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Uncover the glorious gardens of the Azores

19th March 2013 Print

Garden enthusiasts seeking an early summer escape need look no further than the enchanting mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. New for 2013, a seven-night small group tour of Sao Miguel – ‘the green island’ – promises horticultural highlights galore, led by renowned plantsman and Azorean specialist, David Sayers.

Inspired by the success of the 2012 ‘Azorean Garden’ exhibit at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show (organised by Sunvil Discovery in partnership with the Azores Promotion Agency), this eclectic seven-night itinerary takes garden lovers on a fascinating tour around the main island of Sao Miguel – from watermills, forests and botanical gardens to huge volcanic caldera and hot springs. There’s privileged access to private gardens not normally open to the public as well as the chance to visit a number of historical palace gardens and Europe’s first tea plantation. An emphasis will also be placed on seeking out endemic species found only in the Azores.

Says David Sayers: “The islands of the Azores have long been a personal passion of mine. I’ve written the Bradt guide on the archipelago and I count many Azoreans as personal friends as a result of my regular trips there. I am looking forward very much to introducing the island of Sao Miguel to those accompanying me on this small group exploration of Azorean gardens and other delights.”

The small group will stay at the peaceful Hotel Terra Nostra Garden, famed for its extensive botanical gardens. The property is located in the pretty spa town of Furnas, one of the largest thermal water sources in the world, with a beautiful azalea-fringed lake.

Departing 8 June, the Sao Miguel Garden Tour costs £1,691 pp (two sharing) including direct flights (the Azores are just 3.5 hours away from the UK) with SATA International (Gatwick) to Ponta Delgada, seven nights’ half board at two hotels (three-star and four-star), five lunches with drinks (in local restaurants or picnics), transfers, guided excursions, and the services of both David Sayers and a local guide. Single room supplement is £295 pp.

The nine islands of the Azores are Portuguese. For those who wish to stay longer and explore more of the archipelago, tailor-made trip extensions are possible. Sunvil’s expert team can advise.

To book, visit