Fajã da Caldeira do Santo Cristo

Great Route of São Jorge - São Jorge closed trail

Trail Info

*NOTE: THERE IS WORK IN PROGRESS TO CHANGE THE PATH NEAR FAJÃ DOS BODES (CHECK PR3 SJO)

The Great Route of São Jorge covers approximately half of the Island, in a linear route that connects the parish of Topo, in the Eastern part of the Island, with the Fajã dos Cubres, on the North coast. It has an extension of approximately 41,5 km.

This trail alternates from the plateau of the inner part of the island, where the volcanic cones that generated the Island were born, with the high, steep cliffs that come to an end in small flat areas at the sea level, the famous landscapes of the Fajãs of São Jorge.

Whenever possible, enjoy the natural bathing areas to relax and revitalize. The urban and rural centres should be used to purchase any supplies you might need for the hike.

The trail is divided into two stages, of approximately 26,5 km and 15 km. You should plan your walk according to your physical ability, interests and availability. There are stations and designed places to spend the night (Local Lodging and Rural Tourism facilities), as wild camping is forbidden.

Outline

Trail Information

Category - Linear
Difficulty - Hard
Extension - 41.5 km
Time average - 11h30
Downloads

Stage 1 -  Topo/Fajã dos Vimes

Extention:26,5 km

Duration: 05h30

After heavy rainy days, avoid the trail Lourais/Fajã dos Vimes due to the difficult crossing of the streams.

Begin the stage near Ponta do Topo lighthouse, with a view over the islet of Topo and Terceira island. Follow the marks near the coast until you arrive to the center of the village. Pass by the Franciscan Convent of São Diogo and go ahead until the recreation harbor, passing by Solar dos Tiagos, building from the 19th century and classified as public interest. Coming back, follow left, passing near a Whale Watching lookout and go left again on a dirt road.

This walk along the south coast will go through Santo Antão, São Tomé and go down the Saramagueira road until Fajã de São João, place of narrow roads and traditional cobblestone. Pass by the church towards Lourais, crossing some agricultural fields that along the climbing, will give place to woods.

Before Lourais, cross over ribeira do Salto, continue until you reach the village and proceed, on a descending sense, by a dirt road heading to Fajã dos Bodes.

Reaching ribeira dos Cedros, cross it carefully due to the slippery rocks. Continue the trail with a view over the islands of Pico and Faial, Fajã dos Bodes, Vimes and village of Calheta. Arriving to Fajã dos Bodes, follow the marks near the coast until you reach Fajã dos Vimes.

Go down the road until the recreational harbor, where this stage ends and where you can profit to have a dive. Here there are connections with other points of the island through the walking trail PR 09 SJO Fajã dos Vimes – Fragueira – Portal.

Inside the fajã it is possible to visit the handcraft workshop where the traditional handmade quilts are done and also to taste a locally produced coffee.

Stage 2 - Fajã dos Vimes/Fajã dos Cubres

Extention: 15 km

Duration: 06h00

This stage of 15 km connects Fajã dos Vimes (South coast) to Fajã dos Cubres (North coast). Along the trail and whenever necessary to cross a gate, always leave it closed.

Begin the stage on an ascending dirt road towards Serra do Topo. At the crossroad follow right or choose the detour on the left until Fragueira (3,4 km both ways, through PR 09 SJO Fajã dos Vimes – Fragueira – Portal), where you can visit the ruins of the house of Maestro and Composer Francisco de Lacerda.

Reaching the tarmac road, turn right passing by a spring known as Fonte de Água Azeda. A few meters ahead choose a road on your left hand side, going up the cliff on a stone stairway, generally shaded by a wood of Australian Cheesewood (Pittosporum undulatum). At the end of the stairway the ground may be slippery or/and muddy, being advisable the use of proper footwear.

When you arrive to a gate, turn left and go on a dirt road flanked by Hydrangeas (Hyndrangea macrophylla) that ends on a regional road, near the Eolic Park of Serra do Topo. Proceed until you find the sign to Fajã de Santo Cristo and follow by a descending dirt road towards Caldeira de Cima. Cross the bridge of Tia Júlia, continue carefully (slippery road) by a detour on the right to Cascata Pequena.

Proceed until the fajã, passing by the Santuário do Senhor Santo Cristo and by the Environmental Interpretation Center. Here, you can visit the Lake of Caldeira de Santo Cristo, classified as Protected Landscape and place of cultural and scenic interest.

Continue near the coast, passing through Fajã dos Tijolos and Belo, this last one inhabited until the 1980 earthquake. Fom here it is already possible to see the Fajã dos Cubres, place where this stage ends, near the church of Nossa Senhora de Lourdes.