Geography School Trip To The Azores
The island of São Miguel, one of the group of islands known collectively as the Azores, offers spectacular scenery and is a great place to study geography with your students.
Bubbling hot springs and fumaroles of Furnas
The waterfall and sub-tropical vegetation of Caldeira Velha
Walking inside a lava tube
Spectacular volcanic scenery at Sete Cidades
This tour is available April – October departing on a Saturday.
Descend into the Caldera and visit the Lake and Interpretation Centre. The interpretation Centre explains the work completed over recent years to clean the lake and re-establish and sustain the ecosystem of this special natural environment. Close to the lake see the hot springs and fumaroles, the visible signs of volcanic activity in this area.
At Furnas Town consider how people choose to live in inside a dormant volcano. See the bubbling hot springs and fumaroles in the town centre. Take on the optional study of microbes in the hot springs and visit the small microbiology museum. At the Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens admire the beautiful plants and trees that grow in this micro-climate and fertile volcanic soil, irrigated by iron bearing hot springs.
The Gorreana tea factory and plantation has been in operation since 1883, and is the only tea plantation in Europe producing almost 40 tonnes of tea per year. Learn how the tea plant has adapted to the conditions on the Island and gain an understanding of the tea making process at the factory. There is an opportunity to taste the different types of tea produced here.
Take a view of this Caldera Lake from the view point, 900 metres above sea-level. The area is now a nature reserve in the volcanic complex called Fogo. The last eruption here was in 1553. Take a walk down to the beach on the lake past protected plant species to admire this volcanic feature and one of the islands beauty spots.
This geothermally heated iron bearing waterfall of on the north slope of the Fogo volcano has created an area of lush sub-tropical vegetation. Small pools enable visitors to take a dip in the warm waters. The hot springs present a unique location and a great place to stop and enjoy a packed lunch.
An explanation will be given about the process of producing geothermal power. The island is keen to use as much sustainable energy as possible and the plant now provides 42% of the island’s energy needs. Geothermally heated water is used to heat penthane to create energy. The heated water is then returned underground at a lower temperature.
Ribeira Grande is a historic town located on a volcanic plateau on the the north shore of São Miguel island. The old town has narrow streets and historic buildings including the 17th century baroque Espirito Santo church, the Town Hall and an eight arch bridge from the 18th century. There is a thermal centre taking advantage of the geothermally heated springs.
This beautiful volcanic landscape with its green and blue Caldera lakes is considered one the seven wonders of Portugal. Take a guided 2 hour walk starting at the highest point of the Caldera from where you will see the lakes on one side and the western coast of the island on the other, while five small volcanoes complete the landscape.
Ponta Delgada is the vibrant capital city of São Miguel Island which has developed around a natural bay. The city is also a tourist centre with sea-front hotels and leisure activities. The old town has historic Portuguese architecture with buildings constructed from volcanic stone including the 16th century church of San Sebastien. The 18th century city gates in the historical centre have become the symbol of the city.
Located in the west of Ponta Delgada this is the longest lava tunnel on São Miguel, extending 2,500 metres in three sections, part of which can be visited. The tunnel was created when the surface and lateral areas of a basaltic lava flow cooled but the hot lava continued to flow inside, eventually slowing to create a cavity. This geological feature contains lava stalactites, stalagmites and flow marks.
Students have the opportunity to see Whales, dolphins and other cetaceans. The location of the island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean means the surrounding sea is rich with 24 cetacean species. The Azores is considered one of the best locations in the world for whale watching. Historically the islanders hunted whales until 1987 and the activity was important to the islands’ economy.
Why groups like it:
- develop a deeper understanding of human and physical geography, sustainability and the effects of tourism
- explore the effects of plate tectonics
- experience São Miguel’s geothermal activity
- identify the impact of sustainability issues on local tourism
- consider the implications of living in a remote location
Students will have had an opportunity to:
- learn about sustainable tourism and the preservation of the natural landscape
- understand the need for sustainable energy in this remote location
- consider the management of tectonic hazards
- see the examples of nature’s wonders and other outstanding geological features
- learn about agricultural and economic sustainability and population migration
- carry out field research in a spectacular setting