Island hopping in the Azores, small group

“On this two-week small group walking tour, hike the five most unspoilt of the nine remote Azores islands: Sao Miguel, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial.”

Highlights

Sao Miguel | Ponta Delgada | Sete Cidades | Terceira Island | Angra do Heroismo | Biscoitos | Sao Jorge Island | Velas | Caldeira de Cima | Pico Island | Pico Volcano | Horta | Faial | Optional activities include: whale watching

Description of Island hopping in the Azores, small group

Enjoy a thorough introduction to the Azores on this two-week hiking holiday. The Azores are Portugal’s most remote Atlantic Ocean islands, and their volcanic topography makes for exciting walking, with thermal pools and ash-covered slopes along the way. In a group of no more than 16, you’ll summit mountains, skirt the edges of crater lakes, and find yourself dwarfed by head-high hydrangea bushes in full bloom. Don’t miss Sete Cidades, twin lakes with unique green and blue colouring.

This trip combines easy and moderate hikes – many of them optional – with varied volcanic landscapes. You can break up your journey with whale-watching excursions and wine-soaked lunches. Breakfasts are provided, but you shouldn’t miss dining in local restaurants and trying local cheeses.

You’ll start on the largest Azores island, Sao Miguel, which has Europe’s only remaining tea factory, the beautiful Sete Cidades, and Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens. Then it’s on to Terceira Island, where you can swim in lava rock pools and explore the Renaissance roads of Angra do Heroismo. On the long skinny and long-isolated island of Sao Jorge you‘ll find ridge walks and cliff-top views. Pico Island presents the popular challenge of ascending its dramatic central volcano, whilst Faial, the fifth and final island on your trip, is a busy rest-stop for yachts on transatlantic crossings. See them all on this comprehensive two-week trip.

Travel Team

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02 May 2020
£2055
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16 May 2020
£2095
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30 May 2020
£2015
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13 Jun 2020
£2065
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27 Jun 2020
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11 Jul 2020
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25 Jul 2020
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08 Aug 2020
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22 Aug 2020
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05 Sep 2020
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19 Sep 2020
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03 Oct 2020
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17 Oct 2020
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Responsible tourism

Island hopping in the Azores, small group

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

The nine volcanic islands that make up the Azores are designated as a Geopark, ensuring the protection of the geographic heritage, fauna and flora and marine areas. On this trip we visit five of the islands allowing us to appreciate their unique natural heritage. We explore each island by public buses, taxis and on foot, keeping to the official walking trails and travelling with respect for the environment. Our Tour Leaders and local guides are trained in how to actively promote responsible tourism and brief our groups on how they can minimise their own impacts, actively encouraging clients to carry all waste with them and use recycling bins that can be found both on the streets and in hotels.

The whale watching company that we use do not cater to mass tourism; the company depends on the whales and as such does everything possible to respect them. This includes keeping the legal distance from the whales and briefing all groups on how they should behave to protect the environment by not littering and keeping noise to a minimum whilst in the boats and out on the water.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

Community

We experience the different cultures of each island, learning about their traditions. In Furnas on Sao Miguel Island we witness the transportation of the Cozido, a dish unique to the Azores, cooked in a pot under the ground by the geothermal heat and we visit Gorreana, Europe’s oldest and only remaining tea factory which still using traditional processing methods.

The tea plantation has been owned by the same family since 1883. The tea is grown hundreds of miles away from industrial pollution without the use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, dyes or preservatives. It is harvested in the time honoured way between April and September with a traditional festival at the peak of the harvest!

On Pico Island we learn about the islands history of wine making and their traditional methods.
The vineyards are generally locally owned and in fact there are a large number of extremely small plots of land or ‘currais’ that may only contain a few grape vines. There are a few wineries on the island made under a cooperative scheme that benefits the local growers and keeps the traditional and complex vineyards alive and well. By visiting the vineyards we are helping to sustain the practise of wine making that has existed in harsh conditions since the mid -15th century.

Tourism is one of the main sources of income for the islands of the Azores and helps to maintain traditions, visiting five of the islands and working with locals we help to spread the economic benefits across the Azores.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

3 Reviews of Island hopping in the Azores, small group

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 07 May 2019 by

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


The scenery, the food and the others in the group

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


If you are inexperienced think through the packing carefully

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


Only by bringing money to the local economy

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


Very highly. Loved it

Reviewed on 13 Nov 2019 by

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


Visiting gardens in Ponta Delgada and Terra Nostra, the trail on the north coast of Sao Jorge, and the trail around the caldera on Faial.

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


Take plenty of money! We spent ca £500 each without buying anything extra like presents. There are lots of optional extras, and each costs money. On the last day, the tour of Faial was "optional" but in fact an essential part of the holiday, and because there were only 7 of us on the tour, the bus cost an extra £35 each.

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


Our visits to local gardens, including the Presidential garden, may have contributed a bit to conservation. Just by being tourists, we probably benefited local people by eating at restaurants and staying in hotels.

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


A really good holiday, very well organised, with lots of different activities. Going to 5 different islands was extremely interesting. We discussed the idea of having an extension to the holiday with visits to the other 4 islands - this would be really nice. Most of the hotels were very good, but food at restaurants was generally mediocre with the exception of dinner on Pico (?Petisca) which was superb. Tania was excellent as a guide, with a plan for every day's activities, though sudden changes caused by lack of transport or weather sometimes caused confusion!

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2018 by

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


Hiking Pico, some other excursions: whale watching, hiking other volcanoes, swimming with dolphins, tasting great wine, fishing and being able to have it cooked at a restaurant that served it to us.

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




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


just a few local people, I would say, not a group of people

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


I would say it's between a three and four stars.....didn't like a few of the hotels and it was hard with the leader who had to leave, not having someone right away and then having a substitute......it worked out, but not perfect. It was hot and some of the hotels didn't have fans or air conditioning.

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