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. This is where your hosts, Anja and Victor, have their base with its fine accommodation and beloved horses.

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.

On Faial Trail Ride, you will stay on the farm every night.  During July and August (some dates), there is also a little more adventurous ride where you explore Faial for a week and spend the nights in tents at official campsites close tho sea rock-pools or beach.

Price from:
EUR 1,095
Book trip

Accommodation

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 5 hours riding / day total of approximately 150 km (93 miles). 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: Porto da Boca da Ribeira -
Today you ride through a desolate landscape. You will probably meet a farmer on his way to his cows out on the green fields. In the "Cabouco" Woods, you're invited to a picnic lunch and then you continue with a gallop alongside the hydrangea hedges. Once at the old lighthouse "Farol da Riberinha", you are met by an impressive view of the "Pico" volcano. In the evening you reach their lonely located paddock where the horses will stay tonight. You drive back to the lodge, where the day ends with a nice dinner.

Day 3: Porto da Boca da Ribeira - Horta.
You continue your ride along the east coast. Large shrubs that look like broccoli line your path. You stop on the black lava beach "Praia Almoxarife" and have lunch. In the afternoon, you reach the stud Quinta Sao Lourenco near Horta which breeds Lusitanos. There is time to explore the city. You will visit the colorful harbor and stop at the popular "Peter Café Sport" bar which has the best Gin & Tonics on Faial. Typical Azores Food will be served tonight at the Lodge.

Day 4: Horta - Varadouro.
After breakfast, you are driven back to the horses and the ride continues through the green Flamengo Valley. The scent of thyme and mint surrounds you and a long straight road invites you on a lovely gallop. After a picnic on a beautiful meadow, you ride through the afternoon until you reach the "Bay of Varadouro". Orchards and black stonewalls line your path. If the sea is calm and warm, you can finish today's ride with a dip in the Atlantic. In the evening typical Azores Food will be served at the Lodge.

Day 5: Varadouro - Capelinhos - Varadouro
Today you ride to the impressive and bizarre volcanic desert landscape of Capelinhos, a location for the production of Science Fiction movies. You see the ancient ruins of houses that were buried in ash from the 1957 eruption. You pass a lighthouse and you have the opportunity to visit the acclaimed underground volcano museum (admission included). You ride over parts of the new volcano and take a break in a lonely volcanic cave". A long gallop around the green volcano "Cabeco Verde" will take you back to the paddock. In the evening, you will have a nice dinner at the lodge.

Day 6: Varadouro - Fajã - Varadouro
Today you will ride a shorter trail-part to relax for riders and horses to the black beach of Fajã. Through wild laurel forest you approach the vineyards of Norte Pequeno. The trail leads to the cliff coast of this small wine village. Alongside old eucalyptus trees you descent steep down to the charming Fajã. Vineyards, gardens and wild romantic places are located in this beautiful site. You are riding on the black beach and arrive at the picnic place. A nice canter in the afternoon leads back to our Jungle Camp. Still time enough to relax in the garden of the Lodge.

Day 7: Varadouro - Cedros
Transfer back to the horses to ride the last part of the trail ride. You cross the island from the dry southern side to the green north. At lunchtime, you will come to the village of "Ribeira Funda". You will eat a picnic lunch at the "Mirador" lookout point. You then continue closer to the final destination. After a stop at the old whaling look out, "Vigia dos Cedros", you arrive back at the Lodge. In the evening, enjoy a delicious farewell dinner.

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!

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 Faial (Horta) via Lisbon. Alternatively, with charter flights to Ponta Delgada and domestic flight to Horta.

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. On Faial Trail ride (camp option) min. 4 and max 9. Mini-Group Extra when less then 4 participants on camp option: +200 € / person

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 20 EUR.

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
Saddle bag available: Yes
Special diet: Inform when booking.

 

Feedback from our travellers

Dates and prices

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27/12/20197the Azores, Faial - New YearsrittEUR 1,495Book on request
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19/01/20207the Azores, Faial Trail RideEUR 1,395Book on request
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02/02/20207the Azores, Faial Trail RideEUR 1,395Book on request
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05/04/20207the Azores, Faial Trail RideEUR 1,495Book on request
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