Walking in the Azores : crater lakes and volcanic pools
    • Portugal - Azores
    • 8 days
    • Walking
    • Self-guided
      • From April to October
    • 2 - 5 travellers
      • Comfort
      • Trip code : L1201

About the Walking in the Azores : crater lakes and volcanic pools trip

About the trip in the Azores

Sao Miguel, with its international airport, is the gateway to the archipelago and is a holiday destination in itself. Ideal for a first Azores walking tour, Sao Miguel is shaped by its volcanic origin and offers a patchwork of bucolic landscapes: crater lakes, lush forests, cliffs with breathtaking views, pastures lined with azaleas and hydrangeas, active volcano...
To explore all these natural wonders, we have created this self-drive itinerary for a complete discovery of the island from the must-see sites to the most remote regions. Along the way, you can stop in the quaint villages with whitewashed houses and baroque churches and immerse yourself in the overseas Portuguese lifestyle!

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 

From the blog

Walking in the Azores, crater lakes and volcanic pools: Day by Day

Day 1 - Arriving in Sao Miguel

best azores walking tour

  • Arrival on the island of Sao Miguel, the most important of the archipelago. It is home to Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, and also to the three unique crater lakes that you will discover during your trip. Pick up your hire car and drive to the north coast. Depending on the time of your arrival, you can explore the small coastal roads that offer multiple views of the jagged cliffs.
  • Night in Capelas

  • Access : By air to Ponta Delgada airport
    Regular airline companies TAP and SATA Air Azores fly directly to Sao Miguel or via Lisbon, the Portuguese capital

Day 2 - The Sete Cidades crater

azores walking trip

  • Walk - Vista do Rei > Sete Cidades > Vista do Rei 
    4 hours  - 15.5km / 9.5 miles - Ascent: +40m / Descent: -450m
  • For your first hiking day, explore the Caldeira de Sete Cidades,  one of the most beautiful and emblematic sites of the Azores. Nestled at the bottom of a crater of about 5km, two interconnecting lakes with blue waters are spanned by a bridge with 7 arches symbolizing the 7 sunken cities of the legendary Atlantis. From the Vista do Rei lookout, you walk along the ridge of the crater to reach the typical village of Sete Cidades and the shores of the lake. On the way back, you can stop at Ponta da Ferraria and bathe in the natural volcanic pools of seawater (heated by hot springs). 
  • Night in Capelas
  • MEALS included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Tea plantations and water mills

azores walking holiday

    • Walk - Loop walk in the tea plantations + Maia > Costal walk > Maia
      2 hours - 5.5km / 3 miles - Ascent: +240m / Descent: -240m
    • Today, you head to the northeast coast to visit the last remaining tea plantation in Europe, operated by the same family since 1883. After a pleasant walk among the plantations, why not visit the old factory? It's the perfect place to enjoy a cup of freshly picked tea while admiring the original 1840s machines. Then continue to the nearby village of Maia for a coastal stroll along the beautiful beach of Praia da Viola with its black sand and cliffs teeming with streams and water mills. These lava stone mills, surrounded by yams, were used to turn wheat and corn into flour to make bread that was once the basis of the island's diet. You then head back by car to one of the most mountainous and remote regions of the island: Nordeste! Check in for 2 nights.
    • Night in Nordeste
    • MEALS included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Pico da Vara, the highest peak

self guided azores hiking tours

    • Walk - To the crest of the Pico da Vara 
      3 hours 40 - 7km / 4.3 miles - Ascent: +480m / Descent: -480m
    • This route takes you to the highest peak of Sao Miguel, the Pico da Vara with the summit soaring 1105m above sea level. This area is well protected as it is home to an endemic and endangered species of native bird– the bullfinch. This nature reserve will also allow you to discover a large variety of the endemic plants of the Azores. In fine weather the view is panoramic and embraces the whole island.
    • Night in Nordeste
    • MEALS included:  Breakfast

Day 5 - East Coast lookouts and Faial da Terra

self guided portugal hiking tours

  • Walk - Faial da Terra > Salto do Prego waterfall > Sanguinho > Faial da Terra
    1 hours 30 - 4.5km / 2.5 miles - Ascent: +265m / Descent: -265m
  • This morning you head to the south coast on a beautiful scenic road full of belvederes with breathtaking views. Ponta do Sossego and Ponta da Madrugada deserve a prolonged stop. Continue to the village of Faial da Terra where your hike begins. The path, initially along the river, then sinks into a dense forest that shelters the waterfall of Salto do Prego. The route crosses the picturesque and forgotten village of Sanguinho, once built by the inhabitants of Faial da Terra to shelter from the harsh winters. After the walk, drive to the Furnas Valley, famous for its lush vegetation, warm waters and culinary specialties.
  • Night in Furnas
  • MEALS included : Breakfast

Day 6 - Furnas Lake fumaroles and sulfur springs

walking in the azores

  • Walk - Loop Furnas village > Furnas lake > Furnas village
    3 hours - 14km / 8.6 miles - Ascent: +275m / Descent: -250m
  • Today is a car-free day! You hike on a loop from the village of Furnas. On foot you reach the shores of the lake to attend the cooking scene of the Cozido, a traditional stew-like dish cooked with the geothermal heat. Continue the walk along the lake before walking down to the village to discover an amazing and impressive set of sulphur and bubbling springs. Furnas is said to be home to some 22 hot springs, the origins of the incredible fumaroles that constantly invade the village. In the afternoon, enjoy the hot springs for a relaxing bath either in the stunning Terra Nostra botanical park or in one of the multiple outdoor pools of Dona Beija.
  • Night in Furnas
  • MEALS included: Breakfast 

  • We recommend
    . Adding an extra night in Furnas for a relaxing day and taking full advantage of the hot springs : Contact us
    . Treating yourself to a little pampering at the Furnas Boutique Hotel Spa or heading out on a whale watching tour from Ribeira Quente.

Day 7 - The Mysterious Lake Fogo

best walking in azores

  • Walk - Agua do Alto > Lake Fogo > Agua do Alto 
    3 hours - 11.5km / 6.8 miles - Ascent: +520 m / Descent: -500 m
  • For this last day of hiking, you will explore another iconic site of Sao Miguel: the mysterious Lake Fogo. A beautiful hike to the most extraordinary and wild lake on the island. To reach it, you walk along a levada and cross the geothermal zone. The route continues along the ridges with incredible views of the lake before descending on a wide lace track. In this nature reserve, you will encounter many curious and protected endemic plants as well as many species of birds such as terns and gulls. You then drive to Ponta Delgada the administrative capital city of the archipelago, home to many historical monuments, typical small streets and a beautiful marina.
  • Night in Ponta Delgada
  • MEALS included: Breakfast

Day 8 - End of your walking trip in the Azores

self guided walking holidays europe

  • End of your trip in Ponta Delgada after breakfast.
  • Drive to the airport and drop off your car hire
  • MEALS included: Breakfast

  • We recommend : 
    . Extending your trip in the Azores on one of our itineraries to the central islands or to Flores / Corvo
  • We recommend :  
    Continuing your discovery of the Azores with one of our extensions !
    . on the Central islands of Faial, Sao Jorge and Pico
    . on the mysterious islands of Flores and Corvo
    . on the tranquil islands of Terceira and Graciosa

More walking 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 

    Walking in the Azores : crater lakes and volcanic pools
        • Portugal - Azores
        • 2 adults (2x720€)
        • 0 children (0x720€)
      • 8 days
      • Comfort
    Total 1440€
    Deposit 420€
    Book now !