Faial Island Trails riding holiday in Azores - Far and Ride
Home  >  Riding Holidays  >  Azores  >  Faial Island Trails

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:

£1144 November, December, January, February, March
Single supplement £230

£1175 April, May, September, October
Single Supplement £261

£1206 June, July, August
Single Supplement £323

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:
Booking is all year round. Daily arrival possible
 
Pricing: 2017:
£1232 November, December, January, February, March
Single supplement: £199

£1263 April, May, September, October
Single supplement: £261

£1294 June, July, August
Single Supplement: £323

Non riders £559 (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.





Pico Island Trail



A seven night based trail ride on the stunning volcanic island of Pico. 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 stay in lovely restored old farmhouses or country hotels. The island of Pico has only 14,000 inhabitants. There are old paths, historical villages and cool eucalyptus forests. Trails through vineyards are protected by UNESCO.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival

Flight to Faial (Airport Horta - HOR).  With an early flight from Lisbon you will be transferred from the aiport and transferred to the harbour. Ferryboat to the island of Pico (Madalena) takes around thirty minutes.  You will transfer to the accommodation, meet the horses and have dinner at the Hotel.

Day 2: Trail through the UNESCO Vinhas

The first trail-day starts with a ride through the century old vineyards of Pico. The UNESCO World Heritage vineyards are small parcels surrounded by black lava stonewalls. There will be a picnic lunch at the seaside. In the afternoon  you ride along the coastline to the small village of Campo Raso where your horses stay at night. Short transfer to your accommodation.

Day 3:  Trail alongside the black lava coast of São Mateus -

Today your trail will continue along the beautiful south coast and rocky cliffs of Pico, and towards to the old whaling town of Lajes. Enjoy the views of the endless blue Atlantic Ocean and the impressive high Volcano-Mountain Pico. Your picnic will be close to an old whalers harbour and in the late afternoon you will ride to your accommodation directly by the sea.

Day 4: Lajes and trail to old fisherman village

This morning you will visit the small city of Lajes itself. You will find out about the long history of whale hunting and how, thankfully, nowadays the centre has been turned into a whale watching site. After the visit you continue your ride back through wonderful Japanese Cedar forests. In the fishing village São Caetano you stop to have a nice picnic. Beautiful trots and canter passages lead you along the seaside with a second opportunity for whale spotting at Vigia. Tonight your horses will stay on green meadows below the mountain of Pico and you will return to the hotel.

Day 5: Trail to the old villages and to the Entrance of Hell

Riding up and downhill this morning you find your way to the volcanic cave “Gruta dos Torres”. After a picnic in front of the cave you can explore this great natural phenomenon. Continuing through the old vineyards of Pico this afternoon you will reach the village of Criação Velha. In the evening you will walk though Madalena and say goodbye to Pico in a nice restaurant at the old harbour.

Day 6: Harbour and transfer of horses over the sea

Early in the morning you will ride a short trail to the harbour. The cargo ship will be waiting to transport your horses over the Atlantic channel between the Islands of Pico and Faial. After a short ferry journey you and the horses will be back at the lodge. The rest of the day you can just relax. The dinner will be served in the lodge.

Day 7: North-Coast of Faial - Whales & Dolphins

After a night in  the charming farmhouse you will get a first view of the north-coast of Faial. On today's ride you discover old paths, red windmills, wild romantic cliffs and deep canyons during a half-day-trail. With luck you may see whales or dolphins passing. At night you will have the farewell dinner at the lodge. 

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for you flight. You will need an early flight back to Lisbon to connect with your flight home in the afternoon.

Alternatively, why not add a second week on the island of Faial to truly discover these beautiful islands?



Accommodation: Accommodation in lovely restored old farmhouses or country hotels with double rooms and single on request (extra).
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.
From Sunday to Sunday.
Total riding time: 7 nights, 5 days riding of 4-5 hours per day.
Departure dates: 2017:
28 May-4 June, 10-17 September.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£1321 per person
Single supplement: £248
Non riders : £855 Half board

Price includes: all transfers; experienced English, German and Portuguese spoken trail guide; gentle and trained trail horse; special trail equipment; accommodation in lovely restored old farmhouses or country hotels with double and single rooms (extra); all meals including beverages.

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