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Hiking in the Azores – A Guide to the Best Trails

by Valerie Vanr

Experience the natural beauty of the Azores on its many hiking trails. We provide you with information about all the trails on the four largest Azores islands. We also highlight the best trails on the islands of Sao Miguel and Faial.

Person on the Caldeira Trail Faial
Hiking in the Azores on the Caldeira Trail, Faial

Azores 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. They are maintained diligently by each island and well marked.

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 (kilometers),
  • Difficulty (easy, medium or hard), and
  • Duration (walking time).
Trailhead signs for Faial's Coast to Coast Trail
Azores Trailhead signs

5 Best Sao Miguel Hikes 

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

With so many hikes to choose from, here are our top 5 recommended hikes in Sao Miguel.

  1. Sanguinho Trail
  2. Sete Cidades Hike
  3. Lagoa do Fogo Hike
  4. Furnas Lake Hike
  5. Nascentes de Santo Antonio Trail
Azores Hiking - Sao Miguel Map
Click to access interactive map of all Sao Miguel trails and associated points of interest

Sanguinho Trail

The Sanguinho Trail (PRC09) is our number one pick of trails to be hiked in Sao Miguel.  The trail, which originates in the town of Ribeira do 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.  Afterward hike to a hilltop to explore the intriguing village of Sanguinho abandoned in early 1970’s.

The Sanguinho Trail is in lush forest. The pool at the base of the beautiful Salto do Prego 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 PR03 Vista do Rei or PR04 Mata do Canario) follow the rim of the caldera.  You’ll get amazing views of the blue and green lakes below before descending into the caldera and ending your 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

Another great caldera hike is located in the center of the island at Fogo Lake.  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 (PRC02).

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 Lagoa das Furnas passes two nature areas: Jose do Canto Garden and Parque Grena.  In these areas you can walk the nature paths to beautiful waterfalls.  At the north end of the Furnas Lake, visit Caldeiras da Logoa das Furnas, where they cook the region’s famous Furnas Stew.  For a longer day hike, you can incorporate these stops as part of the official 9.5 km Lagoa das Furnas (PRC06) hiking trail.

Woman on river stepping stones Furnas Lake trail
The hiking trail around Furnas Lake is a beautiful smooth and flat trail.

See our Furnas article for more details about Furnas Hiking.

Nascentes de Santo Antonio Trail

Along the north coast of Sao Miguel there are a number of hiking trails.  Our pick is the historic Nascentes de Santo Antonio Trail (PR17).

Starting in the village area of Fonte Grande, descend to the set of concrete sinks which were used in the past by villagers for their laundry.  Climb down further and walk along the coast to an old hydroelectric power plant.  Continue heading east to the old fishing port called Santo Antonio.  The trail follows the waterfront where you’ll come to a natural swimming pool.  If you want, enjoy a swim here before proceeding back up the hill towards Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Rosario.  Admire the quaint church and cemetery before ending your walk back in the town of Santo Antonio.

On the Sao Miguel’s Nascentes de Santo Antonio Trail, see the historic community laundry sinks and the natural swimming pool.

(Note: On our last visit to the island, the trail was under construction in the middle section.  We were able to hike both the western and eastern sections of the trail separately and were still able to enjoy the trail.)

Sao Miguel Hiking 

This chart gives you the details of hikes on Sao Miguel.

Sete Cidades TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PR03 SMI Vista do Rei – Sete CidadesLinear/ Easy7.7 km/ 2:00550 m
PR04 SMI Meta do Canario – Sete CidadesLinear/ Medium11.8 km/ 3:00600 m
PRC05 SMI Serra DevassaCircular/ Medium4.9 km/ 2:00100 m
PRC33 SMI Atalhos VermelhosCircular/ Medium5.4 km/ 2:00150 m
PRC43 SMI Pico das Camarinhas – Ponta Da FerrariaCircular/ Easy4.9 km/ 2:30200 m
PRC20 SMI Rocha da RelvaOut and back/ Medium5.5 km/ 3:00160 m
North Coast TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PR17 SMI Nascentes de Santo AntonioLinear/ Medium2.8 km/ 1:30120 m
PR01 SMI Vigia de Sao PedroLinear/ Easy6.5 km/ 2:0040 m
PR21 SMI  Padrao das Alminhas – Salto da FarinhaLinear/ Medium4.9 km/ 2:00140 m
PR27 SMI  Praia da ViolaLinear/ Easy4.8 km/ 2:00250 m
PRC28 SMI Cha GorreanaCircular/ Easy3.4 km/ 1:30375 m
PRC35 SMI Minhos da Ribeira FundaCircular/ Medium3.3 km/ 2:00200 m
PRC36 SMI  Pedra Queimada – Lajinha – DegredoCircular/ Medium6.6 km/ 2:30200 m
PRC38 SMI Lombas D’El ReiCircular/ Medium4.4 km/ 2:00200 m
East Coast TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PRC09 SMI SanguinhoCircular/ Medium4.5 km/ 2:00200 m
PRC07 SMI Pico da VaraCircular/ Hard12 km/ 6:00600 m
PR11 SMI Ribeira do Faial da TerraLinear/ Medium5.9 km/ 2:00400 m
PR18 SMI Vigia de BaleiaLinear/ Medium7 km/ 3:00500 m
PRC13 SMI Agua RetortaCircular/ Medium4.8 km/ 2:00300 m
PRC31 SMI Lomba da FazendaCircular/ Medium6 km/ 2:30150 m
PRC40 SMI Quatro Caminhos do Faial da TerraCircular/ Medium7.5 km/ 3:00500 m
Furnas TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PRC06 SMI Lagoa das FurnasCircular/ Easy9.5 km/ 3:00150 m
PR12 SMI AgriaoLinear/ Medium7.6 km/ 3:00250 m
Fogo TrailsType/ DifficultyLength / HoursAltitude range
PRC02 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/ 2:30150 m
PR39 SMI Quatro Fabricas da LuzLinear/ Easy2.1 km/ 1:30150 m
PR41 SMI Rota da Agua – Pedras BrancasLinear/ Medium5.2 km/ 2:00150 m
PR42 SMI Rota da Agua – Entre Tuneis e CondutasLinear/ Medium15 km/ 5:00250 m
Bold denotes highlighted hike

3 Best Faial Island Hikes

Faial Island has some great trails. It is the 5th largest island and formed less than a million years ago. The Horta marina is world-renowned.

We recommend three, 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
Azores Hiking - Faial Map
Click to access interactive map of all Faial trails and associated points of interest

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 Horta. The trail takes about 1.5 hours. It is the perfect place to finish your 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 (PRC08 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. You’ll have 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 (PRC05 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 (PRC04 FAI) section in our Faial article.

For information about things to see and do when visiting Faial Island, which includes longer hikes and full day hikes, check out our full Faial Island article.

Faial Island Hiking Trails

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

NameType/ DifficultyLengthAltitude range
PRC08 FAI Entre MontesCircular/ Easy3.4 km/ 1:3075 m
PRC05 FAI Rumo ao Morro de Castelo BrancoCircular/ Easy3.7 km/ 1:30100 m
PRC04 FAI CaldeiraCircular/ Easy6.8 km/ 2:30100 m
PRC01 FAI Cabeco do CantoCircular/ Medium2.6 km/ 2:00150 m
PR07 FAI Caminhos VelhosLinear/ Hard17.5 km/ 7:00900 m
PR06 FAI Dez VulcoesLinear/ Hard19.3 km/ 5:00900 m
PRC09 FAI RibeirinhaCircular/ Easy8.3 km/ 2:30400 m
PRC02 FAI Rocha da FajaCircular/ Easy5 km/ 2:30250 m
PR03 FAI LevadaLinear/ Easy7.6 km/ 2:3075 m
GR01 FAI Faial Costa a CostaLinear/ Hard36.8 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 PRC04 TER Monte Brasil.

Here are the full details of the hiking trails of Terceira.

NameType/ DifficultyLengthAltitude range
PRC01 TER Misterios NegrosCircular/ Hard4.9 km/ 2:30100 m
PR02 TER Baias da AgualvaLinear/ Easy3.8 km/ 2:00100 m
PRC03 TER SerrataCircular/ Medium6.8 km/ 2:30500 m
PRC04 TER Monte BrasilCircular/ Medium7.4 km/ 2:30150 m
PR05 TER Fortes de Sao SebastiaoLinear/ Easy5.7 km/ 2:30150 m
PRC06 TER Rocha do ChambreCircular/ Medium8.8 km/ 2:30200 m
PRC07 TER Passagem das BestasCircular/ Medium4 km/ 2:30100 m
PRC08 TER Relheiras de Sao BrasCircular/ Easy5 km/ 2:00100 m
Azores Hiking - Terceira Map
Click to access interactive map of all Terceira trails and associated points of interest

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 hiking experience in the Azores.

Some say that hiking Mount Pico is the ultimate hiking in the Azores.

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

NameType/ DifficultyLengthAltitude range
Pico Mountain TrailLinear/ Hard6.3 km/ 5:001100 m
PR01 PIC Caminhos de Santa LuziaLinear/ Medium10.5 km/ 3:00225 m
PR10 PIC Santana – LajidoLinear/ Easy8.7 km/ 2:30200 m
PR13 PIC Lagoa do CapitãoLinear/ Medium9.3 km/ 3:00750 m
PRC08 PIC Ladeira dos MoinhosCircular/ Easy3.4 km/ 1:15170 m
PR02 PIC Caminho dos Burros Linear/ Medium8.9 km/ 3:00750 m
PR03 PIC Ponta da IlhaLinear/ Hard6 km/ 3:0040 m
PR07 PIC Caminho das VoltasLinear/ Easy5.8 km/ 2:00450 m
PR18 PIC Nove Canadas da RibeirinhaLinear/ Easy8.7 km/ 4:00400 m
PRC09 PIC Prainha do NorteCircular/ Easy7.8 km/ 2:30125 m
PR15 PIC Mistérios do Sul do PicoLinear/ Easy8.5 km/ 3:0050 m
PR17 PIC Quintas e RibeirasLinear/ Medium12.5 km/ 4:00200 m
PRC11 PIC Calheta do NesquimCircular/ Medium8.6 km/ 2:30200 m
PR19 PIC Caminho das LagoasLinear/ Easy22 km/ 7:00600 m
Azores Hiking - Pico Map
Click to access interactive map of all Pico trails and associated points of interest

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