In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Europe’s perfume unlocks nine different fragrances. The green mantle takes the form of Japanese cedars, beeches, age-old vineyards. Volcanic cones stretch towards the sky. Caves unveil the secrets behind the origin of the islands. Lakes rest in sleeping volcanoes. These are the new colours on the natural canvas. We raise our eyes to see migratory birds in the only European stop they know. The trails meander through every island of the archipelago, unveiling the mysteries kept for the hikers. There are breathtaking cliffs and flat areas along the coastline (fajãs) that shelter soul refreshing waterfalls. This isn’t a dream. These are the trails of the Azores.
Whether you are a lover of calm walks or an adrenaline addicted, the Azores walking trails offer a variety of difficulty levels and enable the discovery of nine different worlds. Throughout every trail, there are visible and legible signs, easily guiding the hiker. Also, there are many leaflets and guides, including bilingual, containing important information on the Azorean walking trails. Make sure you don’t miss a thing.
The wide range of trails enables everyone to hike, regardless of the person’s age, physical condition and preferences. The existing offer pleases the beginner as much as the adventurer. Choose a trail according to your preferences in terms of landscape, fauna, flora, biodiversity or contact with the population, but always taking your physical condition into account.
You may hike all year long, even though the months outside the summer season may be more pleasant because of the mild temperatures. Due to weather and ground conditions, some trails might be temporarily unavailable. Before setting out, please check if there are any alerts or safety recommendations.
Your walking equipment should be adequate to the trail you will be hiking in. Do not forget to take water and food with you, especially fruit. Besides that, just let your spirit flow and let yourself go through the wonders of the Azores Archipelago.
There is circular transportation that facilitates roundtrips. For the trails in which this does not happen, it is best to plan your trip carefully, because there are public transports that pass through strategic points of several trails. Some tour operators provide transportation for some trails. If you have car, organise your return so that you leave it where your will arrive.
The Regional Directorate for Tourism of the Azores provides two adapted wheelchairs, so that people with reduced mobility and a physical disability may also be able to visit the trails. You just have to request this equipment from that entity and ask for information on the most adequate trails.
The trails are divided into three difficulty levels: easy, medium, hard. Some basic safety rules must be followed. When you choose a trail, you need to take some particular factors into account; you can only hike some of the trails with a specialised guide, while other trails are recommended only in specific periods of the year. Please mark down the main safety precautions that must be followed.
- Check the weather forecast for the day and time of your hiking trip.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you are planning to return.
- Choose your equipment in accordance with the season, for instance raingear, a hat, adequate foot wear and clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen.
- When packing your food, favour water and fruit.
- Always follow the flagged course.
- Remember that the amount of time indicated for each trail is based on a non-stop hike.
- Read the trail map and the instructions carefully.
- Choose a trail that is adequate to your physical condition.
- Remember that there is no mobile phone coverage in many trails.
- The trail’s informative boards provide information on the closest fire services.
- In case of emergency, call 112.
- Do not leave garbage in the trails.
- Do not collect plants or geological samples.
- Do not take fruit from the orchards.
- Close the gate of the pastures you have to go through.
- Do not disturb the cattle.
- Greet those who are working.
- Be friendly and cordial.