Walking in the Azores

  • Premium
8 days
5 / 5 from 3 reviews
Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Premium Adventures, Private Group Adventures
Natural Wonders
Group size:

Trek on Europe's undiscovered volcanic archipelago 

It is hard to believe that the Azores are part of Europe. Born from the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean, this lush green archipelago of volcanic islands is a far cry from continental Portugal. Each of the nine islands has its own characteristics, from steep craters to abundant wildlife to sites of historical interest. All, however, are best explored on foot. We visit four of the most interesting islands, walking through UNESCO vineyards, lava plateaux (or 'fajas') and sunken volcanoes to showcase the Azores at their best.


  • Visit and explore four unique islands
  • Enjoy vineyards, volcanoes and hot springs
  • Walk around the tranquil waters of Lagoa do Fogo
  • Optional whale watching on the free day

Key information

  • 7 nights 4-star hotels, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days guided walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 2351m (on optional ascent of Mt. Pico), average 500m
  • Travel by internal flights, private minivan and boats
  • Countries visited: Portugal

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 5 lunches
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport (incl. internal flights) and listed activities
  • Internal flights (for all bookings, land only and flight inclusive)
  • Arrival & departure transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3943
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Walking & Trekking

Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour


Low altitude; good paths with some uneven terrain and steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 2 11.0km/6.0miles
Day 3 7.0km/4.0miles
Day 4 9.0km/5.0miles
Day 5 10.0km/6.0miles
Day 7 12.0km/7.0miles


Expand all
Ponta Delgada
Ponta Delgada
  • Day 1

    Start Ponta Delgada.

    Start Ponta Delgada.

  • Day 2

    Walk around Lake Furnas; afternoon visit to Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens and tea plantations.

    We start the week with a transfer to Furnas where we walk around the crater lake. Here food is sometimes cooked by the heat of vents after it has been buried in sealed pots in the baking earth. This traditional Azorian way of cooking is known as 'Cozido das Caldeiras' and will be served for lunch. In the afternoon we head into the Terra Nostra botanical gardens where we have time to admire exotic flowers and trees from all over the globe. Amongst the trees and bushes a series of aqueducts leads thermal spring water to a pool in the centre of the gardens, where for centuries people have been bathing in its medicinal waters. On the return to Ponta Delgada we stop off at the tea plantations of Gorreana where we observe the plantation, the factory and taste some of the local teas. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Morning flight to Faial; visit to Scrimshaw Museum and trek from Trupes do Capelo to the Capelinhos volcano.

    After breakfast we transfer to the airport for a short flight to Faial Island, known as the 'blue island' because of the large quantity of hydrangeas that bloom during the summer months. After landing, we transfer to Peter's Café Sport, a traditional resting point for many sailors braving the Atlantic crossing. Here we will be guided round one of the largest Scrimshaw (carvings done on bone or ivory) collections in the world.  The variation in designs of this 19th century art form, so synonymous with the Azores due to their whaling heritage, provide a varied and interesting experience.

    After lunch, we take a short transfer to 'Trupes do Capelo', the start of today’s short hike. This trail is a wonderful example of the great ecological and geological diversity that characterizes this Natural Park. The trail finishes at the dramatic Capelinhos Volcano that rises steeply from the sea and features a number of unique formations. It was these that resulted in the construction of the Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre. This is essentially a museum and study centre set up to show visitors how the volcano, and indeed the whole archipelago, was formed. In the late afternoon we transfer to our comfortable hotel, our base for the next three nights.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Day trip to Pico; walk through UNESCO heritage site of the Santa Luzia Vineyards or take an optional climb to the summit.

    Taking the ferry to Pico offers us a chance to take in the size and scale of Mount Pico. At 2,351m it is Portugal’s highest peak and dominates the horizon on our approach. Pico is also known as the ‘black island’ thanks to the black volcanic earth used in the construction of the walls of many of the UNESCO-listed vineyards for which it is known.

    Once on the island, we head out on our first walking tour of the Santa Luzia Vineyards. Azorean vineyards are a sight to behold. Built to protect the vines from the harsh sea winds, they amount to row after row of black horseshoe shapes that score the lush green coastline. What is more impressive is how the vine grows on the ground and through volcanic rock, rather than supported by a trellis through soil.

    Alternatively, if you prefer to use your time in Pico to join an optional challenging summit trek to the top of Portugal's largest mountain, then today is the perfect opportunity to attempt this! This is a very strenuous 6-7 hour climb which will be led by a local mountain guide and is always subject to availability and weather conditions (for further information please check the Extra Expenses & Spending Money section in the Trip Notes).

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Ferry to Sao Jorge; trek to explore the Faja dos Cubres; evening return to Faial.

    From the harbour on Horta we take a ferry to Sao Jorge Island or the 'brown island'. Crossing times can vary between 1.5hrs and 2hrs 20 minutes depending on the time of year, and last minute schedule changes are not uncommon. This is by far the longest day in the itinerary but is well worth it to visit the fourth island of the trip. Sao Jorge is fascinating visually. Its steep sided cliffs seem to slice through the ocean, however it is the Fajas (low-lying areas of lava that were formed from the subsidence of the cliffs) that it is most famed for. Sao Jorge is also well known throughout the Azores for producing delicious cheese, one of its main exports. Shortly after arrival in Velas we transfer to the start of the walking tour from Caldeira do Santo Cristo to Faja dos Cubres. After arriving at Faja dos Cubres we then take a transfer back to Velas and across the channel back to Faial. (approx. 2.5 hours walking, distance 10km).

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Free time for optional whale watching excursion; evening flight to Sao Miguel.

    As today is a free day you have the chance to try out many of the other activities that the Azores have to offer. Apart from offering some unique walking opportunities, the Azores is perhaps one of the best places on the planet to spot whales and dolphins. There are 80 species of whale and dolphin and 25 of them have been sighted off the coast of the Azores, with the most common being the Sperm Whale. There is also the chance to spot Bottlenose dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales, Sei whales, Atlantic spotted dolphins and the holy grail - the Blue Whale. 

    If you choose to go on an excursion, you will have the chance to observe the behaviour of these wonderful creatures and learn more about their habitat with the help of the knowledgeable local experts on board. We observe strict protocols regarding interaction, maintaining the appropriate distance at all times. Moreover during feeding and resting times we avoid any interference with the whales’ natural habitat. This afternoon or evening we will take a flight back to Ponta Delgada.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Morning transfer to Praia; trek to Lagoa do Fogo; afternoon visit to Sete Cidades to the Vista do Rei.

    After breakfast we head into the lush centre of Sao Miguel to Barrosa's mountain where we get a sense of why this island has earned its nickname the 'green island'. Today's final walk begins with a short but steep uphill section and continues following a 'levada' (small water channel) close to which you will find some well preserved species of endemic Azorian flora. The highlight of this walk is arriving at the viewpoint over the Lagoa do Fogo, one of the most beautiful volcanic lakes in the entire Azores network. We stop at Caldeira Velha waterfall for a well earned dip in its warm waters, in the afternoon we drive to Sete Cidades, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal. From Vista do Rei we are rewarded with breathtaking views of tranquil lakes, blue hydrangeas bordering the crater rim that contrast with the steep sides of the crater. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    End Ponta Delgada.

    End Ponta Delgada

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 5 lunches are included.

Breakfasts are buffet style with a variety on offer including bread, jams, cereals, and tea and coffee. Some of the lunches provided are picnic style, whilst others are taken at traditional restaurants where we can sample some traditional dishes such as the Cozido das Coldeiras. In the evening, the leader will recommend local restaurants that serve traditional Azores food, which can be a selection of meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes or rice. Vegetarians are well catered for in Azores as long as the hotels are advised in advance.


Is this trip for you?

This is a moderate walking trip (activity level 3). 

These moderately graded walks are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder but shorter walks. Walking hours stated are given as guidance only. Timings stated exclude lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of our group.
The paths we use are generally flat and well maintained however some of the routes cross rougher terrain with longer ascents and descents. Some of the paths are quite narrow and stony underfoot and require walking in single file. On some occasions you will be walking on more coarse volcanic rock, so it is advisable to be comfortable walking in more durable walking boots, which are recommended for this trip.
The area is also subject to rain and high winds at any time. On departures in May and September, it is best to bring warm clothes in case of colder weather.

If you decide to attempt the optional summit trek to Pico, please note this is challenging and involves 1,120m of elevation gain. The terrain is uneven and rocky so good walking boots are essential and walking poles are recommended. 

Please note that the internal flights are included in the trip and booked by Exodus. As inter-island flights are operated by small planes with limited capacity, we can't guarantee that the whole group will be allocated on the same flight. If alternative travel arrangements are necessary, you will be notified of these upon booking.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference:

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3943
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Premium Hotels

During the week our nights are split between two fantastic 4-star hotels. In the heart of Ponta Delgada is the Hotel Marina Atlantico. Right on the sea front, this new hotel is ideally located to explore the capital of the Azores and offers a modern twist in a traditional part of town. On Faial we use the excellent Hotel Horta. Affording spectacular views towards the neighbouring island of Pico, this hotel with garden and pool is within walking distance to the harbour and is the perfect place to relax after a day's walking in and around the surrounding islands.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3943
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed June 2019

    Truly Wonderful

    A really lovely trip to The Azores. A packed itinerary with whale and dolphin watching and exploring the island landscape, which is one of a kind! We saw tropical dolphins, playful bottle nosed and common dolphins and the small striped dolphins. Some played around the boat racing with us across the waves. We saw pilot whales and the magnificent sperm whales. It was a rigid inflatable boat so we were close to the water and it was both fun and exciting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whales.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I have to tell you about the guide: Nuno Garcia. He is the nicest, most considerate and patient guide we have ever encountered. He was full of fun and always there to help anyone who needed it. He would stand at the harbour smiling and waving as we left to whale watch and he would be there ready with a smile and a wave when we returned. An excellent guide in every way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a variety of clothing because the weather can be very changeable.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Esther Dawney-New

    Lovely walks in varied and interesting locations

    This is a short but packed easy walking trip guided by the brilliant knowledgeable and fun Bruno. From the lush heights overlooking lakes and craters to swimming in natural thermal pools to whale watching this trip has it all. Bruno’s enthusiasm for his country and love of his job meant he was totally engaged with the group. He probably would have crammed more into the itinerary if time had allowed. The islands of the Azores are stunning and have to be walked to be fully appreciated .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many wonderful views and no one that absolutely stands out. Laughing with Bruno and the group is a great tonic

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruno as already mentioned could not have been more interesting , engaging and fun. as a group leader He excelled in holding the group dynamics so that we had fun together but also walked at a pace which suited all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a full on trip with little spare time or stops. That said, the walking though some longer but gentle uphill was paced well. The long ( 2 hours) down hill is challenging on the knees so would advise poles and decent rough terrain footwear. Take an additional small (folding variety backpack) to leave on the coach for swim wear. If prone to travel sickness take medication and be prepared to take it 2 hours before the late evening ferry trip ( 2 hour choppy trip)
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Carolyn Greenberg

    Wonderful week in the Azores

    I've been to Portugal before, and was looking forward to experiencing another aspect of this country. This was my first trip with Exodus, and it was very impressive, start to finish. The daily outings, meals together, hotel choices, etc. were A+. Each island was unique and physically beautiful. The walks took us to places off the beaten path, which was exactly why I selected this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is hard to pick one moment - overall seeing how people have made these volcanic islands into beautiful locations is what impressed me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruno was amazing! His knowledge and enthusiasm were infectious, and definitely made the trip above average.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The level of this trip was more difficult than I expected - it was trekking than walking. I'm a good walker, so distance wasn't an issue, but the terrain was often steep . One suggestion for the packing list: a towel is needed for the swimming opportunities.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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