Atlantic Isles

37° 44′ N 25° 40′ W

City of Angra do Heroísmo and harbor of Terceira island, Azores
ExpeditionsUi Arrow rightIslands of the Azores: Fado Music to Fin Whales

Islands of the Azores: Fado Music to Fin Whales

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Highlights

Close-up of a sperm whale fluke at Pico Island, Azores, Portugal
  • With the help of some of the best whale spotters in the world, search for fin, blue, sei, and pilot whales

  • Discover the varied past and the stories of explorers, whalers, and conquerors who all had a part in weaving the tapestry of island history

  • Experience the commitment the locals have to sustainable growth and protecting the natural beauty and ecosystems of the archipelago

  • Aboard National Geographic Endurance, take advantage of the ship’s state-of the-art amenities, from wellness programs and spa treatments to gourmet dining options

Day by Day

Multiple routes available

Some departures follow a modified itinerary. Please refer to departure dates for exact routing of your departure.

2023 Expedition


Starts at

Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal

Ends at

Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal

Download Itinerary

Days 1-2

U.S. / São Miguel, Azores, Portugal / Embark Ship

Fly overnight to Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, where we embark National Geographic Endurance. Lunch and dinner are included on day 2. 

Days 1-2

U.S. / São Miguel, Azores, Portugal / Embark Ship

Fly overnight to Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, where we embark National Geographic Endurance. Lunch and dinner are included on day 2. 

Day 3

Pico

The tallest mountain on the Atlantic Ridge, the long dormant Ponta do Pico, is a defining feature of this beautiful island whose claims to fame are whaling history and wine. Visit the once-booming former whaling village Lajes do Pico and learn about the importance of the whaling industry to these islands at the Whalers’ Museum.Then travel to the wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the moonscape terrain left by the lava flows has been painstakingly converted to vineyards. See the unlikely lava stone corrals that protect the precious vines before ending the day with a tasting of these very special wines.  

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Pico

The tallest mountain on the Atlantic Ridge, the long dormant Ponta do Pico, is a defining feature of this beautiful island whose claims to fame are whaling history and wine. Visit the once-booming former whaling village Lajes do Pico and learn about the importance of the whaling industry to these islands at the Whalers’ Museum.Then travel to the wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the moonscape terrain left by the lava flows has been painstakingly converted to vineyards. See the unlikely lava stone corrals that protect the precious vines before ending the day with a tasting of these very special wines.  

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Faial

More than 20 types of cetaceans can be spotted in the waters surrounding the Azores, and today we go in search of these gentle giants in the channel north of Pico and Horta. A researcher from the biology department of Azores University will join us and share details of the university’s ongoing studies as we scan the sea. Once ashore on the island of Faial, we head to Capelinhos, where we can see how dramatically the landscape changed when its volcano erupted in 1957. Farms and villages were covered with ash, which added nearly an extra mile of land to the island. Later, stroll in the marina, visit the excellent scrimshaw museum, and raise a glass at Peter Café Sport, a legendary pub where sea adventurers historically dropped off their mail. This evening enjoy a very special musical performance of achingly beautiful fado. The genre may trace its roots to mainland Portugal, but the islands have made it their own.  

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Faial

More than 20 types of cetaceans can be spotted in the waters surrounding the Azores, and today we go in search of these gentle giants in the channel north of Pico and Horta. A researcher from the biology department of Azores University will join us and share details of the university’s ongoing studies as we scan the sea. Once ashore on the island of Faial, we head to Capelinhos, where we can see how dramatically the landscape changed when its volcano erupted in 1957. Farms and villages were covered with ash, which added nearly an extra mile of land to the island. Later, stroll in the marina, visit the excellent scrimshaw museum, and raise a glass at Peter Café Sport, a legendary pub where sea adventurers historically dropped off their mail. This evening enjoy a very special musical performance of achingly beautiful fado. The genre may trace its roots to mainland Portugal, but the islands have made it their own.  

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

São Jorge

This morning visit São Jorge, formed by volcanic fissures.An impressive mix of imposing sea cliffs and fajãs—coastal plateaus formed from lava flows—the island has fertile soil that supports picturesque grasslands and farms. On trails that crisscross the ridge and beaches, hike to Caldeira de Santo Cristo Lake, known for its clams; visit the small villages perched on the fajãs; explore the coffee and tea plantations; and taste world-renowned São Jorge cheese. Be on deck with your binoculars this afternoon as we sail around the tip of the island, passing cliffs with nesting sea birds and looking for Risso’s dolphin and whales. We’ll go ashore by Zodiac to explore the secluded saltwater lagoons of Fajã dos Cubres and Fajã de Santo Cristo, “Wetlands of International Importance.”  

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

São Jorge

This morning visit São Jorge, formed by volcanic fissures.An impressive mix of imposing sea cliffs and fajãs—coastal plateaus formed from lava flows—the island has fertile soil that supports picturesque grasslands and farms. On trails that crisscross the ridge and beaches, hike to Caldeira de Santo Cristo Lake, known for its clams; visit the small villages perched on the fajãs; explore the coffee and tea plantations; and taste world-renowned São Jorge cheese. Be on deck with your binoculars this afternoon as we sail around the tip of the island, passing cliffs with nesting sea birds and looking for Risso’s dolphin and whales. We’ll go ashore by Zodiac to explore the secluded saltwater lagoons of Fajã dos Cubres and Fajã de Santo Cristo, “Wetlands of International Importance.”  

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Graciosa

Aptly named, this “gracious” island has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for the balance its inhabitants have achieved between the preservation of the geography and sustainable human development. Travel through a beautiful patchwork of farmland and vineyards dotted with windmills en route to the ancient village of Santa Cruz. At the natural monument Caldeira da Graciosa, we will see Furna do Enxofre, a unique lava cave and underground lake. Later, stroll through the village of Praia, enjoy the sweet pastry queijada da Graciosa, and soak up the tranquility of this quiet harbor. Weather permitting, we will explore the islet Ilhéu da Praia in Zodiacs and kayaks before ending the day with a presentation by a local historian who will set the stage for our visit to Terceira.   

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Graciosa

Aptly named, this “gracious” island has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for the balance its inhabitants have achieved between the preservation of the geography and sustainable human development. Travel through a beautiful patchwork of farmland and vineyards dotted with windmills en route to the ancient village of Santa Cruz. At the natural monument Caldeira da Graciosa, we will see Furna do Enxofre, a unique lava cave and underground lake. Later, stroll through the village of Praia, enjoy the sweet pastry queijada da Graciosa, and soak up the tranquility of this quiet harbor. Weather permitting, we will explore the islet Ilhéu da Praia in Zodiacs and kayaks before ending the day with a presentation by a local historian who will set the stage for our visit to Terceira.   

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Terceira

First settled by Portuguese navigators around 1450, Terceira became a popular port of call for merchant ships and the economic and religious center of the Azores. We will wind along the coastline and explore historic villages like Porto Judeu, a small fishing community; Sao Sebastiao, which has a notable 15th-century parish church; and Altares, with its quaint whitewashed houses capped with traditional chimneys and painted cones. Upland at Algar do Carvao, be amazed by a huge lava tube adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, and later stroll the streets of Praia da Vitoria. Or, take a walking tour with local guides to see the forts, palaces, churches, museums, and gardens of Angra do Heroismo. Step back in time in this 15th-century UNESCO World Heritage site and see firsthand the indelible mark left by the ancient explorers, conquerors, and religious leaders.  

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Terceira

First settled by Portuguese navigators around 1450, Terceira became a popular port of call for merchant ships and the economic and religious center of the Azores. We will wind along the coastline and explore historic villages like Porto Judeu, a small fishing community; Sao Sebastiao, which has a notable 15th-century parish church; and Altares, with its quaint whitewashed houses capped with traditional chimneys and painted cones. Upland at Algar do Carvao, be amazed by a huge lava tube adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, and later stroll the streets of Praia da Vitoria. Or, take a walking tour with local guides to see the forts, palaces, churches, museums, and gardens of Angra do Heroismo. Step back in time in this 15th-century UNESCO World Heritage site and see firsthand the indelible mark left by the ancient explorers, conquerors, and religious leaders.  

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Vila Do Porto, Santa Maria

Today we will be joined by a local whale guide who will share centuries of expertise on a morning whale-watching expedition as we take to the waters in search of the islands’ many cetaceans. In the afternoon, we go ashore at Santa Maria, historically significant as the first landfall of Christopher Columbus on his return from the Americas in 1493. We’ll see a statue of the explorer in the village of Anjos and admire breathtaking vistas as we travel along the coast. Those who choose to hike the Pico Alto-Baíia dos Anjos trail will travel from the highest point on the island to the sea to observe marine birds in their azure surroundings.   

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Vila Do Porto, Santa Maria

Today we will be joined by a local whale guide who will share centuries of expertise on a morning whale-watching expedition as we take to the waters in search of the islands’ many cetaceans. In the afternoon, we go ashore at Santa Maria, historically significant as the first landfall of Christopher Columbus on his return from the Americas in 1493. We’ll see a statue of the explorer in the village of Anjos and admire breathtaking vistas as we travel along the coast. Those who choose to hike the Pico Alto-Baíia dos Anjos trail will travel from the highest point on the island to the sea to observe marine birds in their azure surroundings.   

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

São Miguel

Today we explore the Furnas Valley and its famed hot springs, hiking the trails or perhaps visiting a tea plantation or the lovely garden of Terra Nostra. Sample a typical Azorean dish for lunch with the option to prepare it with a local chef. Naturally cooked underground from the heat of volcanic activity, cozido is a dish made with a variety of meats and vegetables. Those who want a hands-on experience may join a local chef to visit the market for fresh ingredients, prepare, and bury the creation. We will explore the valley while the thermal heat cooks our meal and then enjoy the fruits of our labor. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

São Miguel

Today we explore the Furnas Valley and its famed hot springs, hiking the trails or perhaps visiting a tea plantation or the lovely garden of Terra Nostra. Sample a typical Azorean dish for lunch with the option to prepare it with a local chef. Naturally cooked underground from the heat of volcanic activity, cozido is a dish made with a variety of meats and vegetables. Those who want a hands-on experience may join a local chef to visit the market for fresh ingredients, prepare, and bury the creation. We will explore the valley while the thermal heat cooks our meal and then enjoy the fruits of our labor. 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10

São Miguel / Disembark Ship

This morning we disembark and travel to Sete Cidades, a lovely village set amongst green and blue lakes. We will explore the lakes and village and conclude our expedition with a traditional Azorean lunch before transferring to the airport and homebound flights.

Meals Included: Lunch

Day 10

São Miguel / Disembark Ship

This morning we disembark and travel to Sete Cidades, a lovely village set amongst green and blue lakes. We will explore the lakes and village and conclude our expedition with a traditional Azorean lunch before transferring to the airport and homebound flights.

Meals Included: Lunch

Download Itinerary

NOTE: For expeditions departing April 2024 onward, Day 1 of our itineraries will no longer reflect “departure from the U.S.” and will reflect “arrival to the city” where your expedition begins.  Durations of expeditions will remain unchanged. More details. 

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Explorations 2023-25


Towering basalt peaks, bubbling hot springs, emerald-green farmlands, fascinating seafaring history, world-class wine and cheese and captivating fado music—this is just some of the beauty and vitality you’ll discover as we explore the dramatically beautiful Portuguese archipelago of the Azores aboard the state-of-the-art National Geographic Endurance

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dates
Apr
duration
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Explorations 2023-25

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dates
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duration
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Explorations 2023-25

From

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/ per person

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dates
Apr
duration
10 Days

View our brochure for more details

Explorations 2023-25