Last February we visited one of the Azores islands: São Miguel. Since we lived in Lisbon, it was super easy and cheap to fly there. We only had time for 1 island, so we chose Sao Miguel since it’s the biggest one, and everyone recommended this island for the first time. We hired a motorcycle to drive around the island, and booked a guesthouse in Ribeirinha. We stayed with a family who were born on the island and we could eat with them which was very nice! The father of the family loved nature, like we also do, the most on the island so he gave us the best tips for our short stay. I think we’ve made the best of our stay in 4 days, so we will show you our route!
In the morning we arrived at the airport of Ponta Delgada. Our scooter was ready to go so we immediately drove to our guesthouse to leave the bags there. We made a few stops along the coastline, to check out the waves. They were huge! Apparently it’s a good spot to surf.
After lunch with the family, we drove to check out the waterfall: Cascata do Salto do Cabrito. You could hike all the way up to the beginning, but we didn’t do this. The view at the bottom was beautiful enough! After that, we drove to Lagoa do Fogo. It’s a lake in the mountains and the views were amazing. We hiked a bit around the lake to discover this area and after 2 hours we were back on the scooter. The area of this lake is beautiful, so we drove around some more. After we drove to the coastline to check out the sunset at the cliffs. We took some pictures and enjoyed the view at Miradouro do Cintrao.
We decided to have a full day at the east side of the island, and a whole day at the west side of the island. Today we checked out the east side. First thing in the morning, we took a bath at the hot spring of Ponta da Ferraria. This hot spring is attached to the ocean, so we had to go in the morning because of low tide. For the rest of the day, the ocean would be too wild. After that we went to Sete Cidades and drove around the lakes. We stopped at Monte Palace hotel ruins to climb the abandoned hotel and watched the most beautiful view over the two lakes. After we drove by Santiago Lake to drone the lake, which is an old crater of a volcano. And the last stop of the day was at Miradouro da Boca do Inferno. We hiked around here for an hour, and the top had incredible views over 2 lakes (also old craters). We stayed here for a while to enjoy the views, took tons of pictures and picnicked a bit. We decided to have dinner in Ponta Delgada to check out the only big city of Sao Miguel. It was nice, but not so special. We like nature way more than the city here. We did checked out if we could book a whale tour here, but unfortunately it wasn’t the season for whale watching. Must be great tho!
This day we’ve been exploring the west side of the island. After the second day, we really thought it couldn’t get better because the east side is more touristic. But the west side surprised us even more!
We started at Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões, a national park full with waterfalls and a beautiful forest. We walked around here for 2 hours and had lunch in the park. After we visited a lot of miradouro’s (viewpoints), the best one was Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego. You had a view over the cliffs of the island, this side is much wilder and only nature. Really recommend this viewpoint! We even went down at this viewpoint to check out the beach: Praia do Lombo Gordo. It’s a black beach, hard to reach but super wild. The view on top was nicer, but the beach also had some great views. After some other miradouro’s (there are a lot on this island) we visited the town Povoação to sit down on a terrace. We liked this village, it didn’t feel touristic at all and the harbor was beautiful. Our latest stop was at Furnas lake to watch the sunset. The lake was in the mountains, but what we didn’t know was that this was the place where people cook their food in the ground. It was full of gases and smelled super bad, but interesting to see. We walked around a bit to check out the small lakes that were boiling and drove around the lake some more.
Our last day already! In the morning we went to see the island of Vila Franca do Campo. In summer you can visit this small island with a boat and swim in the inland sea. In winter it was closed, but we could see it from the mainland since it’s so close by. We flew our drone there to take some awesome pictures, it’s a very cool island. After it started raining unfortunately. We already made a reservation at the hotsprings of Centro de Interpretação Ambiental da Caldeira Velha (recommend to make reservations here, it’s always busy) so we went there. It was raining even harder when we got there, so we were super cold after our motorcycle ride. The baths were much hotter than the one at the ocean, so we could warm up and the rain didn’t matter anymore. We stayed here for 2 hours and loved it. It went too quickly, the park is beautiful and super green, and you could try different natural hot springs. We loved this place the most of our stay in Sao Miguel. After this we went to the city again of Ponte Delgado, to eat something. After this it was already time to go back to the airport!
When we just arrived at Sao Miguel, the first image was a lot of farmers and farmers land. We were not so surprised, but that changed quickly after we drove around. We’ve never seen a place this green, so many different colors of green, it’s amazing. Nature is also something else than Europe with volcanoes, hot springs and waterfalls. We couldn’t get enough of the amazing viewpoints. We really loved Sao Miguel and want to visit the other islands as well! What we didn’t know: the Azores are not tropical. It’s always around the same temperature (15-20 degrees) and you could have 4 seasons in 1 day. We’ve seen this and it was cold sometimes. But on the other hand, it can’t be this green if it was warmer. Definitely recommend this beautiful place and there is so much more to discover!!