Azores: Island Hopping

26 April – 4 May 2021

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Take this opportunity to explore the wonderful Azores islands of Sao Miguel, Flores, Corvo, Faial and Pico. A Portuguese archipelago situated in the North Atlantic ocean discovered in 1427 by Portuguese navigators. All the islands are volcanic in origin but they are very different to each other. All all have luxuriant vegetation. The highest mountain Mount Pico in Portugal is to be found in the Azores on Pico island, rising to 7,713 ft above sea level. Enjoy daily temperature of between 15-25°C throughout the year, the warmest country in Europe during the wintertime. There will be a variety of visits made on each island, including to enormous lakes, various museums, white sandy beaches, thermal areas with geysers, the Terra Nostra Park, tea and pineapple plantations, lunches in stately homes set in beautiful gardens with exotic flowers. The islands also have many beautiful examples of Baroque architecture. There are 28 whale species that are to be found in the waters around these beautiful islands. So a morning out to sea is included in the itinerary to watch whales, dolphins, turtles and seabirds.

TOUR PRICE

£2692 per person

Single Supplement £390

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES

FLIGHTS – Return flights from UK to Ponta Delgarda, Sao Miguel Island

Private transfers from and to Azores airport. Internal flight to Flores Island Internal flight to Faial Island Internal flight to Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island

ACCOMMODATION – 8 nights en-suite, 1 night on São Miguel, 2 nights on Flores. 2 nights on Faial and 3 nights on São Miguel.

FOOD – Full board, 8 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners. Drinks included.

PRIVATE COACH, GUIDE AND DRIVER FOR THE WHOLE 9 DAYS.

All entrance fees and excursions mentioned in the itinerary plus Group Leader from Jona Tours.

PROPOSED ITINERARY

NB: Subject to change, for your benefit.

Day 1: Flight from the UK to Ponta Delgada Sao Miguel Island. Arrival in São Miguel island, guide assistance and transfer to Ponta Delgada city centre. Guided city tour of Ponta Delgada. Ponta Delgada is the largest and most populous city of the Azores as well as the capital of the archipelago and boasts more than five centuries of history. Starting on foot from the pier this walking visit will include the most interesting sights in the city – Portas da Cidade (City Gates); Matriz de São Sebastião; the City Hall, São Brãs Fort, built in the XVI century to protect from pirate and privateers attacks; The Chapel of Our Lady of Hope, built in the sixteenth century and where the image of the Holy Christ of Miracles is kept; All Saints church and Alto da Mãe de Deus, the highest point of the city offering a panoramic view. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 2: Sao Miguel (Ponta Delgada) Flight to Flores Island. Breakfast at the hotel. Flores Island Discover Flores lsland’s seven lagoons and Rocha dos Bordões. This tour goes through the central plateau of the island where we find the wonderful lakes. To complement this tour along the lakes what better than to pass through one of Flores lsland ex libris, Rocha dos Bordões, an imposing hill which originated from a curious geological phenomenon which solidified at high vertical streaks. For many years this was the main reason many travellers came to the islands of the western group. We go onto some fantastic viewpoints including Craveiro Lopes, the Portal and the Lajedo. After catching our breath we visit one of the most imposing rocks on the lsland, the Filão dos Frades. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 3: Flores/Corvo/Flores Boat trip to Corvo Island Breakfast at the hotel. Beautiful boat trip to Corvo lsland where you spend an unforgettable day enjoying its natural wonders. Before discovering the smallest island of the Azores, you pass through the amazing caves of Flores lsland. Our knowledgeable guide will lead you to the “can’t miss” areas and viewpoints on the island. You’re sure to fall in love with this beautiful island. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 4: Flores/Faial Flight to Faial Island Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Time to walk around Santa Cruz city before lunch at the hotel and transfer to the airport for our flight to Faial lsland. Upon arrival, meet the guide and departure for a half day tour around Faial. Drive by Parque do Capelo and stop at Ponta dos Capelinhos, one of the main attractions of the island. It stands at the westernmost point of the island and from here it is possible to see the effects of the eruption of 1957/58, when a considerable area of land was covered by ash from the volcano, which is now extinct. Next stop is in Cardeira , a crater about 2 km in diameter and 400m depth, surrounded by blue hydrangeas (July and August) and luxuriant vegetation. This area is part of a nature reserve. Visit Flamengos Valley, full of colour on account of its plantations, flowers and cottages. Finally stop at Esparamaca viewpoint with a breath-taking view of the city of Horta.

Day 5: Faial Half day city tour to Horta Centre Our Horta city tour is a walking tour through the city. During the tour, we will see and learn about various landmarks around this port city. Horta was a frivolous harbour city, especially during the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The natural bay offered good shelter for many kinds of ships, from the American whaling ships to the ships of German, English and American submarine cable companies. Today, Horta’s marina is still a destination for yachts crossing the Atlantic. This walking tour gives us the opportunity to learn about the many historical events that occurred on Faial since the first settlers arrived in the 15th century.Lunch, dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6: Faial/ Pico/Sao Miguel Boat trip to Pico Island. Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Transfer to the harbour for boat trip to Pico lsland and a tour around the island. We arrive in Madalena and head along the north coast of the island stopping in Arcos do Cachorro, impressive rock formations where the ocean makes an exciting show of sound and colour. Then onto São Roque, an old town, with a commercial port at Cais do Pico with close connections to the whaling industry. From here we cross to the south coast towards Lajes village, the first settlement on the island. This village is built of dressed stone with balconies running the length of the facade. lt’s also a whale-hunting centre with centuries of old tradition. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then visit the Whalers Museum, which holds a marvellous collection of scrimshaw made from the whale tooth and bone, as well as various utensils used in primitive fishing methods, copies of various logbooks used on the ancient whalers and other objects connected with the activity. We continue onto Mistério de São João. Places formed by volcanic activity, the local population named them “mistérios” (mysteries), as they saw “rivers of fire” coming out of the earth for no apparent reason, destroying their belongings.. Last visiting point will be the zone of the vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour will finish at Pico airport for flight to Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island. Arrival in Ponta Delgada and transfer to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 7: São Miguel/Ponta Delgada. Boat trip whale watching. Breakfast at the hotel. Whale watching. This morning we head out to sea for the opportunity to watch some of the 28 cetacean species that can be found in the Azores. Whales and dolphins are regularly seen during our half day tours, along with turtles, seabirds and other marine wildlife. As they are wild animals, each tour is a surprise! We cannot control where they will be or if they will show up during every trip! The trip will last about 3 hours before going back to the harbor. Lunch will be served in a local restaurant. Sete Cidades. This afternoon we discover the western part of the island where the mountains and lakes of Sete Cidades are situated. Stop at Vista do Rei viewpoint where you can see across to the two twin lakes covering the bottom of the volcanic crater. Return to Ponta Delgada through a mountain road with beautiful sights over the central part of the island, stopping at Pico do Carvão viewpoint. On the outskirts of Ponta Delgada there is a stop at a pineapple plantation to observe how this tropical fruit grows in São Miguel with the opportunity to taste the pineapple liqueur. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 8: São Miguel (Ponta Delgada) Breakfast at the hotel. Furnas and Fogo Lake. Departure from Ponta Delgada heading to Ribeira Grande, located on the north coast. Stop for a stroll around the historical centre of this small but rich town, picturesquely settled on a volcanic plateau above the sea, featuring some interesting examples of the architecture from the XVll and XVlll centuries namely the town hall and Espírito Santo church. We continue onto one of the tea plantations on the island. Here you learn the how the plant is processed into tea as we know it. Afterwards we go to Pico de Ferro viewpoint, with views over the biggest crater of the island and Furnas lake. In Furnas, we visit the “Caldeiras” an area with several thermal springs and fumalores sprouting boiling water and medicinal mud. The fumaroles located in the lake’s margins are “natural ovens” where your Iunch is cooked! A sealed pot with assorted meats, sausages and vegetables is buried underground and within 5 to 7 hours the “Cozido das Caldeiras” is ready to taste in a local village restaurant. After lunch we take a guided walking visit to Terra Nostra Garden. Planted by Thomas Hickling in the 18th century and improved by the Praia e Monforte family in the 19th, the park is a romantic vision of lakes, winding pathways, exotic flowers, century old trees and a swimming pool with thermal waters. Return to Ponta Delgada by the south side passing by Vila Franca do Campo, the former capital of the island. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 9: São Miguel (Ponta Delgada) Flight home to the UK. Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Transfer to the airport and flight back home.