Join our Gay Azores Hiking and Cycling tour. It’s overflowing with adventures with all of its National Parks. On this gay travel tour, you’ll have the opportunity to hike and cycling (all clients are on e-bikes) the beautiful terrain, eat the local foods and explore the lovely island of São Miguel. It is a great way to enjoy a mix of outdoor activities over seven amazing days. Mother Nature has created a land full of natural beauty, ready to be explored, in the blue immensity of the Atlantic Ocean: the Azores. Nine islands, nine small worlds that have as many similarities as differences, but where the friendliness of their inhabitants is shared by all.
Located between Lisbon and New York, the Azores Islands stand out as exotic flower gardens and Japanese cedars, hot springs and lakes within volcano craters. Our route on the island of São Miguel, embraces cliffs along the coast as well as protected forest hills, providing challenging and very rewarding cycling with E-bikes! We will explore a lush valley filled with fumaroles and natural mineral springs, tranquil beaches and picturesque fishing villages along the coast.
• Hike Trilho de Sanguinho to view the most fabulous waterfalls on the island
• Cycle the North coast through villages, beaches and windmills
• Enjoy hiking Lagoa do Fogo, the highest crater lake on the island
• Relax your muscles with time at the spa
• Explore Rocha da Relva, a hidden gem, only accessible by foot
• Experience how the locals eat, using the heat of the earth to prepare their famous Cozido dish
Day 1 -
Welcome to Ponta Delgada. Upon arrival we will have a short transfer to our lovely hotel. Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure. Visit local markets, enjoy the city or stop at the local pineapple plantation!
Enjoy lunch at one of the following restaurants (hours my vary during our tour dates); A Tasca, Reserva, Tasquinha Vieira or Boca de Cena.
We will meet up at 6PM for our bike fitting with our Welcome Dinner at 8PM.
Day 2 -
This morning we will follow the coast for our climb up to Pizões pass and down to Furnas. Furnas is a small village with a population of less than 1,500 people, located on the southeast side of the island of San Miguel. This areas is know as a sleeping volcanic crater. Even though the Furnas volcano last erupted in 1630, you can see and smell geothermal activity in the form of boiling fumaroles, thermal pools and natural mineral springs almost at every corner in the valley. The food is a whole new experience in itself. Locals use the heat of the earth to prepare the famous Cozido dish, and also use mineral water in recipes for cheese, baking, bread, meat and more.
We will stop for lunch in Vila Franca do Camp. Some great choices are Mercado de Vila, Atlantico Grill or Sabores da Vizinha.
Some great points of interest for the afternoon:
• From Vila Franca do Campo, take a 15 min ferry boat to the Ilhéu Island for a swim in the lagoon. Just walk towards the marina where you will find the ticket office for the Ilhéu ferry.
• The beautiful Furnas lake, the first of so many awesome lakes in this tour. This lake is located in an ancient volcanic crater surrounded by abundant Macaronesian vegetation, and volcanic manifestations of fulmarole, sulfatara, and boiling water.
The Terra Nostra Hotel: open since 1935, this special hotel keeps the charming aura and exclusivity of the past, bringing you 80 rooms split between two buildings, maintaining its architectural history: the Art Deco Wing, built in the 1930s and the Garden Wing, added in the 1990s.
We will check in for our two night stay here. There are a variety of great local restaurants to choose from this evening; Caldeiras e Vulcões, Restaurante Tony’s and Octant Hotels Furnas.
Day 3 -
This morning our guide will get us headed in the direction to Faial da Terra. On the way we will stop at a coastal viewpoint, the spectacular Pico dos Bodes. Once in Faial da Terra we will enjoy the Sanguinho Hike, a short hike (with some steep sections) to see some of the most famous waterfalls in this island. The trail is about 3.1 miles and should take approximately two hours to complete. It starts in the village of Faial da Terra and follows a steep, rocky path through dense forest and along the banks of the Ribeira do Faial da Terra stream. Along the way, you will see several waterfalls, including the spectacular Salto do Prego waterfall, which drops over 30 meters onto a crystal-clear water. As the trail continues, it passes through open fields and farmland before reaching the quaint village of Sanguinho.
The return journey will take us along a new path, which offers even more stunning views of the surrounding landscape. After the hike, we will stop in Faial or Povoação to have lunch at one of the local restaurants.
In the afternoon if you want to hike a little bit more, on the way back to Furnas the van can take you to the hike to Ribeira Quente, a coastal hike 3.7 miles long.
Tonight we will meet up for a group dinner.
Day 4 -
This morning we will ride to the North Coast, passing fishing villages, beaches and windmills. The orange trees you see around were introduced on the island in the 16th century, and became the main export until a plague wiped out the production in the 1800’s. Due to this, dairy farming increased and crops like pineapples, passionfruit, tobacco, and tea were introduced.
Today, we will take a look at one of the island’s “new” trades as well, riding north to Europe’s only tea plantation that continues to produce organic tea as it always has.
If the weather is clear, we will enjoy the view of the Furnas lake from the Miradouro do Pico do Ferro,
offering a different angle than the view you had two days earlier.
This evening you are free. Enjoy dinner at one of these locaitons; TukáTulá Beach Bar, Restaurante Monte Verde, O Canadiano, Alabote or Restaurante da Associação Agrícola de São Miguel.
Day 5 -
This circular trail is situated on the upper part of Ribeira Grande, beginning and ending in Caldeiras, an important geyser field and an area of volcanic degassing related to the volcanic activity of Vulcão do Fogo. The starting point is Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande, where we will see the caldera with light blue water in continuous ebullition. Next to that, we will find an 18th-century building of the Thermal Baths, the oldest thermal baths on the island. This spring is heated by geothermal vapor and used in a bath therapy known historically as “Crown Baths”.
A couple miles ahead on the trail, we will find the area where cozidos (geothermal stews) are cooked, the second type of application of geothermal heat. There are nine geothermal caves that are publicly available for cooking the traditional Cozido das Caldeiras. These structures capture the vapor that circulates below at 4-5 metres of depth, through fractures that were formed by trachytic lava.
Farther down the path, we will have breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys covered in lovely greenery. The trail will eventually lead us to the highlight of the hike, the “Salto do Cabrito” waterfall. This magnificent waterfall cascades down a cliff into a crystal-clear pool below, creating a refreshing oasis. Enjoy exploring various side trails and viewpoints along the way. The overall duration of the hike is approximately 3-4 hours, depending on our pace and the time spent at the different attractions. Be sure to have sturdy footwear for inclines and uneven terrain.
After our hike, our guides will prepare a picnic in Caldeiras de Ribeira Grande, the end of our hike. Café and toilets are available as well.
Then our van will drive us to the Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire) a crater lake, the highest and the second largest lake on the island and one of the most beautiful. This caldera filled with water is the youngest volcano on
the island of São Miguel, formed approximately 15,000 years ago, resulting from the collapse at the top of the volcano, some 5000 years ago. The last eruption being in 1563.
It is really common to have low clouds passing through the lake, however you will find that these clouds can move quickly, so don’t feel let down if you arrive without a view. Give it a little while to see if the weather ends up clearing up sooner rather than later.
After returning to the hotel to freshen up, we will have a group dinner this evening.
Day 6 -
Our route today, follows the coast along the hydrangea-laden roads never very far from the ocean. Considering the orography of this island, most of this route can be considered flat, but at the end you will have a climb up, on your way to the most famous look out in this island: Miradour da Vista do Rei. Gorgeous views from there!
On the way down, please be aware that it’s very easy to get a fast speed going down to in the direction of Ponte Delgada, but
the road is patchy and a little bit uneven, so watch your speed and ride with care.
After 12.5 miles from the start we will stop at 4 Plátanos Café Restaurante and enjoy some much deserved food and also to recharge the batteries on our bikes. Charging the batteries is essential to complete this long and hilly ride.
Once back to Ponta Delgada we will get checked in and have the evening free to relax.
Dinner suggestions: Rotas da Ilha Verde, A Tasca, Reserva, Tasquinha Vieira, Louvre Michaelense or Boca de Cena.
Day 7 -
Today is our last day of adventure. Enjoy a leisurely morning and possibly visit the colorful market of Ponta Delgada. Then we will get in a taxi (15 min drive) and set
off for a walk to Rocha da Relva, a hidden gem on the island accessible only by foot. Right by the sea there are some traditionally built summer houses. It is also possible to find some donkeys on this track, which are used as a means of transporting small loads. While hiking you will see some wine cellars, houses but mainly vineyards restricted to the traditional way in basalt rock. These structures, besides protecting from the sea spray, provide a milder environment for the crops giving them a distinctive taste.
This evening we will enjoy our Farewell Dinner at Casa Nostra with a creative cuisine and local ingredients.
Day 8 -
Enjoy breakfast this morning before heading to the airport for our departure.