- Taking in the stunning Blue and Green Lake of Sete Cidades
- Pedalling through Pinhal de Paz Park
- Sampling tasty Cozido de Furnas at the Caldeiras da Lagoa
- Cycling the trails of the Tronqueria forests
- Sipping tea at the world famous Gorreana Tea Plantation
- Bathing in the thermal pools of Ferraria
This tour was one of the best holidays I’ve had. Cannot praise everyone enough!
Following your arrival you will be transferred to your charming hotel in the centre of Ponta Delgada. Depending on flight times (as options often arrive quite late in the evening) dinner can be taken at one of the many small restaurants in the centre of town. Tonight you’ll have time to get to know your fellow cyclists and discuss the week to come.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Today we will cycle to the north coast of the island, where we’ll head along the coast before turning inland.
We’ll start today’s ride at Ribeira Seca, where we’ll discover an old fountain that was almost swallowed by lava in the eruption of 1563. We’ll pass through the city centre of Ribeira Grande, making a stop in the garden next to the town hall. We’ll then head out to the coast, heading towards Ribeirinha, leaving the tarmac behind as we start to explore some dirt roads, which will take us to one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Azores, Miradouro de Santa Iria. It’ll make the uphills worthwhile as the views are stunning across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as to the nearby beach of Santa Iria.
This makes for a perfect snack spot, before we continue steadily higher, along country lanes on our way to Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande. We’ll come across a number of fumaroles, a mineral water spring and a bubbling water pool…certainly not one to swim in! There is of course time set aside to visit the fumaroles.
A slight uphill detour will take us to the dam of Fajã do Redondo, from where there is a fun descent (off-road, on hard packed earth) which takes us to Ribeira Grande and then to the surf beach of Santa Bárbara once again. It’s a great place to relax in a cafe after the ride and watch the surfers battle with the waves.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Leaving our hotel, we head away from the sea and gradually wind our way uphill to Pinhal da Paz Park. Pedalling through Pinhal da Paz we will be able to see the diverse, local vegetation such as azaleas, bamboos and palm trees. We continue our route to the south coast, passing green pastures which vividly contrast the ocean. Once in the village of Lagao, we‘re likely to spot the local fishermen returning home in traditional boats and unloading their catch. Lagao makes for a fine lunch spot.
After lunch we will head back to Ponta Delgada. Our final cycling stretch sees us joining a traffic-free cycle path from the small town of Sao Roque all the way back to our hotel. For our evening meal it’s time to venture out to one of the great local restaurants that are scattered around Ponta Delgada.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Today we’ll transfer by vehicle to Sete Cidades, from where we start our ride. During today’s ride we will have the chance to learn about the legendary love story behind the formation of the lakes of Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde.
As we pedal around the craters’ rims, we’ll have superb views over several lakes and the coastline – it’s a great day of cycling and we tend to take lunch on the shore of the Blue Lake of Sete Cidades. We will explore the tranquil lakeside routes before heading to explore Ferraria (by van or minibus), which is heated by a volcanic crack where the heat of the water is dictated by the tide times it’s a great place to relax after a day in the saddle.
- Meals: Breakfast
Today has been scheduled in as a rest day. In the morning you might like to go whale watching (in total approx. 3 hours). If you choose this option, you will be picked up from your hotel for the short transfer to Marina Portas do Mar. During your time at sea, you will have the opportunity to watch some of more than twenty species of whales, dolphins, and other marine species that can be found in the Azores. The Sperm Whale is the whale most frequently seen, but you might also get the change to see migrating whales such as the Blue Whale, Pilot Whales and even Orcas!
In the afternoon, you might like to do a Van tour of Lagoa do Fogo (approx. 3.5 hours). If so, you’ll be collected for a tour showing you the Azores at its best! This trip includes time at the fascinating landscapes of Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake). This huge blue lake is around 2km long and 1km wide and fills the ground of the crater. Surrounded by high mountains and luxuriant endemic vegetation, this mystical lake is now a nature reserve. You will also, time permitting, spend time at Caldeira Velha, a warm waterfall where you people often swin in the steaming waters.
Of course, you may wish to just relax completely for the day or take your bike for a quick spin. Please note that should conditions not be suitable for whale watching then we may alter timings, or even switch days around, so as to give you the best opportunity to undertake the whale watching. Tonight we will stay in Furnas.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Today’s ride begins in the centre of Furnas, and we’ll soon arrive at Caldeiras da Lagoa. This is where natural hot springs are used as ovens. It’s traditional for locals to boil (only with steam) a meat and vegetable stew, known as cozido, in huge pots which are placed underground for up to seven hours. We’ll continue on to Furnas Lake – watch out for the majestic views as we circle the lake. On the way back to the hotel, we’ll retrace our steps a little so that we arrive back into Caldeiras da Lagoa in time to see the cozido being removed from the ground. We’ll head back to the hotel, in time for lunch, to have our first taste of cozido.
This afternoon we have the opportunity to explore the superb botanical gardens of the hotel and then take a relaxing swim in an iron-rich, heated swimming pool. Our accommodation tonight will once again be in Furnas and there’s no better way to end your day than a short wander to the pool for a final dip before bed.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Our last day together on our bikes! Today is a bit more challenging, with the most elevation gain of the week (approximately 1000 meters in around 25 kilometres). The challenge will be worth it though, as we pass by streams, ride on dirt roads flanked by plane trees, and explore the area of Tronqueira.
To make things a little easier on the legs, we’ll drive you to the higher reaches (but not all the way!) of Salto do Cavalo, the view point with the best views over Furnas village and the coast.
From here we will begin cycling through the countryside of Nordeste, passing the base of the highest peak of São Miguel (Pico Vara at 1105m) and witnessing some incredible views in all directions. From Salto do Cavalo we follow a gorgeous, winding lane which takes us gradually uphill, to the reserve of Tronqueira. It is a very steady climb with no major steep sections, so time to select one of the lower gears and get your wheels turning. Once at the top we are in for a real treat and from here it is all downhill to Nordeste. In Nordeste we’ll have lunch and take a wander around the small town.
It’s here that we load up the bikes for the return transfer to Ponta Delgada. On the way we will stop at Ribeira dos Caldeirões to check out the waterfalls, watermill and levadas, before continuing along the coast to the Gorreana Tea Factory, which is renowned throughout the world for the production of organic tea (especially Green Tea).
- Meals: Breakfast
Sadly your time in the Azores is at an end, though you might have time before your flight home for a little more exploring! We’ll transfer you to Ponta Delgada airport in time for your return flight home.
During your time in the Azores, you will be cycling on a variety of terrains. These will vary from quiet, asphalted and mostly traffic-free countryside and coastal roads / lanes (approx. 50% of the route), to wide ‘off road’ trails which, whilst not asphalted, are well compacted (approx. 40% of the route).
At certain times (on 2 of the cycling days) there will be slightly bumpier / rougher sections, but these are non-technical. About 12% of the route is traffic free.
This trip is a grade 3, as although the distances are quite short, the terrain can be challenging in parts. Day 4 around Sete Cidades will prove the most challenging, with the most difficult terrain, although the day can be made slightly easier.
Do contact the office to discuss the terrain / routes and for more information relating to the above.
Leisure Cycling Grade
Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day
For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness
May include some steeper, cheeky climbs and possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc)
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 holiday to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.
It was a brilliant holiday where everything worked fine. Our two guides were simply superb, explaining things about the island.
Dates & Prices
Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms) in 4* hotels
B) Meals as per the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) Full tour service, including English-speaking guides
D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid
E) Support vehicle, for tired bikers and luggage transfers
F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Ponta Delgada airport (PDL)
G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Ponta Delgada airport (PDL)
What's not Included
A) Bike rental (available if required)
B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
C) Single room (available if required)
D) Travel insurance
E) Meals not stated in the itinerary / refreshments on route
F) Personal clothing and equipment
G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities, etc.)
H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route
I) Optional whale watching on day 5 (approx. 50 Euros) – payable locally
J) Optional van tour of Lagoa do Fogo on day 5 (approx. 40 Euros) – payable locally
K) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days
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Catherine, UKWe would certainly recommend Saddle Skedaddle and may well be back.
With the exception of the weather, everything was perfect (the weather did not spoil it at all, finished early one day because we were soaked) Our guides, Nuno and Ines were wonderful, pleasant and knowledgeable, nothing was a problem for them. The whole experience was very well planned and executed. Bikes were good, lunches excellent and transfers smooth and efficient by several great drivers.
Anonymous, UKWe thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to the Azores, especially the stunning scenery.
The Terra Nostra garden hotel was very special and indeed unique and we particularly enjoyed our stay there. Hotel Colegio in Ponta del Garda was clean and comfortable but less luxurious. I felt they were both good value for money.
Route-wise, we particularly enjoyed the day (Tuesday) when we cycled around the rim of the volcanic crater in the west of the island. Nuno was an excellent guide…very knowledgeable. His time-keeping was excellent too. We really enjoyed hearing all the fascinating facts he told us about the island and the Azores in general. We also appreciated the fact that the lunches were varied. It was great to sample the traditional Azorian meal, cooked underground and to have a prepared lunch beside the lake on the Tuesday.
Mick, Essex, UKOur two guides were simply superb...
I was with party of 10 which went cycling to The Azores 2nd – 9th May. It was a brilliant holiday where everything worked fine. There had to be some changes to the itinerary due to bad weather (shame the whale watching had to be cancelled) but we were kept informed at all stages. Our two guides were simply superb, explaining things about the island, how it was made, culture issues and anything also we needed to know. First hotel, Hotel do Colegio pretty good and central. Second hotel, Terra Nostra Garden hotel in Furnas absolutely superb.
The routes selected by the guides were challenging but there were suitable stops to allow slower members of the party to catch up. Also a support vehicle could be used at times if it was needed. Many thanks to all concerned for all the arrangements that obviously had to be done, but particular thanks to Nuno and Ines for their patience in dealing with our group of mainly OAP’s.
Brophy, AustraliaExcellent trip
In short, my feedback was that the Azores trip is excellent with Nuno as our tour leader. He is very knowledgeable, honest and all-around good guy. Accommodations were better than expected & advertised. Cycling was fairly short distance but that can be augmented as needed. Hire bikes were in perfect working order and high-quality. Ponta Delgada was a good base for our trip.
Paul, Oxfordshire, UKA fantastic ride...
Very good leader looked at strengths & weaknesses of the group and changed rides accordingly. He was very knowledgeable about his island which was stunning. Overall a fantastic ride on a beautiful island with a great guide. Whale watching was great with two very large Fin Whales (second largest animal on the planet up to 85ft long and 60 + tonnes ) circling the boat for half an hour. Jeep safari was very good as well.
Bianca, AustraliaCannot praise everyone enough.
This tour was one of the best holidays I’ve had. The group I traveled with were absolutely lovely, as were the guides and support staff. Cannot praise everyone enough.