Best of São Miguel Island
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Join this five-day tour to discover the best of São Miguel, one of the islands of the exotic and remote Azores archipelago, the perfect destination for nature lovers and a world-leading example of sustainable tourism. Discover its dramatic landscapes: peaks bursting through the sea covered in vegetation, inhabited with a plethora of birdlife in diverse habitats, which range from lakes to forests, mountains and fields. Witness countless forms of aquatic life, oceanic dolphins, blue whales, sperm whales and killer whales.
São Miguel Island: also name ‘Ilha Verde’ (Green Island), is the biggest island in the Azores archipelago. It’s known for its volcanic scenery, flora and rich marine life, including whales.
Whale watching: The Azores islands are considered the best stop in the Atlantic Ocean when it comes to Whale and Dolphin Watching. Nowadays our seas are just a perfect sanctuary for these amazing and beautiful creatures of nature, some of them resident and others just migratory. From majestic whales to gracious dolphins, here, more than 25 species can be found, where the biggest attraction is the Sperm Whale and its impressive tail.
- Operated with English- and Portuguese-speaking local guide during the activities (Day 2, 3, 4)
- 5 night’s accommodation
- 5 Breakfasts
- 2 Lunches (Day 2, 3)
- 1 Dinner at a local restaurant (Day 5)
- Arrival shared transfer in an air-conditioning bus from Ponta Delgada-João Paulo II Airport (Day 1)
- Shared transportation in an air-conditioning bus during the activities (Day 2, 3)
- Car hire (Day 4, 5)
ENTRANCE FEES & ACTIVITIES:
- All entrance fees and activities mentioned in the itinerary: 4×4 Jeep full-day tour, 7 Cidades & Lagoa do Fogo, including Caldeira Velha admission (Day 2); Mountain Bike & Terra Nostra Park full-day tour including Terra Nostra admission (Day 3); Whale Watching excursion (Day 4)
- Meet & Greet
- Mountain bike, Helmet, Quick repair kit, Guide, Insurance (Personal Accidents) (Day 3)
- Hotel Delivery (Day 4)
- Unlimited Mileage
- Road Assistance 24 hours
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)
- Subject to an excess
- Road tax & VAT
- Departure airport transfer
- Domestic flights
- International flights
- Drinks during meals (unless specified otherwise)
- City tax not included, payable on the spot
- Any visit not mentioned in the program
- Porterage and gratuities
- Expenditures of a personal nature, drinks and meals or items not stated explicitly in the program
- Any alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, mineral water, camera/video camera fee (if any)
- Travel Insurance or any loss or extra cost arising due to unforeseen circumstances such as flight delays, accidents, etc.
- Parking fees
- On Day 4, the car will be delivered at your hotel in the morning
- On Day 4, the meeting point for Whale Watching activity – Marina of Vila Franca do Campo, at Terra Azul. The briefing will start at 12.15 pm
- On day 6, the car hire must be returned by the client at the car hire office at the airport two hours before the flight departure
- Due to the fleet updating, the models of Car Hire can be replaced by similar ones
- It is necessary that the client present a credit card for Car Hire
- We reserve the right to change itineraries and activities due to weather conditions, technical problems or security reasons.
- Early check-in, late check-out, connecting or adjoining rooms in the hotel are subject to availability and not guaranteed
- In many hotels in Portugal, the triple rooms are a double room with an additional bed or sofa bed. Their comfort conditions are lower than the international standards of the triple room.
- No refund for unused services. Splitting of the package is not allowed
What do I need to bring?
Comfortable and light clothing is the most suitable for travelling in Portugal. Visitors should not wear sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirts or skimpy clothing when visiting temples, religious or official buildings. Sun protection, sunglasses, a hat and mosquito repellent can be very useful during your stay. Documentation for car hire: valid personal ID, driver’s license, credit card and voucher.
Day 1-5 São Miguel
- Superior Hotel Category = Hotel Camões or similar 4*
- Once ordered, this tour cannot be cancelled or refund or amended at any circumstances.
Day 1 : ARRIVE SÃO MIGUEL – PONTA DELGADA
Upon landing at São Miguel Airport, make your own way to the arrivals hall where a representative will meet you. Hop on the shared transfer to the hotel, for check-in. Once you are settled, we suggest starting from the streets to the south, towards the sea, and you will be in the city centre of Ponta Delgada. You will find a magnificent square, with its own statue: Praça Gonçalo Velho Cabral. Behind the statue, a noble monument with three arches marks the beginning of Ponta Delgada as the main city of S. Miguel. Behind these arches named Portas da Cidade, you can walk through the small and narrow streets, where the local traditional commerce takes place (souvenirs stores, coffee shops, restaurants and banks). If you choose to stay in the main avenue, walk to Portas do Mar – the most recent infrastructure that supports the dock and the cruise ship port of the island. Here you will be in a platform above the sea, and you can find many people relaxing by the sea bay, enjoying a cup of coffee, a local beer, or even a cocktail.
Overnight in Ponta Delgada.
Day 2 : PONTA DELGADA – SETE CIDADES – FOGO LAKE – CALDEIRA VELHA – PONTA DA FERRARIA – PONTA DELGADA (190km – 4hr)
Early breakfast at the hotel, followed by the first day of adventure in the island, a 4×4 full-day tour. This trip combines two of the most popular places around São Miguel Island: Sete Cidades lakes and Fogo Lake, among other incredible places such as Caldeira Velha and Ponta da Ferraria. You will be collected from the hotel at around 09:00 am, the first stop is at the rim of Sete Cidades’ caldera. You will pass by many interesting viewpoints, where you can enjoy the view over the green and blue lakes. After this stunning visit, it’s time to leave this magical place to Ponta da Ferraria. There, you will be able to go for a dip in the Atlantic Ocean when the tide is low. This place is truly magical because the water will not be cold! Indeed, it is naturally warmed by a volcanic fissure. Later on, you will have lunch is in a local restaurant halfway to Lagoa do Fogo, perfect to taste some Azorean food! (Included). In the afternoon, you will be taken to the amazing natural reserve of Lagoa do Fogo to enjoy mesmerizing landscapes surrounding the crater. Fogo Lake is one of the most popular places around the island and you will certainly understand why when you are there. From the top of the volcano, you will find incredible views over São Miguel Island with both North and South coast visible at the same time. The adventure does not stop here! After that, you will be taken to Caldeira Velha, a warm iron-rich waterfall where it is possible to take a dip year-round thanks to the volcanic activity warming the water up to 26°C (79°F). It is a real spa at open air, surrounded by lush forest, an amazing scenery that looks straight out of a movie. After this relaxing moment, you will head back to Ponta Delgada by the late afternoon.
Overnight in Ponta Delgada.
Day 3 : PONTA DELGADA – FURNAS – LAGOA DAS FURNAS – PICO DOS MILHOS – FURNAS – TERRA NOSTRA PARK – PONTA DELGADA (10.5km by bike / 100km – 2hr)
Charge your batteries with breakfast at the hotel and prepare yourself for another full-day adventure: mountain bike ride and Terra Nostra visit. You will be collected from the hotel at around 09:00 am. This mystical excursion, made in a minivan, is taking you to the eastern part of the island, known for its healing waters as well as boiling ones (geysers), showing us the volcanic activity is truly alive in this area. Here, meals are cooked under the ground with no more than its heat and steam. Corncobs are cooked in the boiling waters, and the best flatbread is made here. A crater with 75 kilometres is expected to be seen and a lake inside it can easily be walked around it. The pool tanks are thermal and hot warm, and the most beautiful and richest park of species (flora) can be found inside this small, attractive and welcoming village. This is Furnas. The activity starts with a bike tour, developed in a circular route (10.5 kilometres) which starts in Furnas village and follows to calderas area by Lagoa das Furnas, continuing through the dirt road surrounding the lake. The highest point of this tour is located in the area of Pico dos Milhos, where you can admire the village. Secondary paths leading back to the point of beginning make the descent and the end of the bike ride. After lunch in a restaurant in Furnas village (included), it is time to visit Terra Nostra Park. This is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens of the 18th century, where one can find species of flora from different regions of the world. You will be guided in a brief tour by the garden paths passing by the outdoor pool, which invites for a relaxing thermal bath. After this delightful moment, it is time to return to Ponta Delgada by the North Coast of the island and with a different perspective of the island of São Miguel.
Overnight in Ponta Delgada.
Day 4 : SÃO MIGUEL
Have a tasty breakfast at the hotel (a light breakfast is recommended this day). Now that you visited the major land attractions of the island, it is time to feel adventurous and discover what else the island has to offer, so expect to receive a car at your hotel in the morning, so you can experience the island like a local too. Our suggestion today is the south coast of the island, all the way to Vila Franca do Campo, where we booked the bestseller activity in the island, Whales & Dolphin Watching. But before that, drive-by: São Rique and Livramento, with its three dark sand beaches; Lagoa with its natural swimming pools; Água de Pau, where you can enjoy a sunny morning in the most outgoing part of the island, as well as take the chance to taste the best fish on the island. The afternoon is reserved with the most well-known sea activity of the island – Whales & Dolphin Watching, in Vila Franca do Campo (Meeting point for Whale Watching activity – Marina of Vila Franca do Campo, at Terra Azul. Briefing will start at 12.15 pm) The activity starts with a safety briefing, where you get to know more about the species you are about to find, the weather conditions, the boat tour, as well as how you should behave during this guided tour to these species home. This route is stunning. You will cruise by impressive sights over the island of São Miguel. The tour will last about 3 hours. Right after your activity, you should definitely recharge batteries and try the famous Queijadas da Vila – small sweet tarts covered in powdered sugar (not included). One of the factories is located right above the marina, close to the Whale Watching Centre, where these freshly baked treats are sold. If the weather is welcoming, drive up to ‘’Nossa Senhora da Paz’’ a beautiful chapel. You can walk to the top of it, the view over the islet and the entire town is breath-taking. From this viewpoint, you can have a look over the entire village of Vila Franca do Campo, where an earthquake destroyed the entire place, in 1522. Take a deep breath at this outstanding view and admire the sunset, before your way back to Ponta Delgada.
Overnight in Ponta Delgada.
Day 5 : SÃO MIGUEL
Enjoy a tasty breakfast at the hotel. This is your last full day at leisure in the island, the recommended route on this day is through the northern and eastern side, with a quick detour to Fajã de Baixo, where you will find the famous pineapple plantations, the emblematic fruit of the Azores (We suggest the Arruda plantations). Leave Ponta Delgada and drive towards the north at the speedway, and soon you will reach the second largest city of São Miguel, Ribeira Grande. You may enjoy the city’s historical centre and visit the famous liquor factory, which is very popular on the island. You may keep driving north, and soon you may find a sign designated as Gorreana Tea Factory. It produces more tea than anywhere in Europe, and it is located in an area of great scenic beauty. Continue driving towards Furnas village, and soon you will get to Pico do Ferro View Point, with an impressive view over the lake of Furnas. After descending to Furnas, and before you get in the Village, take the change to look closer the lake, and after parking your car, you will find yourself by the lakeshore, where you can now see a field with holes on the ground, some covered with a wooden lid, and others uncovered at all. Going back to the village, it is time to drive or walk through the magnificent promenade in Furnas, all the way to the geysers area (Caldeiras). Here is another proof of the volcanic activity by smelling the sulphur from boiling water geysers and small water fountains. Now that your visit to this particular village is complete, you should not leave without having dinner at Tony’s Restaurant – the most typical in Furnas (Included). Your booking is made and they should already be waiting for you.
Overnight in Ponta Delgada.
Day 6 : DEPARTURE PONTA DELGADA, SÃO MIGUEL ISLAND
Wake up to one last breakfast at the hotel and drive to the airport to return the car two hours before the flight departure. We hope the memories of this trip will stay with you for a lifetime.