A journey around beautiful Atlantic islands
15th May 2021 – 22nd May 2021
- See website for other dates
Tour code: 26900
Last Modified: 22nd February 2021
See what's planned
Explore a mid Atlantic European outpost; the Azores archipelago rises from the violent meeting of three continental plates and is warmed by the passing Gulf Stream. You’ll walk amongst dormant volcanoes, along beaches of basalt and follow paths green and wild, encountering locals and the islands’ dappled cows.
Our 2-week holiday explores four of the beautiful Atlantic Islands, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the Azores. If you fancy a shorter break, our 1-week trip is a shortened duration of the holiday based on the island of São Miguel. Please see our separate Holiday Information Sheets for details on the itinerary.
Ponta Delgada is our base for the western end of São Miguel Island, where we have a superb walk above the famous green and blue crater lakes and visit the pretty seaside village of Mosteiros. We also have time to explore the charming Portuguese colonial style capital of Ponta Delgada itself, with its many gardens, narrow streets and harbourside esplanade.
We fly to São Jorge island, for some fabulous walks to enjoy fine views from the island’s mountainous spine, to descend to secret “fajas”, coastal farmland hidden below the island’s rugged cliffs, and maybe stroll through the gardens of Rosais.
We sail to Pico for delightful walks on the slopes of Pico mountain, the highest in Portugal and her islands, and also by the coast, through the island’s unique volcanic vineyards. One day is dedicated to exploring the nearby island of Faial, a short ferry crossing away.
Flying back to São Miguel, this time we stay in the unique volcanic spa town of Furnas, a superb base in the unspoiled eastern end of the island. Our hotel is located in exotic subtropical gardens. After a walk here we can relax in the hot volcanic springs.
These most enjoyable and leisurely tours allow time to walk and savour these beautiful and utterly peaceful islands by the best means possible, on foot!
What's not included?
The lush, green volcanic backdrop that is the Azores offers us the perfect Grade 4 terrain. Typically we will have full and half day walks during our stay at a moderate pace over hilly ground. We walk on tracks, roads and paths; some will be stony, some grass and some steep in places. We spend days rambling by lakes and along the coast where the ascent is minimal. Other days see us exploring the volcanic craters from which descents can be steep at times. Half day walking will probably include about 3 hours of walking, with full days having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to about 600m but a couple of walks that are possible may see slightly longer descents of up to 900m. The maximum altitude we reach on this holiday is 1,020m.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Hotel Ponta Delgada
We fly directly to Ponta Delgada Airport on the island of São Miguel and a short transfer takes us to our first hotel. This is situated close to the historic part of Ponta Delgada with the harbour front a short walk away.
Transfer Time = 30m
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Ponta Delgada
Our introductory walk on beautiful São Miguel takes us to the top of an enormous caldeira (an extinct volcano) with superb views of the tranquil blue and green lakes. Later we descend on winding paths and roads to the pretty harbour town of Mosteiros before returning by local bus to our hotel. If there is time at the end of the day, maybe take some time to explore picturesque Ponta Delgada.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Ponta Delgada
Today's walk will be at the top of the grade but a sense of achievement will be felt when you reach the serene Lagoa do Fogo! The first hour is a gentle ascent through glorious pine forests with tree ferns and swathes of ginger lily. We take our time to enjoy the pines as it is a very pleasant and beautiful walk. Along the walk we will encounter different terrains from woodland and moorland with many panoramic views of the island. A tranquil blue lake is found in the cone of an extinct volcano and is a quiet, often misty, but memorable place to visit. On our descent we will follow a flowing levada of which the Portuguese are famous for.
Hotel Ponta Delgada
Today is a free day! Maybe experience a whale watching tour, rent a bike and cycle along the coastal paths, visit more volcanic natural wonders, or just maybe have a relax in the hotels pool and take advantage of its Jacuzzi and sauna! Your leader will be able to give you some ideas! Dinner is not included tonight so you can explore Ponta Delgada's traditional restaurants.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Terra Nostra
Today we transfer to the dramatic village of Furnas with its very local volcanic activity. We spend the afternoon exploring the extensive botanical gardens of the Hotel Terra Nostra with a tour guide. If there is time, maybe enjoy the delights of the geothermal outdoor pool.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Terra Nostra
We start with a tour of Furnas town and see just how close we are to geothermal activity. Our main walk will take us up to turquoise Furnas Lake. The walk is largely level but there will be some short sharp ascents and descents. At the lake, if we judge the time correctly, we can see the local cooks removing the packaged meals from the hot springs. A circular walk round the lake shores will bring us back to our lovely Art Deco hotel.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Terra Nostra
Our final walk in the Azores is from Ribiera Quente to Povoacao. We follow a coastal route with some long ascents through lush vegetation and some descents mainly through verdant farmland. There will be beautiful panoramic coastal views from the dramatic high cliffs. Our route finishes at the very attractive town of Povoacao with a beach and harbour waiting for exploration at the end of our walking holiday.
It is time to bid farewell to these extraordinary group of islands as we transfer back to Ponta Delgada Airport by coach, ready to fly back to the UK.
Walks & Excursions
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Portugal
The currency in Portugal is the euro. You may wish to take some euro cash with you until you reach an ATM. Credit cards may not be accepted in smaller towns and rural areas.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Your Travel Details
We fly from London to Ponta Delgada and return. The transfer from Ponta Delgada Airport to our first Hotel in Ponta Delgada will take approximately 20 minutes whereas our return transfer to Ponta Delgada Airport from Furnas will take approximately 1 hour.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Where are we going to stay?
Hotel Ponta Delgada
Rua Joao Francisco Cabral 49 9500 208 Ponta Delgada Azores Portugal
00351 296 209 480
Our first Centre on Sao Miguel is Ponta Delgada, the capital of the island. It is a simple but picturesque fishing city with manor houses, a beautiful harbour, churches and mosaic floors. Our hotel is close to many of the attractions in the area. A walk along the promenade and harbour front of less than 5 minutes will have you at the centre of Ponta Delgada. Perfect for a wander into town in the evenings. The attractive and lively old Portuguese colonial city and the new port complex are close to our hotel, only a short 10 minute walk away. In July, the Holy Spirit festival takes place where musical bands from many villages process to the town centre from Largo do S.Francisco. There are many mini supermarkets, shops and bakeries in close walking distance to the town.
We stay in the contemporary 3 star Hotel Ponta Delgada where we can relax in the hotels bar after an exciting day exploring. Hotel facilities also include an indoor pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, Turkish bath, massage room and a beauty salon. We stay in single and twin bedded rooms. Rooms are decorated with simple contemporary pale colours and include air conditioning, a telephone, TV, free WIFI, safe and most rooms have a balcony.
Hotel Terra Nostra
Rua Padre Jose Jacinto Furnas Sao Miguel Azores Portugal
00351 296 549 090
We stay in the well reviewed and award winning Hotel Terra Nostra, a sleek and stylish modern hotel located in the Terra Nostra Botanical Park and surrounding verdant gardens. Furnas is a dramatic place to stay with its bubbling calderas’ and there are not many hotels in the world where you can have breakfast and stroll out into the garden for a dip in their own geothermic pool. The hotel's interior design is influenced by Art Deco style, with combined contemporary elements as well, creating comfort and exclusivity perfectly integrated with the lush Terra Nostra Garden (which you have free unlimited access to). The spacious hotel also has a reading room, games room, gift shop and indoor heated pool (seasonal and may not be available during your holiday). All rooms have air conditioning, phone, flat screen TV, mini-bar and hair dryer. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the entire hotel.
Breakfast and 5 dinners are included in the holiday charge. Breakfasts are taken at our hotels and are usually continental style buffet breakfasts. Sometimes our flight arrives in the evening on day 1, therefore dinner will not be included on the first night if this is the case. We take dinners in local restaurants during our stay in Ponta Delgada where we enjoy a la carte local cuisine, a great way to explore the area and immerse ourselves in the culture! We dine in the hotel during our stay in Furnas where we can enjoy many traditional delicacies. The hotel is famous for its Furnas stew and its other stewed dishes, cooked underground by the natural volcanic steam of Furnas Lake! One evening in Furnas we will enjoy a Cozido das Furnas, a traditional meal in the Azores where the food is cooked underground using volcanic heat. One dinner is not included during our stay in Ponta Delgada so you can have an authentic experience independently and enjoy a sometimes lively atmosphere in a traditional restaurant along with local diners. Lunches are not included in the holiday price but these can be taken as picnics or in local cafes.
Footwear & Kit List
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Portugal
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information
Maps, Guidebooks & More
There are a variety of guidebooks available on the Azores, including:
Azores (Bradt Travel Guides) by David Sayers and Murray Stewart
Azores: Rother Walking Guide by Roman Martin
Walking on the Azores by Paddy Dillon
There are also a variety of programmes based on the Azores too including:
Davina McCall: Life at the Extreme. Episode 2 sees Davina travel to the Azores to learn more about its animals.
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area including:
Ben Fogle Adventure in the Azores - Unravel Travel TV
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Find out more
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Staying Healthy On Holiday
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Portugal
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Portugal.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus.
Dengue fever exists in Portugal; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays 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 trip, including all optional activities.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/ehic
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Staying In Touch
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.