Azores small group tour

Price
£1995including UK flights
Duration
10 Days
Countries
Azores, Portugal
Type
Small group
Group size
8-16
Reviews
More info
Price includes international flights from the UK, accommodation on twin/double basis, airport transfers, touring with English-speaking Guide and meals as stated (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
Single Supplement = £495 pp.
Make enquiry

Description of Azores small group tour

The Azores, an island group boasting hot geysirs, rugged volcanoes and a wild natural beauty just waiting to be explored on this small-group 10-day tour. Explore the most well-known island in the group, Sao Miguel, with visits to Furnas Valley and its thermal springs and sample a meal cooked in traditional Cozida style. Hop over to Terceira Island and enjoy the panoramic vistas from Serra Do Cume viewpoint and visit popular UNESCO-registered Angra do Heroismo.

Crossing to Pico Island embark on a whale and dolphin watching excursion, a real highlight of any trip to the Azores. Cross by boat to Faial Island to explore the island's lively capital at Horta which has a harbour full of colourful yachts. Spend time discovering the history of the Capelhinos volcanic eruption and the moon-like landscape around the volcano itself which stands in stark contrast to the pretty flower-lined lanes of the rest of the island. With the cleanest unpolluted air in the world and a very peaceful, laidback way of life, this Azores holiday will leave you relaxed, refreshed and ready to go.

Itinerary

Day 1Today take the flight to Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel Island (via Lisbon). Land and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure before a welcome dinner and folklore concert in a traditional, local restaurant as a group. (D)
Day 2Drive to the Furnas Valley. En-route stop at the ocean viewpoint at Pisão at Água de Pau village before driving on to Vila Franca Do Campo, the first capital of the island. Visit Furnas lagoon and taste traditional cozida nas caldeiras (cooked in the ground using volcanic heat). After this unique lunch explore the botanical garden and see the geysers and mineral water springs: bathe in the waters if you wish (don't forget your swimmers and towel!). Explore the tea plantation and tasting and drive onwards to Lagoa do Fogo, a lake in the interior of a crater in an extinct volcano. Return to the hotel. (B,L)
Day 3Discover the valley of Sete Cidades which comprises two lakes in the centre of a volcanic crater. Stroll along the lakeshore or enjoy a coffee in a local cafe. Stop for a buffet lunch at a typical Azorean restaurant followed by a visit to the Ethnographical Museum in Capelas Continue to Faja de Baixo to visit a pineapple plantation before returning to Ponta Delgada. (B,L)
Day 4Take a short flight to Terceira Island. Enjoy a full day tour of the island which is also known as Lilac Island. Enjoy views from the Serra Do Cume viewpoint and visit UNESCO-registered Angra do Heroismo. Enjoy the natural swimming pools of black volcanic rock in Boscoitos. Overnight in Angro do Heroisma. (B/L)
Day 5This morning enjoy a walking tour of Angra do Heroísmo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the main church of Se Catedral and the City Museum before a stroll through the shopping district and botanical garden. End the tour tasting some delicious local calorie-laden pastries. (B)
Day 6This morning take a short flight across to Pico Island and transfer to the hotel in the tiny capital of Madalena. In the afternoon take a short drive to the picturesque fishing village of Lajes do Pico. After a talk on the marine conservation and history of whale watching, set out for the open seas in the anticipation of seeing dolphins at play and hopefully the wonderful whales. (B)
Day 7Travel north to the village of Cachorro, where wine production has been the main economic activity since 1852. Visit the wine museum, housed in a former vineyard, and taste different local drinks such as verdelho, blackberry liquor or honey rum. Continue to Sao Roque village and stop at the old whale factory before heading towards Lajes village to visit the Whaler’s Museum. After lunch return to Madalena along the south coast and stop at a typical cheese factory to enjoy a taste of some of Pico’s delicious cheeses. (B,L)
Day 8Take a short walk to the harbour for the 4-mile boat crossing to Faial island. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, Genuino, named after the owner’s yacht in which he sailed around the world. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore the Azores most eye-catching town - Horta. (B,L)
Day 9Spend today exploring Faial, also known as the Blue Island. Discover the Capelhinos Interpretative Centre to learn about the eruption of this undersea volcano. Enjoy lunch followed by a pass by the highest point on the island to enjoy impressive views. (B/L)
Day 10Return to Faial airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Price information

£1995including UK flights
Price includes international flights from the UK, accommodation on twin/double basis, airport transfers, touring with English-speaking Guide and meals as stated (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
Single Supplement = £495 pp.
Make enquiry

Check dates

For departure dates contact us on 01273 823 700

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Reviews

2 Reviews of Azores small group tour

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 16 Sep 2022 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Whalewatching and bathing in a hotspring

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Expect a quick change of weather and take a rain cover. Generally warm (short sleeves & shorts) sometimes hot then a heavy short rain heavy shower out of
the blue!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All lunches were traditional and of local foods & wine!!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Good to excellent. Hurricane Daniel affected the weather pattern for a few days but the programme was adjusted to help.

Reviewed on 24 Sep 2022 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Whale watching experience off Faial !

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Watch out for lack of cohesion between sales advisers and administrators. If someone leaves from admin you may not get any contact with the tour operator unless you go on a hard chase. If you want paper copies of documentation chivvy hard. I did and this just arrived before we left home but most people in the group received nothing!

However, I cannot fault the local agency reps in the Azores. They are extremely
professional and work very hard, sometimes in difficult circumstances, eg adverse weather conditions.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The Azores is young to tourism and not economically wealthy so foreign income
is welcome.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday was what we wanted and we visited several islands. The local reps
from a local agency were all great, very personable and very knowledgeable.
This compensated for some of the Tour Operator's shortcomings.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Mrs Greaves,

Thank you very much for your feedback.

I am sorry to read within your comments that there was a lack of cohesion between our Teams. I can assure you that it is not normally the case.

We have investigated why you had this impression, and I realise that we should have been more proactive in communicating with you, once the postponed
plans were finalised, and I am sorry that you had to call us with questions, rather than us providing all the information to you, in a timely fashion.

We do now generally send electronic tickets, rather than paper copies, although we are more than happy to do so, if preferred, and again, I apologise if this
didn't appear straightforward.

I am delighted to read that you enjoyed exploring the Azores and that the whale-watching was a particular highlight, together with the very good local staff.

Thank you for choosing to travel with us and for taking the time to share your feedback.

With kind regards,

Gillian

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.

Planet

The Azores as a destination boasts a wide diversity of opportunities for environmentally friendly leisure and recreation and received the highest sustainability score on the Global Sustainable Tourism Review conducted by Green Destinations, an international sustainability support system used to measure, monitor and improve the sustainability profile of destinations and regions. It recently implemented an innovative governance system of Protected Areas aiming to improve the management of nature and conservation and ensures the ecological structure and connectivity of the archipelago. The archipelago enjoys sustainable practices ranging from a rich and protected marine life, protected nature areas with well regulated hiking trails to an “eco-school” and the renewable energy use on the island. Water management has been improved by the Regional Plan for Water (PRAA), which aims to encourage a rational use of water.

Aware of the geotourism potential of the archipelago and aiming to conserve the Azorean volcanic landscapes, the regional and local authorities adopted a geotourism strategy which included the creation and implementation of a Geopark. With 121 geosites spread over the nine islands and surrounding seafloor, the Azores Geopark has recently been included in the European Geopark Network (EGN), achieving international recognition. The development of geotourism in the Azores has contributed to sustainable tourism, promoting the local economy and minimizing the sociocultural and environmental impacts of tourism.

Our local agents encourage those that work with them and their visitors to embrace responsible tourism in the Azores, making environmentally friendly, sustainable, ethical and respectful choices when travelling.

They are committed to preserving the regions unique environment and a portion of their profits goes towards various conservation projects in Sao Miguel such as Life Priolo. The Priolo (or Azores Bullfinch) is a bird species endemic to Sao Miguel island, specifically to the mountain area of Serra da Tronqueira in the east of the island. Numbers are estimated to be in the region of 775 birds and it is the most threatened passerine bird in Europe and listed as critically endangered.

In our local agents office, in Ponta Delgada, they recycle as much as possible including paper, cardboard, printer toner cartridges and excess holiday brochures. All the hotels featured on the tour subscribe to the now international standard request to guests to re-use towels and bedding, turn off lights and air-conditioning units on leaving rooms and avoid littering in their local environment. As the tour is a group tour this helps reduce vehicle emissions when compared to private trips or fly-drives.

The tour stays in the Hotel Terceira Mar on the island of Terceira which is committed to good environmental practices. They harness rainwater for garden irrigation which in their last review in 2013 amounted to 52% of their total irrigation consumption. The hotel is working to reduce energy consumption through better temperature control in the hotel. They noted a 10% reduction between 2012 and 2013 and 14.8% of the electricity used was produced by renewable sources (wind and hydro production). They also noted a 44.2% decrease of the use of diesel between 2012 and 2013 due to the decrease in boiler temperature and better control of room temperatures during low occupancy periods.

People

We select suppliers whose businesses are owned and managed by local ecologists, biologists and marine biologists who strive to educate visitors and protect the natural landscape of these beautiful islands. Only local guides who are aware of local customs and cultures are employed which not only keeps the funds paid to staff within the local community but also helps avoid any potential cultural clashes between visitors and locals.

Our local agents are also committed to helping the local community. Rabo de Peixe is a small village situated on the north coast of the island of São Miguel in the Azores. It is known as the poorest village in Portugal due to its high birth rate and problems relating to alcoholism, school absenteeism and general lack of special teaching classes and, in some cases, domestic abuse. The Project “Rabo de Peixe Sabe Sonhar” (Rabo de Peixe dream maker) was created in 2004 by Jesuit priests in collaboration with a group of young university students. Their objective was to provide holidays for the underprivileged children of Rabo de Peixe. Our local agents are supporting the work of this worthy cause.

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