Azores archipelago is a hiking heaven. There are dozens of trails of different difficulty, length and type so you can choose between hikes going across lava stones, those around the lakes or those entering deep inside the forests. Each one is special, and Gorreana tea fields hike in S. Miguel island is just one of them. What makes it unique is that there are not many places in Europe (if any), where you can hike through the tea plantations.
This is a circular path through the tea plantations, and it starts in front of the Gorreana factory, which was opened in 1883 and it's the oldest one in Europe. The plant used for green and black tea production is Camellia sinensis and it was brought to the island in 1750, on big boats coming from the East to the Azores.
Carefully cross the road in front of the factory towards the gate to tea plantations. Go left, hit an ascending dirt road, parallel to the road, which winds between the plantation, and afterwards also through Japanese Cryptomeria. When you pass a stone bridge, the landscape will turn into a forest-like tea field. You will notice the fields, and as you step higher to the high point of the route, you will be able to enjoy the view on the north coast of the island. Follow the signs, leave the main road, which turns to the left, continue along a narrow dirt road down. This route was used at the time of the harvests by the factory workers to descend through the plantations to the tea factory. Needless to say - the smell is stunning all the way.
The route ends in the factory, and a warm tea is just what you need after a walk. Take an opportunity to rest, sip a tea and discover more about tea culture on the island, through the different processes involved in its production and shown in the factory. Currently Gorreana produces and sells different types of green, black, and other scented, 100% organic teas. They produce a total of 33 tonnes per year.
Gorreana route is a circular one and rated as an easy one. It's 3.4km long and you need about 1h30min to make it.
Cover photo: Zdenek Kajzr; Photo inside the story: A. Cester
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