No vacation to Portugal is complete without a journey across the Atlantic to see the legendary islands of the Azores. Portugalonline.com’s Perfect Week in the Azores package effortlessly escorts you around the three most popular islands - São Miguel, Faial and Pico. Spend six relaxing nights at four-star hotels and seven action-packed days soaking in the extraordinary sun, culture, history and verdant, volcanic landscapes of the archipelago. You’ll tick all of the boxes on every Azorean tourist’s bucket list, including a glimpse of the twin blue and green volcanic lakes of Sete Cidades on São Miguel, a stroll through the celebrated port of Horta on Faial, and a close-up look at amazing volcanic formations on Pico. All the while, you will enjoy village after village of local cheeses, wines and seafood in the salty, storied atmosphere of the Azores.
"The 7 day/3 island tour my wife and I just finished was wonderful and beyond what we had expected. Everything went as planned, no problems with hotels, tours, flights etc. We have fallen in love with the Azores and will return again, God willing…Thank you so much for putting together such a great trip for us. " -- P. Foster, U.S.A
Grab a window seat on the plane so you can be the first to spot the seven ancient volcanic peaks rising from the Atlantic that make up the Azores. You’ll land at Faial, one of the most strategic ports in history. The capital Horta has served as a hub for centuries of sailors - from explorers to pirates to whalers to today’s trans-Atlantic yachtsmen. Despite its formidable 16th century fortress, both the Spanish and England’s Sir Walter Raleigh attacked Horta. During the pre-wireless days, Horta was a strategic relay point for the trans-Atlantic cable communications. Today it is a traveler’s paradise of maritime legacy and a perfect place to enjoy whale watching, water sports or gazing at the sea.
Day 2 - Faial: Visit the Capelinhos Volcano
Today you will get face-to-face with the island’s volcanic origins. Your private English-speaking guide will drive you through the mountains over the Valley of Flamengos, on to Caldeira, the highest point on the island, and north to Capelinhos, the site of the most recent volcanic eruption in the Azores. The 1957-58 offshore event added two square kilometers to the island! The extensive ash fields and earthquake aftershocks caused so much damage that many islanders emigrated to North America.
Day 3 - Faial: Voyage to Pico Island
Wake refreshed and ready for a short ferry ride to picturesque Pico. Dock in Madalena and meet your guide for a full day tour of the second largest island in the archipelago. You won’t miss the perfectly cone-shaped namesake volcano, Pico (pronounced “peak”) that serves as a backdrop for views across the island. Lava rock from ancient eruptions forms the walls of many homes and borders vineyards that grow the grapes for the local wine, Verdelho. Before returning to Horta by ferry, don’t miss the whaling museum which details the historic transition of Pico from a whaling station to a renown place to see whales in the wild.
Day 4 - Faial to São Miguel: On Foot in Ponta Delgada
Today you will enter the Azores of the 21st Century. Flying into the largest island of São Miguel, you will get glimpses of its geographical diversity and you will see the expanse of Ponta Delgada, the archipelago’s capital and largest city. But as you settle into your hotel for three nights in the old section of town, you will appreciate its charming historical center and marvel at the town’s intersection of old and new. Take the afternoon and evening to get acquainted with Ponta Delgada’s food, drinks and culture.
Meet your private driver/guide and head beyond the homes of Ponta Delgada for a full day tour of São Miguel’s interior. The rural life of São Miguel dominates as you take the south road passing the village of Lagoa, a viewpoint at Caloura and the former capital of Vila Franca. Upon arrival in the Furnas area, the volcanic attractions take top billing: Don’t miss the lake, the hot springs and the holes in the ground where local specialty “Cozido nas Caldeiras” (Caldera Stew) is cooked for seven hours by underground volcanic steam. Continue to the charming town of Furnas for a lunch stop. Stroll the historic botanical gardens (additional charge) planted in the 18th century and take the opportunity to swim in the hot springs swimming pool. The Furnas hot springs and mineral waters were a popular and fashionable 19th century spa resort for Europeans that are now being revitalized. Cross the island to the north coast, stopping for a fine view of both the south and north coasts and visit Europe’s only tea plantation on the way. Return to your hotel for an evening of dining and relaxation in town.
Some say it is wise to save the best for last. We think you’ll agree. On your final full day you’ll take a full-day guided tour the famed view of Sete Cidades. The view of the twin blue and green caldera lakes from Vista do Rei on the crater’s rim is nothing short of spectacular. After catching your breath, you’ll travel to the tiny town of Sete Cidades down in the crater along the lake. On the way back to Ponta Delgada, be sure to stop at a plantation and taste one of São Miguel’s small, sweet pineapples – they’re the only ones grown in Europe. Continue to the Fire Lake the highest crater lake located in the center of the island, stop at Caldeira Velha (entrance fee not included), Ribeira Grande and return to the Hotel. Absorb the glow of your last Azorean sunset before heading to dine on local specialties in town. Picnic included.
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