Azores Bike Tour

Three quarters of the way across the Atlantic ocean between New York and Lisbon, lies the archipelago known as the Azores.

A rugged and dramatic landscape of volcanoes, cliffs and valleys, the Azores is adorned with exotic flower gardens, Japanese cedars, hot springs and lakes formed in the crater of volcanoes.

Our route on the lush island of São Miguel, the largest in the archipelago, embraces cliffs along the coast as well as protected forest hills, providing challenging and very rewarding cycling and hiking.

We will spend a week exploring the island’s natural beauty: Furnas Valley, a lush valley filled with volcanic fumaroles and natural mineral springs; the tranquil beaches and picturesque fishing villages along the coast; and a botanical garden with diverse flora from around the world.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

✓ One of the most stunning cycling routes in Europe
✓ Challenging rides on exotic terrain (e-bikes available)
✓ 5 cycling days and 2 hiking days
✓ Ride through tropical waterfalls, vibrant wildflowers, lush coastal roads
✓ Experience a spectrum of natural beauty in a single day, biking to the lip of an active volcano before swimming in the Atlantic
✓ Visit to the only tea plantation in Europe, a family-owned production since 1883
✓ Overnight at the historic Hotel Terra Nostra and the 200-year-old botanical garden
✓ The closest destination in Europe if you are coming from America

EAT

Fresh wild fish like sea bass and tuna, organic grass-fed beef, grilled limpets in olive oil and garlic, fresh cow’s milk cheeses, tropical fruits such as pineapple and passionfruit, and steam-cooked Furnas stew. Local egg tarts. All locally sourced and freshly prepared.

 

 

DRINK

Alentejo and Douro reds, Alvarinho green wine with seafood. Organic teas.

TOUR ITINERARY

DAY 1:

INTO THE FIRE VOLCANO

Meet your guides at your Hotel in Ponta Delgada or Ponta Delgada Airport and transfer to our 16th century Convento de São Francisco Hotel in the fishing village of Vila Franca do Campo.

The town of Vila Franca was the original capital of São Miguel until it was destroyed by an earthquake, in the 1500’s. Today we will hike in Fogo volcano: from the rim down to the lake that lies in the center of the crater, one of the largest in the Azores and the second largest on the island of São Miguel.

 

  • Meals: Picnic Lunch / Dinner
  • Destinations: Vila Franca do Campo
  • Accomplished: 6 km hike, elevation gain: 180 meters
  • Accommodations: Convento de São Francisco

DAY 2:

DIP IN AN OCEAN LAGOON AND RIDE TO THE FURNAS VALLEY

We start the day with a swim in an ocean lagoon formed by an extinct volcano, this is where the Red Bull cliff diving world championship takes place. We follow the coastline in a spectacular climb up to Pizões pass and down to Furnas.

Spending two nights at Hotel Terra Nostra, a building that reflects the architecture and spirit of the 1930s Art Deco era, recently elected one of the three Excellence Hotels in Portugal by Condé Nast Johansens.

Relax in a walk through the botanical garden adjacent to the Hotel, a peaceful oasis filled with meandering trails, exotic species, lakes with water lilies and a Camellia garden.

  • Meals: Breakfast / Picnic Lunch
  • Destinations: Furnas
  • Accomplished: 21 km, elevation gain: 519 meters
  • Longer option: 45 km, elevation gain: 890 meters
  • Accommodations: Hotel Terra Nostra

“In 2007, the Condé Nast Traveller magazine defined Terra Nostra Park as one of the 12 most beautiful gardens in the world, alongside other world famous gardens like Nymph Garden near Rome or the English Gardens of Stourhead.”

DAY 3:

SECLUDED FOREST TRACK AND OCEAN VIEWS

Today we challenge ourselves in a loop ride to one of the most secluded areas of the island and habitat for Priolo, an endangered bird endemic to São Miguel island.

We’ll take in the panoramic views along a secluded forest track, native vegetation, as we traverse from the rugged interior to the northeast.

The roads are lined with subtropical forests, blooming azaleas, blue hydrangeas, and fragrant wild roses. The return route passes through numerous viewpoints over the Atlantic and the town of Povoação, the first area to be populated on the island.

The thermal hot-water pool at Terra Nostra is a welcome leg balm at the end of the ride! Tonight we will taste the most traditional dish of the island, the Furnas stew, cooked underground, naturally in Lagoa das Furnas.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast / Dinner
  • Destinations: Furnas
  • Accomplished: 37 km, elevation gain: 850 meters
  • Longer option: 77 km, elevation gain 1530m
  • Accommodations: Hotel Terra Nostra

DAY 4:

EUROPE’S ONLY TEA PLANTATION

Ride to the North Coast, past fishing villages, beaches and windmills. Oranges were introduced to the island in the 16th century, and became the main export until a plague wiped out the production in the 1800’s. As a response, dairy farming increased and crops like pineapples, passionfruit, tobacco, and tea were introduced.

This morning, we’ll take a look at one of the island’s “new” trades, riding north to Europe’s only tea plantation that continues to produce organic tea as it always has.

Ribeira Grande is known to host a stage of the World Surfing Championships, take some time to enjoy the ocean views. This evening we’ll take you to our favorite restaurant in the north shore to taste the freshest seafood harvested a few hours ago.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast / Dinner
  • Destinations: Ribeira Grande
  • Accomplished: 34 km, elevation gain: 710 meters
  • Longer option: 73km, elevation gain 1230m
  • Accommodations: Hotel Pedras do Mar

DAY 5:

ACROSS THE ISLAND IN 28 KM

Free day to relax by the sea and get to know the historical center of Ribeira Grande, or choose to ride up to Fogo volcano and across the island down to the seaside resort of Caloura on the south coast, the hottest spot for vacation homes in Sao Miguel.

Van return for the cyclists.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast / Dinner
  • Destinations: Ribeira Grande
  • Accomplished: 28 km, elevation gain: 960 meters
  • Accommodations: Hotel Pedras do Mar

DAY 6:

SEVEN CITIES

Today’s route covers a big section of the coast line and the not less fantastic twin lakes.

We follow the coast along the hydrangea-laden roads to Sete Cidades Lagoon – one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal – where you will see yourself cycling along the crater rim with views of the sea and the famous lagoons. A good spot for our picnic. From here, you may choose to call it a day and hop in the van.

For those who wish to keep riding, once we pass the Portal do Vento there will be a long and phenomenal descent to Ponta Delgada.

This evening, dine on your own, our guides can readily recommend a few favorite restaurants in Ponta Delgada.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast / Picnic Lunch
  • Destinations: Ponta Delgada
  • Accomplished: 66 km, elevation gain: 1190 meters
  • Accommodations: Hotel Hintze Ribeiro

DAY 7:

ACCESSIBLE ONLY BY FOOT

On the last day of this adventure, after visiting the colorful market of Ponta Delgada, we set off for a single track hike to Rocha da Relva, a hidden gem on the island that can only be reached by foot.

Right by the sea there are some traditionally built summer houses as well as some ancient micro wineries. It is also possible to find some donkeys on this track, which are used as a means of transporting small loads.

Tonight´s dinner celebrates the contemporary Azorean cuisine at its best!

 

  • Meals: Breakfast / Picnic lunch / Dinner
  • Destinations: Ponta Delgada
  • Accomplished: 7 km Hike, elevation gain: 170 meters
  • Accommodations: Casa Hintze Ribeiro

DAY 8:

GOODBYE!

Go for an early morning stroll in the old town or a refreshing dip in the atlantic.

After breakfast your guides will transfer you to Ponta Delgada airport. Or you may wish to stay a little longer in São Miguel for the “art-of-doing-nothing-by-the-ocean” or explore other islands of the archipelago.

 

  • Meals: Breakfast

AZORES BIKE TOUR ITINERARY MAP

ARRIVAL DETAILS:

Airport City: Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores
Pick-Up Location: Ponta Delgada airport, São Miguel, Azores

DEPARTURE DETAILS:

Airport City: Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores
Drop-Off Location: Ponta Delgada airport, São Miguel, Azores
Drop-Off Time: 9:00 am

BIKES

TOUR GUIDES

Why choose to ride the Azores?

Three quarters of the way across the Atlantic ocean between New York and Lisbon, lies the archipelago known as the Azores. A rugged and dramatic landscape of volcanoes, cliffs and valleys. Time slows down here: the locals count it in hundreds of thousands of years, in terms of the volcanoes that together have formed the Azores. Being at the junction of the Eurasian, North American and African tectonic plates, the Azores are a geological hotspot where the vegetation is lush all year round and the slopes of an alpine greenery are dotted with fat spotted cows.

The islands’ beauty is rare, and timeless; the volcanoes bring to mind the Miocene epoch, but in human terms there is a sense of 1950s-era innocence. The continuing restless volcanic activity seems to fill you with radiant energy and the salty, clean winds treat you to the world’s best free facials. Our route on the lush island of São Miguel, the largest in the archipelago, embraces cliffs along the coast as well as protected forest hills, providing challenging and very rewarding cycling and hiking. We will spend a week exploring the island’s natural beauty: Furnas Valley, a lush valley filled with volcanic fumaroles and natural mineral springs; the tranquil beaches and picturesque fishing villages along the coast; and a botanical garden with diverse flora from around the world.

You will walk inside volcanoes, and around them, and cycle along empty roads fringed with millions of azaleas and hydrangeas. It is hard to imagine a place better suited to nature lovers, fans of adventure sports, or anyone looking for a beacon of sustainability.

BOOKING REQUEST

Private Tours