São Miguel was one of my favorite islands in The Azores and definitely shouldn’t be missed. There were so many things to see so here is a blog post to tell you the best places to visit in São Miguel.
#1 Miradouro Da Boca do Inferno
This was one of my favourite view points on the islands. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a volcanic crater, covered in greenery and filled with water before but I hadn’t and WOW!
Behind the crater you can see a glimpse of one side of Sete Cidades lake.
The road that you can see circling the crater is actually used in a popular car race on the island.
How to get to Miradouro da Boca do Inferno
To get to Mirador da Boca do Inferno, type in ‘Lagoa do Canario’ into Google maps and leave your car at that location. This area is usually very busy so you may have to park on the road.
Opposite the car park, you’ll see a closed gate to stop cars driving down the road. Walk past the gate, keep straight for 100m then turn left. Keep following this path until you reach the crater – you can’t miss it. The walk takes approximately 15 minutes.
#2 Lagoa do Fogo
Another one of the best places to visit in São Miguel in Lagoa do Fogo. The downside is that this lake is mostly in the fog(o). Sorry, that was a joke among our group lol!
Seriously though, the lake is usually covered by a layer of thick fog and a lot of the time you can’t see anything. I checked the webcam for 3 days straight and I genuinely thought someone had turned the camera off 😛
You have to get lucky with this one, but if you do, it’s absolutely worth the trip!
You can see the lake from the top, and also make your way down to the bottom for a swim. The trek down takes around 20 minutes and the water temperature is perfect!
On the way back up you’ll need around 35 minutes as it’s pretty steep and hard on the legs!
#3 Salto Do Cabrito
This has to be one of coolest waterfalls I’ve ever been to. It’s definitely not the biggest, or the most powerful but the colours of the rocks surrounding the fall make this place pretty unique. Not only that, but it’s the warmest waterfall I’ve swam in!
It turns out that there are a number of hot springs in the area and I believe the water ends up here at this natural swimming hole.
Best places to visit in São Miguel
#4 Hot Waterfall of Ribeira
This is a hidden gem in São Miguel 😍 You wouldn’t know this place exists unless you do the research.
It’s in the most random place I think I’ve ever found a waterfall. You have to park on the side of the road, and walk through a tunnel to find this spot.
Make sure you walk on the side of the road heading towards the traffic and use your phone torch so that the cars can see you.
The orange colour at the bottom of the fall is caused by iron.
#5 Sete Cidades Lake
Sete Cidades is a twin lake situated inside the crater of a dormant volcano, one is a green lake and the other is blue.
The crazy thing is that the water can pass through the bridge from one side to the other so I found it strange how the colours are still completely different. After doing some research I found that it’s simply the way that the lights reflect off each of them.
The legend states that the lakes were formed from the tears of a green eyed princess’ and a blue eyed shepherd who shared a forbidden love.
There are various hikes that you can do around this lake. Park at the bottom and off you go 🙂
#6 Natural Thermal Baths
There are a number of thermal baths on São Miguel. Some are more natural than others in the sense that they haven’t had as many man-made alternations done to them. We went to Poca da Dona Beija and it was a cool place, however I believe there are better ones available.
I personally wanted to visit these baths: Centro de Interpretação Ambiental da Caldeira Velha
but we were meeting friends and so we went to Poca da Dona Beija ones instead. It cost €6 entry fee which gives you 1.5 hours in the pools. There are various pools to choose from that differ in water temperature. The coldest one is 28 degrees and the hottest is 35.
The thermal baths are rich in iron and so make sure you wear something that you don’t mind getting ruined. I recommend tying up your hair and rinsing your swimsuit post swim to get rid of any orange colour.
TIP! Definitely do not wear WHITE!
#7 Ponta da Ferraria
This is arguably one of the most unique experiences I’ve had. It’s a natural hot spring IN THE OCEAN.
This specific area has hot water in it, and at low tide is around 35 degrees. As the water start to rise and the cold ocean water begins to enter the pool, the temperature begins to lower. If you want to enjoy this natural phenomenon in its element, make sure you go at low tide.
#8 Parque Terra Nostra
This place is a little touristy, however it’s worth a visit. It’s a huge botanical garden in the centre of Furnas with numerous thermal baths scattered around. This place is extremely well kept.
There is a large selection of plants and flowers, water fountains, trees and baths.
It’s a beautiful place to spend an afternoon, soaking up the hot water and wandering through the peaceful gardens. It’s also a great place to get some good photos!
The thermal baths don’t have the most appealing colour, but you should definitely go for a dip.
The entrance fee to this park is €8 and you can stay as long as you like.
One location that has to be included in this list of the best places to visit in São Miguel is Ilha do Vila Franca.
#9 Ilha do Vila Franca
This tiny island off the coast of Sao Miguel called Ilha do Vila Franca is worth an afternoon trip. The boat costs €8 return and takes a short 10 minutes.
The boat leaves to the island on the hour and returns at 10 past the hour.
The first boat is at 10am and the last boat back is at 6pm.
Once you arrive, you can choose how long to stay. The only thing you can do here is swim, but it’s definitely a cool place to do so!
At low tide, you can sit on the beach that you can see here in this photo. At high tide, it disappears!
There is a very colourful marine life inside this island, so if you have a pair of goggles or a mask, definitely take it with you.
#10 Cha Gorreana Tea Plantation
Chá Gorreana tea plantation; formed in 1883 and is currently the only functioning tea plantation in Europe.
The venue opens from 8.00-18.00 and here you can see the machinery used to process the tea and also try some free samples. You can walk around the grounds after hours which is great if you want to take some photos at sunset with the golden light.
The tea plantation is on the north side of the island, close to many other attractions & cool viewpoints so you can make a day trip out of it.
Best places to visit in São Miguel
#11 Caldeira Das Furnas
This place is one of the main things to see on São Miguel island. As you drive past it you’ll see tons of steam coming from the ground. This is an area with volcanic activity and fumaroles that spout boiling water and medicinal mud.
The most prominent thing about these springs is the smell due to the high level of sulpher in the water. It smells like rotten eggs.
#12 Ponta Delgada + Furnas Town
Ponta Delgada is the capital of São Miguel and has many small streets to explore, a large market on a morning and on the weekends and a handful of cool cafes and bars to try.
It takes about 40 minutes to drive to Furnas from the capital city, Ponta Delgada. The best way to visit Furnas is with a rental car.
The town of Furnas is extremely cute and has a very nice vibe. It is a nature-lovers paradise and has several natural parks that are rich with biodiversity. You should spend some time here wandering through the streets, the gardens and also grab a bite to eat at one of the quaint cafes.
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