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Portugal

The Azores - Islands and Volcanoes

Self-Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$1,220 P.P.
Portugal

The Azores - Islands and Volcanoes

Self-Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$1,220 P.P.
BOOK NOW
A self-guided cycling tour in the Azores, the most westerly point of Europe. The volcanic origins of the islands are reflected in the mountains and valleys covered by a rich and varied vegetation, lakes in ancient volcano craters, natural swimming pools by the sea, black sandy beaches, active steaming fumaroles and thermal hot water cascades and fountains. 
Your trip begins in Ponta Delgada, situated on the largest of the Azores islands, Sao Miguel, or as it is more commonly known, The Green Island. It is here that you will spend your first few days exploring the trails on the west side of the island, including the volcanic complex of Sete Cidades, with its amazing Blue and Green lakes and the heated pools of Ferraria. 
We have scheduled in an optional non-cycling day and with the Azores being famous for whales and dolphins, you can swap your cycling shades for binoculars and head out on a boat for a spot of whale watching. There is also the option of a jeep safari to Fogo Lake and to Caldeira Velha - a hot waterfall where it's possible to take a dip.
In the second part of the week you will visit the village of Furnas, from where you are well placed to experience the volcanic origins of the Island around Furnas Lake, Caldeiras da Lagoa and the fumaroles, as well as taking time to explore the botanical gardens. Your final day ends the trip in style - lovely cycling, amazing views over the whole island and the ocean, and a visit to the Gorreana Tea plantation.
We also have a fully guided version of this tour available, contact us for more details. Please note that on 4 out of 5 days of cycling we have longer distances available; please contact us if you would like any more information about these longer routes. 

Highlights

  • Taking in the stunning Blue and Green Lake of Sete Cidades
  • Enjoying the natural swimming pools and the fishing port at Lagoa
  • Sampling tasty Cozido de Furnas at Caldeiras da Lagoa
  • Cycling the trails of the Tronqueira forests
  • Sipping tea at the Gorreana Tea Plantation
  • Bathing in the thermal pools of Ferraria

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This holiday exceeded our expectations. The views of the crater and the Atlantic ocean were spectacular!

Bruce, Canada

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival into Ponta Delgada airport - Transfer to Ponta Delgada

Following your arrival into Ponta Delgada airport you will be transferred to your charming hotel in the town centre. Your local representative will provide your route notes and a schedule for your time in the Azores. Depending on your arrival time, you’ll hopefully be able to sample your first meal in the Azores at one of the many small restaurants in the centre of town.

Day 2
Ribeira Grande Loop Ride
16 Miles / 26 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

After the delivery of your bikes, we will transfer you (approx. 25 minutes by van) to the starting point for today’s ride, Santa Bárbara beach in Ribeira Grande.

You’ll pass one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Azores, Miradouro de Santa Iria, which makes 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 great snack spot before you continue a little higher, following quiet country lanes on your way to Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande. You will come across a number of fumaroles, a mineral water spring and a bubbling water pool…certainly not one to swim in! You’ve got plenty of time to explore the fumaroles (openings in the Earth’s crust from where steam is emitted).

A slight uphill detour will take you to the dam of Fajã do Redondo and from here there is a fun descent (off road on hard-packed earth) which takes you to Ribeira Grande City. Alternatively you can head back to the nearby Santa Bárbara beach for a dip! We’ll pick you up from either spot for the transfer back to your hotel (approx. 25 minutes).

Day 3
Sete Cidades Loop Ride
18 Miles / 29 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today we will pick you from your hotel and transfer you to Sete Cidades (approx. 35 minute transfer). During the ride you will have chance to learn about the legendary love story behind the formation of the lakes of Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde.

The route provides superb views as you pedal around the craters’ rims. It’s great cycling and we’d recommend taking a picnic for some lunch on the shores of the Blue Lake! Following lunch you may wish to explore the tranquil, lakeside routes before heading to the small village of Sete Cidades where you are able to visit the church of Igreja São Nicolau.

There’s a treat in store now as it’s time to switch from your cycling kit and into your swimming costumes for a dip in a swimming pool by the sea. Heated by a volcanic crack it’s a great place to relax after a day in the saddle. With the heat of the water dictated by the tide times (low tide is best) we’ll do our best to make sure you know when it’s best to arrive. Don’t worry, there’s also a man-made heated pool! We’ll pick you up and transfer you back to your hotel (approx. 35 minute transfer).

Day 4
Rest Day - Whale Watching / Jeep Safari / Optional Cycling
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today has been scheduled 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 and transferred to Marina Pêro de Teive. 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. 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 Jeep Safari (approx. 3.5 hours). 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 an extinct crater. Surrounded by high mountains and luxuriant endemic vegetation, this mystical lake is now a nature reserve. You will also spend time at Caldeira Velha, a warm waterfall where you can swim 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 it may be best to alter timings, or even switch days around, so as to give you the best opportunity to undertake the whale watching. Tonight you’ll stay in Ponta Delgada.

Day 5
Ponta Delgada to Caloura
12 Miles / 20 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

After negotiating Ponta Delgada’s narrow streets you’ll soon be on the seafront from where you can join the traffic-free cycle path which takes you to the small town of Sao Roque, before heading on to Lagoa. Once in Lagoa you might well be able to spot local fishermen returning home in their traditional boats. Lagoa makes for a nice lunch spot and you can either try out one of the small restaurants by the harbour or buy supplies in the town itself. Lagoa also has some natural swimming pools by/in the sea should you fancy a dip.

From here you can proceed to Vila de Agua de Pau, before cycling on towards the coast and to Caloura, a summer destination for the locals. You can take the optional transfer back to your hotel, or if you prefer you can ride back, retracing your earlier route. We will pick you up from your hotel in Ponta Delgada in the late afternoon and transfer you to your second accommodation of the week in Furnas (approx. 45 minute transfer).

Day 6
Furnas Lake and Caldeiras da Lagoa Loop Ride
10 Miles / 16 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today’s ride begins in the centre of Furnas, as you cycle to Caldeiras da Lagoa. This is where natural hot springs are used as ovens. It’s a tradition for locals to boil (with steam) a meat and vegetable stew, known as Cozido, in huge pots which are placed underground for up to seven hours. You continue on, circling the lake’s shores. On the way back to your hotel, you’ll retrace your steps a little so that you arrive back into Caldeiras da Lagoa in time to see the Cozido being removed from the ground. Once back at your hotel, there’s a chance to have your first taste of Cozido (please note that reservation is necessary 24 hours in advance – this costs approx. 20 Euros).

This afternoon you’ll 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. Your 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.

Should you fancy a few more miles in the saddle today, there are some steep sections to take on should you wish, with the extra distance very much up to the individual rider.

Day 7
Salto do Cavalo to Nordeste
18 Miles / 29 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

To make things a little easier on the legs today we have arranged a transfer to a viewpoint with the best views over Furnas village and the coast. From here you’ll 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. Once at the top you are in for a real treat and from here it is all downhill to Nordeste. In Nordeste you can stop for lunch and wander round the small town.

It’s here that we will meet you and will load up your bikes for the return transfer to Ponta Delgada (approx. 30 minutes). 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).

Day 8
Departure from Ponta Delgada - Transfer to Ponda Delgada airport
  • Meals: Breakfast

Sadly your time in the Azores is at an end, but not before breakfast and hopefully some time to explore a little more! We will transfer you to Ponta Delgada airport in time for your return flight.

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The Cycling

Terrain

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, throwing up 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.

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Leisure Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

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

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 trip to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.

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Representatives brought the island to life with their knowledge of all aspects of life on Sao Miguel and made us feel at home with their warmth, humour and kindness.

lorna, UK

Dates & Prices

Daily departures available, between 1st April and 31st October.

Season 1 For trips starting between (and inclusive of) the 01/04 and the 05/04, the 13/04 and the 30/05 or the 01/10 and the 31/10: $1220 pp.

Season 2 For trips starting between (and inclusive of) the 06/04 and the 12/04 or the 01/05 and the 30/09: $1425 pp.

Contact us on 1-888-414-6437 or email info@skedaddle.com to check availability for your specific date.

Choose your date
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
Return Date
--/--/----
Duration
8 days
Price
$1,220.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms) in 4* hotels

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) English-speaking local representative (with welcome meeting)

D) Detailed route notes and maps

E) Luggage transfers

F) Transfers from hotel to/from cycling trail (as per the itinerary)

G) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival/departure day from/to Ponta Delgada airport (PDL)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (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

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. 55 Euros) – payable locally

J) Optional jeep safari on day 5 (approx. 40 Euros) – payable locally

K) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Airport transfers are included in the cost of your cycling holiday. For this tour we ask that you fly into and back from Ponta Delgada airport (PDL). Please arrive between 09.00 and 23.00 and depart after 10.00. If you‘re flying from the US, there are direct flights from Boston (BOS) with Azores Airlines and TAP Portugal. These generally depart the US late evening and arrive in Ponta Delgada (PDL) early the following day. Other flights generally require a stop on the East Coast en route. Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules available for your trip. Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your trip.

Accommodation

Accommodation on this trip will be in two 4* hotels, located in Ponta Delgada and in Furnas. The accommodation will be in twin or double ensuite rooms, unless you have selected the single room option.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. These bikes are typically Merida Big Nine 300 or Specialized Hardrock / Myka mountain bikes with knobbly tyres and a relaxed riding position. Please note, hire bikes in the Azores have a crossbar frame – it is not possible to provide a step-through frame on this trip. If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet on request; please request helmets when making your booking.

Hire bikes are equipped with a water bottle holder, a puncture repair kit and spare inner tubes. Bikes will not have panniers, and so we recommend bringing along a rucksack to carry any daily essentials you may need. It is possible to bring along your own saddle and / or pedals, but please let us know in advance.

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