Bike Tour in Azores - Cycling Holidays in São Miguel
A road bike tour in the Azores archipelago, voted best island destination of the world by National Geographic and located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Europe and the USA. The 9 Azores Islands are the result of the outpouring of lava from the ocean floor, as it stands on the ridge between the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America. Its sub-tropical climate, evergreen fields with luxuriant pastures, flowers, endemic flora and fauna make it a great destination for cycling enthusiasts who want to embark in a challenging adventure in one of the most unique and quaint destinations in the world.
You'll be cycling by São Miguel island, the Azores’ biggest and most renowned island, you’ll ride in immensely scenic and great condition asphalt roads, passing by extinct volcanoes, lagoons, tropical forests, thermal and hot sulfur springs, climbing to viewpoints in Sete Cidades, Lagoa do Fogo and relaxing in the best hotels and thermal resorts in São Miguel.
Ride through the unspoilt natural beauty of this “garden” that sits in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Climb to the top of the volcanoes to be amazed by views of the Fogo and Sete Cidades lagoons. This island of eternal green vegetation, endemic flora and big ocean mammals, some of which can only be seen here in the Azores. These include various unique species of whales and plant life that attract many zoologists, marine biologists and botanists from all parts of the world.
Experience the tremendous variety of landscape, from the mild sunny beaches on the south coast, the green pastures of the central plateau, the rugged coastline of the north, the sub-tropical forests, the harsher volcano peaks of Fogo and Sete Cidades, the sulfur thermal hot springs, the tea plantations, to the alpine views inside the twin lagoons at Sete Cidades.
Go on a whale watch tour, be flabbergasted by the size and majesty of sperm and blue whales, walk the trails along the volcanoes, the lagoons and hot springs, surrounded by the deep blue color of the ocean and the almost fluorescent green of the pastures and forested areas.
Type of Terrain: Hilly, with some long climbs to the viewpoints of Lagoa das 7 cidades, Lagoa do Fogo or Salto fo Cavalo. There are few flat sections in São Miguel Island. Great, fast descents.
Landscape: A mix of ocean views with everchanging fauna and flora. Climbing the beautifully asphalted roads, you'll vary from a rural landscape to nearly tropical forest and even rugged sierra landscapes.
Pick up from the airport transfer to Hotel Marina Atlântico, a 4 star hotel overlooking the Ponta Delgada bay with great views of the ocean, or Azor Hotel, the only 5 star hotel in the capital of the Azores. Set up of the bikes, and private briefing for the tour. Free afternoon to relax at the hotel and visit Ponta Delgada. Dinner suggested in downtown Ponta Delgada.
Breakfast at the hotel. Start of our ride towards the dominating mountain at the centre of the island. We start by crossing to the North shore passing the green pastures speckled with the ever-present cows on our way to Ribeira Grande. Stop at Santa Barbara beach to enjoy a coffee and the views of the ocean. Restart our ride and climb to Lagoa do Fogo, noticing the scenery change countless of times until we get to the top and are able to overlook the incredible crater lake of the volcano. Ride back downhill to Lagoa and take advantage of the flat sections along the coast till Ponta Delgada. Dinner in Ponta Delgada.
Ride option 2: Ponta Delgada – Capelas – Rabo de Peixe – Ribeira Grande – Ponta Delgada (50km - 750m) This ride will take us through the center of the Island to the north coast, climbing to Capelas and then riding along the coast to Ribeira Grande. From Ribeira Grande we’ll turn south as we start tackling our second climb of the day, reaching the coast ad rolling to Ponta Delgada.
Breakfast at the hotel. Start of the ride, towards the magnificent Lagoa das 7 cidades, a huge twin lake situated in the crater of the dormant volcano. We’ll ride 8 km along the coast to approach the climb to the volcano, it’s a solid 10km climb to Vista do Rei, a spectacular viewpoint over the twin lakes. From there we’ll descend to the crater, crossing the lakes and stopping for a coffee before climbing again to the top of the crater but on the western side. Our ride continues along southern coast until we reach Ponta Delgada again.
Ride option 2: Ponta Delgada – Vista do Rei – Ponta Delgada (42 km - 906m) Breakfast at the hotel. Start of the ride, towards the magnificent Lagoa das 7 cidades, a huge twin lake situated in the crater of the dormant volcano. We’ll ride 8 km along the coast to approach the climb to the volcano, it’s a solid 10km climb to Vista do Rei, a spectacular viewpoint over the twin lakes. Return to Ponta Delgada rolling downhill from the viewpoint.
Breakfast at the hotel. Start of our ride, towards the crater of Furnas. We ride along the south coast of the island; passing Vila Franco do Campo, and stopping to taste its cheesecake, as we gently climb to the Furnas area. Once in Furnas we’ll enter the cobblestones road along the beautiful lake and admire the incredible scenery of this area. Once past the lake area we head to our hotel base for the next few days. Here we’ll be able to relax in the hot springs and amazing gardens of the region before feasting on the typical Furnas stew at our hotel.
Ride option 2: Ponta Delgada – Ribeira Grande – Monte Escuro – Furnas (52km - 1200m) This route will take us instead along the northern coast of the Island through Ribeira Grande and going through the Gorreana tea plantations just before the climb to Furnas.
Breakfast at the hotel. Start of the loop ride along the eastern and northern part of this green island. This will be our longest ride. We’ll use the scenic coastal road that contours the island, along the windier and hilly but also beautiful Nordeste coast. We’ll go through Povoação, Água Retorta and stop for a coffee at Nordeste, on the northeastern tip of the island, noticing the difference in the landscape, where the coast gets a bit more rugged and with the cliffs opening up to the sea. As we turn south back to Furnas we face our last climb of the day.
Ride option 2: Furnas – Salto Cavalo – Fenais Ajuda – Furnas (45km – 1100m)
Breakfast at the hotel. This is another amazingly beautiful ride, this time to Salto do Cavalo, one of the iconic viewpoints of the island, overlooking the Furnas crater, the lake and has a magnificent view of the northeastern part of the island. We start our ride by warming up our legs in the Furnas village to prepare the climb to Salto do Cavalo, it’s a 9km climb with some tough ramps along the way. It’s really worthwhile and we’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view! After feasting with the views we’ll ride downhill to the northern part of the Island and gently turn south back to our hotel in Furnas.
Optional rest day/ hiking day: Take a day off from the bike and explore Lagoa das Furnas on foot in one of the many hiking trails you’ll find by the lagoon. Take time to enjoy the natural thermal SPA provided by the sulfuric springs as well as the beautiful gardens of your hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel, before out last ride. Reverse route of Option 2 from day 4, taking us to the North Coast of the island, the tea plantations and back through the central plateau to Ponta Delgada.
Ride option 2: Furnas – Ponta Garça – Ponta Delgada (44km – 950m) Breakfast at the hotel, before out last ride. Leaving Furnas we climb towards the South Coast where the road will lead us to Ponta Garça, a small town right be the ocean. We continue to ride west along the coast going through Vila Franca do Campo, where we can stop to enjoy once more the cheesecakes and a coffee. Having the same western bearing we face our last climb along Ribeira Chã, rolling downhill to Lagoa and finally to Ponta Delgada.
Extend your stay in Ponta Delgada for an extra day before or after this trip.