As the largest island in the dazzling Azores archipelago of Portugal, São Miguel Island is bursting with incredible things to do and natural wonders to discover. Whether you’re looking for some soul rejuvenation or adrenaline-racing activities, you’ll find it all when you travel to São Miguel!
From jaw-dropping scenic landscapes to fairytale villages, here are the best things to do in São Miguel!
Hike around Sete Cidades
Found right on the shores of Azul Lake, just at the bottom of a volcano crater, Sete Cidades is a must-visit city on São Miguel Island. You’ll most definitely want to check out the stunning lakes here, most notably Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Sete Cidades Lake), located on the Western side of the island. Truly picturesque, this half-blue half-green lake (no, really, they’re called Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde), are two of Portugal’s seven Natural Wonders.
There are tons of hiking trails for visitors to explore, including the iconic hike to Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth). The hike will lead you over 1,000 meters above sea level, rewarding you with otherworldly panoramic views of Sete Cidades.
Relax in São Miguel’s hot springs
Not only the perfect place for adventurous activities, São Miguel is also perfect for rest and relaxation. There are tons of hot springs found throughout the island, but one of the hot springs we highly recommend is Caldeira Velha. With jungle surroundings and a stunning waterfall feeding into the pool, Caldeira Velha is a must visit on your trip to São Miguel.
You should also add the Terra Nostra Hot Springs to your bucket list – far from just a hot spring, this dreamy site boasts beautiful botanical gardens, a historic hotel, and more. It’s also the largest hot spring in São Miguel, so rest assured there’s tons to experience here.
Explore Furnas, the fairytale village found in a volcano crater
Speaking of the Terra Nostra Hot Springs, you can find them in the charming Furnas town. Located inside a volcano crate on the eastern side of São Miguel, Furnas is brimming with natural beauty and mystical wonders.
Nature-lovers should visit Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lake) where hiking trails, picnic-spots, and aquatic activities are abundant. Check out any of the area’s Fumarolas (steam holes) where locals cook stew underground for a unique experience. Before your trip to São Miguel comes to an end, be sure to try Cozido das Furnas, the local dish cooking in those very steam holes!
Visit two of Europe’s oldest tea estates
With a rich history of tea production, São Miguel is home to two of Europe’s oldest tea estates dating back to 1883: the Porto Formoso Tea Factory and the Gorreana Tea Factory. Whichever tea estate you choose to visit, you’ll be able to stroll around unique tea plantations, visit the on-site museums, and, of course, enjoy delicious tea.
Enjoy a whale-watching tour
If you travel to São Miguel, you must treat yourself to a whale-watching tour. There are many tours available throughout the Azores, where you can sail on the Atlantic Ocean spotting magnificent whales and dolphins dancing through the water beside you. Blue whales and bottlenose dolphins are the most common to see, but who knows what exotic animals you’ll discover on your adventure – just be sure to bring a waterproof camera!
Go swimming at the quaint Vila Franca Islet
Perhaps you’d like to take a whale-watching tour to Vila Franca Islet, an inhabited islet popular for cliff diving and swimming. This charming islet was created by an underwater volcanic eruption and is surrounded by craggy cliffs and sparkling crystal water. It is rich with a diversity of bird and marine species, along with calm waters perfect for snorkeling. What the islet is perhaps most known for is being the location multiple times for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series – so safe to say, if you’re into cliff diving, Vila Franca Islet is the place to be!
Which of these activities will you enjoy on your trip to São Miguel Island?
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