Let’s face it: this is the best place for hiking, really. And if you heard that there are a few as good as Azores, well… someone has fooled you for sure. So let’s get started, come along to know more about Azorean nature.
What could be more importante than this? No matter how you look at it, it means life. Fortunatley, we have tons of it, from rain, to lakes, to waterfalls (cold and warm), streams, even driping within our houses in Winter time.
If you have wondered whether it’s safe or not to drink tap water in Azores, the answer is yes. It’s safe and it helps us to protect the environment. When leaving the house for hiking, please remember to take water with you. As well, there’s no need to boil the water or any other similar procedure, since it reduces the oxygen in it. So, it’s ready to drink, cool, right?
Ladies and gentelmen, this is a serious topic right here.
Laurel forest is a genre of sub-tropical forest typical of these islands, including species such as Erica azorica, Azorean blueberry, Festuca petraea, Azorean ivy, Azorean laurel (which gives name to the forest), Azorean holly, Azorean juniper, among others. We’re now trying to reforest several areas that have been damaged by Men, so please keep in mind that we are responsible for respecting and protecting nature. When hiking we must not interfere with animals or plants. As well, please do no leave the paths, so that you don’t disrupt any protected area or step on rich organic deposits.
Laurel forest varies according to altitude, from higher altitude with shorter but resistant species, to the lower one, closer to streams so full of amazing tree ferns. Although I must say that the plants/flowers that Azores are usually known for, such as Hydrangeas, are not endemic. Actually, the abundant Japanese cedars and Ginger lilies are largely interfering with some of our plants or birds, like the Azorean Bullfinch (Priolo). Ginger lilies’ roots as so invasive and persistent that keep other plants from growing, Japanese cedars become such a dark and dense forest that nothing grows beneath it. As endemic plants arent’s able to grow, birds like Priolo, an endangered specie, are left with no food or shelter – this is: with minimal chances of survival.
You may check some of our amazing walking trails here: Hiking trails in Azores
As I said in the beginning, I feel there’s no place to hike like this, therefore in my opinion all of the trails are great, allowing you to vary your hiking experience according to the kind of landscape you prefer – closer to the sea, in the mountains (Pico da Vara is the higher one: 1103m), or among the woods finding beautiful waterfalls as you go. I can assure that the views are dazzling in all of them. Trails in S. Miguel island go from easy, to medium, and difficult; the only difficult one is Pico da Vara.
If you need help to decide where to go, or to get to know other trails, you can talk to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be glad to help you.
I believe the two most important things to bring are a rain-cut and – we all know shoes must be comfortable -, but bringing non slipping ones would be excellent. It rains frequently around here, it’s not that common to rain all day long, but it always rains at some point of the day, or at some place, even in Summertime. If we wanted to slide, we would’ve gone figure skating, or something, right?
Non slip shoes
In the same day you may experience rain, cold wind and a warm relaxing sun; yes variety is our thing – so puting on layers is a brilliant idea. The layers will allow you to adjust to it – light, dry fast clothing are the best. Too warm down jackets not suitable aren’t the best thing ever, it’s not that cold in Azores. Even so, the result from all of this rain is astonishingly beautiful, some places look like an amazing deeply green rainforest.
Wet feet and trekking poles
To prevent wet cold feet if hiking all day long or for several hours, taking extra socks in your backpack is a wise move – there will always be wet somewhere somehow (we’ll be talking about the backpack as well one of these days). One thing that I haven’t mentioned that you must always carry with you is sun screen, I couldn’t leave it unsaid. Most trails in S. Miguel are easy to walk through, a trekking pole may not be a decisive item to bring, but it helps to get up or not to slip when you’re coming down. If you don’t have one, relax because we have a natural solution for you:
Below there’s a video of some walking trails around S. Miguel island, I hope you join us sometime!