Pristine landscapes and outdoor adventures beckon on this exhilarating 11-day Azores vacation. Based on the island of São Miguel, you'll explore Portugal's remote Atlantic archipelago with a series of unforgettable excursions—diving, hiking, and cycling through its lush volcanic scenery. After some free time for whale watching, caving, or just relaxing on the island's unspoiled beaches, it's time to head back to the mainland to put your feet up and discover Porto in style with a vintage car tour and wine tasting.


  • Experience some of Europe's best dive sites
  • Hike to the shores of São Miguel's "Lake of Fire"
  • Cycle through the iconic Azores landscape of Sete Cidades
  • See Porto in style with a vintage car tour & port tasting

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon, Fly to The Azores The Azores
Day 2 Explore the Furnas Valley The Azores
Day 3 Discover the Beaches of São Miguel The Azores
Day 4 Azores Diving Adventure  The Azores
Days 5-6 Free Days on São Miguel: Whale Watching, Diving & Caving The Azores
Day 7 Hiking Excursion to Lagoa do Fogo The Azores
Day 8 Cycle the Craters of Sete Cidades The Azores
Day 9 Fly to Porto, Vintage Car Tour & Port Tasting Porto
Day 10 Free Day in Porto: Douro Valley & Peneda-Gerês National Park Porto
Day 11 Fly to Lisbon & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon, Fly to São Miguel & the Azores

Ponta Delgada's Portas da Cidade (City Gates)

Welcome to Portugal! You'll catch a connecting flight to the Azores upon arrival in Lisbon. Located roughly 1,000 miles (1,609 km) off Portugal's Atlantic coast, this archipelago of nine islands is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and distinctive landscapes of dormant volcanoes, lush greenery, and turquoise crater lakes.

Your destination is the Azores' largest city of Ponta Delgada, located on the "Green Island" of São Miguel. A driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel, where you can settle in and head out to get your bearings. Unwind with a relaxed stroll through the city's charming neighborhoods, then head to dinner at one of its many excellent restaurants—your specialist will also be happy to offer some recommendations!

Day 2: Explore the Furnas Valley

Volcanic fumaroles on the shores of Lagoa das Furnas

Spend today exploring the Furnas Valley, a volcanic caldera that has lain dormant since 1630. Here at one of São Miguel's most intriguing geothermal spots, you'll find a fantastical series of bubbling mud pots and steaming fumaroles (volcanic steam vents) amid the verdant landscapes.

Follow the trail along the peaceful lakeshore, passing the Capela da Nossa Senhora Das Vitórias (a lovely neo-Gothic church built in the late 19th century). Continue through the forest, passing a century-old sequoia to reach the idyllic Salto do Rosal waterfall at the end of the route. You can also take a dip in the thermal pools, where mineral-rich water remains invitingly between 95°F (35°C) and 104°F (40°C).

Day 3: Discover the Beaches of São Miguel

Soft sand and crashing Atlantic surf at Praia de Santa Bárbara 

Devote today to exploring the plentiful praias (beaches) of São Miguel at your own pace. Head to Praia de Santa Bárbara for over half a mile of soft sand and a great lunch spot at nearby Tuka Tulá Bar. During the summer you can also attend nighttime concerts here. At Praia de Água D'Alto, you'll find a wide stretch of volcanic sand, clear water, and dramatic cliffs—a combination that makes it one of the most popular beaches on the island.

If you're looking to swim, the sheltered Vila Franca do Campo Islet is a bather's paradise and a good snorkeling spot, while the oceans around Praia do Fogo remain naturally warmer due to nearby hot springs. For peace and quiet, Praia dos Moinhos can't be beat, while Praia dos Mosteiros—with its dark volcanic sand and towering sea rocks—remains one of the best photo-ops on the island.

Day 4: Azores Diving Adventure

Diving in the Azores
Experience some of Europe's best diving off São Miguel

This morning you'll embark on two guided dives, exploring the underwater world of one of Europe's most pristine marine ecosystems. With a fascinating ocean floor topography of ancient lava flows, submerged volcanoes, and remarkably preserved shipwrecks, the seas around São Miguel offer an incredible diversity of dive sites.

Choose Lourenços for powerful currents and dramatic rocky pinnacles, or explore the underwater caves around Panela off the island's south coast. This sheltered position creates the perfect environment for rich marine life like octopus, moray eels, and damselfish. At nearby Baixas das Castanhetas, a panorama of lava formations shelters colorful schools of fish and crustaceans and provides access to one of the most popular vertical walls on the island—plunging to a depth of 147 feet (45 m).

Plan your trip to Portugal
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Days 5 & 6: Free Days on São Miguel: Whale Watching, Diving & Caving

Dolphins off the coast of São Miguel Island

The next two days are free for you to enjoy the wonders of São Miguel at your own pace. Spend another day diving at some of the island's world-class sites, or head to the beach for some sun and sand. Join a whale-watching expedition to spot some of the over 20 different species found in the archipelago's waters with the help of biologists and naturalist guides. Search for whales, dolphins, turtles, and more as you take a tour around the islet of Vila Franca do Campo for a closer look at the volcanic marvel and its resident wildlife.

Just outside the city, you'll find another of São Miguel's volcanic wonders—the caves of Gruta do Carvão. The largest lava tunnel on the island plows underground for more than a mile (1.6 km) and offers a fascinating look at the island's geology. Wander through the otherworldly tunnels and admire the dramatic natural formations—from stalactites and stalagmites to soaring galleries and columns. 

Day 7: Hiking Excursion to Lagoa do Fogo

Views over the volcanic Lagoa do Fogo

Today's adventure takes you on an invigorating hike to Lagoa do Fogo, one of the largest and most pristine of São Miguel's spectacular crater lakes. Reachable only on foot, your trip to the lake starts with a drive to Água D'Alto, a stunning area on the south coast where you'll park and set out on a hiking trail heading north. An early uphill climb takes you to an altitude of nearly 1,968 feet (6,000 m) before leveling out onto a levada—an ancient drainage system that crisscrosses the island and creates a popular walking path for hikers.

Catch your breath on this flat portion and enjoy the surrounding vegetation, including many rare and endemic species. As you reach the lake's edge, get settled on the scenic south bank and enjoy a picnic lunch and a swim. On your return journey, you can also stop at Caloura for some beach time before heading back to Ponta Delgada for the evening.

Day 8: Cycle the Craters of Sete Cidades

Cycle around the volcanic rim of Sete Cidades

Add some adventure to your Azores holiday with a guided cycling excursion to Sete Cidades. Located on the west side of São Miguel, this remarkable area of natural beauty is considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Lush hillsides and volcanic craters rise between numerous tranquil lakes, each with its distinct character.

Along today's 16-mile (25 km) route, you'll learn about the island's volcanic past, its diverse flora and fauna, and of course, the legendary love story behind the lake's creation. Take in superb views over the lakes and coastline as you pedal along the crater rim, then break for lunch on the shores of the brilliant blue Lagoa Azul. At the journey's end, you'll have a chance to refresh tired legs with a dip in a natural swimming pool by the sea—complete with soothing waters heated by volcanic activity.

Day 9: Fly to Porto, Vintage Car Tour & Port Tasting

Colorful houses in Porto's Ribeira district

Bid the Azores farewell this morning as you transfer to the airport to catch your flight back to the mainland and the northern city of Porto. Upon arrival, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. When you're ready, explore some of Porto's characterful neighborhoods at your own pace. A good place to start is Ribeira, which sits alongside the Douro River and is one of the city's oldest districts. Famed for its narrow and colorfully-tiled dockside houses and views of the iconic double-decked Dom Luís Bridge, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see.  

In the afternoon, you can opt for a comfortable guided tour—half on foot, half by vintage car—to discover the city's most important highlights and hidden corners in style. Take a drive toward the fishing village of S. Pedro da Afurada or head to the city's colorful Foz area to get a glimpse of local life, Porto-style. End the excursion with a visit to a port cellar to taste the area's famous fortified wine.

Day 10: Free Day in Porto: Douro Valley & Peneda-Gerês National Park

Terraced vineyards along the Douro River

Discover more of the city on your own today or arrange for a guided day trip into the surrounding countryside. Head to the mountains and valleys of the famous Douro Valley for a leisurely day of wine tasting, lunch, and an afternoon river cruise against a backdrop of terraced vines and steep hillsides.

For something more active, you can join a full-day adventure into the wilds of Peneda-Gerês National Park—a vast reserve of 436 square miles (703 km) near the Spanish border. Hike to hidden waterfalls, go wild swimming in crystal clear lagoons, and finish the excursion with a traditional lunch and a glass or two of Vinho Verde at a local restaurant. 

Day 11: Fly to Lisbon & Depart

Take a final stroll along Porto's riverfront
It's time to say goodbye to Portugal! Depending on the time of your flight, you may be able to squeeze in one more walk through the streets of Porto or perhaps pick up some last-minute souvenirs. At the designated time, you'll be transferred to the airport to catch a flight back to Lisbon and continue your onward journey. Safe travels and boa viagem!

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Map of Escape to the Azores: São Miguel Island & Porto - 11 Days
Map of Escape to the Azores: São Miguel Island & Porto - 11 Days