A 10 Day Azores Itinerary | Sao Miguel – Pico – Sao Jorge – Faial
A Complete 10 Day Azores Itinerary
Sao Miguel – Pico – Sao Jorge – Faial
Are you planning a trip to the Azores and want to see more than just one island? Well you have come to the right place because this 10 day Azores itinerary will bring you to FOUR different islands across the archipelago. The itinerary will first start off in Sao Miguel for 5 days before moving west to the island of Pico for the remainder of the trip. From Pico you will have the ability to take day trips to the islands of Sao Jorge and Faial. This was the route I took during my time there and I am hoping this can help you out with any and all trip planning.
Now while this itinerary takes you to 4 islands, it should be noted that there are 9 islands altogether. This means that there are still five more islands out there to explore for your next trip! (or if you are lucky enough to have more than 10 days). With that said though, you will find plenty to do during a 10 day trip to the Azores and this guide will walk you through it all. So lets get you on your way!
Below is a view of the 10 day Azores itinerary by day. It lists out each attraction and activity you will be able to take part of throughout your trip.
Table of Contents
- » Helpful Azores Travel Tips
- » Where to Stay on Sao Miguel
- » Where to Stay on Pico
- » Day 1 – Lagoa do Fogo & Caldeira Velha
- » Day 2 – Sete Cidades
- » Day 3 – Cha Gorreana & Nordeste
- » Day 4 – Furnas
- » Day 5 – Sao Miguel Options
- » Day 6 – Travel to Pico & Pico Activities
- » Day 7 – Sao Jorge Day Trip
- » Day 8 – Hike Mount Pico
- » Day 9 – Faial Day Trip
- » Day 10 – Travel Day
» Helpful Azores Travel Tips
Before jumping into the Azores itinerary itself, here are some important tips that will get you ready for this trip in particular:
♦ The breakdown of the itinerary will be 5 days in Sao Miguel, 4 days in Pico (with two day trips), and 1 day to account for travel. This means you will only need to book accommodation on two islands (not all 4 of them).
♦ This trip will require two internal flights (one from Sao Miguel to Pico and one from Pico back to Sao Miguel). Be sure to book these ahead of time as options are limited on a daily basis. Read more: Flying in the Azores Guide
♦ This itinerary can be done year-round – with that said though, going during the summer months (June to September) will give you the best chance of good weather. The Azores see a very unpredictable climate on a day to day basis and this is seen even more so as you get farther away from the summer months. A summer trip is your best bet to not have poor weather impact your hikes, views, and activities. Read more: Weather in the Azores Guide
♦ Due to the unpredictability in weather, you do not need to follow the itinerary to the tee. If its rainy and/or very cloudy on a day you are supposed to take in some views, then maybe swap it with a day when weather would not impact the activities as much. This way you will still be able to complete all the attractions and not be poorly affected by weather.
♦ The first 5 days of the itinerary will be on the island of Sao Miguel, and the island has plenty of activities to do from east to west and north to south. Because of this I highly recommend renting a car for this portion. For the remainder of your trip a car rental will not be necessary (you could do a one day rental on Pico – more on that later). Read more: Driving in the Azores Guide
♦ I would recommend staying in Ponta Delgada (Sao Miguel) and Madalena (Pico) as you will find the most accommodation and restaurant options around those areas. There are plenty of small towns around the islands that might be a bit more relaxing if that is something you are interested in (more on hotels soon!).
♦ There are several potential hiking opportunities to take part of in this itinerary. You can take part of none or can part of all. Just note if you do want to complete the hiking portion of the day, you will want to set aside enough time to complete each one. This could mean earlier starts or later finishes to the day.
♦ This Azores itinerary assumes 10 full days on the islands. So that means day 1 is a full day – either getting in the previous afternoon/evening or arriving early on day 1. Same goes for day 10 – either leaving later in the evening or on day 11.
√ Main Flight: To Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel
√ Internal Flights: Sao Miguel to Pico (evening day 5 or morning day 6) & Pico to Sao Miguel (day 10)
√ Hotels: Depending on flight schedules, hotel bookings will look something like this: Sao Miguel 4/5 Nights, Pico 4/5 Nights, Sao Miguel 1 Night (last night of trip)
√ Rental Car: 5 Day Rental on Sao Miguel; Potential 1 Day Rental on Pico (more on that later)
√ Activities: The only optional activities mentioned in the guide that you would need to pre-book would be whale watching (Sao Miguel or Pico) and caving (Pico)
√ Restaurants: If you plan on going to some of the higher rated restaurants on the islands, I would advise to make reservations in advance
Take a look at some Azores guide books to better prep you for your trip:
» Where to Stay on Sao Miguel
Sao Miguel has many different areas to stay throughout the island for your first 4-5 nights of the trip. In Ponta Delgada you will find the most accommodation and restaurant options compared to the rest of the island. Another option is staying in Furnas, which is home to the natural hot springs and geothermal activity. Of course there are more small towns that are sprawled throughout so if you want something quieter and more low key, there will be an option for you.
There are two main ways to go here – either browse through Booking.com to find the best hotel that fits your budget and style or check out Airbnb which might have more options.
» Where to Stay on Pico
For your 4-5 nights in Pico I would recommend staying right around Madalena (especially if you do not have a car), or Sao Roque on the northern end of the island. Here you will find the most options along with plenty of restaurants to choose from. Feel free browse through Booking.com for some highly rated accommodations or take a look at Airbnb.
Detailed 10 Day Azores Itinerary
This 10 day Azores itinerary is a combination of a few different itineraries/guides I have up on the site including: 5 days in Sao Miguel itinerary, Sao Jorge Hiking Guide, Hiking Mount Pico, and A Guide to Faial. I mention some of the them throughout this itinerary if you want to go more in depth.
Below you will find a detailed guide for what exactly you will be doing on a day to day basis. Remember – this itinerary does not need to be done in this particular order. Feel free to move things around based on weather and personal preference when in Sao Miguel and Pico.
» Day 1 – Lagoa do Fogo & Caldeira Velha
Your first day in the Azores will take you to one of the most beautiful lagoons on the entire island of Sao Miguel – Lagoa do Fogo. You will also have the opportunity to take part of either a 45 minute or 3-4 hour hike to the bottom of the lagoon, and end your day at the natural hot springs of Caldeira Velha.
Before heading out in the morning I would check the Azores webcams of Lagoa do Fogo to make sure the view is clear. The clouds can come and go as the day goes on, so just if the webcam is not looking good initially does not mean it will stay that way.
1) Miradouro do Pico da Barrosa
2) Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo
3) Lagoa do Fogo
4) Caldeira Velha
Hiking Option: Praia – Lagoa do Fogo
Viewpoints of Lagoa do Fogo
You can start the day by driving up the winding road to Lagoa do Fogo and stop at two different viewpoints along the way – the first being Miradouro do Pico da Barrosa and the second Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo.
Lagoa do Fogo
At the second viewpoint of Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo, you will have the opportunity to take a 30-45 minute walk down to the beach of the lagoon and take in the view from down below. If you are not interested in walking no worries at all as you can just take your time enjoying the views from up top.
Note: this view is from the opposite side of the lake, at the end of the longer hike mentioned in a bit. I just wanted to put in a picture here so you can get an idea of what to expect.
» Learn more about the viewpoints and the lake in the Lagoa do Fogo guide up on the site
May to September: 9:00AM – 9:00PM
April & October: 9:00AM – 8:00PM
November to March: 9:30AM – 5:30PM
Price: 8 Euro (Full ticket to thermal pools & center)
Next up are some natural hot springs of Caldeira Velha. Continue the drive up north on the winding road and you will soon arrive at these thermal pools. While the pools themselves are man made, the hot water is coming from the thermal activity underground. There are three different pools as you make your way inside, all around 38C / 100F. Further up the path you will find a natural waterfall pool that is cooler at 27C / 80F but still a great place to enjoy.
I will mention this throughout the itinerary but do not bring your best bathing suit and towel to the hot springs of the Azores. The water does tend to have a strong smell and it can stain your clothing. Once finished at the thermal pools, you can take a quick shower and be on your way.
» The Caldeira Velha Guide will go into more detail about a visit to the hot springs
Lagoa do Fogo Hiking Opportunity
Now I did mention you can take part of a 3-4 hour hike as well to the bottom of Lagoa do Fogo. This hike – Praia to Lagoa do Fogo – was one of my favorites on the island. If this is something you are interested in, you should do this first thing, followed by the viewpoints of the lagoon from up top, and finishing the day at Caldeira Velha.
» Take a look at the Lagoa do Fogo Hiking Guide for more details about the trail
If you do not take part of the longer hike mentioned, then you might have some extra time depending on when you started your day and how tired you are from traveling. Some options to fill up your time could include checking out the Salto do Cabrito waterfall or wandering around the town of Ribeira Grande. You can also just head back and walk around Ponta Delgada to enjoy the beautiful streets and squares that this town has to offer.
» Day 2 – Sete Cidades
After a day of checking out the middle of the island, it is time to go to the western end. Here you will find arguably the best view in all the Azores overlooking the lakes of Sete Cidades, take part of a potential hike, and swim in a natural hot spring in the ocean.
Similar to the previous day I would check the Azores webcams of Sete Cidades to make sure the view is clear.
1) Miradouro da Vista do Rei
2) Monte Palace Abandoned Hotel
3) Lagoa Do Canario
4) Miradouro da Boca do Inferno
5) Town of Sete Cidades
Hiking Option: Mata do Canario – Sete Cidades
Miradouro da Vista do Rei
First up in the day is the Miradouro da Vista do Rei. This will be the first of two viewpoints that you will be visiting. Here you will see the view of the Sete Cidades lakes of Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul. Depending on cloud/sun coverage for the day, you will really be able to see the color differential of the two lakes – one green and one blue in color.
Monte Palace Abandoned Hotel
Right across the street from the viewpoint you will see the Monte Palace abandoned hotel. Just recently this property has actually been purchased and construction will start soon to renovate the entire space. For now, you will see a bunch of do not enter signs all around the outside of the hotel. Depending if construction has actually started yet when you get there, it is quite easy to make your way around the front gate (but at your own risk!).
Lagoa Do Canario
Once you are done at the viewpoint and hotel (if you were able to make it in), hop back into the car and head to the Lagoa Do Canario. As you are approaching the lagoon, you will see a bunch of parking spots to your right (either in the small lot or on the side of the street). Once parked, you can hop out of the car and make the short walk down the dirt path (on the left hand side of the street) to see this beautiful lagoon. From the start of the dirt road, it is only about a 5 minute walk to get to the lagoon.
Miradouro da Boca do Inferno
It is now time for the views of all views and what initially got me so excited to go to the Azores in the first place. The Miradouro da Boca do Inferno is one viewpoint you will never forget. The viewpoint can be accessed by either continuing to walk another 15 minutes down the dirt road (from Lagoa do Canario) or you can head back to your car and then drive back down the dirt road until the very end and park there. I would recommend driving down as the alternative does add an additional 30 minutes of walking round trip.
Once you are at the end of the dirt road, just head to your left up the stairs and onto the viewpoint. Hopefully for you it is not too crowded up there and you are able to really enjoy the view and take in all the different lakes / lagoons. Believe me it will not disappoint.
» Learn more about the viewpoint in the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno Guide
Mata do Canario – Sete Cidades Hiking Opportunity
For those hikers out there, Sete Cidades offers one incredible hiking option to take part of. The hike starts in a small parking lot not too far from the Lagoa do Canario / Boca do Inferno dirt road (pinned on the map above). From this parking lot you will get to walk nearly the entire crater edge of the Sete Cidades lakes and take in some spectacular views from all different angles. The hike eventually ends in the town of Sete Cidades, where you can relax, eat, and enjoy the lakeside. The hike is on the longer side around 4 hours long. If you do opt for the hike, it could be a good idea to bring lunch with you depending on what time you start the day.
The Mata do Canario – Sete Cidades Hiking Guide will go into more detail on all you need to know
Town of Sete Cidades
As mentioned, if you take part of the hike, you will end up in Sete Cidades. However if you did not opt for the hike, after you finish up Miradouro do Boca da Inferno, drive down to the small lakeside town. Grab some lunch at one of the few options you have there and then make your way to lake where you can swim, hang out, or even rent some kayaks to take out on the lake.
Ponta da Ferraria
It is now time to head over to the ocean on the western side of the island. Here you will find Ponta da Ferraria. A natural hot spring found in the ocean itself. The thing is, this spot in the ocean only gets warm around the hours of low tide. If you go closer to high tide you will probably not feel much heat at all (maybe just a bit with your feet). Going 1-2 hours before or after low tide though and it will be like you are in a hot tub. I was told that going directly at low tide is not the best idea as it is too hot to even enter.
It might be difficult to line everything up perfectly in the day but check the tide schedule before you head out for the day so you know what times to aim for.
» Day 3 – Cha Gorreana & Nordeste
Your third day on this Azores itinerary will take you all along the northern and eastern coasts of the island. It will be filled with a stop at a tea plantation, a natural park, and plenty of viewpoints (miradouros) alongside Nordeste.
1) Miradouro de Santa Iria
2) Gorreana Tea Factory
3) Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões
4) Nordeste Viewpoints
♦ Miradouro da Despe-te Que Suas
♦ Miradouro of the Farol de Arnel Lighthouse
♦ Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego
♦ Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada
Hiking Option: Cha Gorreana
Miradouro de Santa Iria
The first stop of the day will be at the Santa Iria viewpoint. Enjoy the shots of the water alongside the dramatic cliffs and scenery out in the distance.
Gorreana Tea Factory
Once finished up taking in some views, head over the Gorreana Tea Factory – the one and only tea plantation in all of Europe. In the main building of the factory you can walk through the different rooms filled with tea making equipment, take part of a free tea tasting (both hot and iced), and finish up at the souvenir shop to bring home some tea for yourself.
What I would also recommend doing here is walk across the street to the actual tea plantation fields. There is also a hike in the plantation (about 1.5-2 hours), however if you do not want to take part you can still walk through the beginning parts of the fields to see how tea is grown and take some nice pictures. Simply make your way back through the main driveway, cross the street, and follow the dirt path up the fields.
Learn more by reading the Cha Gorreana Hiking Guide
Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões
Moving along the northern coast is Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões. Here you will find plenty of greenery, waterfalls, and wildlife sprawled throughout the area. There are a few main walking paths that wind their way around the park, and you can just take some time enjoying the scenery around you.
To finish up the day you can just continue the drive along the northern and eastern coasts and stop at some viewpoints along the way. Below in order are 4 different miradouros. You can decide to stop at one or you can decide to stop at all 4 – it is up to you.
1) Miradouro da Despe-te Que Suas
2) Miradouro of the Farol de Arnel Lighthouse
3) Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego
4) Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada
Not only will you take in some beautiful viewpoints but the drive itself is incredible as you drive along the coast, passing by small towns, and in and out of greenery. Once you are done for the day, you can either turn around or continue the drive clockwise around the island.
» Day 4 – Furnas
Day 4 in Sao Miguel will take you around the town of Furnas, where there is plenty of geothermal activity to be seen and hot springs to relax in. It should also be of note – if you have a bad weather day during your time in Sao Miguel (say on day 1,2 or 3 for example), you can do these activities instead. For the most part they do not require great weather and can be enjoyed either way.
1) Lagoa do Congro
2) Miradouro do Pico do Ferro
3) Caldeiras Vulcânicas
4) Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas
5) Cozido Lunchtime!
6) Parque Terra Nostra
7) Poca Da Dona Beija
Lagoa do Congro
Before heading to Furnas, you can stop by along the way at one of the smaller and less visited lakes on the island – Lagoa do Congro. From the parking lot it is a short 10-15 minute walk through the lush forest to reach the bottom of the lake. The greenery coupled with the sun hitting the lake makes it have this incredible green color.
Miradouro do Pico do Ferro
You can now continue to the drive to Furnas and take part of a bunch of different attractions around the area. First up is the Miradouro do Pico do Ferro viewpoint. Here you will get to take in the view of Lagoa das Furnas as well as the whole city of Furnas down below. You will be able to spot out a couple of the geothermal areas in the distance with their sulfuric gasses rising up from the ground.
After taking in the view from up top it is time to head to one of those geothermal areas – Caldeiras Vulcânicas. You will be able to see (and smell!) up close some of the geothermal activity. There are several pockets of gas all around the area.
Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas
Note that the cost here is 2 Euro per person.
You can then make your way to the second geothermal area down by Lagoa das Furnas. You will find a short pathway that takes you around the sulfuric activity as you can get right up close to some of these gas pockets. Be careful if its windy though as the gas can head right in your direction and believe me it does not smell great!
If you are there are the right time, you might see local restaurant workers picking up or dropping off Cozido (a local stew) into the ground. That’s right, they cook their meals inside these geothermal areas! Cozido is a mixture of beef, chicken, pig, vegetables and more mixed into a stew. For about 6-8 hours, they leave the Cozido in the ground and pick it up before lunch or dinner time to serve to their restaurant guests.
Now that you got to see how Cozido is made, it is time to try some for yourself. There are plenty of restaurants around Furnas that will be serving the dish, so pick out one that fits your budget and appetite and go for it. It really is a once in a lifetime type meal. I mean, when can you say that your meal was cooked underground.
Since this was a very unique experience, my friends and I decided to head to the #1 rated restaurant on TripAdvisor – Terra Nostra Garden Restaurant. Now although it was probably the most expensive and fancy option, it actually worked out pretty well economically for us. The Cozido here is 24 Euro per person / 40 Euro for 2 people. Now when you order the Cozido, you will also get a free pass to enter the Parque Terra Nostra and its massive hot spring pool – a savings of 8 Euro. So, at the end of the day, lunch + the park will come out to ~20 Euro per person.
Parque Terra Nostra
Entrance Fee: 8 Euro
Opening Hours: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
If you decided to eat at the hotel’s restaurant and order Cozido, then you will get to enter free of charge. If coming from another restaurant, just head on over to the entrance to pay the fee and enter the park. Parque Terra Nostra is filled with different walking paths throughout, alongside flowers, greenery, ponds, and more. Front and center of it all is the large orange geothermal pool that you can relax in.
Note that the pool’s orange color can stain your clothes. So bring along a cheaper bathing suit and towel option when heading in. Also make sure to wash up real good at day’s end as the water can stick around on your skin if you don’t give it a good scrub.
» Learn more about the pool and gardens in the Parque Terra Nostra guide up on the site
Poca Da Dona Beija
Entrance Fee: 6 Euro
Towels: 2 Euro plus deposit / Locker & Quick Shower: 1 Euro each
Opening Hours: 7:00AM – 11:00PM; Last Admission 10:30PM
Time for thermal pool number 2 of the day at Poca Da Dona Beija. Here you will find several different thermal pools along either side of a small river. The pools vary slightly in temperature but are somewhere around 100F / 38C, with one pool at a cooler 82F / 28C. The great thing about this place is that it does close pretty late at night. If you got a late start to the day or if you are staying in Furnas, heading to Poca Da Dona Beija in the evening time could be a great experience as well.
Once you are finished up in Furnas don’t forget to take a nice long shower at the end of the day!
» Day 5 – Sao Miguel Options
For your last day on Sao Miguel, I wanted to list out a few different options to take part of depending on what type of activities you are interested in. Mostly likely you will be able to do ~2 of them, but just wanted to give you some ideas:
1) Complete Missed Attractions Day 1-4
2) Islet of Vila Franca do Campo
3) Faial da Terra to Salto do Prego Hike
4) Whale & Dolphin Watching
5) Beach Day
1) Missed Attractions
Your first option here though would be to look back at the previous 4 days and head to any attractions that you were not able to take part of because of poor weather. So if you really wanted to see Lagoa do Fogo and the clouds were blocking the view, maybe your last day will give you better luck. Now if you were able to complete everything you wanted to here are four different options for you:
2) Islet of Vila Franca do Campo
Right off the southern coast of Sao Miguel you will find a circular volcanic crater with a natural lagoon in the middle of it. You can spend some time relaxing by the water and swimming in the water. Grab some snorkel gear in town to take in the beautiful fish throughout the crater. This is also the spot of the Red Bull Cliff Diving competition, which has taken place there for several years now.
There are some important things to take into consideration before heading over there though:
♦ Bathing season on the island is from June to October. If you are not there during those times you will not be able to get to visit the island. Check the website for the latest dates
♦ To get there you must take a boat from Vila Franca do Campo, and since it is a protected area, only 400 people are allowed to purchase tickets each day and only 200 are allowed on the island at one time
♦ The ticket office opens at 9:45 and you can only purchase tickets the day of. 300 of the 400 tickets per day are available at the ticket office. The other 100 can be purchased on their website
♦ If the weather is looking good and you want to visit the islet, arrive early as the lines can get long and tickets can sell out, especially on sunny days
♦ Full schedule of boats can be found here with the first one leaving at 10:00AM and the last one returning at 6:10PM (although during busy times there may be more boats going back and forth).
3) Faial da Terra to Salto do Prego Hike
There is a hike from Faial da Terra to Salto do Prego that is considered one of the better trails on the island. This circular hike goes through the forest and greenery before arriving at a waterfall, where you can jump in and cool down. It is a great option as well if weather is not looking its best as it is not a “view” type of hike. It is a 4.5km trail and should take about 2 hours to complete. The starting point is located all the way of the eastern side of the island and can take 75 minutes or so to get there from Ponta Delgada.
4) Whale & Dolphin Watching
The third option is to take part of some whale and dolphin watching off the coast of Sao Miguel. The area is known for the vast amount of whale species that pass through its waters at different times of year. You can sign up for some tours that start in Vila Franca do Campo (right near where you would go to the Islet) or straight from Ponta Delgada if it is easier for you. Feel free to browse through some highly rated companies if interested in taking part. Many of the tours will last anywhere from 3-5 hours and cost ~50-60 Euro depending on company.
5) Beach Day
Lastly you can decide to have a beach day in Sao Miguel. While not known for its beaches there are some nice ones around the island, one of which is Agua d’Alto. Although I did not visit myself I did take in the view from up top and it seemed nice and relaxing down below. So if you want some relaxing time you can definitely spend some time lounging at the beach.
All four of these options are not too far away from each other (the hike being a bit further east & whale watching is available in Ponta Delgada too). So if you want to finish up your time in Sao Miguel with one or more of these options, you really cannot go wrong.
» Day 6 – Travel to Pico & Pico Activities
Now that you have finished up 5 full days of fun on Sao Miguel, it is time to relocate to another Azorean island – Pico. Note that the flight schedule from Sao Miguel to Pico is different each day. Your best bet to maximize your time will be a late flight on day 5 or an early morning flight on day 6. It is a quick 45 minutes in the air and you should be in Pico in no time.
Once you have made it to Pico you can do a little bit of touring around the western end of the island. You can do so by renting a car for the day or by hiring a taxi to take you around. You should be able to make it to the first 5 attractions within one day and if you have extra time or want alternatives, you can opt for a hiking or caving option instead.
3) Sao Roque
4) Lagoa do Capitao
5) Cooperativa Vitivinicola
6) Hiking Option: Vinhas da Criação Velha
7) Caving Option: Gruta das Torres
Note you can also take part of some great whale watching in Pico too if that is something you are interested in (tours operate from Madalena and Lajes Do Pico).
Right near the airport you will find Cachorro. In this small region you will find an array of volcanic rock formations around the ocean. There are a few paths around the area to explore and you will get great views of Mount Pico from afar.
Just a bit further down the road you will come to the small town of Lajido. Here you will find a very informative center called the Centro de Interpretacao da Paisagem da Cultura da Vinha da Ilha do Pico. For just a few Euro you can learn a bit about the wine history of Pico island and also do a small tasting as well.
Next up is the second main town of Pico after Madalena – Sao Roque. Here is where you will find some restaurants to have lunch at, a beautiful port/marina area, as well as the Whaler’s Museum. You can spend some time enjoying this nice local town and all it offers.
Lagoa do Capitao
After driving the coast for the first portion of the day, it is time to head a bit inland to the main lake of the island – Lagoa do Capitao. On a clear day you should get incredible views of Mount Pico in the background, which makes for a great picture opportunity.
Make your way into the town of Madalena, where you can visit the main wine cooperative on the island. Similar to in Lajido, you will be able to learn all about the wine making process and take part of a wine tasting. You will find this space to be much larger with actual wine making going on – barrels, equipment, etc.
Hiking Option: Vinhas da Criação Velha
If you have time or do not want to do some of things mentioned above, you can take part of a great 1.5 hour hike through the vineyards of Pico. The trail is called Vinhas da Criacao Velha and is an easy flat path suitable for anyone to take part. Note that it is a one way hike so if you do have your own car you will need to grab a taxi back to the starting point when you finish.
» Learn more in the Vinhas da Criacao Velha Hiking Guide!
Caving Option: Gruta das Torres
Does caving sound like something you might be interested in taking part of? Well Pico has options for you too. You can check out the Gruta das Torres caves however you will need to sign up in advance as spots do fill up.
» Day 7 – Sao Jorge Day Trip
Before talking about Sao Jorge, it should be mentioned that you can easily move around the next three days as you see fit between the 2 day trips and 1 day hiking Mount Pico.
It is now time to make your way to the island of Sao Jorge. During the summer season (May – September) there should be at least one ferry going from Pico (Madalena or Sao Roque) to Sao Jorge (read more in the Ferries in the Azores guide). Once you make it to the port town of Velas, grab a taxi and head out towards the eastern side of the island where you will find the starting points of one of my favorite hikes there is.
The Serra do Topo – Caldeira do Santo Cristo – Faja dos Cubres hike will bring you through a lush greenery landscape down to the small village of Santo Cristo. Here you can take a swim in the natural swimming pool and walk around the town before continuing on to the last portion of the hike. The trail itself takes around 2.5-3 hours to complete, but you will spend nearly that amount of time just enjoying Santo Cristo as well. Once finished, hop back into a taxi (make sure to let your driver know at the beginning of the day to pick you up), and head back to Velas.
Learn more in the Sao Jorge Azores Hiking Guide
If you are not into hiking, you can also spend the day exploring the main port town of Velas and have a taxi driver take you to some top spots around the island – one of which is the beautiful natural swimming pool of Faja Ouvidor. After a day out exploring Sao Jorge, you can grab dinner in Velas before making your way back to the port and onto Pico.
» Day 8 – Hike Mount Pico
If hiking Mount Pico is not something you want to take part of no worries at all. You can choose to do some activities that were not completed on day 6 and/or just spend your time relaxing in Madalena at one of the natural swimming pools.
Although hiking Mount Pico is no easy task, it sure is a rewarding one. A 7+ hour trek up and down the highest point in all of Portugal will be a highlight of your time in the Azores and one you will not soon forget. I put together an all encompassing guide to everything you need to know about this hike in a Hiking Mount Pico Guide. Feel free to check that out if you want more details on what to expect. If you do opt for the hike, you should aim to do so on the earlier side of the day (7:00-8:00AM) as it is a full day activity.
After finishing up the hike in the afternoon, spend the remainder of the day relaxing those legs and getting some well deserved rest!
» Day 9 – Faial Day Trip
The second day trip during your time on Pico will bring you to the island of Faial. Whereas Sao Jorge is about a 90 minute ferry ride, Faial is closer to a 30 minute ride. There will also be plenty of ferry options to choose from to and from Faial as the islands are so close to each other. Once you arrive on Faial, you can either hire a taxi/guide for the day or rent scooters to take you around. Some of the highlights will include:
3) Porto do Comprido
4) Monte de Guia
5) Horta Town
» Day 10 – Travel Day
Sadly it is now time to start the journey back home. On the last day of this Azores itinerary, grab a flight that will take you from Pico to Sao Miguel. If you have some extra time in Pico, feel free to complete any activities from day 6 that you might be interested in, such as the Vinhas da Criação Velha hike. You can also try to time it up so you can stay in the airport and catch your flight back home or head out first thing on day 11.
That about ends a successful 10 day Azores itinerary. It will be full of incredible memories and have you wanting to come back to see more. If you want to learn more, check out the other Azores itineraries and guides I have up on the site. Feel free to write in any comments/questions below and safe travels out there!