One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of the Azores is to hike 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.
Azores 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.
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).
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.
- Faial da Terra – Salto do Prego Trail
- Sete Cidades Hike
- Lagoa do Fogo Hike
- Furnas Lake Hike
- Vigia de Sao Pedro Trail
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Sao Miguel Hiking
These are the details of hikes on Sao Miguel.
|Sete Cidades Trails||Type/ Difficulty||Length / Hours||Altitude range|
|PR3 SMI Vista do Rei – Sete Cidades||Linear/ Easy||7.7 km/ 2:00||550 m|
|PR4 SMI Mata do Canario – Sete Cidades||Linear/ Easy||11.8 km/ 3:00||600 m|
|PRC5 SMI Serra Devassa||Circular/ Medium||4.9 km/ 2:00||100 m|
|PRC20 SMI Rocha da Relva||Out and back/ Medium||5.5 km/ 3:00||160 m|
|PRC33 SMI Atalhos Vermelhos||Circular/ Medium||5.4 km/ 2:00||150 m|
|North Coast Trails||Type/ Difficulty||Length / Hours||Altitude range|
|PR1 SMI Vigia de Sao Pedro||Linear/ Easy||6.5 km/ 2:00||40 m|
|PR21 SMI Padrao das Alminhas – Salto da Farinha||Linear/ Medium||5.0 km/ 2:00||140 m|
|PRC26 SMI Cha Porto Formoso||Circular/ Medium||4.8 km/ 2:00||300 m|
|PR27 SMI Praia da Viola||Linear/ Easy||4.8 km/ 2:00||250 m|
|PRC28 SMI Cha Gorreana||Circular/ Easy||3.4 km/ 1:30||150 m|
|PRC34 SMI Fenais da Ajuda – Lomba de Sao Pedro||Circular/ Medium||5.5 km/ 2:30||150 m|
|PRC35 SMI Minhos da Ribeira Funda||Circular/ Medium||3.3 km/ 2:00||200 m|
|PRC36 SMI Pedra Queimada – Lajinha – Degredo||Circular/ Medium||6.6 km/ 2:30||250 m|
|PRC38 SMI Lombas D’El Rei||Circular/ Medium||4.4 km/ 2:00||200 m|
|East Coast Trails||Type/ Difficulty||Length / Hours||Altitude range|
|PRC7 SMI Pico da Vara||Out and back/ Hard||7.0 km/ 3:00||450 m|
|PRC9 SMI Faial da Terra – Salto do Prego||Circular/ Medium||4.5 km/ 2:00||200 m|
|PR11 SMI Ribeira do Faial da Terra||Linear/ Medium||6.0 km/ 2:00||400 m|
|PRC31 SMI Lomba da Fazenda||Circular/ Medium||6 km/ 2:30||150 m|
|Furnas Trails||Type/ Difficulty||Length / Hours||Altitude range|
|PRC6 SMI Lagoa das Furnas||Circular/ Easy||9.5 km/ 3:00||150 m|
|PR12 SMI Agriao||Linear/ Easy||5.0 km/ 2:00||250 m|
|PRC22 SMI Grena – Pico do Ferro||Circular/ Easy||6.2 km/ 3:00||300 m|
|Fogo Trails||Type/ Difficulty||Length / Hours||Altitude range|
|PRC2 SMI Lagoa doFogo||Out and back/ Medium||11 km/ 4:00||400 m|
|PRC29 SMI Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande – Salto do Cabrito||Circular/ Medium||8.5 km/ 2:30||350 m|
|PRC37 SMI Rota da Agua – Janela do Inferno||Circular/ Easy||7.6 km/ 2:30||200 m|
|PR39 SMI Quatro Fabricas da Luz||Linear/ Easy||2.1 km/ 1:30||150 m|
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.
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.
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.
See our Faial article for information about the Morro de Castelo Branco Trail (PRC5 FAI).
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.
For more details about this hike, see the Caldeira Trail (PRC4 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
These are the full details of the hiking trails on the island of Faial.
|Name||Type/ Difficulty||Length||Altitude range|
|PRC1 FAI Capelo – Capelinhos||Circular/ Medium||5.0 km/ 2:00||250 m|
|PRC2 FAI Rocha da Faja||Circular/ Easy||5.0 km/ 2:30||250 m|
|PR3 FAI Levada||Linear/ Easy||7.6 km/ 2:30||75 m|
|PRC4 FAI Caldeira||Circular/ Easy||6.8 km/ 2:30||150 m|
|PRC5 FAI Morro de Castelo Branco||Circular/ Easy||3.7 km/ 1:30||100 m|
|PR6 FAI Dez Vulcoes||Linear/ Medium||20.0 km/ 7:00||900 m|
|PR7 FAI Caminhos Velhos||Linear/ Hard||15.5 km/ 5:00||900 m|
|PRC8 FAI Entre Montes||Circular/ Easy||3.4 km/ 1:30||75 m|
|GR1 FAI Faial Costa a Costa||Linear/ Hard||35.5 km/ 12:00||900 m|
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.
|Name||Type/ Difficulty||Length||Altitude range|
|PRC1 TER Misterios Negros||Circular/ Hard||5.1 km/ 2:30||100 m|
|PR2 TER Baias da Agualva||Linear/ Easy||4.0 km/ 2:00||100 m|
|PRC3 TER Serrata||Circular/ Medium||7.0 km/ 2:30||500 m|
|PRC4 TER Monte Brasil||Circular/ Easy||7.4 km/ 2:30||150 m|
|PR5 TER Fortes de Sao Sebastiao||Linear/ Easy||5.7 km/ 2:30||150 m|
|PRC6 TER Rocha do Chambre||Circular/ Medium||9.0 km/ 2:30||200 m|
|PRC8 TER Relheiras de Sao Bras||Circular/ Easy||5 km/ 2:00||100 m|
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.
These are the full details of the hiking trails of Pico.
|Name||Type/ Difficulty||Length||Altitude range|
|Pico Mountain Trail||Linear/ Hard||6.3 km/ 5:00||1100 m|
|PR1 PIC Caminhos de Santa Luzia||Linear/ Medium||10.5 km/ 3:00||225 m|
|PR2 PIC Caminho dos Burros||Linear/ Medium||9.2 km/ 3:30||800 m|
|PR3 PIC Porto Calhau – Manhenha, Ponta da Ilha||Linear/ Hard||7 km/ 3:00||40 m|
|PR5 PIC Vinhas da Criacao Velha||Linear/ Easy||6.5 km/ 2:00||60 m|
|PR7 PIC Caminho das Voltas||Linear/ Easy||6.3 km/ 2:00||450 m|
|PRC8 PIC Ladeira dos Moinhos||Circular/ Easy||3.4 km/ 1:15||170 m|
|PRC9 PIC Prainha do Norte||Circular/ Easy||7.8 km/ 2:30||125 m|
|PR10 PIC Santana – Lajido||Linear/ Easy||8.7 km/ 2:30||200 m|
|PRC11 PIC Calheta do Nesquim||Circular/ Medium||8.6 km/ 2:30||250 m|
|PR13 PIC Lagoa do Capitão||Linear/ Medium||9.2 km/ 3:00||800 m|
|PR15 PIC Mistérios do Sul do Pico||Linear/ Easy||8.5 km/ 3:00||70 m|
|PR18 PIC Nove Canadas da Ribeirinha||Linear/ Easy||10.0 km/ 4:00||400 m|
|PR19 PIC Caminho das Lagoas||Linear/ Easy||22 km/ 7:00||600 m|
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