Hiking in the Azores

Adventures in a Breathtaking Archipelago

Trip Level

This trip is rated a Level 3 (Moderate) according to our trip grading system. You will need to be comfortable hiking up to 7 miles a day and being on your feet for 5 hours a day. With the exception of one day, there are no alternative hiking options, so you will need to be able to keep up with the moderate but steady hiking pace of the group. Rain is a very real possibility all year round - it is not uncommon for rain in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon. Trail conditions, weather, and the group’s level of fitness can affect hiking times and pacing.

Average Hiking Day
• 6 miles
• 3-4 hours
• 800 feet gain and 1,200 feet loss

Challenge Day
• Day 6 - 5.5 miles, 4 hours, 2,300 feet gain, and 400 feet loss; includes 1.5 hours by ferry and 2 hours of driving

Terrain

We’ll hike along crater rims, traverse rugged moorlands above a deep blue sea, and follow ancient canadas (pathways) that crisscross the islands linking farms and villages. Occasionally there are steeper paths and steps on the coastal walks, and if there has been rain, it can be muddy. Hiking poles will be beneficial on some days. Many of the trails are on rocky and uneven ground, so it is important that your footwear is comfortable and has a good hiking sole. On non-hiking days, we’ll still be on foot for many hours as we explore the towns and sites.

Weather

The Azores have a subtropical maritime climate with mild temperatures throughout the year. In the summer, temperatures average between the mid-60s°F to the low 80s°F during the day and the 50s°F and 60s°F at night. It can be humid, and although it is usually sunny in the summer, clouds and rain are a possibility any time of the year. A light waterproof shell of a rain jacket and pants in your day pack are highly recommended for the short rainstorms that may pass us while hiking.

Accommodations

Our accommodations include a refurbished 16th century fort, a 17th century townhouse, and an Art Deco hotel with geothermally heated bathing pools. Since they are in historic buildings, the rooms are not always of uniform or international size. Our leaders do their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. Single rooms can be requested but are not always available, due to the limited space in the hotels. If you prefer a single room, please make your request as early as possible.

Cuisine

We'll enjoy the fresh and varied cuisine of the Azores which include many Portuguese specialties. The islands are known for excellent seafood, spicy stews, sweet desserts, and local wines from the island of Pico. Lunch will be picnic-style, at our hotel, or at one of the local restaurants. Dinner will be at our hotel or a local restaurant in town. Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.

Transportation

Our van will transport the group's luggage, so you only need to carry a daypack for items you need during the day (rain gear, sweater, camera, water bottle, etc.). Trip members are always free to skip a day's hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle (or remain at the hotel if we are not transferring that day). On one day, we will spend a few hours in a 16-seater RIB for whale watching. We will also take ferries between the islands and take various forms of transportation on each island.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.