It’s not every day you get your lunch cooked in a volcano, but it’s all part of the package on this tour. The day starts off in Ribeira Grande, where you’ll be able to admire the town’s Baroque architecture and sample a few local tipples in a liqueur shop. Next up, we’ll have photo stops at Santa Iria and Pico de Ferro viewpoints – the latter looks over the island’s biggest crater – before heading to a tea plantation for a quick tour. A visit to the ‘Caldeiras’ is next on the agenda, where you’ll get the chance to see thermal springs and fumaroles – steam-spraying gaps in the Earth’s crust. At Furnas Lake, lunch will be prepared – traditional Cozido das Caldeiras stew, made with pork, veal, sausages and veg, and cooked in super-hot volcanic solfratas. After sitting down at a local restaurant to tuck in, we’ll head back to the ship.
The town of Ribeira Grande is your starting point today. You’ll be able to see the Portuguese influence in the Baroque architecture, some of which dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. After a quick walk around the town, we’ll call in at a liqueur shop, where you might be able to sample a few local blends. Next up, we’ll ride up the winding mountain road to Caldeira Velha, a beautiful area packed with exotic plants and hot springs. The road continues up to Pico da Barrosa Mountain – once we get up here, keep your cameras handy for views of Fogo Lake. Our final stop for the day is a pineapple plantation back in Ponta Delgada, where you’ll get a sneak peek at the traditional production methods used here.
On this tour, you’ll tick off some of the most picturesque spots in Sao Miguel, and taste some local cheese and wine. It starts with a drive to the Escalvado viewpoint, which overlooks Mosteiros. This tiny traditional village is perched on the coast, where the island’s last volcanic eruptions took place. You’ll then take a scenic bus ride to Sete Cidades. This village shares the bottom of a volcanic crater with a postcard-pretty lake edged by cornflower-blue hydrangeas. You’ll have some time to look around the village and lake. Then, it’s on to a wine and cheese tasting at a local hotel, where you’ll be treated to samples of a couple of red and white wines and four types of cheese from the region. On the way back, there’s a stop at the Pico do Carvao lookout, which offers up panoramas over the north and south coasts of Sao Miguel.
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