|Four Island Trek |
Grade B/C 3 or 4-star hotels
The land only section of the trip starts on
Sao Miguel where we are based at the Terra Nostra Hotel and visit Furnas and
Lagoa de Fogo before flying to Sao Jorge where the first days of the trek are
The 60 kilometer long island of Sao Jorge provides some of the most beautiful
walking on the Azores. The island comprises a long spine of volcanoes of
different ages, with steep vegetated cliffs rising, sometimes almost 600
metres, steeply out of the surrounding ocean. Flat areas called faja are
sometimes found at the base of these vegetated walls, here small villages or
hamlets are often located that can only be reached by very steep, narrow
trails. These trails are the ones we will explore in the first few days.
We then transfer to Pico where make an ascent of Portugal's highest summit.
Finally there will be some time to see Faial, walking and visiting the historic
town of Horta.
Season: This trek is possible year round, in the summer good weather is almost
guaranteed most of the time, but a winter trip sees the islands at their most
mysterious and remote. With almost no tourists and moody weather, dramatic sea
views and pleasant temperatures (except on Pico!).
The Ascent of Pico: At 2351m this is the highest summit not only in the Azores but also in
Portugal. Although only a walk it is along rough trails and in places up steep
paths. The final cone involves some very easy scrambling for a few metres. In
winter an ice axe or walking poles and even crampons may be necessary and be
prepared for some rough weather to add a bit of excitement to the ascent!
- Fly from London Gatwick at 12.45 to arrive in Ponte Delgada at 15.30. Transfer
to the Terra Nostra Hotel visiting the Gorreana Tea Factory which includes a
tour of this small family run business and a tea-tasting session to finish.
This is magnificently located in a botanical garden, by a hot, natural,
open-air swimming pool.
- Drive to Água de Alto from where we walk to Fogo lake itself. After a picnic
lunch we retrun by a different path and spend an hour or two on a small beach
by the sea. 4 hours walking.
- Transfer from Hotel Terra Nostra to the Airport. Flight to Sao Jorge. Transfer
from the airport to the Hotel Sao Jorge. In the afternoon drive to Caldeira on
the crest of the island then walk down to the fajãs
of Santo Cristo and Cubres.
- Drive to the village of Fajã de Vimes then walk via Loural to São
João. This takes in some of the most magnificent paths on the south side of the
island. Some sections are steep and seasonal washouts or heavy rain might make
it necessary to alter part of this walk slightly (5 hours walking with lunch
along the way).
- In the morning walk to Fajã do João Dias (2 to 3 hours). This is a
small village inaccessible by road - a magnificent location and fine walk.
Transfer to the harbour and the boat to Pico. Transfer to the Hotel Pico (three
star). Along the way we visit the Cachorro rock formations by the sea.
- Climb Pico. This is a tough, long walk with a few sections where hands must be
used for balance. The path is steep most of the way and in winter snow is to be
expected on the upper sections. At any time of year the weather can be very bad
on the ascent, with strong winds, heavy rain or snow all possible. However even
in the worst winter season it is possible to make the ascent in fairly pleasant
conditions on about 50% of the days. Return to the Pico Hotel.
- A short boat trip takes us across to Faial. Walk in Faial, either round and
into the Caldera or, if the weather is misty,
along the levada. After lunch visit the very recently formed volcano of
Capelinhos, whose eruption caused the evacuation of a village and the partial
burial of the lighthouse. Transfer to the airport, fly to Sao Miguel. Transfer
from the airport to Hotel do Colégio.
- Transfer to the airport, return to Gatwick 1140 am.
The rest of the trekking on this trip will be rather tame by comparison
although the steep trails on Sao Jorge will get you enjoying fit for Pico. For
the best flowers come in May, June or early August.
All transport, accommodation (in three or four star hotels, B&B basis), 4
packed lunches, english speaking guide.
Note This programme can be carried out at any time of the year as a private trip, guided or unguided. If unguided your driver will take you each day to the correct start point for your trip and will pick you up at a pre-arranged location and time unless you arrange to communicate with him by telephone. You will in this case be provided with a simple map and route notes.
Year Round Private Programmes
Trek and Whale Watch on S. Miguel
Azores Home Page
Coast path through ericas
Stormy winter evening on the main ridge
Lower slopes of Pico
View of Pico in winter