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Fantastic Horse Riding Holiday on the Azores

This listing has one of the 10 most popular offers available in in Portugal

You are invited to experience one of the most fascinating horse trails in Europe - The Faial Island Trail! With your Lusitano trail horse, you will get to know island routes that are determined by wine, whales and volcanism. Riding along small vineyards and adegas, you will learn about wine and cheese from Faial and Pico. Cantering along the coast, you will discover whale viewpoints and lighthouses. Marine biologists will join you on the ocean to observe whales and dolphins or you will get to know the cosmopolitan sailing and harbor town of Horta and its whaling history. You will encounter the volcanic top highlights of the Azores by horseback, the 1,000-meter high crater of Faial, Caldeira, and the Volcano of Capelinhos, which erupted in 1957, after exciting rides through the jungle and the Faial mountains.

Key Information

  • Rider weight limit: 210 pounds / 95 kilograms
  • Horse breed: Lusitano and Cruzado Portuguese

Meet the instructors

Diogo & Dianne
Read more

Highlights

  • Daily individual trail briefing
  • Fun excursions (depending on season)
  • Ride through one of the most fascinating horse trails in Europe
  • 6 riding days with qualified English-speaking guide
  • All transfers according to the program
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily delicious meals

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


6 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese
Group size: Maximum of 9 participants
Airport transfer included: Horta Airport
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
15:00
Check-out Time:
11:00

Facilities

  • Sauna
  • Swimming pool (indoor)
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Bar
  • Barbeque facilities
  • Café
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Lounge
  • Luggage room / storage
  • Meditation garden
  • Multilingual staff
  • Restaurant
  • Special menu request
  • Terrace
  • Yoga studio
  • Conference room
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Internet access
  • Laundry
  • Meeting room
  • Parking lot
  • Tour assistance
  • Wireless internet

During the tour, you will stay at Patio Ecolodge. You can choose to stay in a double or twin room in the lodge, in an apartment or in a tiny house.

Apartments

There are seven detached lodge apartments, sea and island views, equipped with a double be or two single beds, a shower room, a minibar, a kitchenette, a living room, a private terrace, and free Wi-Fi.

Rooms

There are four lodge rooms, sea and island view, equipped with a double bed or two single beds, a shower room, a minibar, and free Wi-Fi.

Tiny house

The lodge has three tiny houses, sea view offering one double alcove bed, a shower room, a minibar, a kitchenette, and free Wi-Fi.

Double or twin rooms, apartments, tiny houses, and tents are only available for guests traveling and booking together due to their clean and safe standards. they do not offer half occupancy for single travelers looking for a roommate. Tiny houses are only suitable for single or couples due to their double bed. The trip is suitable for accompanying non-riders. In this case, they will charge proportionally accommodation and services used by the non-rider.

Program

Program highlights

  • Volcanic forces created inspiring islands in the middle of the Atlantic and designed magnificent landscapes. The unique nature of Faial Island enchants its visitors - especially when traveling on horseback.
  • Riding through the marvelous landscape, you discover the hospitality and the relaxed life-style of the locals.
  • Riding between hydrangea hedges, or through bizarre volcanic landscapes. Discover dreamlike forests and reach picturesque villages located close to the Atlantic ocean. Natural pools of lava-rock invite you to a swim.
  • One of the most fascinating horse trails in Europe - The Faial Island Trail.
  • With your Lusitano trail horse you will get to know island routes that are determined by wine, whales and volcanism. Riding along small vineyards and “Adegas”, you will learn about wine and cheese from Faial.
  • Cantering along the coast, you will discover whale viewpoints and lighthouses. Marine biologists will join you on the ocean to observe whales and dolphins or you will get to know the cosmopolitan sailing and harbor town of Horta and its whaling history.
  • You will encounter the volcanic top highlights of the Azores by horseback, the 1 000 m high crater of Faial, Caldeira and the Volcano of Capelinhos, which erupted in 1957, after exciting rides through the jungle and the Faial mountains.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Arrival on Faial Island (Horta Airport - Code: HOR) and transfer to PÁTIO Ecolodge. First contact with the horses. Briefing of the trail week. Get to know the group and the guide. Allocation of horses. Welcome dinner.

Day 2: Whalers - Trail

  • (20km, +800m, -700m, 4-5 h riding time)

Today you will learn a lot about whales and their history on the island of Faial. You will get to know your horse and your equipment. We start on gently rising meadow paths. After a short time, we begin the first trot and canter. We reach a whale watching point. With a little luck and calm sea, we can observe whales and dolphins. We come back to the lodge along the steep cliff coast. A delicious lunch is waiting for you. In the afternoon we ride to two small whaling harbors. If the weather is good, you can go for a swim. The horse resting place for the night is in a small hamlet. We drive back to the lodge. The first day of the trail might end with a drink at the bar and a nice dinner of our master chef.

Day 3: Lighthouse - Trail

  • (20km, +550m, -450m, 4 h riding time)

Today you will learn about the impact of the 1998s earthquake on Faial.

Drive to the horses in the morning. We continue riding along the coast through blue hydrangea hedges, to the island's former lighthouse, which was destroyed in the earthquake. The nearby village still has a crumbling church that testifies the power of the earthquake.

At noon we will appreciate our saddlebag-picnic right at the seaside. Time to go for a swim or to wet your feet.

After this nice break we will continue our ride. Wonderful views to the sea and the neighborhood islands São Jorge, Pico and Graciosa.

After a while we reach our paddock for the night. The transfer team is bringing you back to the Ecolodge. Enjoy and relax at the pool. Dinner is waiting for you.

Day 4: Caldeira Trail

  • (30km, +1.100m, -1.100m, 6-7h riding time)

Today we start to one of the top highlights of the Azores, the Faial crater - Caldeira. It is located at an altitude of 1 000m at the center of the island. A real challenge for rider and horse. Sometimes we meet farmers on their way to cows. The heather tree along our route looks like giant broccoli. The Atlantic Ocean glitters in the sun. We ride slowly our way up to the crater rim of Faial via switchback tracks. Here the Caldeira lies majestically in front of us. It is 400m deep and 2 500m wide. If you want to extend your trail holidays, you can descend into the depths of the crater with our nature park guide or hike around the rim on a 3h trail. After the saddlebag picnic, you will ride through the lonely and wild landscape of Faial’s high mountains. Our trail lead us through country roads down to a small volcano, whose inner crater we can reach on foot through a small tunnel. A very special atmosphere awaits us.

Crossing junglelike paths, we arrive at the Jungle Camp in the late afternoon. The transfer to the lodge is already waiting here. An exhilarating trail day lies behind us. Horses and riders have certainly earned a break. Dinner at the Ecolodge.

Day 5: Cabeço Verde Trail & Whale Watching

(15km, +500m, -550m, 3 h riding time)

From April - October, after the breakfast, we drive to Horta town to meet a team of marine biologists. Together with them we go out to the ocean in a powerfully motorized zodiac. More than 30 different whales and dolphins can be encountered in the ocean surrounding Faial. It's a wonderful experience to be so close to the largest mammals in the world.

If the sea condition doesn’t allow and out of whale watching season (November - March), we will drive you to Horta town and you will find enough time to discover this colorful and cosmopolitan harbor town by yourself. Walk along the sailing harbor, find secluded spots in the town and visit the old whalers factory.

At lunch time we will pick you up and we will have a small lunch in a typical Faial Island “Tasca”. Later we will arrive in the Jungle Camp. After preparing our horses, we ride up to the Green Hill called “Cabeço Verde”. From the top of this volcano we can admire spectacular views over an amazing landscape and the volcano of Capelinhos. The way down will allow us to see the vineyards, unique to Faial Island. A wine growing area which, thanks to the ashes of the last eruption and the special way of growing the grapes, is creating a wonderful homemade wine. Tonight you will experience once more the culinary world of the Azores in the Ecolodge.

Day 6: Capelinhos-Trail

  • (20km, +670m, -670m, 4-5 h riding time)

Today the trail leads us through a mystical jungle landscape. We enjoy fantastic gallops close to the coastline. Extensive vineyards, but also small “Adegas” line our way. Via narrow tracks close to the shore we reach another top highlight of the Azores, the Volcano of Capelinhos, which erupted in 1957.

Desert-like solitude awaits us. An old whaling village covered with the ashes of the volcano. Hidden under the buried lighthouse is the modern interpretation center that reports on the volcanism of the Azores and the eruption of the volcano. We combine a saddlebag picnic with a visit to this attraction.

Riding over parts of the volcano, we reach the Jungle Camp in the late afternoon. The transfer back to the lodge is already waiting here. Dinner.

Day 7: Faja Bay & Deep Canyon Trail

  • (25km, +550m, -700m, 4-5 h riding time)

Today is the last day of the trail. Fajã Bay is a hidden bay where islanders have been growing wine and fruits for 500 years. On the way, we pass small “Adegas”, wine houses with their vineyards.

Riding through dense jungle we reach the black lava beach of Fajã Bay. A magical, romantic world of its own. Small lava stone houses, well-kept gardens and a wild sea await us.

We cross the island from the dry south to the green north. Magnificent views over terraced pastures down to the blue ocean. Extended gallops lead to the highest village on the island - Ribeira Funda, located directly above a 300 m deep canyon. We allow ourselves to be warmed by the sun, listen to the wind and the wild cries of the buzzards circling over the deep gorge. A nice picnic is waiting for us whilst you enjoy overlooking the majestic canyon and the ocean.

In the afternoon the route takes us along yam fields through a small, wild and romantic valley after 6 days of riding back to the PÁTIO Lodge.

A farewell dinner at the lodge closes the fascinating week of trails.

Day 8: Departure or Extension

We bring guests who do not individually extend their stay with us to the airport or the ferry port on the island of Faial after breakfast.

Instructors

Diogo

Location

Volcanic forces created inspiring islands in the middle of the Atlantic and designed magnificent landscapes. The unique nature of Faial Island enchants its visitors - especially when traveling on horseback. Riding through the marvelous landscape, you discover the hospitality and the relaxed lifestyle of the locals. Riding between hydrangea hedges, or through bizarre volcanic landscapes. Discover dreamlike forests and reach picturesque villages located close to the Atlantic ocean. Natural pools of lava rock invite you for a swim.

The Azores Archipelago

The nine islands in Azores Archipelago are the tips of submarines gigantic mountains. Among the island, the distance between the westernmost Flores and Santa Maria island (the eastern) is 600 kilometers. Pico is the highest point of the Portuguese territory (2,351 meters). The Azores archipelago is divided into three island groups. In the Central Group, there is the island of Faial with 14,800 inhabitants. Its highest point is the 'Cabeço Gordo' (1,000 meters), 80 kilometers of coastline, and more than 250 kilometers of horse trails.

Faial Island

Faial Island is part of the Azores Archipelago. With an area of ​​approximately 172 square kilometers, Horta city is the only county seat of the island. The island is designated as Blue Island by the abundance of hydrangeas bordering roads and dividing fields and pastures. Its location close to other islands produces a comfortable feeling of togetherness and a strong aesthetic impression. Pico, in particular, is a presence which greatly enhances ​​the landscape.

Food

The package includes seven breakfasts, four saddlebag picnics, one lunch, one picnic and seven dinners without drinks.

Breakfast (8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.)

  • In or outside on the terrace
  • Pressed juices, coffee, and tea
  • Cereals, homemade yogurt, island cheese, and sausage
  • Homemade marmalade and honey
  • Bread out of the wood oven
  • Island butter and milk

Picnic

  • PÁTIO's famous picnics for take-away

Dinner (7:30 p.m.)

  • In or outside on the terrace
  • Traditional menu with a selection of fish, meat, or vegetarian
  • Additional: starter, salad, and dessert

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Pescatarian
  • Seafood
  • Lactose Free
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Before or after a week on horseback, Faial offers more fascinating activities to extend the holiday. Please ask for the optimal extension program:

Whale watching

A must-do! Discover with marine biologists the fascinating cetacean.

Pico Island Tour

Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the foot of the 2.351 meters high Pico Volcano.

Descend into the crater

Pure Jurassic Park. 400 meters deep into the sleeping volcano of Faial Island.

Spa treatments

  • Enjoy our Salt-Water heated In/outdoor Pool (included)
  • Enjoy our Sauna / Infrared-Cabin (included)
  • Enjoy our Yoga Sessions (15 EUR per 90 minutes)

What's included

  • Daily individual trail briefing
  • Entry to the Capelinhos Interpretation Center
  • Whale watching with marine biologists (Apr-Oct), alternatively and (Nov-Mar) visit to the city of Horta and visit to the old whaling factory
  • Incoming / outgoing transfer after breakfast
  • All transfers according to the program
  • 6 riding days with qualified English-speaking guide
  • Friendly, persistent and sure-footed Lusitano and Cruzado Portuguese horses
  • Special trail equipment (Prestige Trekker saddles)
  • 7x overnight stays (according to chosen option), lounge, garden, free Wi-Fi
  • 7x breakfast, 4x saddlebag picnic, 1x lunch, 1x picnic, 7x dinner without drinks (choose between meat, fish, vegetarian, or vegan food)

What's not included

  • Australian raincoat rental fee 5 EUR per person /day
  • Drinks and meals, unless otherwise mentioned in the program
  • Tips (recommendation / week: 30 EUR trail guide and 20 EUR lodge team)
  • Other personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Incoming / outgoing transfer not after breakfast

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Horta Airport (HOR). International and low-cost airlines are flying several times per day to Lisbon (LIS). From Lisbon, either you continue your flight on the same day or you decide to have a short stop-over in the city of dreams at the Atlantic Ocean. If you fly to Lisbon, you can take a rest before continuing your journey to Horta Airport (HOR). In Patio Horse & Lodge's townhouse 'Casa Ajuda', you can stay directly at the Palácío da Ajuda in Lisbon. The old tramway stops even in front of the house and takes you to the old town of the city.

Only 15 minutes needs a taxi from 'Casa Ajuda' to the white Atlantic beaches. Patio Horse & Lodge will be happy to reserve some nights for you. Azores airlines approach the airport of Faial Horta (HOR) in summer three times per day from Lisbon. In the remaining time, you fly five times per week. You can also fly from several American or European airports directly to the island of São Miguel to the airport Ponta Delgada (PDL). From here, your flight takes you in 45 minutes two times per day to the island of Faial (HOR).

Airport: Horta Airport Airport transfer included: Horta Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Availability

This vacation is available all year round, please select an arrival date below.

 

Low season

January to March

Shoulder season

April, May, October

High season

June, July, August, September

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