Discover Sao Miguel for vacation to Azores, Portugal
The Azores are only for nature using their volcanoes, crater lakes, waterfalls and hot springs. These paradise islands are the most impressive and delightful places I’ve ever visited. Situated inside the North Atlantic Ocean, the Azores will still be unspoiled, not (yet) set with tourists and doubtless the greenest islands you’ll ever encounter in your lifetime. They is a paradise on the planet and they’re not referred to as the Hawaii of Europe for nothing. Oh, and also a fun fact; São Miguel hasmore cows than humans.
The favorite and best known island in Azores would be the biggest one; Sao Miguel. Here most flights land from Europe plus the USA. Even though it isn’t that big, it’s worth to waste a few days here, because there’s tons to try and do! Road tripping may be the best (and I even dare to mention the only) strategy to explore the complete island. So I advise to book a rental car ahead of time, like I did. That way there’s no browsing line and you're sure there’s a motor vehicle waiting for you, prepared to explore! I rented an auto via Ilha Verde for everyone three islands I visited. I chose to keep at Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel’s capital, so all my day trips started from that point. Warning: reading this you’ll wish to pack your bags leave for a Sao Miguel Azores excursion immediately!
Miradouro da Boca do Inferno & Sete Cidades
The short hike near Lago do Canario that has a breathtaking sight on the lakes of Sete Cidades. It’s a pleasing drive upwards passing the greenest meadows. At the Lagoa do Canario, you turn all the way through the gate and stick to the dirt road before the parking lot at the conclusion. There’s this short hiking path taking every body the way nearly the viewpoint, that you’ll have essentially the most amazing views of Sao Miguel. After admiring the view as well as the short hike back, you may drive towards the Sete Cidades viewpoint, the Miradouro da Vista do Rei. From there it is possible to drive to Ribeira Grande. (or lower to Sete Cidades, always Mosteiros its keep is a great black rock beach, after which drive to Ribeira Grande).
At Ribeira Grande explore the city a little. At the Rua Nossa Senhora da Conceiçao you may find some stores and cafes. At the end there’s an excellent church as well as a park area.
Hike to Salto do Cabrito
The next stop was a serious challenge to get. Just lookup Bar Restaurant Caldeiras in Google Maps, that’s the place you will park your car or truck to start the hike to your Salto do Cabrito. The hike takes about 2 hours as well as a half. You’ll walk with the
forest and more than pipelines to your waterfall. If you’re lazy you'll be able to also drive on the waterfall, but you’ll miss the experience.
After your hike it’s time for it to relax. Enjoy the lush vegetation on your approach to Caldeira Velha and go on a swim with the waterfall and hotsprings on the Fogo volcano for less than 2€! You can alteration of the wooden cabins on the park. My personal tip? Take wet wipes with you to clean up your feet. You’ll be walking on rocks and soil.
Lagoa do Fogo
On your path back to Ponta Delgada you’ll pass the Lagoa do Fogo viewpoint that provides (again) an incredible view of one more crater lake. A little further is yet another viewpoint it is possible to’t miss. Take into account that in case there is bad weather this drive can be a bit scary. It is steep where there are lots of hairpin turns. You’ll drive with the clouds so be cautious.
Return to Ponta Delgada and have your evening when you eat in one in the tiny local restaurants inside old town center, where they serve your food for the table just as if you’re eating at someone’s house. It’s fresh, simple but delicious food.
Cha Porto Formoso & Cha Gorreana
Sao Miguel is home to the sole two tea plantations in Europe; Cha Porto Formoso and Cha Gorreana, which the two of you can find within the main road between Ribeira Grande and Lomba da Maia near Sao Bras. Cha Porto Formoso is not difficult to recognize from the large tea pot hanging in the entrance. There’s a museum you may visit about its history and you may taste the tea.
Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeiroes
Continue towards you from the tea planatations to Ribeira dos Caldeiroes. This can be a tropical park it is possible to easily find, because its main attraction is usually a waterfall with the road. Here are amazing flowers and plants to spot as well as a few waterfalls. You can easily cross the river to your main waterfall to generate some cool pictures along with it.
Via Nordeste to Faial da Terra
The way from Ribeira dos Caldeiroes to Faial da Terra has many miradouros from where you are able to enjoy fantastic views. You may continue driving to Furnas to get lunch there and continue from that point, but on the sunnier day it is advised to locate lunch on your approach to Faial da Terra or perhaps this little town and start your hike on the Salto do Prego.
Hike to Salto do Prego
The hike for the Salto do Prego as well as the “ghost town” Sanguinho (PRC9SMI) starts at Faial da Terra. You just need to go upstream and continue with the river Ribeira do Faial da Terra. This hike has some steep climbs but it’s a fantastic walk in the event you like to step throughout the jungle passing rivers and gorgeous flowers. At the end you’ll be rewarded together with the sight from the Salto do Prego.
From there you might have 2 options depending around the time left. You can continue the hike to a new waterfall called Salto do Cagarrão or you are able to start returning via Sanguinho. After leaving the city, a really steep descend on the cobblestone path follows that has a view on Faial da Terra.
After the hike you are able to return time for Ponta Delgada via Furnas, which you will explore morning. There are some good restaurants with delicious fish plates and cheap cocktails within the port area. I loved the parrotfish at 100 Espinhas.
Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz
On on your path from Ponta Delgada to Vila Franca do Campo you’ll pass again a great deal of miradouros. Don’t hesitate to halt at each one of these. Arriving in Vila Franca do Campo consider the signals towards the little church Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz. It’s a serious steep route but the vista of the church flanked by hundreds of hydrangeas is incredible. Climb up the large stairs and from above you’ll get to determine the funny shaped island Ilheu da Vila. After this it’s the perfect time to continue for the Furnas valley which can be located in a volcano crater.
Lagoa das Furnas
First you’ll drive on the dreamy Furnas lake. Arriving in the lake you’ll immediately see a parking area at your right side. Park your car or truck and walk as much as the little church next on the lake. From the parking zone it’s also worth walking next on the lake following road and soon you see slightly quay. It’s a lovely place to take photos.
Miradouro do Pico do Ferro
You can drive further to your other side from the lake to view the geisers where they cook meals in. You may continued into a view point called Miradouro do Pico do Ferro. From there you'll be able to see the whole Furnas lake which consists of funny shape.
Parque Terra Nostra
After see the miradouro it’s the perfect time to relax in the botanical garden Parque Terra Nostra near Furnas. Here you’ll look for a super pretty park with hot springs and innumerable type of plants and trees. If ypu swim with the thermal water pool that has a weird yellow brownish color due for the minerals its content has. It’s told these particular minerals will energize you. After your swim make sure you rinse off as much in the thermal water as it is possible to. Also try to launder out your swimsuits, considering that the yellow/brown tends to be.
After your swim it is possible to have lunch at Furnas town and explore the geysers. The smell is awful (rotten eggs) but it’s fascinating to determine all the bowling water and steam popping out from deep underground. The locals even cook cork inside it!
Back to Ponta Delgada to explore the location and its typical Portuguese architecture. It has some little gems including the city gate, the Igreja Matriz De São Sebastião while using square alongside it and it is possible to climb the spiral stairway from the Camara Municipal’s tower. Depending about the time it is also suggest to complete a whale/dolphin spotting tour. According for the tour operators from the islands you might have a 97% possible opportunity to encounter these fantastic creatures. They are spotted by people who find themselves at a lookout about the coast, using powerful binoculars, and inform the boats. If you rather like shopping; there’s a large shopping center called Parque Atlantico on the northwest side of the location.