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Portugal, Azores - Faial

A volcanic eruption created nine islands in the middle of the Atlantic. - the green peaks of gigantic underwater mountain. 

The highest volcano is more than 2000 meters (6,500 ft) tall. The younger earth consists of black lava and the older earth supports a green wilderness. This is a geologically unique place in Europe. The sea is filled with lots of different species, including the world’s largest mammal that often swims just 1600 feet away. In ancient times, the locals were whalers and you can still see remnants of the old whaling harbors, canoes, factories and there are lots of legends around this large mammal.

One of the largest islands in the Azores is Faial, which has about 15,000 inhabitants. Faial offers every shade of green you can find in nature's palette, with tropical wilderness and desert-like landscape. 

On Faial Trail Ride, you will stay on the farm every night. You will ride on small paths, over green meadows and through tropical forests – an extraordinary nature experience. Great emphasis is also placed on the food, so your taste buds will also be satisfied.

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Travel Information

Ability description: Trail ride, level 2-3 >>

Included in the price: Transfer, 7 nights, riding according to program, all meals, at lunch mostly picnic or Saddlebag -Picnic incl. selected drinks. At dinner typical Azorean cuisine incl. table wine and water.

Not included: Flights, drinks and extras not mentioned. Entry to the museum and guided tour of the volcano. Insurance.

Travel: Fly to Horta on Faial (HOR). 

Transfer: Book in advance with HorseXplore
You will be met at the airport, transfer included in the price.

Season: Low season: November-March. High Season: April - October.

Optional arrival/departure: You can choose another arrival and departure day on Faial Trail Ride between April and October, just mail us on info@horsexplore.com

Group size: Min. 1 and max 9. 

The horses: Mainly Lusitanos and Lusitano crosses.

Single room: Can be booked with a supplement. For price click on ”Book on request” under Dates & prices.

Currency: Euro
Credit card: Yes accepted at riding center, VISA and Master Card.
Tipping: Not required but appreciated, about  / week: €30 trail guide and €20 lodge team

Wifi: Yes

Age limit: Weekly trails 16 years old.
Child discount: Under 12 years old half price on meals, under 3 years old free lodging.

Closest village: The riding center is in the village Cedros, to bigger village 20 minutes by car.
Beach: Normally you bath in rock pools by the sea.
Pool: No

Misc.:
Riding equipment to borrow: No.  Australian raincoat rental fee €5 per person /day
Saddle bag available: Yes
Special diet: Inform when booking.

 

Accommodation

You will stay in the new opened Lodge with double- and single-rooms (extra) with private bathroom, lounge and beautiful garden. The house is a real oasis of calm, design and comfort, surrounded by gardens and meadows with horses. The house is built out of black volcanic stones and Japanese cedar wood in a local and traditional style. From all rooms and terrace you have a great view to the Atlantic Ocean and to three neighborhood islands. In the evening you will have dinner in the lounge made by our Azores Chef in front of the open fire place or on the outside terrace.

On the Camp option (some dates in July and August) you will sleep in double tent at official campsites close tho sea rock-pools or beach, airbed with cushion (own sleeping bag necessary), sanitary facilities sometimes only with cold water.

Singles: It is possible to book a single room (price for single supplement available under Dates & Prices). If there is no one to share a room with, a single supplement will be added.

Safe deposit box: No
A/C: No
Hair Dryer: Yes to borrow
Towels and sheets: Yes
Fridge: Yes

Faial - New Year

Faial - New Year

New Year on Faial 27 December 2019 - 03 January 2020

Experience the Azorean winter high. Enjoy the incredible nature in the sub-tropical winter. Relaxed horse-trails on a dreamlike island. Unwind in the cozy horseman's lodge in front of the open fireplace. Experience the firework in the Bay of Horta. The whole variety of the Azores Island Faial you will discover on this special end of the year Horse-Trail.

During our Happy New Year - Trail 2019/20 …in the middle of the Atlantic we discover this unique island. Thousands of miles away from home we celebrate Happy New Year in the Atlantic. The preliminary itinerary is the following:

7 nights, 5 days ridning,  4-5 hours riding/day. 

1st Day: Traveler defined day of arrival
2nd Day: Trail to the old lighthouse Farol da Ribeirinha
3rd Day: Trail to the mystic area of Capelo
4th Day: Trail to the sleeping volcano of Capelinhos
5th Day: Sailors-Town Horta and Happy New Year (no riding)
6th Day: Trail to the Fajã Bay
7th Day: Trail to the old whale watching point Vigia dos Cedros
8th Day: Departure Day

Program Faial Trail Ride

During this week you will be exploring this unique island. On the ride, you will leave the horses each night and return each evening to your base where you eat dinner and breakfast. About 3-6 hours riding / day total of approximately 120 km. Minimum one rider, a maximum of 10 riders.

Preliminary day-by-day program

Day 1. Transfer from Horta airport to your accommodation. Dinner at the riding center near the village of Cedros.

Day 2: History of Whales - Trail 
< 20km, +800m, -700m, 4-5 h riding time > 
Today you will learn a lot about whales and their history on the island of Faial during the briefing. Then you will get to know your horse and your equipment. We start on gently rising meadow paths. After a short time, we begin the first trot and canter. We reach a whale watching point. With a little luck and when the sea is calm, we can see whales and dolphins. We come back to the lodge along the steep coast. A delicious lunch is waiting here. In the afternoon we reach two small whaling harbours. If the weather is good, you can swim. The horse resting place for the night is in a small hamlet. We drive back to the lodge. The first day of the trail ends with a drink at the bar.

Day 3: Lighthouse-Trail 
(20km, +550m, -450m, 4 h riding time)
Today you will learn about the impact of the 1998s earthquake on Faial. Drive to the horses in the morning. We continue riding along the coast through blue hydrangea hedges, to the island's former lighthouse, which was destroyed in the earthquake. The nearby village still has a crumbling church that testifies the power of the earthquake. At noon we will appreciate our saddlebag-picnic right at the seaside. Time to go for a swim or to wet your feet. After this nice break we will continue our ride. Wonderful views to the sea and the neighborhood islands São Jorge, Pico and Graciosa. After a while we reach our paddock for the night. The transfer team is bringing you back to the Ecolodge. Enjoy and relax at the pool. Dinner is waiting for you.

Day 4: Caldeira of Faial - Trail
(30km, +1.100m, -1.100m, 6-7h riding time)
Today we start to one of the top highlights of the Azores, the Faial crater - Caldeira. It is located at an altitude of 1 000m at the center of the island. A real challenge for rider and horse. Sometimes we meet farmers on their way to cows. The heather tree along our route looks like giant broccoli. The Atlantic Ocean glitters in the sun. We ride slowly our way up to the crater rim of Faial via switchback tracks. Here the Caldeira lies majestically in front of us. It is 400m deep and 2 500m wide. If you want to extend your trail holidays, you can descend into the depths of the crater with our nature park guide or hike around the rim on a 3h trail. After the saddlebag picnic, you will ride through the lonely and wild landscape of Faial’s high mountains. Our trail lead us through country roads down to a small volcano, whose inner crater we can reach on foot through a small tunnel. A very special atmosphere awaits us. Crossing junglelike paths, we arrive at the Jungle Camp in the late afternoon. The transfer to the lodge is already waiting here. An exhilarating trail day lies behind us. Horses and riders have certainly earned a break. Dinner at the Ecolodge.

Day 5: Cabeco Verde -Trail & Whale Watching
(15km, +500m, -550m, 3 h riding time) From April - October, after the breakfast,  we drive to Horta town to meet a team of marine biologists. Together with them we go out to the ocean in a powerfully motorized zodiac. More than 30 different whales and dolphins can be encountered in the ocean surrounding Faial. It's a wonderful experience to be so close to the largest mammals in the world. If the sea condition doesn’t allow and out of whale watching season (November - March), we will drive you to Horta town and you will find enough time to discover this colorful and cosmopolitan harbor town by yourself. Walk along the sailing harbor, find secluded spots in the town and visit the old whalers factory. At lunch time we will pick you up and we will have a small lunch in a typical Faial Island “Tasca”. Later we will arrive in the Jungle Camp. After preparing our horses, we ride up to the Green Hill called “Cabeço Verde”. From the top of this volcano we can admire spectacular views over an amazing landscape and the volcano of Capelinhos. The way down will allow us to see the vineyards, unique to Faial Island. A wine growing area which, thanks to the ashes of the last eruption and the special way of growing the grapes, is creating a wonderful homemade wine. Tonight you will experience once more the culinary world of the Azores in the Ecolodge.

Day 6: Volcano of Capelinhos-Trail 
20km, +670m, -670m, 4-5 h riding time
Today the trail leads us through a mystical jungle landscape. We enjoy fantastic gallops close to the coastline. Extensive vineyards, but also small adegas line our way. Via narrow tracks close to the shore we reach another top highlight of the Azores, the volcano of Capelinhos, which erupted in 1957. Desert-like solitude awaits us. An old whaling village covered with the ashes of the volcano. Hidden under the buried lighthouse is the modern interpretation center that reports on the volcanism of the Azores and the eruption of the volcano. We combine a saddlebag picnic with a visit to this attraction. Riding over parts of the volcano, we reach the Jungle Camp in the late afternoon. The transfer back to the lodge is already waiting here.

Day 7: Faya Bay & Deep Canyon-Trail 
25km, +550m, -700m, 4-5 h riding time 
Today is the last day of the trail. We cross the island from the dry south to the green north. Magnificent views over terraced pastures down to the blue ocean. Extended gallops lead to the highest village on the island, Ribeira Funda. A typical Azorean picnic is waiting for us directly above the 300m deep canyon. We let the sun warm us, listen to the wind and the wild cries of the buzzards circling over the deep gorge. In the afternoon the route takes us along yam fields through a small, wild and romantic valley after 6 days of riding back to the Lodge. A big farewell dinner in the lodge closes the fascinating trail week.

Day 8: Breakfast and departure to the airport.

All trail itineraries are general guidelines and in order to offer the guests the best-riding holiday experience they may do changes

Climate

November-December, April and May, these months are really best for trail riding. Nice mild temperature (13-20°C). Sun and little showers alternate. The morning might be cloudy and the afternoon is full of sun. On one side of the island the weather is rainy; on the other side the glorious blue sky creates a pure pleasure day. The horses love that kind of weather and they like to show their full power. 
The summer arrives in May and last until October. The maximum temperature can be 29ºC. There is very seldom rain and wind. The days are long and at night you listen to the chirp of the cricket and can watch the starlit sky. Best time to travel to the Azores!

Feedback from our travellers

Dates and prices

DateDaysName of tripPrice from
28/12/20238Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 1,953Book on request
16/01/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 1,900Book on request
20/02/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 1,900Book on request
19/03/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 1,900Book on request
09/04/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
16/04/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
23/04/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
30/04/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
07/05/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
14/05/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
21/05/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
28/05/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
04/06/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
11/06/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
18/06/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
25/06/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
02/07/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
09/07/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
16/07/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
23/07/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
30/07/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
06/08/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
13/08/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
20/08/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
27/08/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
03/09/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
10/09/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
17/09/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
24/09/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,200Book on request
01/10/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
08/10/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
15/10/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
22/10/20248Portugal, the Azores - Faial Trail RideEUR 2,000Book on request
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