The tour will be based for the first three nights at Ponta Delgado on San Miguel, the largest of the Azores islands. We then transfer to Horta on the island of Faial, our base for the remaining four nights, which will also give the opportunity to visit the nearby islands of Pico and San Jorge. All excursions will be escorted. The guide on San Miguel will be Birgit Siegel who has a very good knowledge of the local geology. The guide on Faial and Pico is also very familiar with the local volcanoes and the history of recent eruptions. The visit is open to all adults. The party will be escorted throughout the tour by Alan Clewlow, accompanied by Joanna and Stuart Whinney. The one week visit will also give the chance to spend some free time, which could be used to take part in one of the optional excursions available. On the return, there may be the possibility of a stopover in Lisbon, for those who choose not to make the whole journey back to the UK in one day.
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Leave London (Heathrow) on flight via Lisbon to San Miguel, the largest of the Azores islands. Transfer by coach to the 4-star São Miguel Park hotel in the main island town of Ponta Delgado. Introductory talk to discuss the week’s activities.
The day will be spent in the western part of San Miguel island. We travel first to the lava tunnel at Gruta do Carvão and the nearby crater lake at Lagoa do Carvão. Continuing north-west, we reach the huge Caldeira do Vulcão das Sete Cidades, where we will undertake a walk around part of the crater rim, eventually descending into the caldera with its twin lakes. Later we visit Ponta do Escacalvado and the cone, fossil cliff and lava delta at Ponta Ferraria.
This day covers the central and eastern parts of San Miguel island. First we stop at a viewpoint looking down on the Lagoa do Fogo, the crater lake of the Agua de Pau volcano. We then proceed to the Caldeira Velha, with the chance to bathe in warm water fed by a natural hot waterfall. Later, we spend time at the Caldeira do Volcão Furnas, with its fumaroles and mud geysers, taking time to walk around the large crater lake. The route back will include a stop at Vila Franco do Campo to view the offshore island formed by a partly eroded volcanic cone.
Free morning, then coach transfer to Ponta Delgado airport for the late-afternoon inter-island flight with SATA airlines to Faial island. Transfer by coach to the Hotel Fayal at Horta, the main island town. The port is a main stopping-off point for yachts crossing the Atlantic, and has superb views of the volcano Pico, just a short distance away across the narrow sea-channel.
The day will be spent exploring Faial island, known locally as the “Blue Island”, on account of the wild blue hydrangeas which are found in profusion in many of the hedgerows. We drive first to the Caldeira Volcano, which dominates the centre of the island, taking a circular walk around the crater rim, giving views across the whole island. Later, our coach will take a circuit around the island, spending time at Capelinhos in the south west, where the major 1958 eruption caused a considerable extension to the island’s area. We spend time at the visitor centre there, learning about this eruption.
We take the ferry from Horta to Madalena, on Pico island for an excursion to various sites on the island, starting with a visit to the spectacular lava tube at Grutas das Torres before continuing to Lajido de Santa Luzia, where there will be time for a short walk on the extensive black basalt lava flows there. We then take in Sao Rocque, Ponta do Misterio, and Lajes do Pico, where there will be time for a lunch-stop. In the afternoon the group continues to Cabeço das Cabras, the highest point reached by road on the side of the Pico volcano and site of a small visitor centre. Later, if time allows, there will be a walk on Lajida Criação Velha, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, on account of its Cañadas ~ a unique landscape with an extensive network of lava-stone walls created for wine cultivation. Eventually, the group returns by late-afternoon ferry back to Horta.
This will be a free day. Your chance to relax and spend time on a local beach, to book any one of a number of optional excursions on offer, such as a whale-watching trip, or a whole-day excursion to the other nearby island of San Jorge.
Check out from the hotel after breakfast, then transfer to Horta airport for mid-morning flight, back to the UK, via Lisbon, arriving early evening into Heathrow. For those who wish, there may be the opportunity to arrange a stopover in Lisbon, though there will be an additional charge for this.
The cost of the visit, based on half-board accommodation, is £1560. This includes return flights by TAP Airlines from London Heathrow to the Azores (via Lisbon) and the SATA airline inter-island flight from Ponta Delgado (San Miguel) to Horta (Faial). Also included are coach transfers, ferries and local excursions on the itinerary listed. Included in the cost is 3 nights’ accommodation in the 4-star São Miguel Park Hotel in Ponta Delgado, and 4 nights at 4-star Hotel Fayal in Horta. Accommodation in both hotels is based on half-board (with breakfasts and dinners provided, including drinks with dinner).
Accommodation is based on two people sharing a room. It should be possible to arrange some single rooms for those who require it, but this will involve a single supplement, and is dependent upon availability.
All those taking part in the tour are expected to arrange their own holiday insurance, which can be obtained from any travel agent or insurance broker.
All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate