Exploring Azores on Two Wheels: Top Cycling Routes and Tracks
The Azores, renowned for its pristine beauty, offers an abundance of stunning trails, perfect for mountain biking and cycling enthusiasts. These trails promise unforgettable cycling holidays, where you can explore dormant volcanoes, enchanting lagoons, picturesque beaches, and coastal cliffs while experiencing the refreshing island breeze. Discover this cycling paradise in the Azores Islands.
Scattered across the Azores Islands are a variety of bike routes, including road, cross country, and enduro. If you're planning cycling holidays in the Azores and prefer not to bring your bike, renting one from local outlets is a convenient option. Additionally, there are numerous guided Azores bike tours available through friendly local vendors.
In this article, we'll focus on highlighting key routes on different islands
1. Cycling Route in Furnas, São Miguel Island
This scenic circuit, ranging from low to medium difficulty, primarily unfolds around the captivating area of the Lagoa das Furnas caldera. Designed for those eager to explore the caldera that cradles the Lagoa das Furnas, this circular route follows the dirt track encircling the lake. Midway through the journey, you'll reach the circuit's apex at Pico dos Milhos. From there, the route gently descends along secondary paths towards the village. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to witness the fascinating secondary volcanism phenomena. The trail is well-maintained, ensuring a smooth and gradual ascent, making it an enjoyable experience for walkers and nature enthusiasts.
2. Cycling Route in Sete Cidades, São Miguel Island
This delightful tour takes place in the heart of the Sete Cidades volcanic complex, primarily on flat terrain with minimal technical difficulty. It's a circular journey, beginning and concluding at the bridge spanning the lake. This tour is perfect for those seeking a serene and enjoyable nature experience, offering an up-close exploration of the stunning Sete Cidades valley and the picturesque lake that enhances the beauty of this region of São Miguel Island. The tour is designed to be accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages and fitness levels, making it a fantastic choice for families, groups, or solo explorers looking to immerse themselves in the island's natural splendor.
3. Angra do Heroísmo Coastal Route in Terceira Island
This cycling tour in the Azores takes you around Terceira Island, beginning and ending in Angra do Heroísmo, a UNESCO-listed city. The route starts at Praça Velha, leads through Rua da Sé and Avenida Tenente Coronel Agostinho, and heads west to São Mateus da Calheta, a charming fishing village. It continues to Cinco Ribeiras, known for its delightful bathing area, and passes through Santa Bárbara, Doze Ribeiras, and Serreta. A recommended stop is the Raminho viewpoint for spectacular coastal views and photo opportunities. Keep an eye out for Ilha Graciosa and other central Azorean islands. The journey proceeds to Biscoitos, where you can swim in natural pools or visit the Wine Museum. This route offers a blend of cultural insights, scenic beauty, and a chance to immerse in Terceira's unique landscapes.
4. Serra do Cume Mountain Trail in Terceira Island
For those seeking a more challenging ride, the Serra do Cume trail offers a mountain biking experience with stunning panoramic views. The trail starts near the town of Praia da Vitória and ascends to the Serra do Cume viewpoint, one of the highest points on the island. This route is more challenging due to its uphill climbs and varied terrain, covering a distance of approximately 15-25 kilometers. The reward at the top is a breathtaking view of the island's patchwork quilt of green fields and pastures, bordered by stone walls. This route is recommended for more experienced cyclists and offers a unique perspective of the island's diverse topography.
5. Pico Granfondo: Azores' Cycling in Pristine Pico Island
This road cycling tour starts in Vila da Madalena, next to the maritime station, and will take Azores biking holiday peddlers approximately 7 hours to complete, as it covers an impressive distance of about 144 km and climbs a total elevation of 1,828 meters! The first crossing point of this biking Azores tour is beautiful Barca Bay, home to one of the most famous bars in the Azores, Cella Bar, which is known for its fantastic and unique architecture, as well as for its inviting gastronomic setting. Always following the sea—an astounding route that will offer you endless scenic views as you go--you will next head to Cais do Mourato, an enclave known for its recreational bathing area. The route will then take you on a whirlwind tour of numerous magical towns, including (in order): Cachorro, known for its unusually shaped rock formation; through Lajido, where the wine with the same name is produced and, finally, Arcos.
After passing through these towns, you will begin an ascent, turn right towards Madalena, and come upon brand new treasures, including (in order): a visit to the parishes of Santa Luzia, where you can follow the pedestrian path of the Caminhos de Santa Luzia; then on to Corner, Slab, and Bandeiras, where the Church of Nossa Senhora da Boa nova stands out, and finally, Cabeço Chão. Then, still pedaling your heart—and legs—out, you will ascend one of the steepest slopes of this biking Azores route—a slope with an average incline of roughly (pun intended!) 7%. The highest point of the route is reached at 43 km, followed by the famous straight of Pico Island, where you will have the opportunity to soak in the beauty of the natural wonder that is Lagoa do Capitão (at 48 km).
At the end of this famous linear road, you will turn left and start your descent towards the sweet little village of São Roque, where at the 61.5 km mark, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a blissful break in the bathing area belonging to the São Roque pier, where the island's historic Whaling Factory Museum is located. While you are here, we highly recommend taking time to peruse the museum, which will offer you fascinating insights into the whaling past of the Azores.
Your cycling journey in the Azores continues with serene rides through the picturesque parishes of São Miguel Arcanjo, Prainha de Cima, Piedade, and Altamora. In the island's south, you'll explore Calheta de Nesquim, known for its whaling history, and pass through Ribeira Grande, Pontas Negras, and Ribeira. The route descends to Lajes do Pico, famous for its Whaling Week celebration. Here, take a moment to soak in the idyllic surroundings, feeling almost dreamlike in their beauty. Continuing west, you'll pass through Silveira and Criação Velha, concluding this remarkable tour in Madalena. Here, marvel at the Pico vineyard culture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Completing such an extraordinary tour will likely ignite your passion for more cycling adventures on Pico Island. Perfectly timed, the Azores Granfondo, an annual cycling festival on Pico Island, offers an excellent opportunity for your next cycling holiday. Start planning to align your trip with this exciting event!
Are you already in love with the Azores? Take a look at our stress-free packages that allow you to book your ultimate island adventure. All our packages are carefully curated by our team of local Azorean Experts so that you don’t need to worry about any details – just enjoy your trip!