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Azores Hiking – A Guide to the Best Trails

by Valerie Vanr

Experience the stunning natural beauty of the Azores on their many hiking trails.

We provide information about all the Azores hiking trails on the four largest islands and highlight the best hiking trails on the islands of Sao Miguel and Faial to help you plan your next hiking trip.

Andy on the Caldeira Trail Faial
We are at the beginning of the Azores Hiking Trail known as the Caldeira Trail on the island of Faial.

Azores Island Hiking Trails

Each of the nine islands in the Azores archipelago has a number of “official” Walking Trails.  The routes follow many of the footpaths used by islanders for centuries in their daily lives before cars were brought to the islands. The trails are maintained diligently by each island and well marked.

We’ve highlight the details on the BEST hikes on Sao Miguel and Faial Island. We’ve also sumarized the trail details for the 4 largest islands in the Azores. Happy Hiking!

5 Best Sao Miguel Hikes 

Sao Miguel has some of the best Azores hiking and the most trail options. The island is the largest and oldest in the chain and the most accessible for visitors.

We recommend these top 5 hikes on Sao Miguel.

  1. Faial da Terra – Salto do Prego Trail
  2. Sete Cidades Hike
  3. Lagoa do Fogo Hike
  4. Furnas Lake Hike
  5. Vigia de Sao Pedro Trail

Be sure to check out our article, Things To Do in Sao Miguel Azores, for more places and great destinations to visit on the island of Sao Miguel.

Map Sao Miguel Azores showing hiking trailheads
Click on the map for an interactive version including full trail maps.

Faial da Terra – Salto do Prego

The Faial da Terra – Salto do Prego Trail (PRC9) is our #1 pick of trails to be hiked in Sao Miguel.  The circular trail, which begins in the town of Faial da Terra in eastern Sao Miguel, can easily be competed in an afternoon.  The highlight of this trip is seeing the beautiful Salto do Prego waterfall up close.  Take some time to admire the falls or even take a quick dip.  After, hike to a hilltop to explore the intriguing village of Sanguinho abandoned in early 1970’s.

Wooden bridge over a lush forest path and a person standing in a natural pool under a waterfall surrounded by greenery on the Salto do Prego Trail Sao Miguel Azores
The Salto do Prego Trail is in lush forest. The pool at the base of the beautiful waterfall is a great place to relax for a bit.

Sete Cidades Hike

The area around Sete Cidades is an amazing place for hiking.  Two trails (either the PR3 Vista do Rei or PR4 Mata do Canario) follow the rim of the caldera.  See amazing views of the blue and green lakes below before descending into the caldera and ending the hike in the town of Sete Cidades.

Trail on edge Sete Cidades crater water below
On the Mata do Canario trail, walk along the edge of the Sete Cidades crater.

See our Sete Cidades article for more details about Sete Cidades hiking.

Lagoa do Fogo Hike

Fogo Lake is another great caldera hike in the centre of the island.  Enjoy the relatively easy hike from the Lagoa do Fogo viewpoint parking lot down to the pumice beach at Fogo Lake.  For a more challenging hike, tackle the 11 km Lagoa do Fogo Trail (PRC2).

Hiker on path from Lagoa do Fogo
Hike to the beach at Lagoa do Fogo, Sao Miguel

For more details on how to hike this area, see our article on Lagoa do Fogo hiking.

Furnas Lake Hike

This circular hike around Furnas Lake passes two nature areas: Jose do Canto Garden and Grena Park.  Both parks have walking paths to beautiful waterfalls.  At the north end of the lake, visit Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas, where they cook the region’s famous Furnas Stew.  For a longer day hike, incorporate these stops as part of either the official 9.5 km Lagoa das Furnas (PRC6) hiking trail or the 6.2 km Grena – Pico do Ferro (PRC22) hiking trail.

Val on river stepping stones Furnas Lake trail
The hiking trail around Furnas Lake is a beautiful smooth and flat trail. I was glad that the trail had stepping stones over the stream.

See our Furnas article for more details about Furnas hiking.

Vigia de Sao Pedro Trail

Along the north coast of Sao Miguel there are a number of hiking trails.  Our pick is the stunning coastal walk Vigia de Sao Pedro Trail (PR1).

Start in the village of Sao Vicente Ferreira, parish of Capelas, at the natural swimming pool of Sao Vicente Ferreira. Walk past the smokestack of the Old Whaling Factory to the dirt path along the coastline. The path leads to a dirt road to the village of Fenais da Luz and the church of Our Lady of the Light (Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Luz). Walk north to the coast and follow paved streets hugging the coastline to another dirt path where cars are not allowed. Walk east to the 16th-century Sao Pedro Chapel on the cliff. The path continues east to the trail’s end at the parish church in Calhetas.

Stairs to rock-lined pool ocean opening
The Vigia de Sao Pedro Trail begins at the São Vicente Pool, a natural tidal pool. Its waters are refreshed with each ocean wave. The sun deck, change rooms and toilets are just above, beside the parking lot.

Sao Miguel Hiking Trails 

These are the details of hikes on Sao Miguel.

Sete Cidades TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PR3 SMI Vista do Rei – Sete CidadesLinear/ Easy7.7 km/ 2:00550 m
PR4 SMI Mata do Canario – Sete CidadesLinear/ Easy11.8 km/ 3:00600 m
PRC5 SMI Serra DevassaCircular/ Medium4.9 km/ 2:00100 m
PRC20 SMI Rocha da RelvaOut and back/ Medium5.5 km/ 3:00160 m
PRC33 SMI Atalhos VermelhosCircular/ Medium5.4 km/ 2:00150 m
North Coast TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PR1 SMI Vigia de Sao PedroLinear/ Easy6.5 km/ 2:0040 m
PR21 SMI  Padrao das Alminhas – Salto da FarinhaLinear/ Medium5.0 km/ 2:00140 m
PRC26 SMI Cha Porto FormosoCircular/ Medium4.8 km/ 2:00300 m
PR27 SMI  Praia da ViolaLinear/ Easy4.8 km/ 2:00250 m
PRC28 SMI Cha GorreanaCircular/ Easy3.4 km/ 1:30150 m
PRC34 SMI Fenais da Ajuda – Lomba de Sao PedroCircular/ Medium5.5 km/ 2:30150 m
PRC35 SMI Minhos da Ribeira FundaCircular/ Medium3.3 km/ 2:00200 m
PRC36 SMI  Pedra Queimada – Lajinha – DegredoCircular/ Medium6.6 km/ 2:30250 m
PRC38 SMI Lombas D’El ReiCircular/ Medium4.4 km/ 2:00200 m
East Coast TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PRC7 SMI Pico da VaraOut and back/ Hard7.0 km/ 3:00450 m
PRC9 SMI Faial da Terra – Salto do PregoCircular/ Medium4.5 km/ 2:00200 m
PR11 SMI Ribeira do Faial da TerraLinear/ Medium6.0 km/ 2:00400 m
PRC31 SMI Lomba da FazendaCircular/ Medium6 km/ 2:30150 m
Furnas TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PRC6 SMI Lagoa das FurnasCircular/ Easy9.5 km/ 3:00150 m
PR12 SMI AgriaoLinear/ Easy5.0 km/ 2:00250 m
PRC22 SMI Grena – Pico do FerroCircular/ Easy6.2 km/ 3:00300 m
Fogo TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PRC2 SMI Lagoa doFogoOut and back/ Medium11 km/ 4:00400 m
PRC29 SMI Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande – Salto do CabritoCircular/ Medium8.5 km/ 2:30350 m
PRC37 SMI Rota da Agua – Janela do InfernoCircular/ Easy7.6 km/ 2:30200 m
PR39 SMI Quatro Fabricas da LuzLinear/ Easy2.1 km/ 1:30150 m
bold denotes a highlighted hike

3 Best Faial Island Hikes

Faial Island has some great Azores hiking trails. It is the 5th largest island and formed less than a million years ago.

We recommend these 3, short, easy hikes which highlight some of the best places on Faial Island.

  1. Entre Montes Trail
  2. Morro de Castelo Branco Trail
  3. Caldeira Trail

For information about things to see and do when visiting Faial Island, includind details on longer hikes and full day hikes, check out our full Faial Island article

Map Faial Azores showing hiking trailheads
Click on the map for an interactive version including full trail maps.

Entre Montes Trail

Enjoy this short loop trail to all the highlights of Faial’s Monte da Guia Geosite, the peninsula at the south end of the city of Horta. The trail takes about 1.5 hours. It is the perfect place to finish a day of touring.

Monte da Guia from Monte Queimado Faial
Monte da Guia taken from top of Monte Queimado on the Entre Montes Trail, Faial

We provide more details about the Entre Montes (PRC8 FAI) hike in our Faial Island article.

Morro de Castelo Branco Trail

Western Faial is a great place to hike. The Morro de Castelo Branco Trail explores some of the Varadouro Protected Area. See stunning views of Morro de Castelo Branco, a volcanic peninsula with sheer cliffs extending into the water. It is both a Faial Nature Reserve and an Azore’s Geosite. The circular trail takes about 1.5 hours.

Morro de Castelo Branco Faial
Hiking the Morro de Castelo Branco Trail is a great way to see the protected area and incredible views of the west coast of Faial.

See our Faial article for information about the Morro de Castelo Branco Trail (PRC5 FAI).

Caldeira Trail

This circular trail along the Faial Caldeira rim offers stunning vistas at almost every step. The floor of the caldera has a cinder cone and two small lakes. Cabeço Gordo is the highest point of the trail. On clear days the Azore islands of Pico and Sao Jorge can be seen. This is a beautiful 2.5 hour walk.

View at edge into Caldeira Faial
See the interior of the Faial Caldeira from all sides on the Caldeira Trail.

For more details about this hike, see the Caldeira Trail (PRC4 FAI) section in our Faial article.

Faial Island Hiking Trails

These are the full details of the hiking trails on the island of Faial.

NameType/ DifficultyLengthAltitude range
PRC1 FAI Capelo – CapelinhosCircular/ Medium5.0 km/ 2:00250 m
PRC2 FAI Rocha da FajaCircular/ Easy5.0 km/ 2:30250 m
PR3 FAI LevadaLinear/ Easy7.6 km/ 2:3075 m
PRC4 FAI CaldeiraCircular/ Easy6.8 km/ 2:30150 m
PRC5 FAI Morro de Castelo BrancoCircular/ Easy3.7 km/ 1:30100 m
PR6 FAI Dez VulcoesLinear/ Medium20.0 km/ 7:00900 m
PR7 FAI Caminhos VelhosLinear/ Hard15.5 km/ 5:00900 m
PRC8 FAI Entre MontesCircular/ Easy3.4 km/ 1:3075 m
GR1 FAI Faial Costa a CostaLinear/ Hard35.5 km/ 12:00900 m
bold denotes highlighted hike

Terceira Hiking Trails

Terceira is the third largest island in the chain and is almost circular. Its main city, Angra do Herosimo, is the historical capital of the Azores and the first Portuguese UNESCO World Heritage city. The city’s port is protected by Monte Brasil, an ancient volcano. There are picnic spots, viewpoints and the hiking trail PRC4 TER Monte Brasil.

These are the full details of the Azores hiking trails of Terceira.

NameType/ DifficultyLengthAltitude range
PRC1 TER Misterios NegrosCircular/ Hard5.1 km/ 2:30100 m
PR2 TER Baias da AgualvaLinear/ Easy4.0 km/ 2:00100 m
PRC3 TER SerrataCircular/ Medium7.0 km/ 2:30500 m
PRC4 TER Monte BrasilCircular/ Easy7.4 km/ 2:30150 m
PR5 TER Fortes de Sao SebastiaoLinear/ Easy5.7 km/ 2:30150 m
PRC6 TER Rocha do ChambreCircular/ Medium9.0 km/ 2:30200 m
PRC8 TER Relheiras de Sao BrasCircular/ Easy5 km/ 2:00100 m
Map Terceira Azores showing hiking trailheads
Click on the map for an interactive version including full trail maps.

Pico Hiking Trails

Pico’s rich volcanic soils and warm microclimate led to the development of viticulture in the 15th century. Pico Island Vineyard Culture earned UNESCO World Heritage site designation.

Mount Pico, the highest point in Portugal rising 2,351 metres above the island, is a near-perfect cone-shaped dormant volcano. Hiking Mount Pico is considered by many to be the ultimate Azores hiking experience.

Wide view of Mount Pico Azores looming over a coastal town, with the peak partially covered by clouds, viewed from Faial Island Azores.
Some say that hiking Mount Pico is the ultimate Azores hiking experience.

These are the full details of the hiking trails of Pico.

NameType/ DifficultyLengthAltitude range
Pico Mountain TrailLinear/ Hard6.3 km/ 5:001100 m
PR1 PIC Caminhos de Santa LuziaLinear/ Medium10.5 km/ 3:00225 m
PR2 PIC Caminho dos Burros Linear/ Medium9.2 km/ 3:30800 m
PR3 PIC Porto Calhau – Manhenha, Ponta da IlhaLinear/ Hard7 km/ 3:0040 m
PR5 PIC Vinhas da Criacao VelhaLinear/ Easy6.5 km/ 2:0060 m
PR7 PIC Caminho das VoltasLinear/ Easy6.3 km/ 2:00450 m
PRC8 PIC Ladeira dos MoinhosCircular/ Easy3.4 km/ 1:15170 m
PRC9 PIC Prainha do NorteCircular/ Easy7.8 km/ 2:30125 m
PR10 PIC Santana – LajidoLinear/ Easy8.7 km/ 2:30200 m
PRC11 PIC Calheta do NesquimCircular/ Medium8.6 km/ 2:30250 m
PR13 PIC Lagoa do CapitãoLinear/ Medium9.2 km/ 3:00800 m
PR15 PIC Mistérios do Sul do PicoLinear/ Easy8.5 km/ 3:0070 m
PR18 PIC Nove Canadas da RibeirinhaLinear/ Easy10.0 km/ 4:00400 m
PR19 PIC Caminho das LagoasLinear/ Easy22 km/ 7:00600 m
Map Pico Azores showing hiking trailheads
Click on the map for an interactive version including full trail maps.

Trailhead Signage

Every trailhead has a signboard which provides the following information:

  • Description and map of the route and pictures of some highlights,
  • Operational status (trails may be closed due to trail damage/reconstruction),
  • Length (kilometres),
  • Difficulty (easy, medium or hard), and
  • Duration (walking time).
Val with Trailhead signs for Faial's Coast to Coast Trail
Trailhead signs for Faial’s Coast to Coast Trail


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