Our voyages in the Azores in 2023 proved so popular that we plan to follow a similar itinerary as we hop through this mid-Atlantic volcanic archipelago. Distances are short allowing plenty of time to explore the islands as well as at least one full day of sailing.
During the journey the captain will decide on the best itinerary based on the weather and sea conditions in order to ensure all guests are comfortable and can get the most of these days.
We start and finish in Terceira, with a stop on Sao Jorge and the rocky shores of Pico Island.
A brief stop on nearby São Jorge, an island of imposing natural beauty, allows us to stretch our legs. It hides some of the most beautiful trails in the archipelago, natural pools and is known for its delicious cheese.
As we take the short hop over the water to Pico Island, keep an eye open for the resident sperm whale as they hunt in the deep channels for giant squid their favored quarry. Sperm whales are the resident species, along with blue, fin and sei whales. Bottlenose, Atlantic spotted and common dolphins also usual species here at this time of the year.
The serene Pico Island is furthest South in the archipelago, where the people have every right to be proud of their beautiful island, the second largest in the Azores and home to Portugal’s highest mountain, Mount Pico, at 2,351m.
For those with adventure mind, book to climb her slopes. The effort is rewarded by panoramic views which, on a clear day, offer a glimpse of the nearby islands of Faial, Sao Jorge, and Terceira with Graciosa in the distance to the north. (You will require a prebooked guide and a full day (12 hours). This is not a technical climb, but climbers must be very fit and properly equipped).
Pico’s hot, dry climate, together with the mineral-rich lava soil and the stunning mosaic of black stone "currais" (plots) – makes the island perfect for the cultivation of vines, with its wine now internationally celebrated.
The extensive lava fields that dot the island’s landscape were declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2004.
We finish our island hopping back on Terceira, docking in UNESCO-listed Angra do Heroísmo, the Azores' oldest city, with its 16th-century fortress and Renaissance town. We disembark after a sumptuous deck BBQ and an evening of celebrations with fellow shipmates. Consider visiting Algar do Carvão with its 90m-deep volcanic chimney, and the island’s small vineyards and lava-rock bathing pools in Biscoitos are popular tourist sites.
In August, the Azores enjoy a delightful climate, characterized by mild temperatures and balmy sea breezes. Expect daytime temperatures averaging 24°C (75°F), ideal for both sailing and land-based exploration.
When preparing for your voyage please bear in mind:
The trip between Lisbon and Funchal was really exceptional thanks to the kindness and professionalism of the crew that was always available to answer all our requests. A trip far too short.
It was my first cruise aboard Santa Maria Manuela but it will certainly not be the last.
Catherine - France
I can't imagine the Santa Maria Manuela having a bigger fan than me. It was a remarkable experience and I really enjoyed getting to know the crew as well as all of the passengers. It was a great group of people to spend 6 days with.
Sailwiz - Spain
It was obvious that the crew was very capable of doing everything without the help of the passengers, but I loved that they wanted us to be involved and gave us tasks that we could do. It is also evident how important safety on board is and I was impressed to see all of the crew members in harnesses and helmets whenever they were in slightly precarious positions preparing a sail to be raised or fixing something.
Sailwiz – Spain
The trip was absolutely incredible. I am extremely impressed with the ship and the crew. I felt very at home on board and the crew was so kind, helpful and knowledgeable. I feel like I learned so much about the ship and navigation and I know many of the other passengers feel the same. I truly enjoyed the trip and hope that I will go aboard again.
Julia – USA
My friends and familly are all '50 shades of green' with envy. Thankyou from Andrew and me to you and the crew for an experience of a lifetime.
Gordon - Scotland
As for the trip to Madeira was the best experiences I have had and I take the opportunity to congratulate your team and crew who are fantastic ...
We want to say THANK YOU to all the crew they all were so helpful. Nothing was too much trouble. If the world would follow Santa Maria Manuela’s example we would all live in a better place.
Peter & Ron, UK
Absolutely loved the trip from Lisbon. Such a beautiful ship - have fallen completely in love with her and can't wait to book the next trip.
It was a wonderful journey. The ship is beautiful and in a perfect condition, we felt comfortable at any time, thanks to the gentle team. The meals were very tasteful (thanks to the cook!).
Katrin - Holland
We really enjoyed our Madeira-Tenerife crossing onboard SMM. Great crew, fantastic downwind sailing, pleasant ‘guests’.
Pierre - France
The crew took good care of us, I just hope they enjoyed the trip as much as we did. Could not have been any better.
Irmgard – Germany
Without a doubt, this year the best experience I had was being on board Santa Maria Manuela. The days on board were extraordinary. Crew 5⭐
Nuno - Portugal