I recently visited the Azores
on a fam trip. There were 9 people in the group. We flew from London Gatwick to Ponta Delgada with Sata International and stayed at the Hotel Royal Garden in Ponta Delgada
for 1 night.
We were up very early the next morning to catch an inter island flight to Horta on the Island of Faial
. When we arrived we were transferred to the
Hotel Faial. The hotel is in a good position and has panoramic views across the sea to the Island of Pico. My room had balcony and sea view and I had a fantastic view of Mount Pico.
After we had checked in we took a walk down to the Harbour. We had a quick look around and then went to see the artwork at the Marina. The walls and the pavements were full of paintings drawn by Sailors over the years. They do this as it is supposed to bring them good luck on their travels. We then headed to the famous Pete’s Café for lunch.
That afternoon we went on a Whale and Dolphin watching excursion
, which I have to say was excellent. Before we left the Harbour we had a briefing by the marine biologist. After the briefing we put on our life vests and climbed aboard the Zodiac boat. Out to sea we went at high speed! We were out there for 2 hours and in that time we saw 8 sperm whales. It was a good day for whale watching.
The next day we went across to Pico by boat for a day trip. The boat journey only took 30 minutes; we sat outside on deck to enjoy the sunshine and lovely views.
Pico’s landscape is a mixture of lava rock and exotic vegetation.
We took a walk along the coast which is made up of black rocks and then through the vineyards enjoying the views of Mount Pico. We then went to a local restaurant and tasted some freshly made cheese and bread which we washed down with a nice drop of Pico wine!
After lunch we visited the wine museum and then took stroll through the village where the houses are built of black volcanic stone and have white framed windows and red wooden doors.
If you like walking then Pico is the place to go. Experienced walkers will enjoy a hike up Mount Pico.
On our 4th day we did a full day tour of Faial. First stop was at the Caldeira, a crater which is approx 400 metres deep and the perimeter is 2km. It is bordered by blue hydrangeas and fern.
We then headed to the Whale factory, located in Porto Pim. The museum tells the story of local whalers and their hunting expeditions. The original factory equipment is on display. There is also a great beach in Porto Pim.
Later that day while driving we were lucky enough to spot some dolphins jumping along the coastline!
After lunch we went to Ponta dos Capelinhos. The Volcano Capelinhos eruption lasted for 13 months, from September 1957 until October 24 1958.
We took a tour through the museum and learnt all about the last eruption.
After the museum you can climb the famous lighthouse and enjoy the fantastic views.
That afternoon we hopped on an inter island flight back to Ponta Delgada in Sao Miguel
. We checked back into the Hotel Royal Garden.
Day 5 and we were up early and ready to meet our guide Anna Maria. Our tour that day took us to Nordeste and Furnas.
On the way to Nordeste we stopped at the Gorreana Tea Estate and took a tour of the factory and at the end of the tour we enjoyed tasting the tea they produce. We were then driven to Nordeste where we had lunch at the Estalagem dos Clerigos
. The hotel is set on a hillside above the town and has lovely views. After lunch our tour took us to Furnas where we visited the Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens and Furnas Lake.
That evening we enjoyed dinner at the Hotel Talisman
. The Talisman is in an excellent central position in Ponta Delgada. If you fancy listening to live music the Hotel has its own Sport One Bar.
The next morning we continued our tour of Sao Miguel, which took us to Ribeira Grande, Caldeira Velha and Lagoa do Fogo. Ribeira Grande has one of the nicest looking town squares. We then stopped at a place called Caldeira Velha; we started to walk along a path covered with lots of trees and plants. The path eventually led us to small waterfall which runs into a small pool. There were many people already there bathing.
Next stop was the Lagoa do Fogo which is known as the Fire Lake. Wow is all I can say, the lake was beautiful.
We now had a free afternoon, so the driver took us back to Ponta Delgada. So we had a free afternoon, there was only one thing on our minds and that was Shopping!
– Our first activity today was the Azoreon Experience excursion
which is family run. We headed to Ginetes where we were met by 2 horse drawn carriages. We all hoped aboard and then we were off through the town then we diverted off the main road and up a hill and into a field where we were met by some cows! Here we played some games and then we were asked if we wanted to milk the cow. The milk from the cow was used to make fresh cheese. After the fun and games we were taken back to the family’s farm house where we were offered lunch which included freshly made cheese from the cow’s milk, pate, home made sweet bread, tea & biscuits and homemade soup.
We left the farm and headed to visit Sete Cidades. We went up to the view point to get the best view of the lakes and what a fantastic view we had!
That evening we had dinner at a local restaurant in Ponta Delgada. The evening included traditional Azoroen Music and dancers.
Day 8 – Our trip has now come to an end. I enjoyed every minute of the trip and I am looking forward to going back and I am hoping that I will get to visit some of the other Islands. I have already recommended the Azores to friends and family.