Madeira & Azores 2017

A visit to Madeira (1 week) and Azores (1 week) can be arranged with flights from Leeds/Bradford Airport if there are al least 12 interested members. The best time would be end of May/beginning of June when the seas are calm, there is no rain and the spring flowers are in bloom. Please note that Madeira is not a cheap destination and Azores could be physically demanding.

How the Tour is evolving…

  • 17 October 2016: HMWS agent in Madeira – Rita Galvao instructed to prepare draft itineraries
  • 24 October 2016: Rita Galvao confirms that work is in progress
  • 25 October 2016: HMWS starts working on its own itinerary independent of the Madeira agent based on experience gained during the 2016 tour (see below). The final itinerary would be based on best of both
  • 27 October 2016: Nik Darlington of Red Squirrel Wines, David Marques of Azores Wine Company and Azores School of Tourism contacted for help and guidance in planning the tour. Blonde’s Lodge in Funchal confirms that a Prestige Tasting There is definitely possible
  • 13 December: Dates for the tours announced

Madeira & Azores

Premium Wine Tour Madeira & Azores is a 14 days trip around the Madeira Wine Region and 3 Azores Islands: São Miguel, São Jorge e Pico.This is a package created for food and wine lovers which will guide visitors on the romantic and unforgettable path of the flavours of Madeira and Pico Wines and the islands’s best culinary treasures!

You will be able to savour many wines, some of which go back to the eighteen hundreds!

Beyond exploring the wines you will be able to enjoy not one but 2 touristic destinations of excellence which offer a great variety of experiences in terms of nature, events and secular culture.

According to the character of the group we can adapt the program described below, by including more or less activities parallel to the vinous experiences.

MADEIRA ISLAND DAILY PROGRAM

Day 1

  • Arrival – Transfer to Hotel
  • Tasting at IVBAM, Madeira’s Wine, Embroidery and Handicraft Institute – Welcome Dinner at Gavião Novo – Old Town

Day 2

  • Premium Tasting at Vinhos Barbeito, Madeira Wine Producer and Exporter – Madeiran traditional lunch – “Espetada”
  • Walk in the Vineyards of Câmara de Lobos and visit to Cabo Girão South Island
  • Free Dinner

Day 3

  • Tasting at Barbusano, Still Wine Producer in São Vicente (north coast) – Lunch at Many’s Restaurant
  • Porto Moniz walk and Madeira Wine (Sercial) and chocolate tasting
  • Free Dinner

Day 4

  • Premium Tasting at Pereira d’Oliveira – Madeira Wine Producer and Exporter
  • Free Lunch and free afternoon
  • Dinner at Atelier – Nini Andrade Silva Design Centre

Day 5

  • A walk in a 20 million year Laurel Forest (Natural World Heritage) – Lunch (light meal) at Ribeiro Frio
  • Free Afternoon and Dinner

Day 6

  • Sailing to Fajã dos Padres (first place where Malmesy grape was planted in the Island) during the sailing oportunity to watch cetaceans.
  • Fajã dos Padres – madeira wine tasting and lunch
  • Free Dinner

Day 7

  • Premium Tasting at Blandy’s, Madeira Wine Producer and Exporter – Lunch at Blandy’s Wine Cellars
  • Traditional tour to Monte (up in cable car and down on a madeiran traditional Tobbogan wicker basket)
  • Dinner at William’s Restaurant – 1 Michelin Star at Reid’s

Day 8

  • Transfer to the airport

AZORES (SÃO MIGEL, SÃO JORGE, PICO ISLANDS)

Day 1

  • Arrival to São Miguel – Transfer to Hotel
  • Lunch at Hotel
  • Walking in the historical centre of Ponta Delgada – Dinner at local restaurant (Drinks included)

Day 2

  • Full Day Excursion through the São Miguel – Furnas, Vila Franca do Campo and Fábrica da Gorreana (Tea). Entrance in Botanical Garden Terra Nostra and Lagoa das Furnas.
  • Typical Lunch – “Cozido” (Drinks included)
  • Dinner at Hotel’s Restaurant

Day 3

  • Flight to São Jorge with stopover in Terceira
  • Arrival to São Jorge – Tranfer to the Hotel
  • Full Day Excursion through São Jorge – Overall visit – Ilhéu do Topo, Fajã do Santo Cristo. Coffee Tasting in Fajã dos Vimes and visit to the handicrafts space.
  • Lunch at local restaurante (Drinks included)
  • Typical Dinner at Hotel’s Restaurant (Drinks included)

Day 4

  • Free day in São Jorge
  • Dinner at Hotel’s Restaurant (Drinks included)

Day 5

  • Ferry Boat to Pico Island
  • Full Day Excusion through Pico – UNESCO’s Heritage Landscape of Pico Island Vineyard Culture, Wine Museum, Baleeiros’s Museum, stop at Lagoa do Paúl, Lagoa Seca, Lagoa do Caiado and Lagoa do Capitão. – Typical Lunch – Fresh Fish ou Meat – at Cellar “A Buraca”(Drinks included). Visit to the small museum, Wine, Liqueur and Brandy Tasting. – Dinner at Hotel’s Restaurant

Day 6

  • Flight to São Miguel
  • Arrival to Ponta Delgada – Tranfer to the Hotel
  • Full Day Excursion through West part of São Miguel – Lagoa das Sete Cidades, Vista do Rei, Pico do Carvão, Freguesia das Sete Cidades, Lagoa do Santiago and Lagoa do Canário.
  • Private Lunch in an XIX century Country House (Drinks included)
  • Dinner at Hotel’s Restaurant

Day 7

  • Flight to Funchal

HOTELS Options to choose from in Madeira Island:

HOTELS in Azores:

ITINERARY PLAN (suggested flights):

  • Day 8 – 29 MAY – Flight from Funchal to Ponta Delgada (São Miguel) 12h55-14h00
  • Day 10 – 31 MAY – Flight from Ponta Delgada to São Jorge 07h30 – 10h40 – Stopover in Terceira 08h10 – 10h10
  • Day 12 – 2 JUNE – Atlânticoline Ferry boat from São Jorge to Pico – approximately 50 minutes
  • Day 13 – 3 JUNE – Flight from Pico to Ponta Delgada – 10h50 – 11h40
  • Day 14 – 4 JUNE – Flight from Ponta Delgada to Funchal – 09h05 – 12h10 (you would have to stay one more night in Funchal).

Azores

For in-the-know travellers, the Azores have long represented a beckoning blip on the radar of possible destinations. Recognition from Unesco and other organisations has helped that blip to pulse more brightly over the years. But most people still know little, if anything, about this far-flung archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic. And yet it is hard to imagine a place better suited to nature lovers, fans of adventure sports, or anyone looking for a beacon of sustainability. As if that wasn’t tantalising enough, there is a new reason to visit this autonomous region of Portugal: restrictions on air routes to the Azores recently eased, which means more carriers, more choice and cheaper fares for travellers trying to reach this other Eden.

The twin green and blue crater lakes of Setes Citades are one of the Azores' best-known sights © James Kay / Lonely PlanetThe twin green and blue crater lakes of Setes Citades are one of the Azores’ best-known sights © James Kay / Lonely Planet

The exposed tips of vast underwater mountains, the Azores lie on the nexus of the European, American and African tectonic plates, and they bear witness to the forces forever shaping our planet. This is a world of fumaroles, mudpots and scalding springs; of caverns, columns and grottoes formed from once molten rock; of blue lakes ringed by forests of laurel and cedar, and green pastures patterning the slopes of calderas. Unesco designated three of them (Graciosa, Flores and Corvo) as biospheres, and the archipelago also contains 13 Ramsar sites (important wetlands) and over 30 Blue Flag beaches. Combine mineral-laden soil with a subtropical climate surrounded by Gulf Stream-warmed waters, and the result is a crucible for life.

The two-and-a-half-hour hike around the rim of Faial's caldera is one of many spectacular routes for walkers © James Kay / Lonely PlanetThe two-and-a-half-hour hike around the rim of Faial’s caldera is one of many spectacular routes for walkers © James Kay / Lonely Planet

Thankfully, Azoreans seem intent on preserving their treasures – the built environment covers just five per cent of the land; the rest is a patchwork of protected areas and marine reserves. The regional government aims to produce 75% of the islands’ energy from renewables by 2018. Little wonder then that last year the Azores were named as the world’s top destination for sustainable tourism by Quality Coast, a European Commission-supported certification programme. In fact, it is the only place in the world to receive a Platinum Award, the organisation’s highest accolade. – (Lonely Planet)

The vineyards of Pico enclosed by dry-stone walls made of black basalt © James Kay / Lonely Planet

“On my very first trip to the Azores I knew I’d be back.  Both for more wine adventures and for holidays.  I spent 4 days on wine travels on Sao Miguel, Pico and Terceira earlier this month.  The day after I got back I booked flights for a holiday in the Azores next year.  So I think you get the message.  This Atlantic archipelago is a very special place.” – Sarah Ahmed

Birdwatching In Azores

azores-bullfinch-side-view

Besides the Azores bullfinch (above) (Pyrrhula murina), one of the rarest birds in Europe and endemic to a small area of  São Miguel Island, and Monteiro’s storm petrel (Oceanodroma monteiroi), one of the rarest seabirds in Europe and endemic to the Graciosa Island Islets, Atlantic canary (Serinus canaria,) a unique species in Macaronesia, and several endemic subspecies such as the Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs moreletti), the Goldcrest  (Regulus regulus azoricus, R. r. sanctaemariae , R. r. inermis), the Azores woodpigeon (Columba palumbus azorica), and the Common buzzard (Buteo buteo rothschildi). The Azores have also the most important nesting populations in the world of Cory’s Shearwaters (Calonectris Diomedia borealis), and Rosy Tern (Sterna dougallii). The archipelago boasts approximately 30 breeding species. The number of occasional species already observed and recorded in the archipelago, is approaching the 400, including some extremely rare for the Western Palearctic. Bird watching can be practiced in all of the islands, most notably in the islands of São Miguel and Graciosa for endemic speciesTerceira Island for gulls and waders from the Nearctic and Palaearctic ecozones, and the islands of Flores and Corvo to observe American passerines.

(Itinerary awaited)

Interested:

  1. Dias, Bernard
  2. Dias, Ramani
  3. Hewage, K
  4. Hewage, C

Comments

  • “Greetings from Heathrow. En route to Australia judging then Tassie wine travels. Pico is amazing. You will be amazed. V best.” – Sarah (Ahmed), 28 October 2016

Worth Reading

Last updated 29 May 2017)

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