These nine volcanic islands rising up in the middle of the Atlantic, bathed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, are one of world’s top nature destinations. Come discover unspoilt islands walking or biking around crater lakes, thermal springs and natural swimming pools, volcanic gorges, black sandy beaches, and steep coastlines or a boat trip to watch whales and dolphins, and diving into the infinite blue ocean or cannoning till the coast.
For this holiday we propose a guided cycling trip on the largest of the Azores islands, São Miguel, commonly known as the Green Island.
In an optional non-cycling or hiking day, we suggest swapping your cycling shades for binoculars and heading out on a boat for whales and dolphins spotting. If you want more flexibility, we can also propose self-guided and family versions for this trip.
Day 1 - Arrival at Ponta Delgada Airport
Welcome briefing and transfer to your charming hotel in the centre of Ponta Delgada. Dinner at the centre of town (not included).
Day 2 - Santa Barbara Loop (30 km)
We’ll cycle along the coast before turning inland to the north side of the island, heading towards an old “vigia” (viewpoint), once used to spot whales. Going uphill we’ll pass at the beautiful viewpoint of Santa Iria, and continue steadily higher on our way to Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande, where we could feel its particular micro climate, admire the Laurissilva forest and come across a number of fumaroles and thermal water springs. Continuing to the dam of Fajã do Redondo, we’ll then have a fun descent which takes us to Ribeira Grande and then to the surf beach of Santa Bárbara once again. Relax at the beach.
Day 3 - Pinhal da Paz Park Loop (40 km)
Leaving our hotel, we wind our way uphill to Pinhal da Paz Park. We continue our route to the south coast, reaching the village of Lagoa, where we‘re likely to spot the local fishermen returning home in traditional boats and unloading their catch. Lagoa makes for a fine lunch spot. After lunch we will head back to Ponta Delgada cycling along a traffic-free cycle path from the small town of Sao Roque all the way back to our hotel.
Day 4 - Sete Cidades Loop (30 km)
Transfer to Sete Cidades. Pedal around the craters’ rims, having superb views over several lakes and the coastline. Lunch on the shore of the Blue Lake of Sete Cidades. We will explore the quiet lakeside routes before heading to the small village of Mosteiros, to visit the church of Igreja São Nicolau. Ride uphill till Ferraria, before a steep descent takes us to the coast, ending today’s ride. Time to change from cycling to swimming clothes for a dip in a pool by the sea, heated by a volcanic crack. Transfer back to Ponta Delgada.
Day 5 - Rest Day – Optional Whale Watching / Jeep Safari / Cycling
In the morning you might like to go whale watching (in total approx. 3 hours). After lunch, you might like to do a Jeep Safari (approx. 3.5 hours). Of course, you may wish to just relax completely for the day or take your bike for a quick spin.Tonight we will stay in Furnas.
Day 6 - Furnas Lake and Caldeiras da Lagoa Loop (20 km)
From Furnas we’ll soon arrive at Caldeiras da Lagoa. This is where natural hot springs are used as ovens for the traditional “cozido”. We’ll continue on to Furnas Lake and head back to the hotel, in time for lunch. This afternoon we have the opportunity to explore the superb botanical gardens of the hotel and then take a relaxing swim in an iron-rich, heated swimming pool. Accommodation again in Furnas.
Day 7 - Povoação to Nordeste (30 km)
Transfer to the higher reaches of Salto do Cavalo view point. Cycle through the countryside of Nordeste, passing the base of the highest peak of São Miguel (Pico Vara at 1105m) and follow a gorgeous, winding lane which takes us gradually uphill, to the reserve of Tronqueira. Downhill to Nordeste where we’ll have lunch. Return transfer to Ponta Delgada. On the way we will stop at Ribeira dos Caldeirões to check-out the waterfalls, watermill and levadas, before continuing along the coast to the Gorreana Tea Factory, which is renowned throughout the world for the production of organic tea.
Day 8 - Departure from Ponta Delgada
We’ll transfer you to Ponta Delgada airport in time for your return flight home.