APRIL 2023: EASTER IN THE AZORES

01 -11 April 2023

The Azores, together with the archipelagos of Madeira, Canaries and Cape Verde, form the biogeographical region of Macaronesia, a Greek designation which means “lucky islands”. A unique beauty, an authentic paradise on earth, spring is the best season for dolphins and whales watching in the surrounding waters. Our itinerary will offer us the best opportunities to enjoy the profound diversity of the islands, alternating culture, history, nature and adventure in the comfort of our carefully chosen hotels. Sao Miguel will delight us with its picturesque towns, its panoramic views and its unforgettable natural sceneries. Pico, the resilient island, dominated by a strong personality. Faial and its contrasting, sweet and spooky landscapes. Finally, Terceira, the cultural pearl of the archipelago, where its epic past still echoes among the elegant buildings of Angra do Heroismo.

PROGRAM

 

01  April
Flight to Ponta Delgada (not included). Overnight at Hotel do Colegio****.

02  April
After breakfast we will leave at the discovery of the western part of the island of São Miguel, the largest of the archipelago. Our departure will be sweet in the true sense of the word as the delicious São Miguel pineapples are grown in Faja da Baixo, we will understand on the spot why they are so good. Later, through ancient myths and legends, we will learn how the Lagoa das Sete Cidades was formed, one of the most emblematic natural places of the Azores. The lagoon is formed by two small lakes, with different colored waters, connected by a narrow bridge located in the crater of a dormant volcano located on the western third of the island.
The view from Boca do Inferno, which we will reach with a pleasant walk of about 30 minutes, is spectacular. In Ponta do Ferraria, in the extreme west of the island, the cold waters of the ocean meet the warm ones coming from the Sete Citades volcanic complex. This particularly suggestive place will let us discover what are and the function of the natural pools located along the coasts of all the islands.
Overnight at Hotel do Colegio ****.

03  April
Full day dedicated to the exploration of the central part of the São Miguel island. The first stop will be in Vila Franca, the first capital of the island, located along the southern coast. We will go up to the Miradouro de Nossa Senhora da Paz, for a beautiful view of the Ilheu de Vila Franca, the islet, one of the symbols of Sao Miguel, is what remains of a submerged crater. We will have time to taste the famous Quejada de Vila, the island’s most famous dessert, before reaching Lagoa do Fogo, a scenic lagoon with turquoise waters surrounded by golden beaches located at an altitude of 600 meters.
Later we will visit Caldeira Velha, this heavenly place is an area of ​​secondary volcanism that includes a fumarolic field and an iron-rich thermal spring surrounded by tree ferns where those who want to can enjoy a relaxing bath. Crossing the island we will reach the north coast in Gorreana, a tea factory and plantation, another uniqueness of the archipelago. From here we will go up to the Caldera de Furnas, where in the homonymous village, we will spend the night in a charming historic art deco hotel.
Overnight at Hotel Terra Nostra Garden ****.
* Access to the thermal lake of the large botanical park is included, the almost solitary experience of night bathing is unique.

04  April
We will spend the last day on the island of São Miguel in the lush caldera called Caldeira das Furnas. Fumaroles and splashes of boiling water, brightly colored soil make this place unique. We will visit the volcanic area where the hot vapors that come out of the subsoil are used by local restaurants to cook Cozido, the typical dish of Furnas, which we will have the opportunity to taste.
If the weather will be favorable, it is worthwhile to walk around the lake, a flat and very scenic path. We will continue our visit with the Parque Terra Nostra, with its waterways and romantic caves, one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in all of Europe. We will then go up to the Miradouro Pico do Ferro from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Furnas Lakeand the valley.
Overnight at Hotel Terra Nostra Garden ****.
* Access to the thermal lake of the large botanical park is included, the almost solitary experience of night bathing is unique.

05  April
In the morning we will board the flight to Horta, Faial island, also called Ilha Azul for its hedges of hydrangeas. As soon as we land, we will head northwest to Capelinhos, where, in 1957, the last devastating volcanic eruption of the Azores took place. The landscape is ghostly, huge black dunes rest where the sea used to be, in front of them, the ancient lighthouse watches over, partly buried by the fallen ash mountain. It is a poetic encounter with the natural force of the elements: here fire, water and air have been fighting since the dawn of time. We will pay a visit to the interpretation center to better understand the geological evolution of those dramatic events.
We will then climb to Caldeira, the highest point on the island located at 1043 meters above sea level, a spectacular crater with a diameter of 2 kilometers, totally covered with endemic vegetation. On the way back to Horta there is the Morro de Castelo Branco, a characteristic volcanic promontory of white rock, an ornithological reserve for Shearwaters and Common Terns.
Overnight at Hotel Do Canal ****.

06  April
Today a unique adventure is waiting for us, on the footsteps of brave men, the whalers, who today instead of chasing whales take tourists to watch them. On board a rubber boat we will go in search of cetaceans. In the Azores the period from April to September is the best for whale watching, especially during spring and early summer the great Blue Whales together with Fin and Sei Whales, more rarely Humpback Whales, cross these waters during their annual migration to summer feeding areas in the North Atlantic and joined the resident Sperm Whales and several species of Dolphins. At the end of the excursion we will have lunch at the legendary Peter Café, the most famous pub in the Atlantic, a historic haunt of whalers that is now a popular destination for ocean-going sailors. Do not miss his legendary Gin Tonic.
We will take a walk in the marina to admire the murals painted for superstition by the boat crews. Depending on the time of the ferry that will take us to Madalena, we may perhaps be able to visit the small historic center of Horta. Arrival on the island of Pico and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight at Alma do Pico Nature Residence***.

07  April
We will begin the exploration of Pico from the wine area of Criaçao Velha and Santa Luzia, where we will observe the extraordinary traditional architecture. The vines are protected by lava stone walls, still made by hand today, which anchor the plant to the ground and help the grapes to ripen, giving them a particular sweetness. These vineyards are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and here we can enjoy a walk among the rows. Moving to the Santa Luzia area, we will visit the typical adegas villages, traditional houses, such as Cachorro and Santa Luzia.
In the afternoon, we will descend into the longest lava tunnel in the Azores, the interior of the Gruta das Torres is rich in geological formations, including lava stalactites and stalagmites, lateral bases, lava bubbles, striated walls and lava intertwined in the form of a rope.
Overnight at Alma do Pico Nature Residence***.

08  April
In the morning we will continue the discovery of Pico climbing on the Planalto di Pico where we will find a fantastic alpine landscape to be explored, studded with volcanic cones, lagoons, pastures and green endemic laurel forests. We will then drive down to Sao Roche where we will take a journey through time in the Fabrica da Baleia, where whale fat was processed from 1949 to 1984. We will have lunch in a typical adega and then reach the airport for our flight to Terceira.
Overnight at Hotel Cruzeiro ****.

09  April
After breakfast we will drive to Monte Brasil, a remnant of a volcanic cone, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we will visit the picturesque Renaissance city of Angra do Heroismo, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, discovering its importance not only for the history of the Azores, but of the entire Portuguese empire. History and nature blend perfectly in Terceira. Moving east we will reach the beach of Salga, that of the famous battle of the bulls and from here Sao Sebastiao with its beautiful and ancient frescoed church and the temple of the Holy Spirit, these numerous and colorful churches characterize every village on the island.
We will reach the Miradouro of Serra do Cume, from where we will be able to admire the green declined in all its shades, in a gigantic patchwork of cultivated fields in what is the largest caldera in the Azores. We will then visit Praia, the second city of the island, to see its beautiful bay from the Miradouro do Facho. Among the giant biscuits of Biscoitos, the name comes from the peculiar friable lava of the area, we will have some time to relax, perhaps taking advantage of the splendid natural pools.
Overnight at Hotel Cruzeiro ****.

10  April
Today we will explore the western and central parts of the island. We will begin from the fishing village of Sao Mateus with the Igreja Velha, an iconic 16th century church, then the small local cheese company Queija Vaquinha and the mountain Eden of the forest reserves of Lagoa das Patas and Mata da Serreta.
After a lunch based on the traditional dish of the island, the Alcatra, the afternoon will be spent among volcanoes and fumaroles. We will visit the volcanic chimney of Algar do Carvao, the only one in the world where you can walk. We will then reach the fumaroles of Furnas do Enxofre, where we can walk among the vapors.
Overnight at Hotel Cruzeiro ****.

11  April
Flight home.

Rate includes:

– Double room accommodation breakfast included.
– All mentioned excursions.
– English speaking guide.
– All lunches.

 

Not included:

– Flights.
– Not indicate meals. 

Voyage Map

PRICE PER PERSON   Euro 3150,00

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