Azores: TOP 10 not to be missed in São Miguel

by Nuno Madeira
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This post was last updated on January 29th, 2020 at 11:15 pm

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In July 2015 I took a short trip to Azores, São Miguel Island, and with a lot to see and do, this is for me the TOP10 of places you can’t miss in São Miguel.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

  • Lagoa do Fogo
  • Parque Terra Nostra
  • Ilhéu Vila Franca do Campo
  • Caldeira Velha
  • Ponta Delgada

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  • Lagoa das Furnas
  • Poça Da Dona Beija
  • Miradouro Vista do Rei
  • Miradouro da Grota do Inferno
  • Lagoa das Sete Cidades

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Lagoa do Fogo

Lagoa do Fogo (Lagoon of the Fire) is the second-largest lagoon on the island of São Miguel, and also the highest, classified since 1974 as a Nature Reserve due to its natural and scenic value. With a size of approximately 1360 hectares, this dormant volcano caldera was formed about 15.000 years ago, forming the large volcanic massif of the Serra de Água de Pau.

From the viewpoint, the view is imposing and it is well worth exploring the landscaped and natural beauty of this natural wonder. The descent to the base is not too complicated and worth the effort. You need to walk about 2 km but a few seconds down there are well worth it, where the only sounds you will hear are the wind and the birds that echo in that immensity.

Part of the descent is made with purpose-built steps and, in the end, a small wooden staircase connects to this natural paradise. Count on at least 1-2 hours to get down, enjoy the view and go up.

More photos and information about the descent to the base in AZORES: THE TRAIL INTO LAGOA DO FOGO.

Location (viewpoint): 37.769363, -25.488664 | Google Maps
Trail to the base: WalkMeGuide[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”6216″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Parque Terra Nostra

The Parque Terra Nostra (Terra Nostra Park), which is over 200 years old and covers an area of ​​12.5 hectares, is located in Furnas Valley, in the crater of a dormant volcano since 1630. In this park, with several possible routes, you will find plants in growing stages. very distinct.

The thermal water tank is one of the obligatory stopping points, apart from the fact that it is at a temperature between 35ºC and 40ºC giving a feeling of rest and relaxation, besides being full of minerals that help in the recovery of energy. But the tank is not everything, the park is also recognized for its richness and diversity in exotic plants and trees.

It is not possible to be indifferent to the diversity and quantity of existing plants, and just to have an idea, there are more than 600 copies of camellias. To enjoy all that the park has to offer, it is ideal to schedule a visit for an afternoon, so you will have time to do one of the recommended routes at the entrance, and then bathe in the thermal water of the tank.

More photos and information in AZORES: TERRA NOSTRA PARK.

Website: www.parqueterranostra.com
Schedule: Summer (1/04 to 30/10) 10 am – 6 pm | Winter (1/10 to 01/31) 10 am – 5 pm | (02/02 to 03/31) 10 am – 5:30 pm
Prices: Children: € 4.00 | Adults: € 8.00 (information updated on July 2017)
Location: 37.771691, -25.314753 | Google Maps[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”6215″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Ilhéu Vila Franca do Campo

Ilhéu is a small volcanic island at a distance of 500 meters from the coast of Vila Franca, and 1200 meters from the Tagarete pier, in the center of the village, where boats leave every morning. It is the result of the crater of an ancient submerged volcano, considered one of the main tourist attractions of the island of São Miguel.

Classified as a Nature Reserve, the walls of the crater are lined with endemic vegetation, while inside there is a natural pool with an almost circular shape that delights the visitors.

From June to September there is a regular boat service connecting the pier to the islet, however, due to the high demand, tickets usually sell out around 11 am. The time of the first trip to the islet is at 10 am and the return until 6 pm. The boat has a maximum capacity of 34 people.

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Unfortunately, it was not at all possible for me to visit the Ilhéu due to a water jump event held by a well-known brand of energy drinks, but it is on the list for the next visit.

Hours: June to September, from 10 am to 6 pm
Price: € 5.00
Location: 37.713808, -25.430626 | Google Maps[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”6217″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Caldeira Velha

Located on the northern slope of the Água de Pau mountain range, on the outskirts of the Lagoa do Fogo Nature Reserve, it is characterized by its exotic environment, nestled in a valley and surrounded by a huge escape.

This stream is fed by hot springs of thermal origin that fall forming cascades with brownish water due to the large abundance of iron in the water.

There are two distinct places for a relaxing bath: the first one above, which features a waterfall of heated water that we often only imagine in movies; the other, lower and near the entrance, scares at first sight due to the warning sign with water indication at 61ºC, however, do not be alarmed, the water after descending to the tank already only shows values in the order of 25ºC – 30ºC , which invites you to a relaxing bath in the midst of a unique paradise.

Website: Facebook
Prices: € 2.00 single ticket | € 4.00 family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) | € 1.00 senior ticket | € 1.00 ticket children from 4 to 12 years old | € 1.00 people with special needs | Free admission for children from 0 to 3 years.
Schedule: Nov. to Feb. from 09 am to 5 pm | Mar to Oct from 10 am to 6 pm | Open to Sept. from 09 am to 8.30 pm
Location: 37.78277, -25.50083 | Google Maps[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”6218″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Ponta Delgada

The administrative capital of the Azores Archipelago, Ponta Delgada is also the capital of São Miguel Island that until then belonged to Vila Franca do Campo, shaken in 1522 by a large earthquake that caused a huge destruction on the site.

Due to the fishing industry and the fixation of many foreign traders, it was in the nineteenth century that Ponta Delgada gained greater importance, success and prosperity.

This heritage is still visible today in the colonial and romantic aspect of the city, typical of this period, giving it a charming atmosphere. Its easy-to-walk streets breathe history, either through the narrow cobbled streets, the cosmopolitan environment, or the many scattered palaces demonstrating the economic power of times gone by.

Right in front of the São Sebastião Mother Church there is a huge terrace and if you are lucky you will still be entitled to a live music concert. The more modern marina is popular for its restaurants and bars that come to life until the wee hours.

Mother Church of Saint Sebastian: 37.74008, -25.66833 | Google Maps
Doors of the City: 37.7395, -25.66844 | Google Maps
Romantic Gardens: 37.74511, -25.67652 | Google Maps
Marina: 37.739534, -25.663247 | Google Maps[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”6219″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Lagoa das Furnas

Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lagoon) presents a landscape of great beauty and peace of mind, and it is on one of its shores that the famous stews (meat or cod) are cooked and the pots with the stew introduced into the high-temperature volcanic soil.

The preparation of the stew is done very early, but if you want to watch the removal of the pots, should be in place around noon.

If you want to sample this famous delicacy enjoyed by the entire archipelago, I recommend that you make a reservation in advance at one of the local restaurants to avoid the risk of not being able to taste it or waiting hours. At the time I didn’t make a reservation and had to wait a while to be able to have lunch, however, made up for the wait.

I had lunch at Tony’s Restaurant and I didn’t feel any strange taste, and both the meat and the sausages were quite tasty.

Opposite the “natural ovens”, you will find the Chapel of Our Lady of Victories, which enchants those who contemplate it. Further ahead, along the same road, is the Furnas Monitoring and Research Center, which aims to implement and disseminate the ecological recovery actions of the water quality and the Lagoa ecosystem.

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Location (food): 37.768597, -25.331313 | Google Maps
Chapel of Our Lady of Victories: 37.75022, -25.33072 | Google Maps
Furnas Monitoring and Research Center: 37.75212, -25.33797 | Google Maps[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”6221″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Poça Da Dona Beija

Also known as “Poça da Juventude” or “Poça do Paraíso”, it is located in Furnas Valley, in the so-called “Hot Water Zone”, and is a thermal space for leisure and well-being known for its therapeutic properties. The name is related to the Brazilian soap opera “Dona Beija” because of the romantic waterfall images where the character “Dona Beija” bathed.

Before adopting this name, the place was known as “Levada do Tio Chico Brasil”.

Here you will find a set of hot and hot springs due to the secondary volcanic phenomena evident in the Furnas Volcano Caldera. With surface temperatures that can reach 39ºC, this space is made up of three distinct pools.

The strong yellow color of the water is due to the presence of cyanobacteria, photosynthetic oxygen beings that in iron-rich environments react with free iron, oxidizing it and leading to its precipitation.

It is important to read the local recommendations as water can spoil silverware or other jewelry, and most importantly, do not be tempted to cover yourself with yellow “mud” as it is not easy to remove after the skin.

Schedule: Every day from 07 am to 11 pm (leaving the pools at 10.45 pm)
Price: Adults € 3.00 and Children € 2.50
Additional Services Available: towel hire, locker rental, and hot water showers
Location: 37.7693, -25.31884 | Google Maps[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”6212″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Miradouro Vista do Rei

Unfortunately, on the day that I had destined for the west side of São Miguel Island, it was hit by a dense fog and some rain, which prevented me from photographing as well as enjoying all the beauty of this place having to resort to photos other than those. my.

I had huge expectations but I am obliged, but very willingly, to return to São Miguel to try to catch these places in good time to be able to photograph.

This viewpoint is located south of the volcanic caldera of Lagoa das Sete Cidades and adopted this name after the visit of King D. Carlos and Queen D. Amélia, in 1901.

There is a trail that starts at this location and goes along the western slope of the Cumeeira da Caldeira das Sete Cidades. Descriptions of the trail say that you can admire all the splendor of the boiler with emphasis on the green and blue lagoons.

Location: 37.83925, -25.79491 | Google Maps[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”6213″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Miradouro da Grota do Inferno

Miradouro da Grota do Inferno (Hell’s Grotto Viewpoint) is one of the best views on São Miguel Island. This viewpoint is located next to the Canary Forest and has a picnic park nearby. A quick Google search is enough to understand what I’m talking about, even without being there.

At over 700 meters, from here you can see the Lagoa do Canário, the Lagoa das Sete Cidades, the Lagoa Rasa and part of the village of Sete Cidades.

Surrounded by a wild and natural landscape, the trail to the viewpoint is not too long and easily accessible.

Location: 37.84244, -25.76083 | Google Maps[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_single_image image=”6220″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

Lagoa das Sete Cidades

Lagoa das Sete Cidades is perhaps the most famous spot in São Miguel, and from the photos on the internet, it’s easy to see why. As I pointed out earlier, the rain and fog that fell on the day I visited the lagoon prevented me from taking pictures or seeing part of this wonder and had to resort to a photo other than mine.

This is the largest freshwater lake in the Azores and is situated in the volcanic craters that form the island, consisting of two lagoons (the green lagoon and the blue lagoon) that make an indescribable color contrast.

The lagoon, with a maximum depth of 33 meters and a length of 4.2 km, is surrounded by green fields of cultivation.

Location: 37.855197, -25.786165 | Google Maps[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_facebook][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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