Gravel Explorer: Cycling the Azores

Bicycle the Azores with ExperiencePlus
  • Length 7 days
  • From USD$3495
  • Style/Level Gravel Explorer 4.0
  • Countries Portugal
  • Begin/End Povoaçao/Ponta Delgada

Portuguese navigators discovered the uninhabited islands of the subtropical Azores archipelago in the early 15th century. Positioned nearly 1,000 miles to the west of Portugal’s coast, the island chain’s proximity to Africa and Europe created a coveted point of resupply and rest throughout centuries of European colonialism, trade, whaling, and human trafficking. Today, the Azores appeals to nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike with nine island destinations that are revered for their breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, distinctive cuisine, and marine biodiversity. Join us on this new Gravel Explorer tour as we pedal the stunning coastline, quiet back roads, verdant hills and lush valleys and forests of São Miguel the Green Island. Each day offers a new adventure as you cycle to the magical thermal hotspot of Furnas, then across Pico de Vara massif and west through fishing villages on the north coast, and finally above and into the breathtaking Sete Cidades caldera and volcanic lakes.


  • Towering volcanoes, huge calderas and crater lakes, dramatic coastal cliffs, green pasturelands, lush and colorful forests, fishing villages, and unique cuisine


Keep in mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

This tour spends time on and off paved roads so support van and aid may not always be readily available. You will have the option to pedal with a guide or pedal on your own, but please be aware that if you are cycling on your own we recommend you are comfortable cycling in remote areas. Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Gravel Explorer tour at the Gravel Explorer Tour Style page at this link.

Date Price Private room fee Note
Oct 20-26, 2024 USD$3295 USD$500  2 more needed to confirm departure! 
DateOct 20-26, 2024
Private room feeUSD$500
Note 2 more needed to confirm departure! 

Download Itinerary

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  • Total distance 205km (127 miles)
  • Average daily distance 41km (25 miles)
  • Tour style Gravel Explorer
  • Tour level 4.0

Highlights: Quiet village of Povoaçao, rugged coastal cliffs, black sand beaches.

This afternoon we’ll meet in Povoaçao, the island’s first settlement, for your bike fitting and test ride. Enjoy a stroll through old town or to the black sand beach for great views of the bay surrounded by imposing cliffs.

Meals : Dinner
Lodging : Hotel do Mar

Highlights: Furnas caldera, cooking pits, cozido das furnas, volcanic lagoons.

Today we pedal up from the sea to the Furnas Caldera where a wonderland of geothermic activity awaits: bubbling pools of hot water; towering white columns of steam; popping mud pools; and, sparkling water springs. Ride around the lagoon and visit the famous cooking pits where locals cook the “Cozido das Furnas”: a gastronomic dish that is cooked inside holes on the hot volcanic ground for 5 to 6 hours. 12 percent unpaved.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Hotel do Mar

Highlights: Alameda dos Platanos, remote roads through pristine forest, colorful pasture lands overlooking the ocean

Leave Povoaçao on the famous Alameda dos Platanos country roads, lined with orange bark plantains and colorful hydrangeas. We’ll start climbing the basaltic slopes of the island’s highest mountain, Pico De Vara, on the Tronqueira road. This spectacular gravel road will take us through a dense forest of endemic laurel, ilex, heather trees and towering cypress to the town of Nordeste, aptly named for its position on the northeast corner of São Miguel Island. 70 percent unpaved. 

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : The Lince Nordeste Country and Nature Hotel

Highlights: Deep ravines and waterfalls, green pasture lands and tea plantations, ocean coast view points.

Today we cycle the rugged, northern shore of Sao Miguel Island along the base of imposing Pico de Vara, a 4-million-year-old volcano. Dense forest, deep ravines, waterfalls and pastures characterize this most Azorean of landscapes. Stop at a local tea plantation to enjoy an energizing cup of complimentary white tea on our way to Ribeira, where the black sand beach awaits. Minimal unpaved surface.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Hotel Verde Mar & Spa

Highlights: Coastal cliffs ride, thermal springs and cooking pits, fishing villages, the whaling industry

Cycle secondary roads along the cliff side and among pastures to the local thermal spot where the heat from the ground is used for slow cooking delicious meals. Continue through fishing villages where the Azorean culture is still alive. In Capelas you will see remains of the whaling industry, once a significant source of income for the island. 25 percent unpaved.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Hotel Vale Do Navio

Highlights: Sete Cidades caldera, crater lakes, Ponta Delgada

Today you’ll pedal along side roads through a lush landscape to gain the island’s westernmost caldera, a complex of multiple craters and cones nested one into the other. High atop, cycle the rim of the huge crater for majestic views over crater lakes and volcanos before descending to for more stunning views of two adjacent but differently-colored lakes. We’ll shuttle into Ponta Delgada, capital city of both the island of São Miguel and the Azores archipealgo, for our farewell dinner together. 25 percent unpaved.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Hotel do Colégio

Highlights: Ponta Delgada

Tour ends today after breakfast. Enjoy more time in Ponta Delgada, seek out more thermal hot springs, take a whale watching tour, or, if time allows, explore more of the archipelago.

Meals : Breakfast

Visit our Tour Level page to learn more about terrain levels and how we determine day and tour levels.

  • Mountain bike in the Azores

    Frame : 29″ light aluminum by Specialized, Focus or Cube with 100mm travel Suntor or Rockshox fork – or similar; hardtail; 27.5″ for size small frame
    Type : Mountain (Azores)

  • E-mountain bike in the Azores

    Surcharge: $250
    Frame : Aluminum by Specialized, Cube or similar
    Type : E-Mountain (Azores)

Pre-trip planning checklist

Portugal travel planning page

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