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The Azores

$8,450

Marooned 1,360km west of the Portuguese coast and 1,925km southeast of Newfoundland, Canada, the archipelago of Açores shelters a world of lush subtropical gorges, dazzling crater lakes and towering volcanic ridges, adrift in the crashing waves of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Tales of pirate attacks and mythical princesses are interwoven in the folklore of the islands, but the stories of visiting cyclists are only just beginning to be written. Revered as ‘the Hawaii of the Atlantic’ for its lavish beauty, the Azores is a cluster of nine volcanic islands that exists as an autonomous region of Portugal.

But the Azores isn’t a destination where cyclists come to retrace the training rides of pro cyclists – it’s a spectacular island arena that beckons you to uncover new adventures of your own. To cycle around its shipwreck-riddled coastline and jagged crater ridges feels like exploring a forgotten island paradise.

Included With Trip:

  • All lodging*†
  • All food and beverages**
  • Pinarello Dogma F Disk with SRAM RED eTap AXS
  • Daily Bike Wash
  • Custom Castelli × inGamba cycling kit
  • Daily post-ride massage from a professional soigneur
  • Laundry service for cycling clothing

*Pre/post-trip lodging is not included
†Flights are not included
**Beverages ordered by guests beyond normal amounts and away from group activities will incur additional charges

 

Trip at a Glance

Start Location:

Porta Delgada

Finish Location:

Porta Delgada

Days Riding:

6

Total Distance:

409km

Total Elevation:

7,990m

Longest Day:

Day 5, Montargil – Ferreira Do Alentejo, 163km

Biggest Climbing Day:

Day 3, Tondela – Sertā, 2,221m

...

Day by Day Breakdown

1

Furnas Test Ride

Our first ride is an easy spin to shake off the cobwebs, but it’s also very pretty, heading south and west along the Furnas Valley. Here we are going to pass by two active volcanic sites to see the boiling caldeiras in action, as well as the gorgeous Terra Nostra Park, multiple hot spring pools for soaking and swimming, and the stunning Furnas Lake. This is the time to make sure everything with your bike is perfect – if something’s not quite right, let a mechanic or a guide know and we’ll be sure to fix it before the tough riding begins.
2

Furnas — Lagoa do Fogo

This route takes us north towards Miradouro de Santa Iria with its breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. But the highlight of this ride is the climb and views of Lagoa do Fogo, a lake sitting in a crater of a dormant volcano that formed about 15,000 years ago. The green of the volcanic walls filled with lush vegetation contrasts with the clear blue water of the lake, making it one of the most beautiful places in the Azores undoubtedly.
3

Furnas — Nordeste

Just shy of 90 kilometers, this ride should test your stamina, but also reward your efforts with some stunning countryside and plenty of quiet roads. Today, we ride northeast in a loop that circles Pico da Vara, the highest peak in São Miguel. Expect viewpoints with great views over the lush green scenery and spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean.
4

Furnas — Candelaria

This point to point ride will take us to our new home in the Açores. We ride along the coast and almost the full length of the island of São Miguel until we reach Candelaria. On the way, we are going to spot Vila Franca do Campo, a small volcano islet with a circular crater, and Ponta Delgada, São Miguel’s picturesque capital. Ponta Delgada was elevated to the status of city in 1546, after the first capital of the island — Vila Franca do Campo — was devastated by a terrible earthquake in 1522.
5

Vista do Rei Loop

This loop takes us east and north towards our only climb of the day, Miradouro Vista do Rei. Miradouro Da Vista Do Rei translates to “Viewpoint of the View of the King”. The spot got its name from King D. Carlos I and Queen D. Amelia, who visited the area on July 6, 1901. As we climb, you are going to start seeing the two multi-colored lakes down below, with the town of Sete Cidades off to the side. Surrounding the lakes and the town is the lush green crater rim.
6

Sete Cidades Loop

On our last ride, we ride north and east in a 70km loop. The hardest and most beautiful part will come in the second part of the ride, so save your energy for the best. As we start riding west again, on our way back to our home, we climb towards Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a lake that is one of the seven Natural Wonders of Portugal and the largest natural fresh water reservoir in the Azores. The lake is actually two lagoons, called Green Lake (Lagoa Verde) and Blue Lake (Lagoa Azul), linked by a shallow channel. Their colour differences are due to differences in the way light reflects off each. Legend says that the two lakes were formed from the tears of a blue-eyed shepherd and a green-eyed princess who shared a forbidden love. The main road crosses the channel on a low bridge.
7

Departure

This is our final morning together and after a leisurely breakfast, it will be time to say goodbye, or at least arrivederci, until we meet again. Transfers to the airport will be arranged by our hard-working crew but if you’re planning on staying a few extra days, let us know if we can help with reservations or a few recommendations. 

YOUR Guide

Manuel Cardoso

The Quiet Crusher

Manuel Cardoso is no longer sitting on the front of the pack, pulling everyone along at what some would describe as a “brisk” pace and what others are unable to describe at all, because they're too busy gasping for breath and holding onto the wheel in front of them for dear life. Manuel is now sitting just slightly off the back of the pack. As I look back, I realize he has that look on his face. The look which struck fear in the hearts of the Pro Peleton for many years. The look which is part grin, part mischievous child and all business. He is about to start some shenanigans. Sure enough, just a few kilometers later and Manuel has picked one lucky contestant out of the pack and they are sitting-in, waiting, like predators, for the perfect moment. For Manuel, just like when he raced pro, this is when the road turns slightly up, a spot in the road where it gets tough for everyone. And he accelerates with his breakaway “partner” in tow. It is something to see. He ramps it up to a speed with which no one can latch onto the back and with such precision you have to question whether or not you actually want to try and close the gap he has created. And you can’t see it, but you just know, he is grinning from ear-to-ear.

BIKE OPTION

PINARELLO DOGMA F

FRAMESET:

Pinarello Dogma F

COCKPIT:

ZIPP Service Course SL

GRUPPO:

SRAM RED eTap AXS

PEDALS:

Speedplay (or your own)

SADDLE:

Selle Italia

WHEELSET:

Zipp 303 S Carbon Tubeless

TIRES:

Vittoria Corsa

BOTTLE CAGES:

Elite Custom Race

BIDON:

Elite Corsa Team

COMPUTER:

Garmin Edge 1030