Autumn Volcanic Island Adventure Tours in the Azores

The Azores – a breathtaking group of nine volcanic islands – are turning up the heat this autumn with a hot range of exciting volcanic adventure tours. Hop on a four-hour direct flight from London with Ryanair or SATA International to Sao Miguel Island, and unearth a little known world of adventure inside the archipelago’s volcanoes.

Fall down the face of a volcano

The volcanoes, crater lakes and coastal cliffs of São Jorge, São Miguel and Flores islands provide world-class conditions for canyoning – an adrenaline-inducing sport which combines the techniques of caving and climbing, and involves walking, wading, abseiling, boulder hopping, swimming, jumping and rock climbing in the volcanoes. Routes vary in difficulty, from easier routes to steep vertical drops and waterfalls which tumble into the ocean. Picos de Aventura’s (picosdeaventura.com) canyoning tour for beginners starts from €75 per person and takes in the landscapes of Ribeira dos Caldeirões in Sao Miguel Island.

SUP board or kayak a volcano crater

This autumn take a SUP boarding or kayaking tour on the crystal-clear waters of a volcanic lake in Furnas, a village located inside the crater of a ‘sleeping’ volcano. Riders will be surrounded by historic chapels and buildings, gardens, steaming fumaroles and picturesque green mountains. In the village of Furnas, travellers will find a thermal swimming pool heated by the volcano. Azores Adventure Islands (www.azoresadventureislands.com) offer a SUP boarding tour of Furnas starting from €35 per person.

Lunch, cooked in a volcano

Sample local dishes which have been cooked in the ground using the heat of a volcano in Furnas, Sao Miguel. The traditional Cozido das Furnas stew is buried in a pot where it cooks over the course of a morning. Travellers will see locals lowering and removing pots throughout the morning near Furnas lake, and can sample the hearty stew of local sausage, beef, chicken and vegetables at the nearby Terra Nostra Park Hotel. To find out more, visit www.bensaude.pt/terranostragardenhotel

Delve into underground magma tunnels

Take one of the Azores’ best volcanic adventure tours by descending into the gaping, ancient magma chambers of Gruta das Torres on Pico Island. Sporting a hard hat and torch, journey through unusual and craggy volcanic formations. Once at the bottom of the chambers guides often turn off all the torches to provide an experience of pure, surreal silence and darkness. Similar magma chambers include the ‘Cave of Sulphur’ in Furnas, Sao Miguel Island and ‘Coal Algar’ in Graciosa Island. Tours at Gruta das Torres start from €5 per person and can be booked by calling (+ 351) 924 403 921.

Mountain bike the rim of a volcano

Take the bike ride of a lifetime on a trail which traces the rim of Sete Cidades, an impossibly wide, extinct volcano and crater lake. Also known as a Natural Wonder of Portugal, Sete Cidades boasts two crystal-clear blue and green crater lakes. On this 25km tour, discover breathtaking panoramic views across the island, beautiful fauna and unusual volcanic formations. Futurismo’s (www.futurismo.pt) Mountain Bike Tour in Sete Cidades starts from €65 per person.

How to get there:

Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) has weekly flights from London Stanstead to Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island which depart every Saturday. Return flights start from £71. SATA International (www.sata.pt) has weekly direct flights from London Gatwick to Ponta Delgada until October, with prices starting from £337 pp return.

To find out more about the Azores, visit www.VisitAzores.com