Rider against a stormy background, Azores
Azores

Back to nature on Faial Island

Enjoy a trail ride full of contrasts on a beautiful island lost in the middle of the Atlantic, in the Azores archipelago. You will discover Faial in the saddle, on a fully itinerant camping trail round the island. Every day, you will ride into a different part of the island and set up camp at night. From the fascinating Capelinhos volcano to traditional Azorean white villages, jungle-like paths and hidden bays, this trail offers riders the promise to reconnect with nature and enjoy a refreshing riding adventure.
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Trail Riding
8 days / 6 riding days
From £935
Open to non-riders
  • Riders and green fields of Faial
    Riding across the green pastures of Faial
  • Lusitano horse and rider, Portugal
    A memorable riding holiday in the Azores
  • Trail riders as the sun sets on the Azores
    Enjoy reconnecting with nature on a trail ride
  • Horse and rider bonding
    The horses are sweet-natured, most of them Lusitanos
  • Riders enjoying a trail ride in the Azores
    Explore the contrasting landscapes of Faial
  • Rider and horse in the Azores
    Trail riding on Faial Island
  • Lusitano horse and rider, Portugal
    A memorable riding holiday in the Azores
  • Relaxed riders in the Azores
    Enjoy a relaxing trail riding holiday
  • Horse and rider at the beach, Azores
    Faial Island, in the middle of the Atlantic....

Itinerary

Highlights

- Wonderfully behaved full and part-bred Lusitano
- A fully-mobile camping trip, giving you the opportunity to completely switch off and explore Faial Island in its entirety.
- Discover the stunning scenery of Faial and its contrasting landscapes: black sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, tropical forests, green fields...
- Possibility to extend your trip to enjoy everything Faial Island has to offer: whale-watching, hiking, swimming with dolphins, etc.
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE- LISBON -HORTA - No riding

    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 your reservations in Lisbon upon request. You can also fly to Sao Miguel and from there to Horta with SATA/Azores Airlines.

    Upon arrival in Horta, you will be picked up by a member of our local team then transferred to our lodge in Cedros (approx. 25 min drive). You will meet the other riders and enjoy a home-cooked dinner at the Lodge, before spending the night at your first camp, erected nearby.
  • Day 2 2: PEDRO MIGUEL - PRAIA ALMOXARIFE - HORTA - 4-5 hours riding

    This morning, you will meet the horses before setting out on your first day in the saddle alongside the East Coast. From hidden meadows to wide open fields, you will ride across paths bordered by giant fern and purple heath before you reach the small botanical park of Pedro Miguel for lunch. The ride then continues on to the black lava beach of Praia Almoxarife, where your campsite is located for the night. Before the sun sets on Faial, you will have enough time to visit the nearby harbour-town of Horta and its colourful marina, under the watchful eye of the solitary peak of Pico, the neighbouring island. Dinner at a restaurant in town before you get back to your camp for the night.
  • Day 3 3 : EAST COAST - CEDROS - 4-5 hours riding

    After breakfast, you get back in the saddle to further explore the East Coast and its wondrous flora before stopping for a picnic lunch on the black lava beach of Praia Almoxarife. The afternoon ride will take you to “Quinta de São Lourenço”, a stud farm breeding Lusitano horses. You will head back to the Lodge for dinner, where Carla and her team will cook you a delicious dinner of Azorean food. Overnight at Camp.
  • Day 4 4 : FLAMENGOS - CAPELINHOS - 4-5 hours riding

    Today's ride will take you through the green valley of Flamengos. The air is full of the fragrant smell of thyme and mint that grow there. Beautiful forest tracks are too inviting not to go for a lovely, controlled canter. You will reach an altitude of 600 meter where you will stop for lunch. You will ride down towards the small village of Areeira and its local pub where you can enjoy a refreshment. In the late afternoon, you will reach the Capelo area, close to the famous volcano. Your campsite is set up there, but before dinner there will be time for a swim in the Atlantic! Dinner and overnight at Camp.
  • Day 5 5 : CAPELINHOS - VARADOURO - 4-5 hours riding

    The trail leads to the impressive and bizarre volcanic desert landscape of Capelinhos. You will witness the ruins of old houses buried under a layer of ash from the 1957 volcanic eruption. There is enough time for an optional visit of the Interpretive Centre (Volcano Museum), whilst the horses wait outside. You will ride over parts of the new volcano and enjoy a break in a small volcanic cave. In the late afternoon, you will approach the Jungle Camp where your horses stay for the night. You will stay in tents on the cliff coast of Varadouro.
  • Day 6 6 : FAJA BAY - 4-5 hours riding

    Riding out from the Jungle Camp, you will follow small paths through dense laurel forests into the small village of Norte Pequeno, with its picturesque wine cellars and small vineyards. Through a nearly impassable jungle you will follow a small path that leads horses and riders to Faja Bay, known for its giant waves. Set up camp close to the horses. BBQ is on the menu tonight before you fall asleep to the sound of the waves and the horses relaxing in their paddock.
  • Day 7 7 : FAJA - CEDROS - 4-5 hours riding

    After breakfast, you will ride on a steep trail out of Faja Bay, crossing the island from south to north along small jungle paths with some fascinating views over the Atlantic Ocean. Today's goal is to reach the lookout point of Miradouro which is a stunning location to relax. Enjoy your lunch sitting on a stone bench warmed-up by the sun. Riding along the cliff coast you finally complete your trail ride around Faial Island and arrive again at the Lodge. Tonight you will have a farewell dinner with the rest of the team. Final night in your tent.
  • 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

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

- Rides are confirmed for a minimum of 4 riders and a usual maximum of 11 riders, plus your guide. It is possible to guarantee a departure with less than 4 riders with a supplement of €200/£176 per person (2019/2020 rate).

- There is a single supplement of c. €150/£135 if you end up in a single tent (2019/2020 rate). This is refunded if we find a sharer for you.

- 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.

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 tent

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 tent supplement - see above for details

Extras

An Australian Raincoat can be rented on site for €5/day


  • July - August 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    05/07/2020 12/07/2020 £935 Guaranteed departure Book now
    19/07/2020 26/07/2020 £935 Open Book now
    09/08/2020 16/08/2020 £935 Guaranteed departure Book now
    23/08/2020 30/08/2020 £935 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: 95kg/ 15stone/ 209 lbs.

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. Please remember this is a camping trip and as such, there are minimum day-to-day comforts (showers are not available every night).

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 be accommodated in basic double tents. Inflatable mattresses are provided for you comfort, but you must bring your own sleeping bag.

Showers and bathroom facilities are available on some nights (cold water).
Wi-Fi available at the lodge.

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 Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. 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.