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Self-Guided Walking in the Azores - Faial and Pico Islands
8 days
Azores, Portugal - Trip code WSAF

Self-Guided Walking in the Azores - Faial and Pico Islands

On this self-guided walking holiday in the Azores, explore two of the nine volcanic islands that make up this mid-Atlantic archipelago. Enjoy easy and moderate walks through forest, on red-dirt tracks and along craggy coastline. Visit natural springs as well as Faial's giant crater and hike up the famous Mount Pico - Portugal's highest peak (2,351m). At the end of the day relax in picturesque fishing villages.

Trip highlights

  • Pico Island - With its charming fishing ports and Portugal's highest volcano, Pico (2351m)
  • Faial Island - The Blue Island (Ilha Azul) with lovely coastal towns such as Horta
  • Volcanic cones and caves - Explore intriguing formations including those in Furnas
  • Vineyards and local wine - Walk among historic grape vines and sample wines on Pico
  • La Caldeira - Follow the edge of Faial's main crater and the famous levada water channels
  • Capelinhos - Admire spectacular scenery on newly formed volcanic terrain
Accommodation grade:
Standard
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Walking grade:
Moderate
For those who are fit and active, these moderate walks are normally on good paths and tracks at low altitude. Days may include some fairly demanding ascents and descents, so previous experience is preferable but not essential.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Trip starts on Pico island

On arrival at Pico airport a private transfer will take you your hotel in Silveira, on the south of the island (about a 50-minute drive). If you have an early flight and arrive in the morning, you can spend the day by the hotel swimming pool or try your luck spotting whales from the cliff.

Accommodation: Hotel Aldeia da Fonte(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Walk along the southern coast

In the morning, a taxi driver will pick you up to go to the starting point of the route, just above Silveira village. The Pico volcano, 2,351m Portugal's highest peak, will be your back drop along most of the route. The second part of this route follows mainly flat terrain as you follow the coastline back to the hotel admiring some of the southern coast of the island.

Today's 13km walk is expected to take between 3.5 to 4 hours and you will ascend 100m and descend 290m.

Accommodation: Hotel Aldeia da Fonte(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast and Lunch
Day 3 - Caminho dos Burros (Donkey Trail)

After a short 35-minute transfer, you start walking from the central plateau of Pico, an area where volcanic eruptions took place almost 500 years ago. After a while on high terrain, you begin your descent down to the north coast. You will traverse the habitat of native flora on your way to Baia das Canas. This small settlement is located on a tiny black beach. In the afternoon you will be picked up for the transfer to Silveira.

Today's 10km walk is expected to take between 2.5 to 3 hours and you will ascend 100m and descend 800m.

Accommodation: Hotel Aldeia da Fonte(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast and Lunch
Day 4 - Lagoa do Capitão walking trail

Today begins with a transfer to the start of an amazing route, from the lake at Lagoa do Capitão down to São Roque, first along red dirt tracks then downhill through a stunning forest. In order to avoid a long and demanding descent, you can choose an alternative route. Your driver will pick you up at the end of the walk and take you to your next accommodation in Madalena.

Today's 10km walk is expected to take 3 hours and you will ascend 1000m and descend 770m.

Accommodation: Hotel Caravelas(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast and Lunch
Day 5 - Walk through vineyards then boat to Horta

On your last day on the island of Pico, the taxi driver will pick you up at the hotel and drive you to the start of your walk. A straightforward route along the island's east coast, enjoying the scenery provided by Pico's historic vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your route ends at the harbour in Madalena, where you get the boat to Horta on the island of Faial. A taxi will pick you up at the harbour in Horta and take you to your accommodation. If you arrive on Faial in time, you can opt to do a short walk. From the marina and old fishing quarter of Porto Pim, you follow the beach out to the peninsula of Monta da Guia. The route follows quiet tarmac roads to a beautiful vista point then circles back to Horta.

Today's 4.4km walk is expected to take between 1.5 hours and you will ascend 160m and descend 160m.

Accommodation: Hotel Horta(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 6 - The Caldeira

After a 30-minute drive you arrive at the Caldeira. Two kilometres wide and 500 metres deep, it is the highest point on Faial Island and in clear weather provides splendid views of the islands of Graciosa, Sao Jorge and Pico. Today's route follows the edge of the crater, then starts downhill along a red dirt track through the forest. A levada (water channel) will guide you for a section, before the ascent to another crater Cabeço do Fogo. One last descent takes you through the Reserva Florestal de Capelo to the picnic area where the route ends.

Today's 13km walk is expected to take between 3.5 to 4 hours and you will ascend 150m and descend 700m.

Accommodation: Hotel Horta(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - Capelinhos lighthouse

Today you explore the west end of the island of Faial and your walking route begins in the town of Capelo. Through the green craters of Cabeço Verde and Cabeço do Canto, you will reach the young volcanic area of Capelinhos, formed by a volcanic eruption only recently (in 1957). The beautifully coloured volcanic ash is still exposed here and the young dry landscape has not yet been pushed down into the sea. The lighthouse which once marked the westernmost point of the island has not worked for years, but you can visit the lovely information centre here to learn about the history of Capelinhos or take a stroll through this newly formed terrain. You can then enjoy a coastal route to the town of Varadouro, where you will be picked up by your local representative and taken back to your hotel.

Today's 12.5km walk is expected to take 3 hours and you will ascend 300m and descend 400m.

Accommodation: Hotel Horta(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 8 - Boat to Pico. Trip ends Pico Airport

After breakfast you have an included taxi transfer to the harbour, where you get the boat back to Pico Island. From Madalena you are driven to Pico Airport where this holiday ends.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Walking and Trekking information

Walking grade
Moderate
Trek details
On this journey you walk 75km over 6 days (an average of 12.5km a day) with an optional to shorten days 2,5 and 7. The walking routes of 1.5 to 4.5 hours, with an average ascent of 100m and descent of 250m on well-maintained unsurfaced track and footpaths, with occasional sections on surfaced tracks or tarmac roads when unavailable. We have graded this trip as moderate.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 7
  • Lunch: 3
Accommodation
  • 7 nights standard hotel
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Trip information

Country information

Azores

Portugal

Climate

Overall, spring, early summer and autumn are ideal times for a trip to Portugal - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The northern high plains has both extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round. The islands have very different weather patterns due to their positioning and can have sudden rain falls throughout the year so waterproofs are recommended even in the summer.

Time difference to GMT

0

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Roman Catholic

Language

Portuguese

Budgeting and packing

Clothing

July and August are the warmest months, though the islands are freshened by cooling sea breezes. Waterproofs are essential, as is a fleece for cooler mornings and evenings.

Footwear

Paths in forests might be muddy, so waterproof boots are highly recommended. In addition to walking boots please take with you comfortable trainers, shoes or sandals for evenings and relaxing. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of luggage and a daypack. You will need to carry what you need for the day which may include a raincoat, jumper, camera, sun-cream, picnic lunch etc. On hot days you will carry fewer clothes but more drinking water.

Luggage transfer

Included between hotels.

Equipment

We recommend a waterbottle, sunhat, towel, sunscreen, repellent and sunglasses.
You may find walking poles useful. If you would like to snorkel, please bring your own equipment.

Country Information

Azores

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Foreign Exchange

Portugal

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Dinner price
£15
Beer price
£2.00 - 3.00 depending on your location, well touristed areas are usually slightly more expensive.
Water price
£1.4
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Euro.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Take the majority of your spending money in Euros cash.
Where To Exchange
We recommend that you change any currency into Euros prior to arrival. Bureau de Change are generally only found in major cities and large airports.
ATM Availability
Cash-point machines are available in all major towns. Bankcards with the Cirrus logo are accepted.
Credit Card Acceptance
Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted in larger restaurants and some shops.
Travellers Cheques
Travellers cheques can be exchanged in all major towns but are not recommended due to the high rate of commission.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Recommended airport

Pico airport

Flying to your destination

Sata (Azores Airlines) and TAP connect London Gatwick with Pico via Lisbon.

Arrival and departure information

Fly into and out of Pico airport. A private transfer will take you from the airport to your hotel on arrival.

Essential Information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Portugal: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. The Azores: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
 

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Azores

Portugal

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory but Tetanus is usually recommended as a precaution. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option
Tuesday 1 January 2019 - Monday 25 March 2019
Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
WSAF_2019
From £759
Single room option +£206
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Pico
Time and place
00:00 at
Ending Point
Town
Pico airport
Time
23:59
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Tuesday 26 March 2019 - Sunday 28 April 2019
Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
WSAF_2019
From £830
Single room option +£245
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Pico
Time and place
00:00 at
Ending Point
Town
Pico airport
Time
23:59
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Monday 29 April 2019 - Tuesday 15 October 2019
Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
WSAF_2019
From £955
Single room option +£370
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Pico
Time and place
00:00 at
Ending Point
Town
Pico airport
Time
23:59
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Wednesday 16 October 2019 - Thursday 24 October 2019
Your trip can depart anytime between the above dates. Contact us for triple room requests and solo traveller prices.
WSAF_2019
From £830
Single room option +£245
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Pico
Time and place
00:00 at
Ending Point
Town
Pico airport
Time
23:59
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes

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