Azores - Faial Island Trails riding holiday in Azores - Far and Ride
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Azores - Faial Island Trails, Azores





Reviews



Horses and tack were perfect. Guides perfect and friendly. (Favourite memory?) The superb scenery.

Malcolm T.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Lusitanos and Lusitano Crosses.

Nature of horses:

Calm, well-balanced and fit.

Height of horses:

15.2hh maximum.

Weight limit:

95kg

Tack type:

Prestige trekking saddles (with saddlebags). Some of the horses are ridden in bitless bridles and all are accustomed to a loose rein. Saddlebags and Australian raincoats are available.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

This welcoming quinta, based on the island of Faial in the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean, offers a choice of trails. Guests are accommodated in a comfortable lodge or guesthouse whilst on the trail, sampling local Azorean cuisine and riding a beautiful Lusitano or crossbreed around the island. Faial is famed for the beautiful hydrangeas which bloom across the land and it offers magnificent scenery from the blue ocean to the bright green meadows and black basalt beaches. The Azores are also one of the best places for whale/dolphin watching as the large marine mammals migrate past the islands - if you are lucky you may see them from the clifftops whilst riding - or you can book a whale watching boat trip for closer sightings.

During the trail rides, the horses are stationed at paddocks or stables along the riding route each evening, whilst riders return to the guesthouse. The horses are calm, well-mannered, fit for the trails and able to cope with the hilly and varied terrain. They live out together all year long in the meadows or in a large open barn. The trails are primarily suited towards intermediate riders and above but they also offer a beginners programme for new riders who would like to learn.

There are week long trails which circumnavigate the island and these are on offer all year round with no set arrival day. Centre based stays with daily rides in different directions are available for less experienced riders and these are also very flexible with no set arrival day.

Twice a year there is a fabulous trail to the neighbouring island of Pico, with the horses travelling to the island by cargo ship. For those with more time, it is possible to link the Pico Island trail with the Faial Island trail, or to spend extra time in Faial before/after the Pico trail.

Faial is a wonderful island to explore and can offer a host of other activities such as diving, hiking, golf, sailing, swimming, water sports and even whale watching! This makes it a great choice for couples or families who may have different interests. You can also do a bit of 'island hopping' and visit Pico and Sao Jorge nearby. The climate is warm and mild (though humid) with temperatures suitable for riding all year long.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation is in a new lodge which has been designed using local materials in a traditional style. There are five rooms with wonderful views of the Atlantic and the three neighbouring islands as well as a lovely garden to relax in. This is a great place to admire the marvellous views.

The quinta serves delicious organic meals with most of the ingredients being produced on the island. Everything is fresh, natural and healthy, such as juice from Faial's fruit, milk from the local farmer, warm bread from the village bakery and homemade marmalades and yoghurt.Lunch is often a picnic carried in saddlebags, consisting of typical Azorean snacks.

Dinners are cooked by the quinta's chef and are accompanied by local wines. Ingredients include high quality fish and meat alongside fresh vegetables and salad grown in their own garden. Dessert is usually fruit or a sweet made by according to a traditional recipe. Portuguese coffee is served afterwards.

 

Activities

Diving, hiking, whale watching, sailing, cycling, golf, walking, mountain climbing, fishing. There is plenty for non riders and it is possible for bikers to join the horse riders for a picnic lunch.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, German and Portuguese.

Health requirements: General good health recommended.

Age limit: Riders must be 16 or older (please request if you child is younger).

Tuition: No

Included: All transfers, accommodation (shared rooms), all meals, house wine and soft drinks with picnic lunch, horse riding as per itinerary and some visits according to programme.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, drinks (other than with picnics), souvenirs, tips and extras not mentioned.

 

Travel Information

Faial is located in the central group of the Azores archipelago. You can arrive only by plane. There are direct flights with SATA-Air Azores between Lisbon and Faial (Horta Airport). Transfers are included at the start and end of the riding programmes.

FlyTap (Air Portugal) also offer code-share flights to Horta so you can add your UK-Lisbon flight with no layover.

It is also possible to get to Pico Island with SATA from Lisbon and then take a ferryboard to Faial (30 minutes)

Airport: Horta

 

Programmes


Volcano and Whale Trail



This is a seven night programme, including five days horse riding on the beautiful island of Faial. This is an opportunity to see the sea from the back of a horse which is full of  dolphins and whales and they pass no more than 500 metres from the island. You will visit Whale Observing Points and hear many stories about this huge mammal.

Itinerary which may be flexible due to local conditions

Day 1: Arrival

Your flight will probably arrive on the previous evening to Lisbon in order that you can catch an early morning flight to the island. You will arrive on one of the most attractive Azorean islands, Faial. You will be transferred to your accommodation by land rover and taken to the lodge for a snack.  You will meet your horses and in the evening enjoy a welcome dinner.

Days 1-3: Whale-Watching-Point 'Vigia dos Cedros'

The daily trails will guide you around this wonderful island, following old paths and rural ways through the spectacular green nature. 

Today perhaps you may discover the village of Cedros on horseback. Riding through small canyons and over lonely green meadows, only a cow, a goat or sometimes a farmer will welcome you along your way. Enjoy stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and a canter along forest roads before stopping for lunch in the highest village of Faial,  Ribeira Funda.  In the afternoon, you will ride to the old Whale-Watching-Point, Vigia dos Cedros, before returning to the Quinta.

Or A steep path will lead you in the direction of the island volcano where you will enjoy amazing views over the Atlantic Ocean. With a little luck you may even be able to see whales passing by or dolphin schools playing in the surf. You will reach the charming forest park Cabouço where you will enjoy a typical Azorean picnic. On the descent back to the coastline, there is the opportunity for a nice canter over an old donkey path. In the afternoon you will arrive at the old Whalers Harbor, Porto da Eira, before returning to the Quinta.

Or perhaps you will follow a winding route along the coast line, which leads you to the old lighthouse Farol da Riberinha. From your cliff top perch you will experience some wonderful views across to the volcanic island of Pico. Perhaps you will spot the whales again today, passingly quietly through the sea below you. After lunch you may even be able to explore the palm beach of Praia Almoxarife before returning to the Quinta for dinner and overnight.

Day 5: Free day

A day without any riding. We would highly recommend joining a whale watching tour to see these fascinating mammals in their element. Or why not join the guided descent into the 400 metre deep Caldeira of the 1000 metre high island volcano. An optional hike along the the old water channels or Levadas or through the whaling city of Horta may appeal to you more. Or you can just relax in the beautiful tropical gardens of the lodge. Tonight you will be able to enjoy a typical Azorean meal at the lodge. Lunch today not included.

 Day 6 & 7: Volcano of Capelinhos

A return to trail riding today will see you explore even more quiet corners of this beautiful island. Perhaps today the trail will lead you to the impressive and bizarre volcanic landscape of Capelinhos. There are ruins of old houses, buried with ash from the 1957 volcanic eruption, a lighthouse and the highly awarded underground Volcano Museum (entrance fee not included). 

Or today you will cross the island from South to North, exploring more tropical bays, vineyards, viewpoints and valleys. You will return to the lodge on your final night for a delicious and splendid farewell dinner.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight.

*Optional excursions at an additional cost

NB: The island is located in the Mid-Atlantic and from time to time there may be special meteorological conditions such as high winds or heavy rainfall. In such circumstances, the content of the trail may be altered in order to ensure the safety of both horse and rider.



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 9
Ability description: Intermediate and above, capable of riding at all paces over a variety of different terrain.
Type of ride: Based stay with trails.
Total riding time: 5 days riding as per itinerary.
Departure dates: All year round. Daily arrival possible.
 
Pricing: 2017/18:

£1133 November, December, January, February, March
Single supplement £228 / £200 in 2018

£1164 April, May, September, October
Single Supplement £258 / £215 in 2018

£1195 June, July, August
Single Supplement £320 / £277 in 2018

Price includes all transfers, experienced English, German and Portuguese speaking guides, 5 days horse riding, 7 nights shared room accommodation (double or twin), all meals and drinks with meals.





Faial Island Trail



A 7 night based trail ride on the stunning volcanic island of Faial. Exploring the beautiful island, which boasts tropical wilderness and desert-like landscapes, your horses will stay in different trail stations at the end of each day as you return to the delightful guesthouse for the evening. This is an unforgettable island where you will enjoy red and white wine grown on the volcanic landscapes of the island, people and animals full of character, black volcanoes, green meadows and pastures, and cool forests.

Itinerary:

Day 1:  Arrival

You will arrive on one of the most attractive Azorean islands, on the early flight from Lisbon. You will be transferred by land rover to your accommodation. You will enjoy lunch or light snack. You can meet the horses and have a brief introduction before enjoying a typical Azorean dinner at the Quinta.

Day 2: Trail to the old lighthouse

Today you will have your first experience of this beautiful landscape surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. You will arrive at the forest park Cabouco where a typical Azorean picnic is waiting for you. You will canter through meadows surrounded by hedges full of hydrangea flowers and arrive at the old Lighthouse Farol da Riberinha.  From here the view of the Pico volcano is stunning. The horses will spend the night in a quiet paddock and you will be driven back to the lodge where  the day ends with a nice dinner.

Day 3: Trail to Horta the Sailors Town of the Azores

This morning you will continue the trail along the East coast. The Erica bushes along the way look like gigantic broccoli. You will ride on to the black lava beaches for which the islands are famous and stop for lunch in front of the black beach. In the afternoon you will ride to the Quinta São Lourenco - a Lusitano stud  close to the pretty capital city of Horta. There will be time to visit the town and perhaps visit the colourful sailor's harbour and enjoy a break at the most popular bar between Europe and America  Peter Cafe Sport. Here you can try the best gin and tonic along the Atlantic Ocean. You will enjoy another delicious dinner back at the lodge

Day 4: Trail along the South Coast

The trail continues through the beautiful green valleys and the air is full of thyme and mint aromas. Long straight dusty roads invite nice canters. After a picnic in the meadows you will arrive at the tropical Bay of Varadouro,  full of fruit gardens and old black stonewalls. You will ride through a thick tropical forest and reach the paddock where you leave your horse. You will return for another delicious meal at the lodge.

Day 5: Trail to the Volcano of Capelinhos

Today the trail leads us to the impressive and bizarre desert volcanic landscape of Capelinhos. The landscape is so lunar like that it has been used as a location for the filming of science fiction movies in the past. Ruins of old houses are buried with ash from the 1957 eruption. You can visit the lighthouse and underneath, the famous underground Volcano Museum.You will ride over parts of the new volcano and enjoy a break in a lonely volcanic cave.

In the afternoon long canters around Cabeço Verde - the green volcano, lead you back to the horses paddock for the evening. The day ends with a delicious food and drinks back at the lodge.

Day 6:  Trail to the Black Beach of Faja

Today is a slightly shorter day. After a beautiful canter in a eucalyptus forest you descend down to the charming black sand of Fajã. Vineyards, gardens and wild romantic places are located in this beautiful site. You will ride to the black beach and, weather permitting, there may be fresh fish on the barbecue for lunch. After a nice canter back to your camp in the afternoon there is time to relax in the gardens at your lodge.

Day 7:  Trail to the old whalers watch out - Vigias

Today is the last part of your trail. You will cross the island from the dry south to the green north. You will enjoy views over terraced meadows down to the blue ocean. At lunchtime you will arrive in the highest located village on the island; Ribeira Funda. Here you will enjoy a picnic at the Miradouro viewpoint. Sitting on a stone bench warmed-up by the sun, you will listen to the wind and to the buzzards. After a stop at the old Whale-Watching-Point of Vigia dos Cedros you will finally complete your Island-Round-Trail and arrive again at the lodge. Tonight you will have a big farewell dinner.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight. With the early flight from Faial back to Lisbon you should connect with an afternoon flight home.



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 9
Ability description: Intermediate onwards, capable of riding at all paces over a variety of different terrain.
Type of ride: Based trail programme. 20-25 km riding each day
Total riding time: 7 nights, 6 days riding of 4-5 hours per day
Departure dates: 2017/18:
Booking is all year round. Daily arrival possible
 
Pricing: 2017/18:
£1221 November, December, January, February, March
Single supplement: £200

£1252 April, May, September, October
Single supplement: £258 / £215 in 2018

£1283 June, July, August
Single Supplement: £320 / £277 in 2018

Non riders - trail price is reduced by £554 (half board only)

Price includes: all transfers; experienced English, German and Portuguese spoken trail guide; gentle and trained Lusitano & Cruzado Portugese trail horse; special trail equipment; accommodation in double bed room; all meals including beverages.

Price does not include flights, travel insurance, extra activities.





Christmas Ride 2017



Experience Christmas in the Azores. Enjoy the sub-tropical winter weather of Faial and the variety of nature with relaxed riding on selected day trails. Warm your feet in the cosy horseman's lodge in front of the crackling fireplace. Experience the unique flair of the small island town of Horta and celebrate Christmas like a local, thousands of kilometres from the mainland.

During this special Christmas ride, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, you will discover the unique island of Faial. 

The following is an example itinerary and may be subject to change at the discretion of your hosts:

Day1: Arrival

You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your accommodation - Casa Equitatão, The Horseman's House. After lunch, you will be introduced to the horses before the evening's welcome dinner.

Day 2: The trail to the old lighthouse

Today you will have your first experience of this beautiful landscape surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. You will arrive at the forest park Cabouco, where a typical Azorean picnic is waiting for you. You will canter through meadows surrounded by hedges full of Hydrangea flowers and arrive at the old Lighthouse Farol da Riberinha. From here the view of the Pico volcano is stunning. The day ends with a nice dinner back at the lodge.

Day 3: The trail to Capelo

This morning you will ride up a mountain ridge and canter along with great views of the island forests. In the village of Ribeira Funda, you will stop for a delicious lunch in a small island tavern. In the afternoon green fields will take you to the mysterious zone of Capelo, where you will ride through a jungle like trails towards the paddock for the evening. Dinner will be served for you at the end of the day back at the lodge 

Day 4: The volcano trail

Today the trail leads you to the impressive landscape of the Capelinhos volcano. You will see the lighthouse made famous by the pictures of the 1957-58 eruption and also ride past the ruins of buildings covered by the eruption. There is also an award winning underground Volcano Museum. After a lunch break and a drink, you will have a long canter around the green volcano, Canbeço Verde. The horses will settle to their paddock for the night and you to be able to return to the lodge to unwind and enjoy a wonderful evening meal with typical Azorean products. 

Day 5: Trail to Fajã beach

You will ride a shorter trail section to relax both horses and their riders in the wild-romantic Bay of Fajã. Through the wild laurel forest, you reach the vineyards of Norte Pequeno. Your ride takes you to the rocky coast of this small wine town. Past old eucalyptus trees, the track leads down steeply. Fruit gardens and romantic places can be found in this beautiful landscape. Finally, you ride over the black sand beach and reach your picnic spot, by the sea. A wonderful gallop leads you back in the afternoon to your jungle camp where the horses will stay. Today there is time enough to relax in the garden or the lounge of the lodge. 

Day 8: The mountain village of Ribeira Funda

Today is the last part of your trail. You will cross the island from the dry south to the green north. You will enjoy views over terraced meadows down to the blue ocean. At lunchtime you will arrive in the highest located village on the island; Ribeira Funda. Here you will enjoy a picnic at the Miradouro viewpoint. Sitting on a stone bench warmed-up by the sun, you will listen to the wind and to the buzzards. After a stop at the old Whale-Watching-Point of Vigia Dos Cedros, you will ride back to the lodge. The cellar will have been decorated for Christmas and you will enjoy some of the typical Azorean delicacies on Christmas-eve night. 

Day 7: Horta and Christmas

Today the horse will have a rest day and you will visit the port town of Horta. There will be a chance for a sight-seeing tour and to walk through the streets, visit the harbour and then you take lunch near the beach of Porto Pim. As a conclusion to the tour, you can enjoy a gin & tonic in the world-famous sailing club "Peter Café Sport". In the early afternoon, you will drive back to the lodge and enjoy some time to relax. In the evening you will enjoy an Azorean Christmas meal in a cosy restaurant close by.

Day 8: Departure

In the morning you will have one last breakfast before heading on to the airport for your flight home.



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 9
Ability description: Intermediate and above, capable of riding at all paces over a variety of different terrain.
Type of ride: Trail, returning to the same accommodation each night.
Total riding time: 5 days riding as per itinerary.
Departure dates: 2017: 19th-26th December
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1221

Single supplement: £200
Small group supplement: £176

Price includes all transfers, 5 days of riding as per the itinerary with an experienced bilingual guide, 7 nights accommodation in lovely restored farm houses, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, a drink with meals.

Price does not include flights, travel insurance, extra activities or other drinks outside of meal times.



New Year Ride 2017-2018



Experience the Azorean winter high. Enjoy the variety of nature and sub-tropical winter of Faial, with relaxed riding on selected comfortable day trails around the dreamlike island. Leave your soul in the cosy horseman's lodge before the crackling fireplace. Experience the unique flair of the small island town of Horta and bring in the New Year with fireworks. 

During the New Year Trail 2017/18, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, you will discover the unique island of Faial. Thousands of kilometres from the mainland you'll celebrate the new year beginning. 

The following is an example itinerary and may be subject to change at the discretion of your hosts:

Day1: Arrival

You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your accommodation - Casa Equitatão, The Horseman's House. After lunch, you will be introduced to the horses before the evening's welcome dinner.

Day 2: The trail to the old lighthouse

Today you will have your first experience of this beautiful landscape surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. You will arrive at the forest park Cabouco, where a typical Azorean picnic is waiting for you. You will canter through meadows surrounded by hedges full of Hydrangea flowers and arrive at the old Lighthouse Farol da Riberinha. From here the view of the Pico volcano is stunning. The day ends with a nice dinner back at the lodge.

Day 3: The trail to Capelo

This morning you will ride up a mountain ridge and canter along with great views of the island forests. In the village of Ribeira Funda, you will stop for a delicious lunch in a small island tavern. In the afternoon green fields will take you to the mysterious zone of Capelo, where you will ride through the jungle like trails towards the paddock for the evening. Dinner will be served for you at the end of the day back at the lodge 

Day 4: The volcano trail

Today the trail leads you to the impressive landscape of the Capelinhos volcano. You will see the lighthouse made famous by the pictures of the 1957-58 eruption and also ride past the ruins of buildings covered by the eruption. There is also an award winning underground Volcano Museum. After a lunch break and a drink, you will have a long canter around the green volcano, Canbeço Verde. The horses will settle to their paddock for the night and you to be able to return to the lodge to unwind and enjoy a wonderful evening meal with typical Azorean products. 

Day 5: Horta and New Year

Today the horse will have a rest day and you will visit the port town of Horta. There will be a chance for a sight-seeing tour and to walk through the streets, visit the harbour and then you take lunch near the beach of Porto Pim. As a conclusion to the tour, you can enjoy a gin & tonic in the world-famous sailing club "Peter Café Sport". In the early afternoon, you will drive back to the lodge. Time to relax. In the evening you go back to the city ready to enjoy the Azorean New Year's Eve menu in a cosy restaurant. Just before midnight, the New Year fireworks in the harbour light up with music and sparkling wine. During this special night, you are looking forward to 2018 with a view of the endless ocean.

Day 6: Brunch and new year ride

This morning after being served brunch you will ride out to the black sand beach of Fajã. The area is surrounded by both tropical gardens and vineyards. Afterwards, you will ride back to the lodge in time for dinner.

Day 7: The mountain village of Ribeira Funda

Today is the last part of your trail. You will cross the island from the dry south to the green north. You will enjoy views over terraced meadows down to the blue ocean. At lunchtime you will arrive in the highest located village on the island; Ribeira Funda. Here you will enjoy a picnic at the Miradouro viewpoint. Sitting on a stone bench warmed-up by the sun, you will listen to the wind and to the buzzards. After a stop at the old Whale-Watching-Point of Vigia Dos Cedros, you will ride back to the lodge for a delicious farewell meal. 

Day 8: Departure

In the morning you will have one last breakfast before heading on to the airport for your flight home.



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 9
Ability description: Intermediate and above, capable of riding at all paces over a variety of different terrain.
Type of ride: Trail, returning to the lodge each night.
Total riding time: 5 full riding days of 4-5 hours (20-25km) and 1 half day
Departure dates: 27 Dec 2017 - 3 Jan 2018
 
Pricing: £1221 per person

Single supplement: £200
Small group supplement: £176

Price includes all transfers, 5 days of riding as per the itinerary with an experienced bilingual guide, 7 nights accommodation in lovely restored farm houses, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, a drink with meals.

Price does not include flights, travel insurance, extra activities or other drinks outside of meal times.