AZORES: A 3-ISLAND ODYSSEY
29 MAR-6 APR, 2022
with Jeremy Woodhouse
(9 days – 8 nights), maximum group size 6
This 9-day photo tour is ideal for beginners, amateurs and professional photographers. The goal is to discover the most photogenic locations in the Azores, away from the tourist crowds. You will have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture, and the beautiful scenery that the Azores is famous for. From volcanic villages, rocky beaches, stunning waterfalls, hot springs and night sky photography…this tour is a photographer’s dream!
The tour is designed not only to help you capture the most photogenic locations in the Azores, but also for you to experience the culture and natural beauty of the Azores.
We will explore the captivating islands of Terceira, Sao Miguel as well as the rugged natural beauty of Flores. We will travel by car and take commercial flights between the islands as we discover the different photographic hotspots. All transportation and accommodation is included in the tour cost to make it as easy and stress-free as possible.
Day 1: Mar 29 – Arrival Day/Terceira Island
We take a morning flight from Porto to Ponta Delgada we catch our connection to Terceira Island. Home of the Unesco world heritage site of Angra do Heroísmo. After settling in at the hotel, we have some free time to enjoy the city, before we head out to discover the Island. The viewpoint of Monte Brasil is the perfect spot to start.
Angra do Heroísmo
The title “Very Noble, Loyal and Always Present” assigned to city of Angra do Heroísmo emphasizes the importance of this metropolis had throughout the History of Portugal and, and hence of the Azores archipelago. The relevance of the Angra bay , especially in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the importance of the city in political economic and religious chess of the Azores are portrayed in the urban fabric of this city. Observed from the Alto da Memória or Monte Brasil belvedere, the historical centre is a laced picture of streets, alleys, churches, palaces, manor houses, monuments, squares and gardens, which selfless generations knew how to preserve and maintain up to today, even against the forces of the earthquakes. UNESCO recognized this by integrating the Historic Centre of Angra do Heroísmo in the UNESCO World Heritage List
After lunch we go straight to the central part of the Island, to the Black Forest. A unique location due to its dense vegetation, light has a really hard time penetrating these trees. Depending on the weather, photographing here is never the same.
Ten minutes down the road, we get to one of the highlights of the Island, Algar do Carvão, a 90 metre-deep volcanic chimney formed approximately 3,200 years ago after the magma drained from the main chimney receding to the magma chamber – this is one of the few volcanoes in the world that you can walk inside it. No tripods are allowed so you will need a fast wide angle lens.
For sunset, we will find an elevated location where we will have a panoramic view of the coast overlooking Monte Brasil and the town of Angra do Heroísmo.
O/N Hotel Ilha
Located in the historic centre of the world heritage city of Angra do Heroísmo, Hotel Ilha offers single, double or twin rooms with free WiFi access in all areas. The air-conditioned rooms feature a seating area, an electric kettle and a TV.
Day 2: Mar 30 – Terceira Island
Big vistas and seascapes, that’s our plan for the day. We start early with a drive, visiting the best locations as we chase the light along the coast.
At noon, we arrive at Praia da Vitória to have lunch and enjoy the view of the beach. Terceira Island is known to have the best food of the Azores, so we have to make the best out of it. We head out to the north part of the Island, to Ponta do Mistério. One of the Islands most attractive coastal areas. A mysterious green-glazed lunar landscape, with the blue Atlantic ocean in the backdrop, creates an amazing sight.
Next on our list is the popular summer spot of Biscoitos, a coastal area synonymous with Verdelho wines. The region is named for the nuggets of solidified black lave deposited after an eruption in 1761 – the oval shapes reminded early settlers of their boat bread, or biscoito (biscuit), supply. Wine has been produced here since the 16th century, cultivated from vineyards pocketed within walled enclosures called curraletas. It is an intriguing landscape made even more attractive by the enticing natural rock pools near the harbour
Considered one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Portugal, we reserved the best for last. The unique view to the interior of the island, known as the “patchwork”, consisting of walls of volcanic stone dividing the farm fields in to rectangular shapes, makes Serra do Cume a great spot to photograph last light – we planned to be here later in the day to avoid the bus loads of tourists who hopefully will have already left.
O/N Hotel Ilha
Day 3: Mar 31 – Terceira Island
We will spend an extra day on Terceira to relax and perhaps reshoot any of the scenes that we missed due to bad weather.
O/N Hotel Ilha
Day 4: Apr 1 – Terceira Island/Flores Island
Catching an early morning flight from Terceira, we arrive at one of the best kept secrets in Europe, the wild and beautiful Island of Flores.
Island of Flores
As the westernmost island of the Azores, Flores also marks the westernmost extremity of Europe. Peaceful and remote, the island is dotted with lakes and waterfalls, and awash with hydrangeas in summer. Flores also boasts spectacular hiking trails that wind along the coastal cliffs.
For our first day, we focus on the western point of the Island, starting with Rocha dos Bordões. The Bordões outcrop is a spectacular geological phenomenon and a superb example of columnar basalt. We will stop to photograph at the miradouro on the road between Lajedo and Mosteiro.
Very close to our guesthouse, a short drive and a hike away, will find us at one of the most picturesque areas on the island, Ribeira do Ferreiro and its waterfalls. The lagoon formed by the waterfalls is known as the Poço da Alagoinha or Lagoa das Patas.
Towards sunset will also check out locations at Poça do Bacalhau near Fajã Grande.
O/N Aldeia da Cuada
Located in the westernmost point of Europe you will find a plateau overlooking the ocean, where secretively with nature it treasures its mysteries. Aldeia da Cuada is a place suited to the isolation of the Flores Island.
Day 5: Apr 2 – Flores Island
Depending on the weather, we can choose between two locations. The inland panoramic view of Lagoa Negra & Comprida or the seascape of Baía dos Cedros, a rocky bay overlooking a group of rugged basalt sea stacks as our main subject with Corvo Island in the background. Both of these spots provide a really good photo opportunities for sunrise.
This afternoon, weather permitting, we will take a boat ride along the west coast of Flores, passing the northwest end of the island with a view of Albarnaz lighthouse on top of the cliffs. We will then make the 16km crossing to the smallest of the Islands in the Azores, Corvo.
The first (and only) permanent settlement was established at Vila do Porto in the mid-to-late 1500s, and his currently home to around 450 residents. The island’s landscape is dominated by its caldera – the collapsed remnants of a kilometre-high caldera which formed 430,000 years ago. Together with Flores and Graciosa, the island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – acknowledging the careful preservation of her volcanic landscape in tandem with sustainable human development.
In the 16th and 17th Centuries, Corvo and neighbour Flores were a vital navigation beacon for ships sailing the trade winds between mainland Portugal and her Brazilian colonies. The islands quickly lost their significance when the industrial revolution and steam-driven ships transformed Atlantic navigation. Nowadays, the island’s a popular destination for the birdwatching community each Autumn, when migrating American species seek refuge on the island.
Day 6: Apr 3 – Flores/São Miguel Island
In the morning, before leaving on our 3:45PM flight for São Miguel we will have the opportunity to photograph more sites on Flores.
After lunch we will head to the airport to catch our flight to Ponta Delgada which arrives at 5:00PM. Once settled in our hotel, our first stop of the day will be Vista do Rei viewpoint. One of the most popular spots of the island, overlocking the massive volcanic crater of Sete Cidades, with two multi-colored lakes of Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul. It’s an incredible site and the best way to get a sense of the surrounding area.
Further along the dirt road, we get to one of the highlights of the Azores, Boca do Inferno viewpoint. The crater lakes of Sete Cidades can be viewed from several different viewpoints, but it’s hard to beat this spot. Not to mention, it doesn’t require much effort to reach the overlook.
For sunset, we drive through Sete Cidades town down to Mosteiros beach to capture the last light of the day in a beautiful seascape photography location.
Comfort Inn, Ponta Delgada
At the heart of the largest island of the Azores, São Miguel, and only minutes from the Atlantic waterfront, lies the Comfort Inn Ponta Delgada. Clean, spacious and modern rooms look out onto picturesque streets that still evoke the Baroque grandeur of the island’s first settlers. Today, sixteenth-century churches can be found alongside plentiful cafés and shops.
Day 7: Apr 4 – São Miguel Island
Our second day starts at Lago do Fogo, one of the highest points of the island. It usually tends to be cloudy or foggy during the day and ultimately ruin any potential view to be had, so we try our best early in the morning.
We head down to Salto do Cabrito waterfall and also enjoy a dip at Caldeira Velha hot springs pools, surrounded by exotic green vegetation that looks unreal.
After lunch, we visit Gorreana. The oldest and currently only tea plantation in Europe. We will visit other locations in the island as time and weather permits.
Vila Franca do Campo is our last destination of the day. The view from the top of Nossa Senhora da Paz with the city and the islet in the background is a must have if you visit São Miguel Island. Classified as a nature reserve, Vila Franca islet is a paradise.
After sunset we head back to our Hotel for dinner,
Day 8: Apr 5 – São Miguel Island
Relax and enjoy the views. Our last day in São Miguel Island. We will explore the valley of Furnas. One of the main attractions of the Island and the home of the cozido das Furnas and bolo lêvedo. We make our way to Lagoa das Furnas, the biggest lagoon of the Azores.
Next, we head to Terra Nostra Park, considered one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, with the added bonus of having a thermal water pool. At a temperature of between 35 and 40 degrees celsius, provides a sensation of rest and relaxation available at very few locations in the world.
We head out of the valley to the Waterfall of Ribeira Quente. The rugged landscape and lush endemic vegetation makes for a really nice drive. The road is simply beautiful.
Day 9: Apr 6 – Departure Day
It is time to say goodbye to the Azores.
Arrival & Departure
There is a weather myth that perpetuates the idea of constant rain in the Azores. Although cloudy skies and rain are often forecast for the islands, including Flores, in reality, islanders enjoy days and sometimes weeks of warm and sunny weather in the summer. Weather conditions that shift quickly – you are indeed on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – are simply part of the experience and a way to experience the islanders’ “let it go” lifestyle. Pack for a temperate climate (the average high temperature is 19.9°C/67.8°F and the low is 14.9°C/58.8°F, with slight variations throughout the year) and don’t forget to include hiking shoes and a light jacket for the rain.
The official language in Azores is Portuguese. On most of the nine islands, the variety of Portuguese spoken is similar to an archaic form of European Portuguese due to when it was discovered.
The euro (€) is the currency of the Azores. Restaurants and shops usually can't take MasterCard or Visa cards, however ATMs are widely available.
PASSEIOS TURÍSTICOS (trips to Corvo from Flores) Mobile: +351 917 918 964 / +351 964 220 645
Inter-Island Ferry https://www.atlanticoline.pt/en/
Portuguese is the only official language in Portugal
The Euro € is the currency of Portugal
6 SPOTS OPEN
Tour Cost: $3,995
Maximum Group Size: 6
Photographer: Jeremy Woodhouse
Tour Price Includes
- Transportation in a comfortable vehicle
- 8 nights hotel accommodation in hotels and guesthouses. Rooms with private bathrooms.
- All Breakfasts
- Post-processing and editing sessions
- Welcome lunch and Farewell dinner
Tour Price Excludes
- Alcoholic beverages and other drinks
- Snacks, Lunch and Dinner not mentioned in the inclusions
- Local flight tickets to transfer between islands
- Flight tickets to Ponta Delgada from original departure point
- Visas (if needed)
- Medical expenses
- Gratuities for photo guides, local guides and/or drivers
Paying by check
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- Bring you own laptop computer and storage media
- Camera body(s)
- Lenses, 16-35mm, 24-70mm zoom and 70-200mm zoom or similar lenses are very good
- Light bag for easy hiking with camera bodies and accessories
- Cleaning kit for cameras and lenses
- Rain/dust covers for cameras and lenses
- Charger for batteries
- Spare batteries
- Spare Memory cards
- Memory card reader
- USB key to exchange images
Also good to have
- Good quality polarizing filter