Discover the Hidden Gem of the Mid Atlantic
The archipelago of the Azores is made up of nine islands spread across a region in the Atlantic, between America and Europe.
Today the Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal, characterized by dramatic landscapes, quaint fishing villages, centuries old farms, green pastures and hedgerows of blue hydrangeas. Join us as we explore four islands: Terceira, Faial, Pico and São Miguel.
- Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The town centre of Angra do Heroísmo and the Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture
- Pineapple plantation on the outskirts of Ponta Delgada
- Magnificent views of the twin lakes of Sete Cidades
- Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores
- Europe’s only tea plantation
- Valley of Furnas’ hot springs
- Return economy group airfare from Canada to the Azores Islands on SATA Airlines
- Comfortable first class centrally located hotels as indicated or similar
- 21 meals (B - 8 breakfasts, L - 7 lunches, D - 6 dinners)
- Comprehensive tours of each island visited including all entrance fees as indicated
- Welcome and farewell dinners
- Wine, water, juice and coffee at all included dinners
- All gratuities, surcharges, taxes and fees for included services
- Airport transfers in Canada or equivalent value with purchase of group airfare
- Services of our Canadian tour escort plus professional drivers and guides in destination
Travellers from across Canada gather in Toronto for the SATA Airlines flight to Terceira island (with a connection in Ponta Delgada).
The name translating to "Third" in Portuguese, fittingly reflects its status as the third island discovered and the third largest. Upon our arrival, we will be greeted by our local guide and then proceed to Angra do Heroísmo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This charming city offers a delightful glimpse into an era long past. Its snug harbour is protected by a volcanic cone and played a pivotal role from the 16th to 18th centuries. Ships laden with treasures from the Americas would stop here on their way to Europe, making it a major staging point for transatlantic trade. Our exploration will take us to the Public Gardens and the Convent of São Gonçalo, the oldest convent in Angra do Heroísmo. Here, we can delve into the beautiful Baroque church's interior, featuring a collection of 18th-century Portuguese tiles. Moving on, our next destination is the Cathedral of Angra do Heroísmo, where we can marvel at its unique Indo-Portuguese lectern, exquisite silverwork in the holy chapel, and a 16th-century wooden painting in the main chapel. As the day concludes, we will savour our welcome dinner at the hotel.
Terceira Mar Hotel (2 nights)
Drive to Monte Brasil for commanding views over the whole island and stop at Pico das Cruzinhas Belvedere for the most impressive vista over Angra do Heroísmo. In the island’s centre, we visit Algar do Carvão, an ancient 100-metre deep lava tube full of fascinating geology. On the east coast, observe typical settlements and traditional houses contrasting with lush green fields bordered by lava stone walls. One of the oldest on the islands, the parish church in São Sebastião contains exquisite frescoes. Nearby is an “Império”, a small chapel characteristic of the Azorean towns. These Impérios play a central role in the popular Holy Ghost religious festivals, a medieval tradition rarely seen elsewhere in Europe. After lunch in a typical local restaurant, we drive to Praia da Vitória and then to Serra do Cume, taking in pastoral scenes overlooking Lajes and the ocean. Pass by the area where wild bulls are used in Terceira's bullfights (Touradas) before reaching Biscoitos, where we will admire the natural lava swimming pools and visit a local winery.
Early this morning we will catch a quick 40 minute flight to Faial Island. We will explore Horta on foot, this small city that was one of the most important harbours in the early days of settlement. Afterwards we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Hotel do Canal (3 nights)
From the breathtaking vantage of Espalamaca Belvedere, we take in captivating views of Horta, its lively harbour, and the surrounding landscapes. We continue upwards to Faial Island's highest point—the Caldeira, a large crater brimming with gorgeous scenery and rare flora. Our next stop is Capelinhos, where an underwater eruption during 1957-1958 formed new land, expanding Faial's size by about 2.4 square kilometers. Here we witness the islands' continuing evolution and visit the Interactive Centre detailing Capelinhos Volcano's history. For lunch, we pause at Varaduro, a delightful spa and summer resort famed for its distinctive natural swimming pools.
We depart Horta on a ferry bound for Pico Island. Upon arriving in Madalena, our tour commences around the rugged island terrain. At Arcos do Cachorro, the ocean crashes against an impressive rock formation, creating an exciting show of sound and colour. Moving on, we explore the Misterios area, characterized by black rock remnants from past volcanic eruptions. The journey continues through São Roque, along a scenic road that cuts across to the island’s southern side. Here, we are surrounded by native greenery, including Azorean Juniper and Mahogany, along with Laurel Trees. After lunch en route, we will have the chance to visit the Whaler’s Museum, offering a glimpse into the island's historical connection with whaling. Our tour concludes with a ferry ride back to Horta from Madalena.
After a relaxed beginning to the day, we take flight to São Miguel, the largest and most geographically diverse of the islands. Following lunch, our exploration begins on foot along Marginal Avenue. We pass the iconic “Portas da Cidade” ( City Gates) before continuing to the city hall, past the gleaming statue of St. Michael Archangel, the island’s patron saint. From there we head to the Matriz Church and the Museum of Sacred Art nestled within the Church of the College. We will culminate our exploration at the convent da Esperança, home to the venerated Sanctuary of Santo Cristo dos Milagres.
Grand Hotel Acores Atlantico (3 nights)
Today is a full day exploring the eastern side of the island. We journey along the southern coast to Vila Franca, the first capital of the island, and visit São Miguel Church, one of the oldest Gothic churches in the Azores. Continuing onward to Povoação, where early Portuguese navigators first landed, we make a stop at Ponta da Madrugada Belvedere, renowned as one of the island's most scenic overlooks, to take in the dramatic seascapes. Nordeste is a beautiful coastal village, noted for its lush vegetation, delightful gardens, and waterfalls. After lunch here, we continue along the north shore, passing several pleasant villages on the way.
Venturing high into São Miguel’s mountains, we will overlook the stunning Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake) — a sapphire volcanic lake whose name hints at its fiery origins. This serene crater lake encapsulates the island’s mystical landscapes. As we cross one of the island's highest points, we will be treated to vistas of both the southern and northern coasts. In Ribeira Grande, the 17th and 18th-century Baroque architecture will transport us back in time, before we return to the dramatic present-day coastline, sculpted by volcanic rock. Our visit to Gorreana, home to Europe's only commercially grown tea, reveals meticulously cultivated terraces. Heading back inland we make our way to the spa town of Furnas. Its town centre boasts over two dozen bubbling, steaming caldeiras (hot springs) that bubble up through the ground, which we will see firsthand in the nearby Valley of Furnas. We will stop to enjoy lunch at Casino Terra Nostra and stroll through the adjacent botanical gardens. Our day concludes in Ponta Delgada with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant featuring a folkloric show.
Depart towards the westernmost part of the island, renowned for its scenic mountains and lakes. Revel in the coastal beauty adorned with green landscapes and charming cattle farms. Stop at the King’s Vista overlooking the Blue and Green Lakes nestled within an enormous volcanic crater. As we return to Ponta Delgada, we take a mountain road along the island's northwest, stopping at Pico do Carvão to take in views of both coasts. On the outskirts of Ponta Delgada, visit local pineapple plantations and see how this tropical fruit is grown in greenhouses. There will be free time for lunch before our transfer to the airport for our direct flight back to Toronto, connecting us to various destinations across Canada.
Have any questions? Contact Sharon at sbahadur [at] craigtravel.com or call 1-800-387-8890
Tour Cost in Canadian Dollars per person
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First deposit is $500 per person at booking. Second deposit is $1,500 per person due on Thursday, May 9, 2024. Final Payment is due June 26, 2024.
*Land Only price does not include the cost of any internal flights in the Azores (these will be quoted, subject to confirmation). Airfares from other gateways are available on request. Airfares and air carriers are subject to change and will be confirmed prior to final payment. Refer to inclusive features for details. Prices are based on a minimum of 20 members and on rates, taxes and fees effective November 2023. Prices are subject to change due to factors beyond our control. Group to be escorted with a minimum of 20 travellers.
Insurance is NOT INCLUDED but is highly recommended. Premiums are calculated based on the individual’s age, destination (country), trip length, and trip booking window – please contact our staff to receive a quote. Your coverage starts on the effective date of your confirmation of coverage. Please discuss your insurance coverage prior to booking. Refer to terms and conditions for more details.