Azores walking holiday: Faial, Sao Jorge and Pico
    • Portugal - Azores
    • 8 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From April to October
    • 2 - 10 travellers
      • Simple
      • Comfort
      • Charming
      • Trip code : L1202

About the Azores walking holiday: Faial, Sao Jorge and Pico trip

About your walking trip in Azores

Your Azores walking holiday: A paradise lost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean; the Azores are a string of little-known islands that pride themselves on being the best kept secret in Europe. Yet this archipelago is incredibly beautiful. Of the 9 islands that make up the archipelago, the central islands are the closest and easily discovered by boat.

This self-guided walking holiday takes you to 3 authentic and preserved islands: Faial, the ‘Blue Island’ home to sailors from all over the world. Sao Jorge, the wildest island with excellent hiking trails. And finally Pico, the volcano island dominated by Pico, the highest peak in Portugal, culminating at 2351m above sea level.
The exuberant nature, the gentle way of life and the mild climate make this Azores walking trip an absolute must

Highlights of the trip

  • The discovery of 3 authentic and wild islands far away from mass tourism
  • The diversity of the hikes: on coastal paths, over craters and cinders, through pastures
  • The ascent of Mount Pico (2351 m)  with a local guide, 
  • All transfers included from the airport on day 1 to the airport on day 8
  • Swimming in natural pools dug into volcanic rocks




    Go private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

From the blog

Azores walking holiday : Faial, Sao Jorge and Pico : Day by Day

Day 1 - Arrival on the island of Faial

  • Azores best walking tour in Faial islandYour self-guided walking in the Azores begins at the airport on the island of Faial located in the central group of the Azores archipelago. It is one of the so-called "triangle islands", along with São Jorge and Pico. Nicknamed the "Blue Island" because of the huge hydrangea plants that separate the fields and line the roads, Faial is home to Horta, a small town that is a must for many sailors who leave their footprints on the port in the form of murals.
  • Airport pick up by taxi and transfer to your accommodation in Horta or in the countryside (depending on the option chosen).
  • Night in Horta or nearby

  • Accommodation 
    . Simple and Comfort : you are staying in the centre of Horta and depending on your arrival time, you may have time to explore the town: its narrow streets, its marina with colorful graffiti. To really get a feel for the place, we recommend going to the famous Peter's Sport Café, a major meeting place for sailors, and a witness to the memories of the Island.
    . Charming : you are staying in the countryside (15 minute drive from Horta's city centre). Take the time to discover on foot the magnificent gardens of the property and its surroundings. Or walk to Castelo Branco (3km) or visit the farm (includes a tasting of the farm products such as honey, jams and infusions) or take a guided tour of the apiary (including a beekeeper's suit, briefing and tasting of different kinds of honey) - 2 hours visit each, from 25€ per person.

  • Access - By air
    . There are regular direct flights from Lisbon in Portugal to Faial's airport.
    . Another option consists of flying to Sao Miguel or Terceira island and taking a domestic flight to Faial. In this case you may have to spend one extra night on Sao Miguel or Terceira.  

Day 2 - From Faial to Sao Jorge : the Faja Island

self guided hiking holiday in azores portugal

    • Serra do Topo > Faja dos Cubres 
      3 hours - 10km / 6,5miles - Ascent: +200 m / Descent: -880 m
    • Morning transfer to the port where you take the ferry to Sao Jorge, one of the wildest island. A long strip of an island, it appears to be just one cliff protruding out of the ocean, culminating at 1000m above sea level and whose steep coasts are punctuated by 'fajas', these fertile coastal platforms resulting from the collapse of the cliffs. A real little paradise for hiking
      Arrival at Velas, a charming little cliff side port town. This is where you will spend your next 2 nights. Transfer to the central ridges for one of the most popular hikes on the island: a superb zigzag path that weaves down through pastures lined with hydrangeas and wild ginger, crosses paths with a waterfall for a refreshing break before arriving at the Faja de Santo Cristo with its blue lagoon and lava stone houses surrounded by low walls. The path continues on the heights overlooking the ocean to the Faja dos Cubres with its small church and small bar for a well-deserved break! Transfer back to Velas for the night.
    • Night in Velas or nearby 
    • MEALS included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Exploring Sao Jorge

portugal walking holiday in azores

  • Today you have the choice between two hikes depending on your mood and the weather conditions
  • Option 1 :  Pico Esperanza > Faja de Ouvidor  
    3 hours 40  - 17,5km /10,8 miles - Ascent: +340 m / Descent: -1095 m
    . To be done only if weather conditions are optimal!
    . T
    he path winds along the central highlands formed by a succession of perfectly aligned craters used as pastures by local farmers. The ascent (easy and optional) of Pico da Esperança, the highest point of the island (1053 m), offers (in good weather) a panoramic view of the majestic volcano of Pico and the islands of Faial, Graciosa and Terceira! Great descent through the pastures on the north coast towards the magnificent Faja de Ouvidor. A charming village with terraced houses down to the sea and ending with beautiful natural pools nestled in wild massifs. 

  • Option 2 :  Faja de Sao Joao > Faja dos Vimes
    3 hours - 10,5km /6,5 miles - Ascent: +615 m / Descent: -595 m
    . A beautiful hike on the south coast of Sao Jorge between two authentic fajas with deep-rooted traditions. The starting point is Sao Joao, a small village that stretches along a faja, with characteristic houses, narrow cobbled streets and where the island's wine is produced.  From here the coastal path allows you to connect to the Faja dos Vimes further west, specializing in the production of coffee! Between vineyards, yams and local vegetation such as Pittosporum, this path offers beautiful views of the south coast of the neighboring islands of Faial and Pico.  
  • Night in Velas or nearby 
  • MEALS included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Pico, the Black Island: along the old mule path

self guided walking tour in azores portugal pico island

  • Plateau of Pico > Baia das Canas
    3 hours 30 - 10 km / 6,2 miles - Ascent: +100 m / Descent: -750 m
  • This morning you take the ferry to Pico, the neighboring island with the eponymous volcano which rises to 2351m, making it the highest peak in Portugal. Pico is nicknamed the Black Island because of the volcanic rocks that shape its landscape and architecture. Transfer to the ridges of the island where a multitude of small volcanoes are aligned and covered with low vegetation. It is in this volcanic environment that your day's hike begins. The path is along a section of an old mule track that once linked the village of Lajes on the south coast to that of Sao Roque on the north coast. It plunges down a valley towards the sea to reach the Prainha Nature Reserve, home to the Misterio da Prainha, a lava field resulting from the 1952-54 eruptions. Swimming opportunities at the end of the walk. Transfer to your accommodation.
  • Night in Madalena or Lajes 
  • MEALS included: Breakfast

Day 5 - Pico: discovering the vineyards and optional sea outing

best walking trails of azores portugal

  • Madalena > Candelaria or vice versa 
    3 hours  - 10,5 km / 6,5 miles - Ascent: +200 m / Descent: -200m
  • For this second day on Pico, you hike along a coastal path to discover the vineyards. The very fertile lava soil has allowed for the development of vineyards in a very original way. A remarkable network of dry lava stone walls has been erected to protect the vines from the wind and sea spray. This man-made landscape of extraordinary beauty is the best surviving evidence of a practice that was once much more widespread. This is also the reason why these vineyards are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. All along the walk you will find small harbours and natural pools of sea water for swimming.
  • Night in Madalena or Lajes 
  • MEALS included: Breakfast

  • We highly recommend : 
    . Joining a whale watching tour from Pico Island ! 
    Outing at sea aboard a zodiac, departing from Madalena to try and observe the numerous cetaceans that populate the waters of Azores.
    See the details on the extension section here

Day 6 - Ascent of Pico : the highest peak in Portugal (2 351m)

hiking to the pico summit in azores

  • Guided ascent of Pico Moutain with a certified local guide (non private)
    . 4 to 5 hours - 9km / 5,60 miles - Ascent: +1100 m / Descent: -1100 m
    . Possibility to change this hike for an easier one - Please contact us
  • A memorable day for any hiker! At dawn you are transferred to the foot of the imposing volcano. You meet your local licensed guide, and follow a path carved in the lava stones to conquer this still active giant. The path rises gradually in the middle of low and endemic vegetation before becoming steeper to reach the heart of the crater. More difficult than the other hikes on this trip, your efforts are rewarded with a magical lava universe and a panoramic view of the ocean and the islands.
  • Back to Madalena in the afternoon and you take a ferry to Faial. Check in for the next two nights in a hotel in Horta.
  • Night in Horta or nearby 
  • MEALS included: Breakfast 

  • Important :
    . This hike is Level 3 (challenging) and takes place in a multinational group accompanied by a certified guide. Maximum of 15 persons / guide
    . This hike is subject to weather conditions. The guide will decide if the hike is possible or not. 
    . You have the possibility of privatising the guide (supplement from 150 €uros for 2 persons, 85 €uros for 3 persons, 25 €uros for 4 persons).

Day 7 - Caldeira of Faial & Capelinhos Volcanoes

portugal walking stay in azores faial island

  • Caldeira of Faial > Cabeço Trinta and Capelinhos volcanoes site
    . 2 hours 30 - 8,5 km / 5,2 miles - Ascent: +80 m / Descent: -220 m
    . Capelinhos volcanoes - 1 hour free walking time
  • A magnificent hike on the central crater on the island of Faial. At an altitude of 900 metres, a superb crater opens up, with a diameter of 2000 metres and a depth of 400 metres. In good weather, the view embraces the island, the ocean, the islands of Pico and Sao Jorge and the alignment of the 10 volcanoes from the first crater to the last: Capelinhos.
    After walking around the crater on a path lined with endemic vegetation and heading down a forest track, you will greet your taxi for a short transfer to the volcanoes of Capelinhos. In 1957, in the open sea one kilometre from the western end of the island, a volcanic eruption took place which lasted one year. The eruption of volcanoes, the accumulation of lava and ashes formed a peninsula connecting the land and burying the fishing village of Capelinhos. The result is an impressive lunar landscape dominated by the remains of the lighthouse, which today houses an underground volcanology interpretation centre (visit not included).
    At the end of the afternoon you can swim in the natural swimming pools of the small port located at the foot of the volcanoes. Transfer back to Horta.
  • Night in Horta or nearby 
  • MEALS included: Breakfast

Day 8 - End of your walking tour in the Azores !

azores portugal best walking holiday

  • End of your trip after the transfer to Faial's airport.
  • MEALS included: Breakfast

  • We recommend :  
    Continuing your discovery of the Azores with one of our extensions !
    . on the mysterious islands of Flores and Corvo
    . on the tranquil islands of Terceira and Graciosa

More hiking trips in the Azores

    • Portugal - Azores
    • 8 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From April to October
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
      • Comfort
      • Charming
  • Highlights of the trip

    • The discovery of 3 authentic and wild islands far away from mass tourism
    • The diversity of the hikes: on coastal paths, over craters and cinders, through pastures
    • The ascent of Mount Pico (2351 m)  with a local guide, 
    • All transfers included from the airport on day 1 to the airport on day 8
    • Swimming in natural pools dug into volcanic rocks




      Go private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

      • Portugal - Azores
      • 8 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From April to October
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Comfort
  • Highlights of the trip in the Azores

    • Wild crater lakes and incredible volcanic fumaroles
    • Bathing in natural volcanic pools and hot springs
    • The freedom of the rental car
    • Exploring Nordeste, one of the wildest regions of Sao Miguel
    • Less frequented, off the beaten track hiking trails





      Go private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

      • Portugal - Azores
      • 5 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From April to October
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Comfort
      • Charming
  • Highlights of the trip

    • The discovery of Angra do Heroismo classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
    • Car rental included on Terceira island allowing you to roam freely around the island and choose your hikes or visits! 
    • Explore the sweet island of Graciosa, rarely visited and classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO
    • Domestic return flight to Graciosa Island as well as all transfers included on the island
    • Combine this 5 days trip with one of our trips in the Azores ! 



      Go private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

      • Portugal - Azores
      • 5 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From April to October
  •   Accommodation choice :

      • Simple
      • Comfort
  • Highlights of the trip

    • The discovery of two rarely visited islands: Flores and Corvo with their exceptional nature
    • A choice of hikes in Flores according to the mood of the day
    • Car rental included : to move freely around the island and choose your hikes ! 
    • Domestic flight to Flores, and boat crossing Flores/Corvo included
    • Combine this 5 days trip with one of our trips in the Azores ! 





      Go private or go guided ! Customize your holidays with a local specialist here 

    Azores walking holiday: Faial, Sao Jorge and Pico
        • Portugal - Azores
        • 2 adults (2x780€)
        • 0 children (0x780€)
      • 8 days
      • Simple
    Total 1560€
    Deposit 460€
    Book now !