Azores Winter Hiking Package 2023

This coming March 2023 we at CW Azores are organizing a specially tailored package for hikers willing to experience the beauty and power of the Azorean winter.

Join us on a journey off the beaten path. Feel the untamed force of the Atlantic ocean, experience weather changes of breathtaking pace, relish a heavenly peace - and profit from our professional and passionate tour guiding. You will be surprised by how much summer the Azorean winter has to offer!

Trip location

 TRIP APPEAL & LOCATION

This guided trip is for nature loving and inquisitive travelers. Each day is dedicated to one of the thrilling aspects of the islands Pico, Faial & São Jorge: the indigenous Flora and Fauna above and under water, lifestyle, culture and history of the local communities, volcanic and geologic phenomena – to name but a few. We would like for you to closely experience the real Azores, the wildness of its nature and the kindness of its population with all your senses. The Azorean winter creates a truly unique atmosphere to do so...

 WEATHER

The Azores are very well suitable to escape from the cold of mid-European winters. The proverbial 4-seasons in one day are best to be discovered from January to March. While the windward flanks withhold the roaring waves of an unleashed ocean the reverse sides often display beautiful weather and waters smooth as glass. Torrential rains and scorching sun might be just some minutes or a few kilometers away from each other. Azorean weather changes, especially in winter, are truly breathtaking...

 ACCOMMODATION

The Rainbow Guest House is a lovely bed & breakfast in a quiet neighbourhood of Madalena. It features spacious rooms, all with private bathrooms. The shared, living area is cozy and comfortable. A healthy fresh breakfast is served every day with home made and local products.

The house is a 10-min walk to the town centre, offers free WiFi internet connection and a laundry service is available at a small fee.

 Itinerary

  • Day 1: Journey, Arrival on Pico Island & first steps
    You will be landing in the afternoon directly from Lisbon. The lovely Rainbow Guest House bed & breakfast will welcome you warmly. We will use the remaining daylight for a first orientation around Madalena. Dinner will be freshly prepared for us on the barbeque in our own backyard. While tasting the first sips of a local wine, we will have a look into our program for the next days.
  • Day 2: The course of time – wine-growers, citrus-plantations & self sufficiency
    Our first hike we will lead us through the heritage of different agricultural phases of Pico island and through the minglemangle of modern and traditional ways of living.
    This first hike may help us to a first insight into the Azorean lifestyle and its intervention with the islands history. A vast variety of local specialties will set the culinary end to this day.
    18km, 6h, +450m, -450m
  • Day 3: Tales from the inner core of our earth - 300.000 years in one day
    The Azores islands are the result of a unique interaction between a magmatic hotspot and the movement of our continental plates. For the schooled eye the outcome of these interactions become visible in the islands landscapes. We will seize the day and listen to some theoretical explanations before going on a geologic treasure hunt by car and by feet to find some evidence of the still active volcanism of Pico Island. Our hike will lead us along the biggest historic lava flow. Fine local cuisine will take us back to the present.
    9.5km, 3h, +22m, -777m
  • Day 4: Horta & Faial’s Caldeira – the Silicon Valley of the Atlantic, right into the island's heart
    1 million years ago a stratovolcano had grown from the bottom of the sea to a height of 1500m above sea level and thus begun the existence of what is today know as Faial Island. 1000m of altitude have resisted collapse and erosion since then. We will hike around Faial’s massive central Caldeira and enjoy the splendid views in every direction.
    A walking tour around the small town of Horta will unravel its restless history. You will be surprised how this little place has been involved in world wide human history over the last centuries. Fresh fish is on today’s menu.
    8km, 3h, +75m, -75m
  • Day 5: Island Tour Faial & Capelinhos – the Azores most famous Volcano
    In 1957/58 the population of Faial witnessed an occurrence that is today known as a Surtseyean eruption. A submarine volcano formed outside the islands shoreline and merged with the island in the course of its eruption. Faial gained 2.5 square kilometer of land, but the fear of more severe events drove away one third of its population.
    We will cross the ash-covered fields of the famous eruption and retrace the course of the volcanic activity on today’s landscape. We will use the way towards the volcano for some interesting stops. Dinner will be prepared by local hands directly at our accommodation.
    8km, +100m, -400m
  • Day 6: free – enjoy your day
  • Day 7: Pico summit – a very unique climb
    Portugal’s highest Mountain, the roof of the Atlantic or simply ‘ó Pico`rises 2351m above sea level. The summit leads us above the vegetation line into a bizarre world of cooled lava flows. The very top still releases hot air from the active volcano. The view from the top is breathtaking.
    There is an easier hiking option prepared for those who do not wish to challenge themselves on the steep summit. An all you can eat buffet fulfills the demands of this strenuous day.
    6km, +1100m, -1100m
  • Day 8: Caves – Islands or Swiss cheese?
    More than 170 caves are known to exist on Pico Island alone – few have been inspected further than a few meters. Endemic Bugs make the main faunistic features of the underworld and bacterial mats give a golden or silvery shine to the otherwise dark temples. We will visit the longest, and probably best investigated tunnel system of the archipelago and explore some lesser known caves.
    At the brusque cliffs of Cachorro we hope for an impressive Atlantic swell. Today’s dinner is held with a view and very close to the water.
    10km, +500m, -800m
  • Day 9: São Jorge - Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo (and some delicious cheese!)
    São Jorge grows from the ocean like the backbone of a giant mythical creature. The head that goes with it can be found in Velas in form of a fountain. The steep cliffs of the island have restricted the early settlements to the so-called Fajãs – natural platforms often merely a few meters above the roaring sea. We find our way from the central ridge through deep ravines until we end up in the microcosms that make the Fajãs.
    The more adventurous type may pick an even steeper way and rappel, professionally guided, down the many waterfalls of São Jorge. We will make a stop at São Jorge’s cheese factory to watch the labor intense production and to prepare for a picnic lunch.
    10km, +100m, -700m
  • Day 10: The Day of the Whales
    No other creature of the sea has left a more indelible mark on the centrals group destiny than the Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). Its oil drove the engine of the industrial revolution and was luckily replaced by synthetic oils early enough to prevent its extinction. Nowadays the Sperm whale is the iconic marine mammal of the Acores and well regulated whale watching activities thrive for a more peaceful and respectful connection of man and whale.
    We will visit the land-based lookouts of whale spotters and listen to their tales, to learn more about the impressive life of the Sperm Whales. But we will also shed light on the whaling times and the interconnection into the Azores culture. International cuisine à la carte will end this long day. Optionally, we can also join a Whale Watching trip to admire these giants with our own eyes.
  • Day 11: No-man’s-land – The Highlands
    The wide and open countryside on the islands main ridge belong to the cows and their farmers. Corkscrewed and crooked juniper and heather trees fight the atlantic winds and freshwater lakes serve as natural water reserves. In clear conditions the highlands offer unreal scenery and views. In fog it feels like you are searching for the exit from the rabbit hole in Alice’s wonderland.
    To fully sense this unreal scenery we will partly walk across country. We will dine with a view in modern architecture.
    12km, +400m, -400m
  • Day 12: Farewell
    You will catch a flight from the Azores to Lisbon, where connections to almost all major European airports are available. Hopefully, you will be taking with you some of the well-known Azorean calmness. For sure, will have experienced the magic of what life looks like in the middle of the Atlantic!
  • Please notice that the order of the activities in the itinerary may be altered depending on weather forecast and conditions.

 ACCOMMODATION

11-nights at Rainbow Guest House, breakfast included.

 TOUR GUIDING

12 days guided hikes and tours.

 TRANSPORTATION

  • 2x airport service
  • 18x land based transportion to the hikes and back
  • 3x ferry connection Pico - Faial - Pico
  • 1x ferry connection Pico - São Jorge – Pico

 CULINARY SERVICES

  • 11x Breakfast buffet
  • 9x Dinner or Lunch
  • 1x Picnic Lunch

 ACTIVITIES AND ENTRANCE FEES

  • Entrance Gruta das Torres
  • Pico summit, including transportation, guide and Park fees
  • Faial Island Tour, including transportation and guide
  • Wine Tasting
  • Visit to Cheese Factory
  • Horta City Tour (Faial Island)
  • 2 Presentations: Volcanology of the Azores, Marine Mammals of the Azores

PRICES
(including accommodation)

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