Take a guided walk around the UNESCO-protected vineyards of Pico, an island cultivated with vines since the 15th century. Learn about the history of viticulture here and the unique growing conditions before sampling local wines at the island cooperative.
Kayaking at Furnas Lagoon
Surrounded by a dormant volcano, bubbling mud pools, steaming vent holes and lush hills clad in dense, subtropical forest, Furnas Lake is one of São Miguel’s most popular attractions. See the crater lake and the surrounding valley from a sit-on-top kayak on a serene two-hour paddle that passes historic monuments, geothermal fields and subtropical gardens. You’ll learn about the region’s history, geology and volcanic activity from your guide, hear stories about influential residents and begin to understand the threats to the local environment and the efforts being made to preserve the endemic plant species that thrive here.
You’ll meet your guide at the cozido cooking area by the lake. After a short safety briefing and some basic paddling instruction, you’ll set off across the lake at a gentle pace. The placid waters are cradled by steep hills clad in temperate mixed forests giving the lake a very serene atmosphere.
Clouds of steam billow from the ground at the northern end of the lake where geothermal activity feeds hot springs, bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles. As you paddle, your guide will explain about the island’s position on the cusp of the Eurasian, African and North American tectonic plates which causes its volatile geological conditions.
You’ll also hear about the eruption of Furnas Volcano to the south of the lake in 1630 and its influence in shaping the landscape and its endemic plant species. Protection of the local environment is a key purpose of the modern Furnas Monitoring and Research Center on the lake shore. Your guide will tell you about efforts to preserve the local ecosystem by removing invasive non-native species and replacing them with native trees and shrubs along with a network of walking and equestrian paths.
On the western shore you’ll see the neo-Gothic Chapel of Our Lady of Victories, a mausoleum built by gentleman-farmer José do Canto after the death of his wife. While paddling close to the shore you can see the thick vegetation that blankets the surrounding hills, from groves of lush ferns to azaleas, camellias, and hydrangeas.
After about two hours’ exploring, you’ll return with your guide to the cozido area.
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Photos of Kayaking at Furnas Lagoon
Other experiences in the Azores
These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.
Tour the narrow, cobbled streets of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, with a local guide. Learn about its foundation, architecture and defenses and its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries when wealthy merchants constructed imposing Baroque buildings.
Explore by 4x4 and bike to get far-reaching views of the enormous caldera at Sete Cidades as well as a more a personal introduction to this unusual landscape, its history, legends and lakes as well as the volcanic activity that shaped it.
Explore the deep waters off the Azores on this half-day whale and dolphin watching tour in an area where about 25 different species, from blue whales to humpbacks and orcas, are frequently seen.