One of the nicest hikes I have taken recently is the hike around the Caldeira on Faial Island on the Azores. It’s a fairly easy, but really spectacular walk.
Faial Island on the Azores consists of several volcanoes. The biggest one is the one they call the Caldeira, which actually means “the boiler” if you translate it in to english. The diameter of the Caldeira is about two kilometers and it’s an 8 kilometer walk to circumnavigate it on foot.
The views from there are spectacular, both when you look in to the crater and around the whole island which you can see from there.
Local farmers have their cows grazing on the Caldeira too, so you will most likely have to say hello to a few cows along the way and be ware not to step in some cow shit 🙂
The Caldeira is 400 meters deep and there is actually a smaller volcano inside the Caldeira, making the whole scenery even more spectacular.
Be ware that the Azores has very changing climate and it can go from bight sunshine to cloudy/rainy/stormy weather in just a few minutes, so make sure to bring suitable clothing.
Also remember to wear some good hiking footwear. The walk is not that hard and there is not much elevation, but it can get very slippery there, as it rains a lot on the top of the Caldeira and the morning dew can make things slippery too.
The path is well marked and it’s very hard to get lost there. Be ware if it’s cloudy though, as this can make you lose sight completely within a few seconds. But in general it’s not a hard hike, as long as you are reasonably fit. Most people will spend 2 1/2 to 3 hours hiking the Caldeira.
Getting to the Caldeira.
There are actually a couple of trails going up to the Caldeira from sea level, but you will need a full day of hiking if you want to walk up to the Caldeira and around it and walking back down, would make it a very long day. What most people do and what i did when I walked it a few days ago, was to organise transport up and down. You can do that either through one of the local outdoor travel agencies in Horta, or simply arrange with a local taxi to take you there and return later to pick you up.
Getting to Faial Island.