Uncover Portugal's best kept secret on this active adventure. The North Atlantic’s Azores, like Hawaii, is a remote volcanic archipelago. Our active gay group adventure explores the crater of Sete Cidades—one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal—bathes you in natural thermal pools, and includes a world-class whale watching excursion. You’ll have the opportunity to explore four iconic islands including São Miguel, Faial, Pico and São Jorge.
Want to maximize your time in Portugal? Pair this tour with our Lisbon & Porto Gourmet Foray Gay Tour – a culinary tour of the country’s mainland that immediately follows this tour.
• Explore volcanic sites like Sete Cidades, Capelinhos, and Caldeira do Santo Cristo
• Experience 4 unique islands: São Miguel, Faial, Pico and São Jorge
• Spot over 25 species of whales and dolphins on a special boat excursion
• Skip the whale tour (and save $100) to surmount the Azores’ highest peak
• Enjoy an afternoon soak in a thermal pool heated by volcanic vents
• Peddle through a quaint village on São Miguel Island
• Visit Europe’s only tea plantation
• Virtually all meals included, along with water and soft drinks. Beer and wine included at dinners.
Olá! Welcome to Portugal’s Azores Islands! Since most flights arrive in the morning, we’ve confirmed early check-in at the hotel – have a snooze before our Group Meeting at noon!
We’ll venture out to explore Ponta Delgada – capital of the Azores – to sample tapas in the city's celebrated bars and restaurants. We’ll also see Portas da Cidade (the town gates), Matriz Church, City Hall, São Bráz Military Fort, and São Francisco Square.
Freshen up before our Welcome Dinner. It’s at a slick waterfront restaurant featuring sublime local fare.
Hotel: Hotel do Colégio, Ponta Delgada
For our first full day we’re going to get physical at Sete Cidades, the twin lakes in the crater of a dormant volcano. Kayak, standup paddle board, or bike and hike your way around the volcanic complex.
With appetites worked up, savour a traditional Azorean picnic on shore.
We’ll then drive the south coast to visit Ponta da Ferraria, a thermal pool heated by the surrounding volcanic vents, and if the tide permits we’ll even have a soak.
The evening is yours to enjoy on your own, or at an optional group dinner.
Hotel: Hotel do Colégio, Ponta Delgada
This morning we have a short albeit early flight to Faial Island.
After landing we immediately get to business with a hike through Capelinhos Volcano. You’ll visit the site of a volcanic eruption, an experience compared to walking on the moon. When we reach the historic lighthouse/modern interpretation centre, we’ll see the newest part of the island, born during the eruption of 1957.
A picnic lunch is served in a natural forest reserve, then we continue on to Horta and its famous marina. From here, savour an afternoon gin and tonic at Peter’s Café.
Tonight’s dinner is at a local restaurant where—if the owner is around—he will regale us with tales of circumnavigating the globe two times by sailboat.
Hotel: Hotel do Canal, Horta, Faial
After we take a 30-minute ferry to Pico Island, choose your own adventure!
Enjoy a laid-back whale- and dolphin-watching tour in Lajes do Pico. We can’t guarantee cetacean sightings, but look for turtles, seabirds, and other marine mammals. After lunch, we’re off to Gruta das Torres, a volcanic formation, followed by a Pico Island cultural tour. The day ends with drinks at a local bar.
PLEASE let us know if you have any back problems, as there are some restrictions on the tour boat.
A minimum of 4 passengers is required for this option.
If you fancy a technical challenge, and don’t have knee or ankle problems, hike Portugal’s tallest mountain (2,351m/7,713ft)! A picnic lunch is served, with time for cocktails at a local bar.
If you choose this option, you’ll also save $100 on the trip.
Both groups then ferry back to Horta.
Dinner is a short walk from the hotel. The menu features fresh fish, local seafood and meat.
Hotel: Hotel do Canal, Horta, Faial
Our ferry to the São Jorge Island is just over two hours.
We then transfer to Serra do Topo for a downhill hike of medium difficulty. It covers 10km/6.5mi and should take about 3 hours.
We’ll see the astonishing Caldeira do Santo Cristo, clams that grow in a saltwater lagoon, and maybe some surfers on what may be the longest waves in Europe.
Lunch will be served on the terrace of a surf house, and the day wraps with a visit to Fajã dos Cubres – a debris field built by collapsing cliffs.
After we transfer to our hotel and check-in, a group dinner is served.
Hotel: São Jorge Garden Hotel, Velas, São Jorge
The day begins with a flight back to São Miguel Island.
Upon landing we head straight to our fabulous hotel which boasts its own thermal pools, and one of the most spectacular gardens in the country.
You’ll have the entire day to explore the gardens, pool and village on your own.
An optional guided stroll through town and towards the region’s bubbling hot springs will also be available.
Tonight we reconvene for another delicious included dinner.
Hotel: Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, Furnas, São Miguel
Today, our Azorean adventure begins with a bike ride from the village to Furnas Lake for a picnic lunch.
From there we’ll transfer to Faial da Terra for a 2.5h hiking tour of the island’s interior.
Our walk along a steep, narrow road leads to Sanguinho – a village abandoned since the 70’s that’s in the midst of a restoration. The remainder of the trail goes through woods with short hilly stretches through dense vegetation.
Upon reaching Salto do Prego’s waterfall you may opt for a brisk dip (the water’s chilly) before we head back along a different route.
Enjoy a refreshment in town and some mingling, then join us for our Farewell Dinner and a hilarious private mixology class.
Hotel: Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, Furnas, São Miguel
We have one short activity this morning – a visit to Europe’s only tea plantation.
After lunch and some time to shop, you’ll be transferred to the airport at 3:45PM, officially ending our Azorean escapade.
You may wish to continue your tour with Out Adventures on our mainland Portugal Lisbon & Porto Gourmet Foray Gay Tour. If not, we wish you safe travels home, and Até à vista!
• Arrival & departure transfers to/from Out Adventures’ joining/finishing point hotel
• 3-and 4-Star hotel accommodations throughout
• Ferry trips
• Museum and other entrance tickets
• All activities mentioned in the itinerary
• English speaking guide
• Breakfast daily, 6 lunches and 6 dinners
• International airfare and airfare between Ponta Delgada and Horta Island
• Other activities, meals and extra costs at hotels not mentioned in our itinerary
• Travel insurance is mandatory for all travellers.
• Gratuities for drivers/guides/hotel staff etc. (budget $10-14 USD per person per day)
• All items of a personal nature (laundry, drinks, etc.)
• Items of a personal nature
• Visa fees
If your passport is from the USA, Canada, Britain, or Australia, you don’t need a visa. There may be exceptions, and all visas are the traveller’s responsibility.
Portugal is a highly-developed Western nation – one of Europe’s oldest, in fact. Crime rates are low and the nation is generally safe, but beware of pickpockets and petty theft anywhere that’s popular with tourists. It’s best to leave valuables at home or in your hotel room.
Local LGBT Scene
Portugal offers some of the best LGBT rights in the world, but it’s still a conservative Catholic country, and the Azores have no gay hotspots to call their own. You can expect to be safe from phyiscal harassment, but beware public PDAs could conjure shady looks from the locals.
Portugal is one of Europe’s warmer countries, so the temperatures, crowds, and hotel prices can be tragic come summer. That makes spring or fall (April/May, September/October) a splendid time to visit.
The WHO suggests immunization against Hepatitis A and B, rabies, and influenza before visiting Portugal. If visiting the Azores or Madeira Islands from a country infected with Yellow Fever, a vaccination certificate is required. To determine if you should take preventative measures to reduce the risk of illness, consult with your doctor or a travel medical clinic, as we cannot provide vaccination recommendations.
All of our hotels will have Wi-Fi access. Feel free to check email and post away on social media.
For everybody’s peace of mind, medical travel insurance is required on all Out Adventures tours. At a minimum, your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability, with a minimum medical coverage of US $200,000.
On this tour domestic airfare is not included. We will provide the recommended flight details in the official Trip Guarantee email. If you are booking your trip less than 90 days to departure, there is a chance you will have to purchase a different flight than the rest of the group.
On this tour breakfast is included daily as well as 6 lunches and 6 dinners. Beer and wine are included during dinners.
The local currency is the European Euro (EUR). Use local currency for small purchases, however credit cards are accepted at most upscale restaurants and hotels. We recommend carrying approximately $400 USD to be used in case of an emergency, or if your credit/ATM cards are placed on hold. This should be in addition to any spending money.
If you are happy with services throughout your trip, a tip is recommended. Tipping details will be provided in your final trip documentation, however we recommend budgeting approximately $150 USD.
What to bring
Our adventures entail carrying your own luggage on occasion. And while you’ll never schlep far, things can quickly get costlier than a celebrity breakup if you don’t keep your baggage under 20kg/44lb thanks to costly surcharges on domestic flights. You should also bring something smaller for day trips to carry water, your camera, and any souvenirs you find along the way.
Every Out Adventure offers optional excursions that are not included in price of this trip. Please see the daily itinerary in your final pre-trip packet to learn what’s available.
How We Travel
Out Adventures is all about good times with likeminded guys. Whatever’s on the itinerary – from fireside camping to five-star decadence – our goal is to make the experience magical. We’re also committed to supporting the communities we visit by hiring local guides, staying at locally-owned accommodations when possible, and celebrating local cuisine. It all adds up to a great way to immerse yourself in the culture.
All Out Adventures are led by a gay (or gay-welcoming) guide. Whenever possible, we hire destination locals. And we can also connect you with the right people if you’d like to delve deeper into the local culture. If you’re pleased with your guide, we recommend a tip of US $5-10 per person, per day…they’ll certainly appreciate it!
If you’ve never travelled on your own, it’s an amazing way to get to know yourself while making new friends along the way. We can arrange for you to share a room with people in your age range at no charge, or you can pay a supplement for your own room. If there’s an odd number of solos, we’ll rotate a single room on a random basis.
Starting Point Hotel
Hotel do Colégio, Ponta Delgada
Situated in a 19th-century building on São Miguel Island, this hotel is a 5-minute walk from the University of the Azores and the seaside. It offers a swimming pool and free WiFi throughout.
In the morning, the hotel serves a buffet breakfast. The property's restaurant serves signature cuisine, made from locally grown ingredients.
Hotel Do Colégio guestrooms are spacious and were recently redecorated in accordance with the building's history, which used to be a school and musical conservatory. They have air conditioning and come equipped with a minibar and cable TV. The private bathrooms have a hairdryer.
Guests can refresh themselves with a dive in the pool.
Finishing Point Hotel
Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, Furnas, São Miguel
Located in a valley surrounded by trees, Terra Nostra Garden offers elegantly decorated rooms. Next to the Terra Nostra Botanical Park, it features indoor and outdoor pools.
The hotel’s interior is renovated in Art Deco style, blending in harmoniously with the environment. All rooms are decorated in neutral tones, and have wooden furniture. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel.
Guests can start their day with an à la carte continental breakfast, before renting a bicycle to explore the area. The hotel’s restaurant serves local dishes, while the bar offers refreshing drinks. Packed lunches are also available.
Situated in the Furnas Valley, Terra Nostra Garden Hotel is surrounded by calderas, mineral and thermal springs. It is a short drive from volcanic beaches, forest areas, and two golf courses.