The Chá Gorreana Tea Plantation Hike
Right outside of the Cha Gorreana factory you will find a trail that takes you all throughout the tea fields to take in some never ending views of the plantation. During this hiking guide I will give you the ins and outs of how to reach this hike and give you an idea of what to expect for your visit. I will also note right of the bat – a good portion of this hike is not in the tea fields, rather just a path around the area. I will talk about an alternative option if you do not want to take part of the whole trail and rather just focus on the tea plantation aspect of it. Now lets get into some tea and hiking!
1. Cha Gorreana Trail Quick Facts
Cha Gorreana is the one and only tea plantation in all of Europe. It is pretty amazing to think that the only place you can find tea being grown in Europe is on some small island off the coast of Portugal, but it is true and here is your opportunity to explore it!
Starting & Ending Point: Parking Lot of Cha Gorreana
Length: 3.4KM / 2.1 Miles
Time: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy – First half up hill / Second half down hill
2. Getting to Cha Gorreana
This is probably the easiest starting point of a hike to find in Sao Miguel. Usually you would be dealing with GPS coordinates or some random small parking lot on the side of the road. But the hike at Cha Gorreana starts right in the parking lot. Below is a map with directions from Ponta Delgada, which is about a 30 minute drive away. Head down the driveway and park your car in the lot and you can then spend some time in the tea factory itself before going for the hike. You can also save the tea factory for after you complete the trail. It is free to enter the factory and you can use the restrooms and/or buy some snacks from the small food stand before making your way outside.
3. The Official Cha Gorreana Hike
In the parking lot right in front of the building you will see the official Azores hiking map of the trail. You will follow the driveway back out of the complex, cross the road, and immediately turn left alongside the fence. Be aware here as if you do not turn left alongside the fence right after you cross the road, you will no longer be following the official route.
The first 1 kilometer or so offers some great views from down below as you make your way up into the tea fields. Be on the lookout for all the goats around the plantation who can pop out of nowhere at any time. Now after the first kilometer, the trail actually takes you away from the tea fields and just on a dirt path without many views to take in for the next 1-1.5 kilometer. You will reach the highest point of the hike, before starting the descent down on this trail. This was a little disappointing as I was hoping the entire hike would be in the plantations, and not on a trail without much to enjoy.
Thankfully a little while after you reach the highest point of the trail, you will start the descent back into the tea plantation and take in some remarkable views of the fields, the factory, and even the ocean out in the distance. This part of the trail was definitely the highlight for me, as you were constantly walking through the fields and had these never ending views to take in. The trail is all downhill from here, as you make your way into the tea fields and ultimately back at the road, which you will cross to get back into the Cha Gorreana complex.
Take a look at some Azores guide books to better prep you for your trip:
4. The Unofficial Cha Gorreana Hike
Now I mentioned briefly that there is a good portion of the hike that veers away from the tea fields as you just walk along a dirt path. For me at least, this portion of the hike was not the most enjoyable. If you are short on time or are just interested in the tea fields themselves, then you definitely do not need to take part of the entire official hike. Instead of making that immediate left turn alongside the fence at the beginning of the hike, continue straight uphill into the tea fields – it is as if you would be doing the hike backwards to an extent. Walk up the path through the tea fields and at some point instead of continuing the hike in reverse, turn around and walk back down the path.
So just to recap – simply walk up the tea fields, and once you get to the highest point to enjoy the view, turn around and head down the same path you went up on. This way the entirety of your hike will be in the tea fields themselves.
5. Cha Gorreana Factory
Once you complete the trail (or before the hike) you can explore the tea factory itself. There are several rooms with different types of tea making machinery to teach you about the tea making process. You will also come by a tea tasting room, where you can try some hot and cold teas for free! A small gift shop is also in the building, where you can buy some Cha Gorreana tea or any other souvenirs you might want.
If you take part of the entire hike and spend some time in the factory, it should take up approximately 2 hours of your day. It still leaves plenty to do as you explore what the rest of Sao Miguel has to offer!
6. Where to Stay on Sao Miguel
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.
There are a few main towns around the island but if you are looking for the most happening spot that would be in Ponta Delgada. There are way more accommodation and restaurant options here than any other location on the island. If you want to get a little further away you can also check out the town of Furnas, which is home to several natural hot springs. Here are some hotel recommendations for each:
That about does it for a guide to the Cha Gorreana hike and everything else the only tea plantation in Europe has to offer! Check out the Azores page for more itineraries and guides about this beautiful destination.