Biosphere Reserves and Unesco Patrimony - Pico/São Jorge/Flores/Corvo/Terceira/Graciosa - OPEI
Biosphere Reserves are areas comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Each reserve promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. During this trip visitors will have the opportunity to visit and experience these special areas. From Angra do Heroísmo Historical center to the smallest Island of the Azores, Corvo Island, passing through the vineyards of Pico Island and the fajãs of São Jorge, to an experimental laboratory for biodiversity conservation due to Graciosa Island unique natural characteristics and the visit Flores Island Nature Park. This program aims to provide you with the best experience in the Azores as a sustainable destination while visiting the various places classified as biosphere reserves or world heritage sites and staying overnight in eco-friendly or historic accommodations.
Day by Day
Day 1 - Pico
Arrival at Pico Island. Transfer to the hotel.
Day 2 - Pico
Departure for a Full Day Tour of Pico Island Wine Tour. The tour will start with a walking trail at Criação Velha vineyards (Difficulty: Easy / Extension: 6.9 Km / Time Average: 2h). Distinguished in 2011 by BootsnAll, this trail stands out for its scenic and cultural diversity. It thrives in an area of Protected Landscape for the Vine Culture, one of the most emblematic of the island, including a great active vineyard area, where the walls streaking is in perfect state of preservation. Classified as World Heritage by UNESCO since 2004, this trail is rich in elements associated to the vine culture, such as ´rola-pipas (carved ramps to enable the sliding of the wine barrels to the boats), relheiras (tracks left by the wheels of the ox carts), the shelter houses, the wine cellars, the tide wells, among others. The tour will continue with a visit to the Wine Museum followed by lunch at a typical restaurant. In the afternoon the tour continues with visits to the coastal areas of Cachorro and Lajido followed by a visit to Adega a Buraca (liquor tasting). Return to the hotel.
Day 3 - Pico
Half Day Whale & Dolphin Watching & Visit to the Whalers Museum. Transfer from the hotel to the Whale Watching Base at Lajes do Pico. The Azores, and especially Lajes do Pico, is undoubtedly one of the best Whale Watching spots in the world, and for sure the best in the Azores. The quantity and diversity of the whales observed is high, theres little visual pollution and Pico Mountain lies in the background. Before embarking for the Whale and Dolphin Watching trip (3h) there will be a short briefing about biology, animal behaviour, whale hunting history, ecology and legislation. The tour is done on Zodiac boats with the presence of a marine biologist. After the boat trip lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon you will have free time to visit to the Whalers Museum (entrance fee included) and you can also do a short walk to Vigia da Queimada (whale spotting lookout point). Return transfer to the hotel.
Day 4 - Pico / São Jorge
Transfer to the harbor. Boat trip to São Jorge Island. Arrival and transfer to the hotel. Free day at leisure.
Day 5 - São Jorge
Departure for a Full Day Walk Serra do Topo / Caldeira de Santo Cristo / Fajã dos Cubres on the north coast. This walk goes through a magnificent trail descending to Fajã do Santo Cristo (Difficulty: Medium / Extension: 10 Km / Time Average: 2h30). São Jorge Island has a unique landscape consisting of remarkable geological, environmental and cultural assets. Due to its elongated shape, the island has an extensive coastline, the third-longest in the Azores Islands. Its hilly configuration is the result of the islands rocky cliffs, which are located mainly on the islands north side and create a steep landscape. The coastline is occasionally interspersed with flat areas known as fajãs (detritic fajãs and lavic fajãs), which are a distinctive feature of the island. The highlands of São Jorge are extremely windy and humid with high levels of rainfall and frequent fogs, even during the summer season. In combination with the islands orographic features, this strong hydrological potential sustains large wetland areas of local and regional importance. In terms of biodiversity, São Jorge Island hosts a significant number of endemic animal and plant species belonging to several groups of organisms, such as mammals, birds, mollusks, arthropods, vascular plants and bryophytes. Caldeira do Santo Cristo nature reserve has an underground cave and a lake and is the only place in the Azores where clams can be found. This fajã is one of the most isolated places in the Azores with some summer houses and only a few families living all year round. From this side of the island you can sight Graciosa and Terceira islands. Return to the hotel.
Day 6 - São Jorge / Faial / Flores
Transfer to the harbor. Boat trip to Faial Island. If there is time available according to flight schedule, pick up at Hortas harbor and departure for a Horta City Tour on foot. Horta has a real genuine feel, located on an astonishing bay, with its famous and colorful marina used as a stopover for many maritime adventures. It is a city with a strong connection to the sea, from the economic activities inherent to the sea itself, to science, to sports, and undoubtedly to tourism. These features make this a Historic and Cosmopolitan Center, with a wealthy heritage, surrounded by amazing landscapes such as the view of the highest mountain in Portugal, Mount Pico. This city tour will allow you to know the citys several historic monuments and emblematic spaces, as well as the gardens and green parks. Transfer to the airport and flight to Flores Island. Arrival and transfer to the hotel.
Day 7 - Flores
Departure for a Full Day Tour of Flores Island. This island reveals a vigorous relief, full of lakes and volcanic cones, imposing escarpments from which arise magnificent waterfalls that reach up to 300 meters in altitude. The difficult access to various areas of the island contributed to the preservation of its fauna and flora in its natural state over the centuries. The whole island is a monument to the preservation of the biosphere, and you are invited to discover the wonders of this island during the tour, starting with a stop at Ribeira da Cruz viewpoint and visit several lakes "Lomba", "Funda" and "Rasa". During the trip from Fajãzinha to Ponta da Fajã Grande the numerous waterfalls will hold your attention. You will have the possibility to walk to Poço da Alagoinha (optional), a small lake with several waterfalls as background (800m walk from the road, around 45 minutes RT, walking shoes recommended). The visit to "Rocha dos Bordões", a solidification of basaltic rock in tall vertical prismatic columns with elongated shape, unique in the Azores. On the return to Santa Cruz, stop at the Caveira belvedere. Return to the hotel.
Day 8 - Flores / Corvo / Flores
Transfer to the harbor. Boat trip to Corvo Island. With only 17 Km2, the smallest of the Azorean Islands, Corvo is geographically placed at the western end of the archipelago and recognized by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve since 2007 due to its environmental, cultural and heritage value. Arrival and visit to Caldeirão, a huge Crater in the centre of the Island. Lunch at a local restaurant. Boat trip to Flores Island. Arrival to Flores and return to the hotel.
Day 9 - Flores / Terceira
Transfer to the airport and flight to Terceira Island. Arrival and transfer from the airport to the hotel. In the evening transfer to Quinta do Martelo for a traditional dinner. Return transfer to the hotel.
Day 10 - Terceira
Departure for a Half Day Angra City Tour on foot. The journey starts with a City Tour of Angra do Heroismo, Unesco World Heritage site since 1983, walking through the streets filled with a rich heritage in history, culture and buildings that prove its importance over the centuries and that put it on the path of the world during the maritime discoveries in the XV and XVI centuries. Find out the origins of its name, discover the plan of the city and learn why there are so many fortresses and singularities on the churches that are related to the Portuguese Empire. Free lunch and afternoon at leisure.
Day 11 - Terceira
Full Day Tour of Terceira. On this tour you will visit the best of the island and other places off the beaten track not so well known, but with amazing landscapes, the center of the island, Biscoitos Vineyards and Natural swimming pools, Raminho, Serreta, Algar do Carvão and Serra do Cume viewpoint. Discover the history and culture of Terceira, connect with nature and enjoy a traditional lunch at a small local restaurant (typical Alcatra lunch). This is a slow pace full day tour and a very special experience. Return to the hotel.
Day 12 - Terceira / Graciosa
Transfer to the airport and flight to Graciosa Island. Arrival and transfer from the airport to the hotel. Departure for a Half Day Tour of Graciosa. With 60,7 Km2, the second smallest of the Azorean Islands, Graciosa Island has served, for over a decade now, as an experimental laboratory for biodiversity conservation and, due to its unique natural characteristics, it is frequently visited by national and international scientific expeditions. Past and ongoing experiments in resource management, eradication of introduced species and natural habitat restoration, as well as, the existing infrastructures, contribute to the proposed Biosphere Reserve as being an ideal site for executing research projects, natural resource demonstrative and management actions and for training researches and technicians in the field. Departure from Santa Cruz towards the fishing village of Praia, with its windmills, followed by Fenais, and Carapacho to visit to the thermal baths. The tour continues west by Serra Branca, Vitorias Volcanic Complex and Ponta da Barca Lighthouse viewpoint. Return to Santa Cruz, stopping at Monte da Ajuda to enjoy splendid views over Santa Cruz and the rest of the Island. Return to the hotel.
Day 13 - Graciosa
Departure for a Full Day Walking Tour Around Caldeira. This trail begins and ends at the access path to the Caldeira, in the southeast part of the island (Difficulty: Easy / Extension: 10.8 Km). You will walk around the Caldeiras perimeter and along the way make a short detour to visit Maria Encantada Cave, that features several interesting geological formations. Further ahead you will find the viewpoint overlooking the Caldeira. Stop for a picnic lunch. After walking around the perimeter, you will visit Furna do Enxofre (Sulfur Cave), a real ex-libris of the geodiversity of the island and one of the most remarkable lava cavities of basaltic nature in the archipelago. Return to the hotel.
Day 14 - Graciosa / Terceira
Transfer to the airport and flight to Terceira Island. Arrival and transfer to the hotel. Free day at leisure.
Day 15 - Terceira
Transfer to the airport.
Included / Not Included
- 14 nights (breakfast included depending on the hotel selected)
- Arrival & departure transfers between airport or harbour & accommodations as mentioned on the program
- Full day tour of Pico Island Wine Tour with English speaking guide
- Entrance fees to the Wine Museum, the Wine Cooperative (wine tasting) and Adega a Buraca (liquor tasting)
- Half Day Whale & Dolphin Watching & Visit to the the Whaler's Museum with English speaking skipper
- Whale & Dolphin Watching Tour
- Entrance fee to the Whalers Museum
- Full day Walk Serra do Topo / Caldeira de Santo Cristo / Fajã dos Cubres with English speaking guide
- Picnic lunch
- Horta City Tour with English speaking guide
- Full day tour Flores with English speaking driver/guide
- Entrance fee to the Museum of Santa Cruz das Flores
- Entrance fee to the Interpretation Center of Boqueirão
- Full day tour of Corvo Island with English speaking guide
- Round trip transfers Aldeia da Cuada / Flores Harbor / Aldeia da Cuada
- Boat trip Flores / Corvo / Flores
- Tour to Caldeirão
- Traditional dinner at Quinta do Martelo including round trip transfers
- Half day Angra City Tour with English speaking guide
- Entrance fee at Museu de Angra
- Entrance fee at Convento de São Gonçalo
- Entrance fee at Sé de Angra do Heroismo
- Entrance fee at Palacio dos Capitães Generais
- Full day tour of Terceira Island with English speaking guide
- Entrance fee at the volcanic cave Algar do Carvão
- Half day tour of Graciosa Island with English speaking guide
- Full Day Walking Tour Around Caldeira with English speaking guide
- Picnic lunch
- Entrance fee at Furna do Enxofre
- Boat tickets Pico/São Jorge & São Jorge/Faial
- Flight ticket Faial/Flores/Terceira/Graciosa/Terceira
- Issuing of ticket 15 days prior to departure
- Cancellation before departure: 50% refund
- Cancellation after departure date non-refundable
- Rerouting after departure: no refund unless due to death of passenger or family member
- Voluntary routing changes after issuing ticket permitted to upgrade to normal fare
- Change name after issuing ticket permitted with penalty
- Symbolic contribution to social & environmental institutions: Rabo de Peixe Sabe Sonhar & Life Priolo: 1€
- Meals other than those mentioned on the program
- Supplements for private tours
The day, route, schedule and mode of transportation are subject to change without notice due to operating conditions
The Tours may have to be in taxi with English speaking driver
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic some of the entrances and activities on the program may have to be cancelled or done in private (subject to supplements) for safety reasons according to the number of participants. Updated information will be provided with the confirmation of the reservation.