Riding a Lusitano horse on a riding holiday

Azores, Horse Riding Trail on the Blue Island

Explore Azores' Blue Island on horseback. Faial Island or as it's often known, Blue Island, so named for the abundant growth of hydrangeas which bloom in early summer, is a remote and tranquil escape. Spend 6 days on horseback heading out from your lodge each day to explore lush green meadows, coastal cliffs, tropical forests and beaches, before riding trails through the volcanic, often lunar, landscapes. Ride varied trails and canter under a clear blue sky in the iridescent spray of the Atlantic Ocean.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
8 days / 6 riding days
From £1,185
Open to non-riders

From the horse’s mouth

  • Azores, Horse Riding Trail on the Blue Island
    July 2019 JULIE aged 44
    I was on a mare named Boneca. She was super reliable, and I was quickly able to trust her. She was very particular about which other horses she liked, but the guide was really thoughtful about creating the order of the ride so that we wouldn't have any issues. I was really impressed with the fitness of the horses and... Read all
  • Azores, Horse Riding Trail on the Blue Island
    June 2018 Elizabeth aged 58
    I just came back from a fabulous week on Faial Island in the Azores and 6 days of horseback trail riding. Indeed, I will book another trip with Equuus Journeys. For my first horse riding adventure/holiday, I had no idea what to expect. On this trip, we rode about 25 km a day, a total of 150 km around this beautiful... Read all
  • Trail riding by the ocean in the Azores
    Explore the coastal areas of Faial Island in the saddle
  • Two riders riding near an old volcano
    Enjoy a trail on black sand beaches near Capelhinos
  • Horseback riders on a green meadow in the Azores
    The green, lush scenery of Faial Island in the Azores
  • A group of riders having fun on a holiday
    This trail boasts exceptionally beautiful scenery
  • RIder training a horse in Cedros, Azores
    Main guide Diogo exercising a horse at the lodge
  • Riders enjoying their trail riding holiday
    A relaxing riding holiday for competent riders
  • Two riders riding near an old volcano
    Enjoy a trail on black sand beaches near Capelhinos
  • Rider and horse relaxing on a holiday in the Azores
    A horseback holiday is your chance to reconnect with nature
  • Rider, horse and red mill on Faial Island
    Enjoy the picturesque scenery of Faial Island on horseback

Itinerary

Highlights

- Enjoy comfortable accommodation in picturesque surroundings
- Ride full Lusitano and Lusitanian /Portuguese crosses through beautiful and occasionally lunar countryside
- Enjoy varied landscapes with a combination of volcanoes and coast line trails
- Add a extension to your ride with the opportunity to go whale watching or go swimming with dolphins
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE- LISBON -HORTA - No riding

    Patio Lodge
    You will be met at the Horta airport on Faial Island by a member of our team. Outside of June and August we recommend you spend the night before in Lisbon and take the 2,5 hour flight the following day. We can take care of you reservations in Lisbon upon request. You can also fly to Sao Miguel and from there to Horta with SATA/Azores Airlines.

    From the airport, you will be taken to your accommodation in Quinta (30 minutes) where you will be based for the rest of your stay and that evening you will have your first Azorean meal at the lodge.

    Please note that the arrival and departure dates are very flexible: contact us with your requirements and we will check availability for you.
  • Day 2 2 : QUINTA DO MOINHO - FAROL - QUINTA - 4-5 hours riding

    Patio Lodge
    Your first days ride will give you your first experience of this beautiful and remote landscape where every once in a while you'll cross a farmer herding their animals. The Island's backdrop is the gleaming, reflected light from the Atlantic Ocean.

    Your destination is Cabouco park where a typical Azorean picnic will be waiting for you. In the afternoon, you will canter along hedgerows teaming with hydrangea to arrive at the old lighthouse, Farol da Ribeirinha - from which you have a breathtaking view of neighbouring island, Pico, and its impressive volcano.

    In the evening, you will have dinner at the lodge.
  • Day 3 3 : ALMOXARIFE - HORTA - 4-5 hours riding

    Patio Lodge
    Today's morning ride will take you along the east coast and the lava beaches of Praia Almoxarife.

    In the afternoon, you will ride to Quinta Sao Lourenco farm where the local Lusitano horses, you may be riding, are bred. The farm is located next to Horta, the island's capital city, which you will have enough time to explore a little. Take a walk to the colorful harbor and to the very popular European/American Peter Café Sport where you can try the best gin and tonic in the Atlantic Ocean!

    On your arrival back at the lodge, your Azorean dinner will be served.
  • Day 4 4 : FLAMENGOS VALLEY - VARDOURO - QUINTA - 4-5 hours riding

    Patio Lodge
    The day's ride continues through beautiful, lush, green valley of Flamengos. If you breathe deeply, you will note that the air is delicately perfumed by thyme and mint. You will canter along long straight paths through the forest to reach the prairie where you will stop for your picnic lunch.

    In the afternoon, you will head out towards the tropical bay of Varadouro with its beautiful orchards enclosed by ancient walls of black volcanic stone. You will leave the horses there for the night and be driven back to the lodge for a dinner of delicious local produce.
  • Day 5 5 : CAPELINHOS - CABECO VERDE - QUINTA - 4-5 hours riding

    Patio Lodge
    The day's trail will lead you to the impressive and almost lunar volcanic landscape of Capelinhos. You will ride past ruins of houses long buried in the ash after the volcano's eruption in 1957. You will also get a sense of why the area has been used in the filming of a number of sci-fi films.
    You will head to a lighthouse, underneath which is a museum about the volcano which you may visit if you wish. You ride over volcanic ash and enjoy a break close to a small volcanic cave.

    Your day will end with cantering around the green volcano, Cabeco Verde, to the horses' paddock. In the evening, you will be able to relax and enjoy another Azorean meal.
  • Day 6 6 : CAPELO - FAJA - QUINTA - 4-5 hours riding

    Patio Lodge
    Riding along the black spit of Faja and cantering through a eucalyptus forest, you will reach the vineyards of Norte Pequeno and the cliff coast of the small wine village, Faja. Here the mix of the tended vineyards and the wild nature of the untouched countryside create an area of incredible beauty.

    After a relatively short day's ride, you will have the afternoon to swim in the ocean and take a walk around Quinta. There is a natural rock pool about 2 km from the Quinta.
  • Day 7 7 : ROBEIRA FUNDA - CEDROS - QUINTA - 4-5 hours riding

    Patio Lodge
    Your last riding day will take you from the dry southern part of the island to the verdant north. Along the way you will have spectacular views across terraced meadows down to the blue of the Atlantic Ocean. For lunch, you will stop at the highest located village of Faial's Ribeira Funda from where you will overlook one of the most beautiful views of neighbouring Miradouro Island. Sat on sun-warmed rocks you will picnic to the sounds of soft breezes, distant waves and buzzard calls.

    Little by little, you will make your way to an old whalers watch and hopefully catch a glimpse of whales or dolphins out in the ocean. At the end of the day, you will head back to your lodge to have a farewell dinner.
  • Day 8 8 : HORTA-EUROPE - No riding

    After having an early breakfast, you will fly out to Lisbon.

    We recommend booking the earliest flight possible to Lisbon so you can catch your connecting flight back to Europe.

    You can also continue your trip with a extension to other islands, a whale-watching trip or perhaps the chance to swim with dolphins. Please contact us for details.

Dates & prices

Price details

- International flights are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.     

- Please note that the arrival and departure dates are very flexible: contact us with your requirements and we will check availability for you.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double room during the ride. 

- Rides are confirmed for a minimum of 1 rider and a usual maximum of 9 riders, plus your guide.

- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement (see below). You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date. 
> In 2020, the single supplement is €228/£200 (low season: 19.-26.01.2020 | 02.-09.02.2020 | 23.02.-01.03.2020 | 22.-29.03.2020 | 12.-19.04.2020 | 01.-08.11.2020 | 22.-29.11.2020 | 13.-20.12.2020) and €315/£280 (high season).
> In 2021, the single supplement is €228/£200 in the low season (27.12.20-03.01.21 | 10.-17.02.21 | 07.-14.03.21 | 14.-21.11.21 | 26.12.21-02.01.22) and €315/£280 for the other dates.

- There is a rider weight limit of 95kgs/ 15stone/ 209 lbs - if you weigh more than 95kg and wish to ride, please contact us

- In season (from April to October) there is the option of staying in tents rather than the lodge, for a reduced price (€1233/£1085). Single tent supplement is €53/£47.

- Non-riders are welcome (half-board) and benefit from a reduction. Please contact us for a detailed quotation.

- Please note that the transfer between Lisbon and Faial island can be very long out of summer. Therefore you may overnight in Lisbon, if so take the opportunity to explore the city.

- The lodge can also organise multi-day non-riding extensions at the end or start of your holiday: whale-watching, swimming with dolphins, hiking, trips to Pico Islands... are all possible. Please let us know if this is of interest.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English-speaking horse guide

Logistics

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
1 vehicle and driver

Inland transport

Airport transfers

Accommodation

Double or twin room at the lodge

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the final day (day 8)

Additional equipment

Saddle bags

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages and personal extras - outside of those served at meal

Transport

International flights

Extras

Tips to the local team
Park, museum and tourist site fees

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurance are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked in case of cancellation.

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement - see above for details
  • July - August 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    16/08/2020 23/08/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
    23/08/2020 30/08/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
    30/08/2020 06/09/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • September - October 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    06/09/2020 13/09/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
    13/09/2020 20/09/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
    20/09/2020 27/09/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
    27/09/2020 04/10/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
    04/10/2020 11/10/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
    11/10/2020 18/10/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
    18/10/2020 25/10/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
    25/10/2020 01/11/2020 £1,270 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • November - December 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    01/11/2020 08/11/2020 £1,185 Guaranteed departure Book now
    08/11/2020 15/11/2020 £1,185 Guaranteed departure Book now
    15/11/2020 22/11/2020 £1,185 Guaranteed departure Book now
    22/11/2020 29/11/2020 £1,185 Guaranteed departure Book now
    29/11/2020 06/12/2020 £1,185 Guaranteed departure Book now
    06/12/2020 13/12/2020 £1,185 Guaranteed departure Book now
    13/12/2020 20/12/2020 £1,185 Guaranteed departure Book now
    20/12/2020 27/12/2020 £1,185 Guaranteed departure Book now
    27/12/2020 03/01/2021 £1,220 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • January - February 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    10/02/2021 17/02/2021 £1,220 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • March - April 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    07/03/2021 14/03/2021 £1,220 Guaranteed departure Book now
    04/04/2021 11/04/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    11/04/2021 18/04/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    18/04/2021 25/04/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    25/04/2021 02/05/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • May - June 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    02/05/2021 09/05/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    09/05/2021 16/05/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    16/05/2021 23/05/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    23/05/2021 30/05/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    30/05/2021 06/06/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    06/06/2021 13/06/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    13/06/2021 20/06/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    20/06/2021 27/06/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    27/06/2021 04/07/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • July - August 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    04/07/2021 11/07/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    11/07/2021 18/07/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    18/07/2021 25/07/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    25/07/2021 01/08/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    01/08/2021 08/08/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    08/08/2021 15/08/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    15/08/2021 22/08/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    22/08/2021 29/08/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    29/08/2021 05/09/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • September - October 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    05/09/2021 12/09/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    12/09/2021 19/09/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    19/09/2021 26/09/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    26/09/2021 03/10/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    03/10/2021 10/10/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    10/10/2021 17/10/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    17/10/2021 24/10/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
    24/10/2021 31/10/2021 £1,305 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • November - December 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    14/11/2021 21/11/2021 £1,220 Guaranteed departure Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

A herd of gentle and well-schooled pure Lusitanos or Lusitano-Cruzado Portuguese cross horses await you on Faial Isle. They spend the year round out on the prairies and are worked with daily. Their average height is 15.2hh.

Rider weight limit: 95kg/ 15stone/ 209 lbs.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You should be able to ride in all paces and in all kinds of terrain. The terrain is quite mountainous due to the volcanic nature of the island and you should have a steady seat, but the ride is not overly technical.

Rider weight limit: 95 kg / 210 lbs / 14.9 st.

Pace

The riding is relaxed with all three paces (walk, trot, canter). Due to the mountainous nature of the terrain, most of the ride is at a walk but faster paces will be had whenever suitable.

Tacking ability and participation

Each rider grooms and tacks their own horse and helps the team to distribute water and food to the horses.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

A good level of fitness and endurance is required as you will spend several hours in the saddle each day.

Equestrian equipment

Prestige trail saddle, saddlebags and Australian raincoats.
With Azorean airline SATA riding equipment is free of charge up to 10 kg.

Helmets are mandatory. We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Due to individual sizing needs and security reasons, we recommend you bring the following equipment : waterproof trekking footwear, wind and waterproof jacket and trouser, and a small refillable bottle.

Travel info

Comfort

You will stay in the comfortable Patio Lodge built on the property in 2016. Cosy and inviting to come back to after a day’s riding, you will be able to enjoy the accommodation’s terrace and garden. The rooms are double or twin. You can also request a single room at an extra charge.

In 2020, the Lodge also added a lovely "Tiny House" to their offer, perfect for couples looking for a little more intimacy.

There is also a cosy cottage perfect for families and groups of friends that can sleep up to 4 (at a supplementary cost).

If all accommodation options at the lodge are fully booked at the time of your booking, you will be given the option to stay at a local guesthouse instead.

Meals

Dinner is typically Azorean cuisine with water and wine included.
Lunchtime is either a picnic or a light lunch in a local bar (with selected drinks).

Climate

The Azores have a maritime climate with mild temperatures ranging from 16°C (60°F) in winter to a comfortable 26°C (79°F) in summer. The sea is warmed by the Gulf Stream and sea temperature varies from 14ºC to 22ºC. On average there is about three to four hours of sunshine a day in winter and seven to eight in summer. Rainfall is distributed around the year, but is heavier and more frequent in winter. Characteristic for the Azores is the wide variety of weather conditions within a short period; a single day can be windy and calm, sunny and showery in any combination! A typical and true remark is that if you don’t like the weather, you just have to wait 10 minutes!

Guide and local team

Victor and Anja stumbled across this beautiful little island years ago, and decided to make a life for themselves here. They bought an old Quinta, renovated it beautifully and soon added rooms to the structure. They are German and speak perfect English and Portuguese. Victor is occasionally seen leading the trails, while Anja looks after the horses and manages the facilities.

Diogo is native to the Island and has trained in Lisbon. He is a competent horseman and a great lead guide. He's always happy to take you around his island and tell you about its secrets. He speaks Portuguese and English.

Carla will be looking after your meals and make sure you get a taste of the traditional Azorean cuisine.

Several interns complete the team in the summer, helping out at the stables and as back up guides.

Tips

Tipping is not compulsory but will be very much appreciated if you enjoy the services provided by the team. Tipping is totally at your discretion.

Packing list

Head
- Helmets are mandatory and you should bring your own. There are many lightweight options available nowadays
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana

Upper body
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain at any time of year and the evenings can be particularly cold

Legs
- 2 Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Thermals
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Waterproof over trousers

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps as an extra layer against inclement weather. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Waterproof shoes/boots can be useful for abundant dew in the mornings or when it rains
- Trainers or equivalent light shoes for evenings
- Several pairs of warm, thick socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful

Our Recommendations
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (passport, camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Other useful items
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Swiss army knife (or equivalent)
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

In your hold luggage
- take any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.

Medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Miscellaneous
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals

Visa & Health

Formalities

British citizens: other nationalities, please contact us.

Passport validity
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

Visas
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Portugal.

The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
Please visit for the FCO website for up-to-date information - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Budget and money

The Azores is a part of Portugal and the currency is Euro as well. Most of the restaurants, hotels and car-renting companies accept common credit-cards. But don't expect credit cards to be accepted in smaller restaurants and residencies. Be sure to carry small bills. There are places that it can be a problem to change bigger notes. Most banks accept Visa/MasterCard's. Most banks have employees who speak English or French.

Did you know?

Did you know?

The Azore's pony

With less than a thousand Azores ponies worldwide, this is a rare breed that mainly has been living wild. Although the origins are uncertain, this pony comes from oriental horses that were imported onto the island. The very roots of the Azores pony have been altered over time due to the poor  nutritional properties of the island.

With a similar look to a Lusitanian but smaller, they are bright with a good mind and can be very obedient. They are usually black or bay and can be used for agricultural work, pulling carts and trekking.

On the blog

Equus Journeys' guest Eli Curran, from the USA, had a memorable horseback holiday in the Azores. She writes about her week on Faial on our blog

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • JULIE aged 44 London 1 trip
    July 2019
    I was on a mare named Boneca. She was super reliable, and I was quickly able to trust her. She was very particular about which other horses she liked, but the guide was really thoughtful about creating the order of the ride so that we wouldn't have any issues. I was really impressed with the fitness of the horses and... Read all
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide
  • Elizabeth aged 58 Marblehead 1 trip
    June 2018
    I just came back from a fabulous week on Faial Island in the Azores and 6 days of horseback trail riding. Indeed, I will book another trip with Equuus Journeys. For my first horse riding adventure/holiday, I had no idea what to expect. On this trip, we rode about 25 km a day, a total of 150 km around this beautiful... Read all
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide