Far out in the Atlantic, some 800 miles from the Portuguese coast, the nine islands of the Azores are known for their spectacular volcanic scenery, abundant flora and peaceful lifestyle. The appeal of this remote and unsophisticated archipelago is difficult to define in words, but if you appreciate dramatic scenery, exploring islands where time appears to be standing still, watching for passing whales and learning about the local people and their customs, then this could be the voyage for you. The islands are also perfect for walking enthusiasts with paths through verdant mountain landscapes and we have included some hiking opportunities which, weather permitting, will be a joy for the keen walkers in our group.
Fly by scheduled indirect flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Island Sky for embarkation. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we moor overnight.
Enjoy a full day exploring the island of Sao Miguel, known as Ilha Verde, the green island and home to some of the most stunning viewpoints in the Azores. This morning we head west towards the Sete Cidades volcano from where we can enjoy excellent views over the Lagos de Canarios. We will continue our drive along the attractive northern coast before arriving in the Furnas Valley, an enormous valley and luxuriant garden in the east of the island where we enjoy lunch. We will also visit the village of Furnas and the botanical gardens before returning to the ship and sailing this evening. For the keen hikers, if weather permits, we will arrange to walk the trail in Sete Cidades.
The most southerly of the islands of the Azores, Santa Maria was the first to be inhabited by Portuguese settlers in 1439. It was also the first call made by Christopher Columbus on his return from the Americas in 1493 and during our island drive we visit the village of Anjos where he attended mass at the chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Anjos. Also see the remote settlement of Sao Laurenco known for vineyards which rise steeply up high sea cliffs in terraces whilst the coastline is accentuated by a dramatic waterfall, lava tubes and caves. Return to the ship via the picturesque village of Santo Espirito with its pretty whitewashed houses and 17th century Baroque church. The afternoon is free to explore the town of Vila do Porto independently.
This morning explore Angra do Heroismo, a charming UNESCO heritage town with a distinct Mediterranean flavour of cobblestone streets and a certain quiet charm. Enjoy a walking tour that takes in the Misericordia church, Convent do Sao Francisco, public gardens and museum. In the afternoon there will be free time to hike to Monte Brasil, offering wonderful views over the island, or alternatively relax and wander the historic town at your own pace.
Known as the ‘White Island’, Graciosa has a gentle rolling landscape, dotted with windmills and traditional whitewashed houses. Visit Furna do Enxofre (‘Cave of Sulphur’), a geologically unique phenomenon and one of the original examples of the volcanic Azores and take the winding stairway down to the magnificent volcanic cavern and lake. Also see the village of Santa Cruz and the charming Matrix Church. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure to explore the small town of Vila da Praia.
Named after its abundant flora, Flores is often regarded as the prettiest of the Azores. A rugged terrain island with flowers growing in the deep canyons and waterfalls casting hues of blues and green as they splash down to the sea. Visit the vertical basalt cliffs of Rocha do Bordoes, formed by the cooling of lava. See a stunning array of natural features including calderas, fajas, rivers, waterfalls and valleys. This afternoon we will use our small ship to circumnavigate the tiny island of Corvo, the smallest island in the archipelago.
This largely rural island is of geographical interest with its cliff shoreline marked with flat fajas sweeping to the sea. We start our full day tour on the western part of the island, Ponta dos Rosais, visiting a Forest Park and cheese factory. As we move to the north we enjoy the view over the Fajas, an area of flat land at sea level resulting from the erosion of cliffs. As we make our way to the south side towards Calheta we will stop for lunch at a local restaurant before continuing on to Urzelina to visit the remaining tower of a church buried under lava from the eruption of 1808. Now it is surrounded by fruit trees and vegetation. Upon our return to Velas we will take a walking tour of this charming old-world harbour town. We remain moored overnight for anyone wishing to take an after dinner stroll.
Explore distinctive Pico, home to Portugal’s highest peak and numerous black lava flows. The UNESCO-designated Lajido Acros tells the story of early winemakers who used the volcanic soil for the grapes and, on a visit to a vineyard, we will enjoy a tasting of the local product. After a typical Azorean lunch we will learn about whaling life in the Azores at the Museum of Lajes returning to the ship via the Lagoa do Capitao offering views over the north of the island.
Our day begins with an island drive where we explore the fairly recent volcanic activity at Ponta dos Capelinhos. See how a 1957-1958 volcanic eruption transformed the area and created a new land mass. Visit the Volcano Interpretation Centre before continuing to the impressive Caldera, now a nature reserve, which is 400 metres deep and nearly 1500 metres in diameter. This afternoon a walking tour of Horta will include the Scrimshaw Museum and Café Peter, a famous stopping point for sailors crossing the Atlantic.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship
Length: 90 metres
Passenger Capacity: 116
Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2010 / 2017
Sister ship to Hebridean Sky. Island Sky and Hebridean Sky are truly sisters. Built in the same Italian Shipyard, both boast spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, and redundant core technology that allows them to operate smoothly, even under the most challenging of conditions. Both ships are all-suite, all-inclusive small expedition vessels with touches of elegance throughout. The Island Sky is scheduled for additional upgrades in 2017, including the addition of tinted sliding glass doors to all cabins on the Promenade Deck.
Complimentary Wine or Beer with Dinner
Complimentary Coffee/Tea station
On-board MD and Facilities
Dedicated Passenger Service Manager
Pre-voyage hotel night
Complimentary Expedition Jacket
Elevator serving all passenger decks
Upgraded WIFI Internet
Library with computers
Panoramic Top Deck Observation Platform
Bar/Lounge with Live Entertainment
Lounge with Audiovisual Facilities
DVD Movie Library
Tinted sliding glass doors in all cabins on the Promenade Deck
Great expeditions require great food! Our team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage.
All Suites Feature:
Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds
Sitting area with sofa and side chair
Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player
Independent temperature controls
Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries
220 square feet or more
Sofa can be converted to bed for third person
PLEASE NOTE - DECK PLANS CAN VARY.