Experience São Miguel getting ready for Christmas.

Holiday Lights in the Azores

On this eight-day tour, you’ll see natural beauty, enjoy great food, meet amazing people, and see beautiful holiday decorations.


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Advent in the Azores

November 23 – December 1, 2024

Inquire about custom dates and itineraries to suit your group of family and friends.

Get a taste for the Azores with this one-week tour in late November on São Miguel, the largest island of the Azores archipelago.  It’s a chance to escape the busy-ness of the holiday season at home but still get back in time to knock out your to-do list!   First, a few days in Ponta Delgada to see the city and shops decorated for Advent and do a bit of shopping in the Christmas market.  And then a few days in Furnas — the most magical place on Sao Miguel — where you can check the ambitious crib, eat food cooked in a caldeira, and soak in the thermal pools.

Keep in mind that our itinerary is dependent on the weather.  Azoreans like to say that you can experience all four seasons in one day.  So, if it dawns clear and sunny, we may switch our activities so that we can go to sites on that day where we need a clear view.  We will attempt to see everything listed below, just perhaps in a different order.


Day 1

Arrive in Ponta Delgada

Take the red eye out of Boston the evening before and arrive in Ponta Delgada by 6:30 am.  Or an early morning flight from Lisbon and arrive by 10:00 am.  A short taxi ride takes you to the Hotel Talisman where you can check in, have breakfast, shower, and take a nap.  When you’re refreshed, we’ll take a walking tour of the historic city center with Hungry Whales and experience some of the city’s best eateries.  Besides tasting amazing food and drinks, you will visit some of the main city sights, and learn about local culture and lifestyle as we walk through the cobble stone streets.  After some afternoon free time we’ll take another walk through the city center to see the lights, creches, and shop windows.  Meals included: breakfast & lunch.

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Day 2

Ponta Delgada

Today, your tour leader will take you on a walking tour in Ponta Delgada.  In the evening, we’ll take an extensive walk through the city center to be sure we see all the lights and cribs.    Meals included: breakfast.

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Day 3

Ponta Delgada

There are no scheduled activities today.  You’re free to explore more deeply those areas of the city center that you’ve walked in the previous two days or perhaps you want to scout past the city center.  Some suggestions include the Forte de São Brás and the Military Museum of the Azores, the Gruto do Cavao, the José do Canto Botanical Garden and the grounds of the Presidential Palace next door, and a number of history museums and art galleries. Meals included: breakfast.

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Day 4

Sete Cidades/Furnas

After checking out of our hotel, we’ll tour the western end of São Miguel, including Sete Cidades, enjoying amazing views of the island including the famous King’s View and take a hiking tour to the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno.  After a stop for lunch in a small town by the lake, the drive continues to the west coast of the island and the beautiful rocks of Mosteiros.  And then we’ll drive along the northwest coast as we continue to Furnas and check into the Terra Nostra Garden.  Drop off your bags in your rooms and then we’ll take a walking tour through town to the Caldeiras, the Casa Invertida, and the Furnas Cascade.  Then a stop in the Terra Nostra Garden to show you the thermal pool and jacuzzis, highly recommended for a post-dinner soak!    Meals included: breakfast.

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Day 5


We’ll spend the day exploring Furnas including a short drive to the Miradouro do Lombo dos Milhos and the Lagoa do Furnas.  Here, you can choose to explore the grounds of the Jardim Jose do Canto, visit the Furnas Volcano Monitoring Center, or, take a five mile walk around the Lagoa (level ground) to the Fumarolas where the famous Cozido das Furnas is cooked.  (Or you can ride over in the van.)  At the Fumarolas you can see the mounds where the various restaurants and hotels are cooking their cozidos.  If our timing is good, we’ll get to see one or two huge pots lifted out of the ground.  In the evening, there’s an option to sample cozido at Tony’s Restaurant.  After dinner, we’ll check out the Furnas Crib amongst the Caldeira. Meals included: breakfast.

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Day 6


Today’s adventure will be a leisurely afternoon drive along the northeast coast.  We’ll stop at several miradouros, learn about the importance of water mills in São Miguel’s history, view a couple of waterfalls, and maybe check out the studios of two or three artisans.  Restaurante Jardim in Povoacao is recommended for dinner.    Meals included: breakfast.

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Day 7

Flights home

After we check out of the hotel, we’ll visit the Gorreana Tea Plantation and Ceramica Micaelense on the way to the airport to check in for our evening flights home. Meals included: breakfast.

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Activity Level


Activities are generally not very strenuous; however, we expect guests to enjoy two hours or more of walking, be sure-footed on cobbled surfaces, and walk up and down stairs without assistance. In rural and small-town settings, unpaved roads and pathways will be common with some short sections of rough trail, which we expect that guests can traverse with no more than a companion’s hand to steady them. Historic city centers are frequently more accessible by foot than a vehicle, and sometimes your motorcoach can’t drop you off at the hotel and site entrances. Due to the structure of some buildings, facilities for the disabled may be limited.

This Tour’s Local Partners

Hotel Talisman
Hands On Crafts
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Screenshot 2021 10 28 at 12 34 49 Azores Cultural and Food Tours Ponta Delgada Portugal
Screenshot 2021 10 28 at 12 46 23 Ceramica Micaelense ceramicamicaelense • Instagram photos and videos
Screenshot 2021 10 28 at 12 38 39 Terra Nostra Garden Hotel Hotel Furnas Bensaude Hotels
Screenshot 2022 06 08 at 12 19 40 Restaurante Pratos acorianos Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
Queijaria Furnense
Gorreana logo
Screenshot 2022 06 08 at 12 27 06 Homepage Hotel do Mar
Restaurante Ponta do Garajau

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