Portugal & Azores

Azores Family Holiday Short-Break

Perched in the middle of the Atlantic, the tiny islands of the Azores are a volcanic playground that is home to spectacular wind-swept landscapes and phenomenal marine wildlife. Children will be entranced by whale watching and swimming with dolphins, and you can add to this a range of wonderfully exciting excursions. Bubbling mud pools, cascading waterfalls, crystal clear lakes in sunken volcanic caldera are all on the menu here. A family holiday in the Azores will include serious adventure and a window on nature at its finest and most dramatic.

The itinerary below concentrates on the main island of Sao Miguel, but we can arrange an island-hopping itinerary if you prefer. Please ask us for details.

Highlights

  Whale-watching excursion
  Swimming with dolphins
  Coasteering or canyoning
  Kayaking in volcanic lakes
  Cook dinner in a natural heat vent
  Hiking in spectacular scenery

8 days from £1,350 pp

Plus international flights starting at £200

An 8-day family holiday in the Azores for four people usually costs from £5,500 plus flights, depending on type of accommodation.

View pricing guide

Azores family holiday short-break day-by-day itinerary

Day 1, Sao Miguel – Ponta Delgada
Upon your arrival at Ponta Delgada airport on Sao Miguel island, you will be met by a Stubborn Mule representative and transferred to your hotel.

The rest of the day is free to explore. Ponta Delgada is the capital of Sao Miguel, the largest of the nine Azores islands. First settled by fishermen 600 years ago, Ponta Delgado is now an attractive and cosmopolitan city. Narrow streets of white-washed houses with red terracotta roofs lead to quiet piazzas flanked by graceful churches. There is an imposing harbour full of sailing boats and sleek yachts, and many pleasant open-air cafes where you can soak up the view.

This evening we will recommend an excellent local restaurant where you can sample some of the wonderful variety of seafood. The local speciality is lapas (limpet clams) which can be eaten raw or grelhadas (our preference), cooked with butter, garlic and lemon. A perfect start for your Azores family holiday!


Day 2, Ponta Delgada – Whale-watching & swimming with dolphins
The waters off the nine islands of the Azores are teeming with wildlife. Large populations of krill and plankton, together with vast shoals of fish, provide rich pickings for a wealth of different marine animals. These include permanent populations of bottlenose and common dolphins as well as sperm whales. The islands also lie on the main migration route for many different types of whales, including the majestic blue whale and humpback whale. As a result this is one of the world’s prime whale-watching destinations.

You will start the day with a whale watching tour, accompanied by a marine biologist. Although of course, the chance of spotting whales will be centre stage, there are many other animals you will also hope to catch a glimpse of. Sea turtles glide gracefully just below the surface and shoals of flying fish suddenly dart across the bow of the boat. If you are lucky, huge pods of dolphins may cavort alongside the boat, leaping up into the air.

After a picnic lunch, you will spend the afternoon swimming with dolphins. Jumping into the deep blue Atlantic and swimming close to these remarkably intelligent creatures will be an extraordinary experience for both children and adults alike. Note that this activity is very carefully and responsibly run. You will receive a detailed briefing on how to behave in the water.

Return to Ponta Delgada for the night.


Day 3, Sete Cidades
The twin lakes of Sete Cidades, in a collapsed volcanic caldera, offer some of the most spectacular scenery on Sao Miguel. Fringed by thickly forested hills, the lakes (one blue and one green) are separated by a land bridge. Local legend has it that the lakes are the tears wept by a princess and a shepherd when their love was forbidden by the king.

Paths criss-cross the hills, past huge stands of purple and pink hydrangea, all with spectacular views across the caldera. You will start the day with an enjoyable bike ride around part of the crater rim. Later descend into the crater for a delicious picnic lunch on the lakeshore. In the afternoon you can relax by the lake, perhaps taking out a stand-up paddleboard onto the water or enjoying a swim.


Day 4, Canyoning or Coasteering
Many parts of the remote and craggy coastline of Sao Miguel are completely inaccessible by land. For adventurous families, coasteering offers an exciting opportunity to scramble and wade around the dramatic shore. You will climb over the rocks and dive from small cliffs into the salty seawater. The views are stupendous and the children will love the big dose of adrenalin!

Alternatively, you can spend the morning canyoning, a wonderfully exciting adventure where you jump, slide, and abseil along streams and waterfalls that flow from mountain to coast.


Day 5, Furnas
Volcanic activity is visible across the Azores but particularly so around Furnas. Here great bubbling vents of steam burst from the ground and hot mud pools emit great belches of smoke.

Over time the local farmers have learned to harness this natural phenomenon. Each morning they lower great cauldrons of meat and vegetables into holes below the ground. Over the course of the day, whilst the farmer is busy working the land, the food slowly bubbles and cooks into a huge vat of delicious ‘cozido’ or stew. This morning you will learn how to make your own cozido. First of all, join a local chef in the market, buying the ingredients and learning how to cook this local speciality. You will leave it bubbling away for the day whilst you go off and explore the area.

First up you will be able to take a wander along the lakeshore and enjoy a picnic lunch. Later you will hike up into the interior of the island to Sanguinho, a picturesque deserted village. The trail takes you up a steep valley, lined with lush dense vegetation and stunning views. Stop along the way at a pretty waterfall where you can take a refreshing dip before returning by a different route.

End the day in a local restaurant where you will sit down to steaming bowls of the delicious cozido stew that you prepared this morning.

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Day 6, Lagoa do Fogo
You may think that you have ticked off all of the main scenic highlights of Sao Miguel. However, the Lagoa do Fogo is yet another dramatically beautiful spot and a great addition to your Azores family holiday. Part of a nature reserve, this is one of the most untouched parts of the island. The brilliantly blue Fogo lake is surrounded by densely forested hills and stunning views towards the coastline. There is a wonderful hike that you can take from the crater rim down to the lake inside, although the route back up is quite steep.

Next, you will visit the natural hot springs at Caldeira Velha where you can take a dip in one of the hot natural pools in the middle of the forest. You will also stop at the beautiful Salto do Cabrito waterfall before returning to Ponta Delgada for the night.


Day 7, Sao Miguel
Today is a free day for you to explore Ponta Delgada or relax. It is useful to have one free day which can be used as a ‘back up’ for any activities that may have to be re-arranged due to the weather. If you would like us to include an activity, there are plenty of options. These include hiking and horse riding along a number of stunning trails either around the coast or into the interior.


Day 8, Sao Miguel
You will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight home.

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Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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