The Idea

After we did our long hikes in Nepal (11 days) and in Ireland (one week), we wanted to do another walking tour this year. In a hiker’s magazine Babs found an article about hiking on the Azores islands. The website Ilha a Pé is appealing and the offer quite interesting: 5 day hike, nice shelters, food supply included. So we booked the package.

The journey from Stuttgart to the Azores is not easy but Maria from Reisefieber managed to find flights. The stopover in Lissabon (siehe hier) was very welcome, since it’s a nice city.

Azores? Where are they? This is what we’ve been asked a couple of times. Check out Wikipedia to read more: Wikipedia. The islands are not in the middle but roughly 1/3 on the way from Europe to the Americas in the Atlantic ocean, around 1400 km off the Portuguese coast.

The Island, The Tour

The island is small and has only 5653 residents. The owners of Ilha a Pé have worked out the tour with another group of people, found old stables/barns and turned them in to tasty shelters for the overnight stay. You need to carry only your daypack and upon arrival at the shelters your luggage and food is already there. Because the shelters are only equipped with a simple gas stove you’ll have stew for dinner that you only have to heat-up. Drinks and breakfast is also ready. Simple and easy. OK, after 4x stew I was ready for something else ;) … During the hikes you can stop at (few) small restaurant and have lunch (salad!)

The shelters are all placed in beautiful sceneris. Outside the villages, solitary spots with nice views on nature, the sea (and sometimes cows). You share the accommodation with 2-4 other hikers but we were lucky and had the for ourselves for the whole tour.

Malbusca, © Ilha a Pé

It’s so quite out there! You don’t have the permanent background noise like in Stuttgart, just birds, cows, bees, a dog barking in the distance, very seldom a car. Wonderful! If no clouds are present, you sit under a gorgeous starlit sky (with milky way). In the first night we saw Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars lined up in the sky. Wow!

The tour is split into 5 days hiking, 4 nights in the shelters. In the following blogposts I’ll briefly describe each tour. Overall the hike is 80 km long with considerable elevation gain. Most of the time it goes up and down.Except for one day you can stop at a beach  or sea water pool along the way and take a dip in the water. While the walks in the sun (temperatures between 27 and 30º C) where sudatory, the refreshing swims were very welcome!
The paths are pretty well equipped with signs posts so it’s hard to miss your way.

© Ilha a pé
© Ilha a pé

Day 1 of the Tour

The night before the tour start we checked in at the Villa do Porto Youth Hostel. Not bad: Double room ensuite and they have an infinity pool. Nice! Went out for Dinner at a harbourside restaurant and had very tasty limpets and mussels.
The trails starts just besides the hostel. After 20 minutes you reach the Ilha a Pé headquarter. Ioannis hands over the key for the shelters and gives instructions. And off we go.

© Ilha a pé
© Ilha a pé

The tour on the first day is just about 10 km long, around 400 m elevation. You walk through (dry) meadows all along the coast. Came across an old whaler’s lookout, a lonely beach (bathing!) and a small village where we had lunch. Fair and beautiful costal landscape, covered with agaves, pastures with nosy cows, over rocks and stones along the shoreline. Happy and tired we reached the shelter for the night at 5 pm.