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Conquering volcanic outdoors - five amazing canyoning adventures on the Azores

While hiking is probably the most popular outdoor activity that the Azores are known for, travelers might be surprised to discover that the Portuguese archipelago offers numerous adventure experiences to explore nature from up close. One of which is canyoning. From natural springs and freshwater streams that meander through endemic forests, to captivating waterfalls that cascade into sparkling pools, most islands of the Azores offer perfect conditions for canyoning.


So what is canyoning exactly?

Canyoning is an adventurous outdoor activity that combines hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, and swimming. It typically takes place in canyons formed by rivers or creeks. While navigating through the canyons you will encounter various natural obstacles, like waterfalls, rock formations, and deep pools. It was Luís Paulo Bettencourt, who started in 1992 practicing canyoning on the Azores’ São Jorge Island and soon the sport spread out over the other islands.

Canyoning on the Azores, The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

Check out these 5 amazing canyoning locations on The Azores for a challenging fun adventure in the stunning wild volcanic scenery of the Azores.


1. Canyoning on São Miguel Island

Salto do Cabrito is a popular canyoning spot on the Azores’ main island São Miguel. Salto do Cabrito is situated near the town of Ribeira Grande, on the northern coast of São Miguel. It is named after the magnificent waterfall that cascades down a rocky gorge, offering a thrilling experience for canyoning enthusiasts. The canyoning experience in Salto do Cabrito involves descending through the gorge, rappelling down waterfalls, jumping into pools, and maneuvering through the canyon's natural obstacles.

Salto do Cabrito, Sao Miguel, Azores, The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays on the Azores

Canyoning in Ribeira dos Caldeirões takes you through a stunning natural landscape filled with waterfalls, pools, and rocky canyons. Ribeira dos Caldeirões is a popular canyoning destination on São Miguel, located in the northeastern part of São Miguel, near the town of Achada. The canyons in Ribeira dos Caldeirões feature a series of cascading waterfalls and narrow gorges, making it an ideal location for canyoning enthusiasts of various skill levels.

Ribeira dos Caldeirões, Sao Miguel, Azores, The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europ


2. Canyoning on São Jorge Island

Canyoning on São Jorge is a fantastic way to experience the rugged and pristine nature of this beautiful island. São Jorge is known for its dramatic cliffs, deep ravines, and stunning coastal scenery. One of the most popular canyoning locations in São Jorge is Fajã do Ouvidor. The canyons of Fajã do Ouvidor are characterized by their steep walls, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear pools. As you navigate through the canyons, you'll have the opportunity to rappel down waterfalls, swim in natural pools, and hike through beautiful natural surroundings.

Another notable canyoning spot in São Jorge is Fajã dos Cubres. This location offers a mix of coastal and inland canyons, allowing you to explore different types of landscapes. The canyons of Fajã dos Cubres feature breathtaking waterfalls, deep gorges, and unique rock formations. It's a great place to challenge yourself with rappels, jumps, and swims in the midst of stunning natural scenery.

Faja, Sao Jorge, Azores, The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

3. The island of Santa Maria,

Santa Maria features several canyoning locations; here are some popular spots:

Located in the eastern part of Santa Maria, Ribeira do Maloás offers canyoning opportunities with beautiful waterfalls, rock formations, and natural pools. It is one of the most well-known canyons on the island. In the central part of Santa Maria, you will find Ribeira do Aveiro featuring cascades, narrow gorges, and stunning natural surroundings. Finally, Ribeira do Cerrado, in the northwest of the island, provides canyoning enthusiasts with an array of challenges via rappelling, water slides, and deep pools.

Santa Maria, Azores, The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

4. Canyoning on Flores Island

The verdant landscapes and crystal clear waters of the island of Flores are a playground for canyoning enthusiasts. From rushing rivers, dense forests, and hidden waterfalls to deep ravines and sheer cliffs, there are plenty of surprises waiting for you on your canyoning expedition. Flores offers several canyoning opportunities, each with its own distinctive features. One popular canyoning spot on the island is Ribeira da Janela. This canyon features a series of cascading waterfalls, deep pools, and narrow passages, providing an exciting and challenging canyoning experience.

Another notable canyoning location on Flores is Ribeira do Ferreiro. This canyon offers a mix of waterfalls, natural slides, and unique rock formations.

Ribeira do Ferreiro, Flores, Azores, The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

5. Terceira Island

Last but not least, there is Terceira Island. Ribeira dos Biscoitos, on the northern coast of Terceira, is a popular spot for canyoning. It features stunning volcanic cliffs, waterfalls, and natural pools. The canyons in this area provide various levels of difficulty, making it suitable for both beginners and more experienced canyoners. Set on the eastern coast of Terceira, Ribeira das Cabras offers an exciting canyoning experience. The canyons in this area are known for their challenging descents and can be more suitable for those with previous canyoning experience.

Canyoning, Azores, The Small Adventure Company - Adventure and Family Holidays in Europe

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