Hiking Adventure

 in the Azores Islands

SIX DAYS OF HIKING
This exclusive hiking adventure explores two islands, Flores and Corvo making up the Western group of the archipelago.
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Walking

Imagine an archipelago in the Atlantic where the volcanic mountains covered in lush vegetation rise above the clouds and the waterfalls gush from great height. This is a place where its large lagoons of emerald green waters and ancient volcanic craters are of a unique beauty. A destination where you can swim in natural pools in the middle of the ocean as well as come close to the great whales that travel in our seas. We present to you the Azores Islands, considered by the prestigious magazine “National Geographic Traveler” as the “Top Two Island Destinations”.

 

In partnership with Walk Hike Portugal, we are proud to announce a NEW hiking adventure in the Azores. Guided by Francisco Mendonça, whom will share with you his love of these dramatic islands and introduce you to its hardy people that over time have been influenced by its isolation.

 

The Azores an autonomous region of Portugal is a breathtaking archipelago made up of 9 volcanic islands in the mid-Atlantic. This exclusive hiking adventure explores two islands, Flores and Corvo making up the Western group of the archipelago.

Connection

Although Flores is a small island that is only 17km long and 12km wide with 911m of height, it is surely one of the most beautiful places in the world for walking. With impressive cliffs that reach several hundred meters high and a profusion of plant life that extends to the ocean your journey is filled with endless views.

 

About 18km away is Corvo Island, the smallest of the archipelago and still a highlight of the trip. Corvo is one of the most isolated places in the entire European continent with a little more than 400 inhabitants in its unique village. You will hike into Its enormous and disproportionate Caldera more than 2km in diameter, that makes this island a “must”, where the beauty of its walls with the Atlantic behind has no equal.

 

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Itinerary

Arrive Flores Island

Located at the western most point of Europe, you will find a plateau overlooking the ocean where sits what was once an ancient village. ​Abandoned in the 1960's its stone houses have been rebuilt over time establishing the link between past and present.

On arrival you will transfer to our trip base, Aldeia da Cuada, in the western zone of Flores Island.  We will have a short briefing on the days ahead including where we will hike and a presentation of the island.

 

Your welcome dinner will be in Aldeia da Cuada where we will taste some of the local delicacies.

Beginning of the Activities: Depending on flight arrival times

Duration: 30 minutes from airport to the Aldeia da Cuada

 

Meals included: Dinner

Accomodation: Aldeia da Cuada - 1st of 6 nights

Day 1

Four Villages Hike

Our first day of hiking takes us to 4 villages in the Western part of Flores Island. Between extensive open valleys over the sea and beautiful vegetation corridors -- and always in the company of the ubiquitous cows -- we will learn of the history of these settlements originating in the 19th century while surrounded by impressive stone walls.

Before we descend to the last village, we will make a small detour to marvel at a breathtaking view, where the vast ocean and a valley of great beauty surrounded by walls of dense vegetation with hundreds of meters of height and countless waterfalls, combine in a landscape of overwhelming beauty.

As we arrive at the last village we will get a taste of local life with a visit to its beautiful church and a stop at a local small cheese factory and water mill. ​

The afternoon is your choice to enjoy the beautiful oceanic pools or relax at our village, Aldeia da Cuada. Dinner will be in a family restaurant where the traditional centennial cuisine from Trás-os Montes, in the northeast of mainland Portugal and typical Azorean products combine. All complimented by a delightful Portuguese wine.​

Hike Distance: 5.9 mi. (9.46 km)

Ascent: 2,116 ft (645 m)

Descent: 2,168 ft (661 m)

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation​: Aldeia da Cuada​ - 2nd of 6 nights​

Day 2

The Dramatic Western Shore

Today we start in a very small nearby village, Ponta da Fajã, with a spectacular trail on the cliff near the sea. With a view of the Fajã Grande village to our back we begin a long and beautiful ascent in a dense foliage corridor. Enjoy the views not only of the ocean but also of the dramatic coastline.

 

At the top of the cliff on more flat terrain we will cross several streams. Here the views will be wider and from a certain point, we will start to see in the background the island of Corvo, the smallest of the whole archipelago. After a few small valleys, dominated by Cedars, Sanguinhos and many Hortenses painting a colorful route, we make our way to the end of this path.

 

This is an area where the meadows surrounded by the traditional stone walls of this region, dominate. It is also here where the views are more spectacular beyond the formidable coastline where waterfalls cascading to the sea abound. We can see the great islet of Maria Vaz as well as the Promontory of Albarnaz and it’s great lighthouse that radiates light and has guided the sailors for more than 80 years.

This is one of the zones where the coastline is most exposed to the strength of the Atlantic and as such, it is also here that we can appreciate the strength of the waves that have shaped these basaltic rocks, born in the bowels of the Earth, for more than 2 million years.​

 

Enjoy dinner right at our own village of Aldeia da Cuada.

Hike Distance: 3.5 mi. (5.62 km)

Ascent: 1,818 ft (554 m)

Descent:  1,725 ft (526 m)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Aldeia da Cuada - 3rd of 6 nights​

Day 3

The Island of the Crow

Today is a highlight with a visit to Corvo also known as Crow Island. The smallest island in the entire Archipelago, but it is here that perhaps, is the most beautiful volcanic caldera in the Azores and one of the most beautiful in the world.

 

The day will begin with an exciting boat trip along the coastline of Flores Island. The dark blue Atlantic waters of wide waves along with the various cascades and cliffs covered with vegetation to the sea, makes us feel that we are perhaps in the middle of the film set of “Jurassic Park”.

After this magnificent tour we will continue to Crow Island and if we are lucky we may see groups of dolphins, flying fish or even Minke whales.

 

After docking, we will visit the Interpretation Center in the tiny village of Corvo, the only settlement in the whole island. Here get a better understanding of not only the topography of the island but other curiosities. Continue by van to the great volcanic Caldera where a stunning landscape is waiting. Our hike will bring us down into the Caldera where we will enjoy our picnic lunch.

 

After a great day we return by boat as we view a new perspective of the island of Flores about 18km away. Docking in the village of Santa Cruz das Flores, the main village on the island, it will be here that we will dine in a simple local family restaurant savoring the taste of a homemade meal.

Note: This tour is always dependent on the weather and sea conditions, therefore the date may be changed.

Hike Distance: 2.73 mi. (4.39 km)

Ascent: 1,591 ft (485 m)

Descent:  1,1591 ft (485 m)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Aldeia da Cuada - 4th of 6 nights

Day 4

Plateau of Four Lagoons

Today we begin in the central plateau of the island at about 750m high. This is perhaps the most diversified track on this adventure as we will go through several endemic ecosystems. Our hike starts at Lagoa Funda (Deep Lagoon), which at 130m deep is the deepest of all the archipelago. We will trek along this very humid area passing Lagoa Comprida (Long Lagoon) and Seca (Dry Lagoon), where the fog is frequent and mosses abound. Depending on the time of the year, large and tasty blackberries are a treat along the way. On a clear day we will be able to view the Morro Alto, the highest point of the island at 911m. 

Continuing on to the last of the lagoons, the Branca (White) we will face numerous water courses. It is also here that Turfs predominate, a kind of yellowish moss which are authentic reservoirs of water given their density. They are an significant component for the sustainability of the entire ecosystem of the island. The Branca lagoon is an important zone for migratory birds and for that reason it was here that the first structure for bird watching of the whole archipelago was installed. 

From here we start going up the Morro Alto and come across a wider perspective of the whole plateau. The various deep valleys covered with forests of Cryptomeria on our right and the villages of Fajã Grande and Fajãzinha, far below. Stunning views are our reward as we are surrounded by huge cliffs with numerous waterfalls and the ocean ahead. 

What goes up, must go back down with a deep descent first on open ground and then through the middle of a beautiful corridor of Incense, one of the invading species that cover vast areas of the island. Returning to sea level there are several ruins of old water mills from 19th century and in front of us we find the waterfall of Poço do Bacalhau (Codfish Well). At about 90m high, its crystalline waters land in a small pond where you can cool off in the refreshing waters. The perfect setting for our picnic lunch and a relaxing afternoon. 

After lunch our hike starts at Lagoa Funda (Deep Lagoon).  We will trek along this very humid area passing Lagoa Comprida (Long Lagoon) and Seca (Dry Lagoon), where the fog is frequent and mosses abound. On a clear day we will be able to view the Morro Alto, the highest point of the island at 911m.

 

Dinner will be at Aldeia da Cuada.

Hike Distance: 4.3 mi. (6.98 km)

Ascent: 1,237 ft (377 m)

Descent:  2,644 ft (806 m)

 

​​Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation​: Aldeia da Cuada - 5th of 6 nights​

Day 5

One Last Amazing Hike

One last day -- filled with one more great hike! We will begin on a huge promontory on the northeast coast of the island, where the village of Ponta Ruiva (Redhead Tip) is located. With spectacular views, we hike along a slope but quickly dive into a forest of Cryptomerias where we will cross several small bridges over small streams and waterfalls.

 

Our undulating trek will begin to descend towards the sea on an old path used by the local population. Much of this path is accompanied by large stone walls as well as steps of basalt that are still used today by the locals. Below we will find a bay with waves crashing into the scenic islets.

 

Climbing up we will discover small trails that will follow a levada (man-made water channel used to pipe highland waters). Still in full operation, they continue to be vital for the sustainability of this whole region of small farmers. The oceanic pools of Santa Cruz village will be our next goal where we will enjoy these natural pools for the first time. The various concrete platforms integrated in the basaltic rock create several bathing areas where you can enjoy the remainder of the afternoon.

 

Tonight's farewell is with a magnificent dinner in a local restaurant known not only for the delicious delicacies and sweets typical of this region but also for the beautiful moments provided by the setting sun into the Atlantic.

Hike Distance: 3.7 mi. (5.95 km)

Ascent: 1,270 ft (387 m)

Descent:  1,818 ft (554 m)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation​: Aldeia da Cuada​ - 6th of 6 nights

Day 6

Good Bye Azores

Time to say good bye. Behind will stay the remarkable landscapes carved by the power of nature. As well we bid farewell to the unique and tough yet genuine and gentle people we met along the way. Since ancient times they have lead a hard life in these inhospitable islands but still their customs and culture live on.

 

After breakfast transfer to airport.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7

Please note that the details of this itinerary are subject to change. Many of the planned activities are organized according to availability, events or seasonal dates, appropriate weather conditions or the discretion of our guides. We make every effort to provide the experience described in the itinerary with the understanding that some things may change.

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