tea Plantation (B, PL=Picnic Lunch)
Discover the hidden gems of the north side of the island of Sao Miguel with us on this diverse tour. Walk along a whimsical trail through the woods and follow streams and rivers dotted with beautiful waterfalls along the way. Take a break with a cup of tea or homemade green tea ice-cream when we a pay a visit to the only tea plantation and factory in Europe. Moinhos do Félix Waterfalls Trail Located in Lomba de São Pedro, the easternmost of the 14 parishes that make up the municipality of Ribeira Grande, we can find the Moinho do Félix Waterfalls Trail. Setting off on our trail we will be welcomed with wonderful coastal views leading us down to the first waterfall on this route Cascata do Homem. We will continue our hike following in the footsteps of the Azorean forefathers; going uphill through the woods and weaving in and out through the trees until reaching the old watermill Moinho do Félix sitting next to the waterfall Cascata do Teófilo. Moving on along this ancient trail you will feel the peace and tranquility here, with the sound of the stream to guide us to the last waterfall and its natural pool Poço da Truta. Following the trail back up to the village we will pass by several fountains which in former times served to supply water to the local population.
Visit Tea Plantation
After a picnic lunch in beautiful surroundings we will pay a visit to the Cha Gorreana Tea Factory and Plantation, which is the oldest and currently only tea plantation in Europe. We will take a tour through this family run estate and take a closer look at the whole tea manufacturing process; from cultivating to the final product, which you will have the opportunity to taste for yourself.
NOTE: We are flexible with the itinerary of the day depending on local conditions and group abilities. It is recommended that you are in good physical shape as this tour includes, at times; walking on.
Day 3: Nature Hike, Swim with dolphins & Dip in the Natural Hot Springs (B=Breakfast)
Hike Janeka d’Inferno
Today’s hike is considered to be one of the local favourites, and with good reason! We will be hiking an easy circular trail that will tak us through a variety of different sceneries as we will be hiking through pastures, over precarious bridges and in the jungle like surroundings. It will be an adventurous walk, stopping halfway at the main highlight of this trail; Janela do Inferno, literally meaning Hells Window. Here we will stop to admire this natural wonder, before continuing our hike along the creel and back to our starting point with views over the south coast.
Swimming with dolphins
The Azores islands are known for attracting a large number of dolphins who are very interactive with swimmers. We will take a boat trip out on the Atlantic Ocean with a marine biologist who will point out the different species of dolphins and teach us how to enter the water safely and how to behave in the ocean with these wild mammals. We will have the opportunity to swim with a mask and snorkel through crystal clear waters to witness friendly dolphins at play while keeping a respectful distance, watch them jump and splash from the boat, and relax into their
blissful marine world. This will definitely be one of our most memorable experiences in the Azores.
Found on the North Slope of the youngest volcano on the island, Fogo Volcano, is an amazing hot spring in lush surroundings. We will end our day with a dip in these thermal baths where we can relax and unwind in beautiful surroundings.
Day 4: From Gardens to Off-road (B=Breakfast)
Rise and shine! After breakfast we will meet our guide for a stroll through the old streets and around the town of Ponta Delgada. We will start from the market where we can see what is growing on the island, together with some local spices and specialities, visit the old harbour, where the old city gate is standing and, climb to the famous bell tower. From the centre, we will walk to Jardim Antonio Borges, in our opinion, one of the beautiful gardens we have ever visited. It features native plants, caves, ponds and an ancient tree, straight out of a fairy tale. Here, we will also have time to enjoy a cup of coffee and scrumptious dessert in this peaceful paradise, before we move on to our next activity.
4×4 Adventure (optional)
This afternoon you have the option to hop on a 4 seater buggy and/or 2 seater quad bike, and experience unreal landscapes along volcanic rock walls. On this 4×4 tour you will pass by farms with many happy cows, surrounded by nature and the ocean. We will follow a trail lead by our guide, and you can choose to drive, site back and enjoy the ride, or do both!!
Day 5: Multi-activity Day (B, PL)
Today is another day full of adventure!! This morning you will take part in (1a) Coasteering for the daring ones, or (1b) Hiking for the tranquil nature lovers.
Coasteering involves walking along the coastline on foot and also by swimming. This will give us the opportunity to experience the beautiful coast and some of its inlets and caves, which few ever get to see. On this particular Coasteering tour, we will explore the beautiful volcanic coastline of the island of São Miguel and some of its various bays and caves, using various methods, among which are exciting jumps from remarkable cliffs, some moments of controlled climbing, dives, and a refreshing swim directly in the ocean. NOTE: If you are uncomfortable about jumping from a height, know that there are alternatives. We have also chosen a pleasant route so the activity is suitable for anyone who can swim.
Congro Lake Hike
For those who do not wish to do Coasteering, you have the opportunity to go on a hike to Lagoa do Congro. This lagoon occupies an explosion crater, the result of a phreatic eruption, located in one of the most active geological faults on the island of São Miguel. The particularity of this explosion crater formed around 3,900 years ago lies in the fact that it originated in phreatomagmatic explosions in which there was contact between rising magma and water table levels existing in the underlying formations. Due to its origins, Lagoa do Congro has characteristics that distinguish it from most lagoons on the island. Its main characteristic is that it is embedded in the surrounding region, relatively flat, in the form of a large open hole in the surrounding area, as
opposed to occupying the top of a well-defined volcanic cone. This is an easy circular route following a path through a densely green area, taking you down to the Congro Lake where we will take a moment to enjoy this tranquil spot. We will continue along a winding trail through the woods back to our starting point. After the morning activity we will enjoy a picnic lunch in a beautiful spot, and then get ready for the 2nd part of the day.
Vila Franca do Campo
This afternoon we will hop on to the famous yet exclusive Vila Franca do Campo islet, and you can choose to either (2a) Kayak to the island, or else, (2b) Relax and take a boat. Kayaking along the rugged coastline of the island is in fact one of the best ways to take a break and still enjoy having an outdoor experience. This will allow us to get up close and personal with high cliffs, little islands, caves, and many more rock formations that the sea has carved over the centuries. Upon arrival at the local marina, we will proceed with the material distribution and a quick safety briefing. Leaving the harbour, we will head to this epic islet where we will also have the opportunity to snorkel in crystal clear waters. With our local nature guide, we will kayak into the islet
bay, and venture on the islet for a better look of this Protected Landscape. We will cover a total of approximately 5 km, which normally lasts about 3 hours depending on weather conditions and group skills. NOTE: for those who prefer to catch a boat instead, this option is also available. The boat leaves from the same marina as the kayaks and so participants can meet the rest of
the group at the islet.
Day 6: Canyoning Adventure (or Furnas Lake Hike) & Visit Furnas (B, L)
The perfect way to spend the day, with an adventurous morning and a relaxing afternoon to explore some of the best the island has to offer: beautiful nature, great food, thermal hot-springs, good company and of course a lot of Fun! This morning we have 2 optional activities to choose from; (everyone is free to choose their preferred activity)
- Option 1: Canyoning Adventure
Option 2: Hike the Furnas
Canyoning for beginners
This is a very thrilling activity where we will combine adventure with the beautiful untouched areas of the island for a memory of a lifetime. we will immerse ourselves in nature by taking you to explore magnificent rivers and waterfalls using different techniques such as small jumps, slides, rappels and descending down the gorge. Undoubtedly, this is the most thrilling and adventurous way to experience Azorean nature up close in one of the most beautiful locations on the island. The route we chose is suitable for first timers and we will adjust the trail according to the group’s needs.
If you prefer to skip Canyoning, then you will have the perfect opportunity to Hike in unique surroundings, alongside bubbling cauldrons and fumaroles. You have to see it to believe it! The Furnas Valley is a geothermal spot where mud pots bubbles steam amid the lush green landscape. We will go on one of the most scenic trails on the island where we will witness a placid crater and hot springs. This easy 7.5km trail will take us along the peaceful lake and through a forest to a pretty waterfall. We will start at the viewpoint of Pico do Ferro and hike down Furnas lake till we reach the smouldering fumarole. This is an opening in the Earth’s surface from which steam and volcanic gases are emitted. We will continue walking towards the village where we will be in
touch with more volcanic manifestations.
Afternoon activity for all
After a morning of adventure we will come together as one group for a gastronomical experience as we will enjoy the volcano-cooked Cozido, the most tanyalising dish in the Azores. This is a rich meat and vegetable stew, which is slow-cooked beneath the summering grounf in the soil’s geothermal heat. It is prepared by lowering the pot in a hot spring heated by volcanic steam. (Vegetarian options are also available). We will akso take a short stroll to the nearby fumaroles and taste the different waters coming from local fountains.
And after a hearty meal, what’s better than a relaxing dip in the thermal baths found here? We will finish off our day at the 18th centuray Terra Nostra park for a dip in the thermal pool with maineral-rich water coming from the volcanic spring at 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. Feel reborn in misty waters and revitalise and restore the harmony between body, mind and nature.
Day 7 : Sete Cidades hike, Ferraria & Farewell Dinner (B, D)
Situated in the Western side of Sao Miguel is one of the most beautiful areas on the island, attracting visitors from all over the world. Today we will be hiking a circular route through a Protected Area to witness Sete Cidades, the twin blue and green crater lakes. The trail will take us up through the hills, where we will be able to see as far as the Pau Pique lake. We will continue uphill reaching 873m where we will be rewarded with panoramic views towards the Éguas lake on one side, and the Rasa Lake ahead. From here we will go down to Lagoa Rasa which is surrounded by several volcanic cones.
We will continue our way around the lake and take a short detour through a wooded area of Japanese Cedar, until reaching the Empadadas lagoons. From here we will go back to our initial starting point, where we will enter the Forest Park of Mata do Canário. Here we will pay a visit to Lagoa do Canário and stroll through the park to the famous viewpoint of Boca do Inferno to for breathtaking views.
Back at the car, we will drive to the next highlight; the viewpoint of Vista do Rei, where we will enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the village of Sete Cidades and the Green and Blue Lakes below us. NOTE: We are flexible with this hiking route as it is dependent on weather conditions and group abilities and have other equally beautiful alternatives if need be.
Afterwards we will head to Ferraria to enjoy some natural hot baths in the Atlantic ocean, which is quite a mind-blowing experience in itself!
And then, our time on this Green Island has come to an end, and we will celebrate together a week of life long memories with a farewell dinner.
Day 8: Back Home
Our adventure has come to an end! An early morning transfer will drop us off at the airport for our flight* back home.
*Please note that flights will be purchased separately and individually.
We ultimately hope to Experience all of this with you!