São Miguel, the “green” island of the Azores

São Miguel, the main island of the Azores is the largest and most popular island of the archipelago. São Miguel is rich with beautiful views, winding coastal roads and volcanic craters.

Friendly villages are scattered across the island. The capital Ponta Delgada offers a mixture of modern buildings and historical monuments, plus restaurants, shopping streets and a beautiful promenade. The island offers an abundance of hiking trails, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.

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Below you can read about five attractions that you definitely should visit when you travel to São Miguel.

1. Stop by the Sete Cidades crater

The largest freshwater lake in the Azores, Lagoa das Sete Cidades is located in a huge volcanic crater and consists of two lakes – Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. Visit the lakes on a clear day to appreciate better their spectacular nature (and to distinguish their sparkling blue and green shades). There are several hiking trails around the lakes, to further explore this breathtaking landscape.


Even on a cloudy day the nature is breathtaking

2. Walk to Lagoa do Fogo

This beautiful “Lagoon of Fire” is one of the highlights of São Miguel. The road to the top over windy mountain roads is fantastic and the vegetation changes with the altitude. Located in the center of São Miguel’s collapsed caldera, surrounded by mountains and small beaches, Lagoa do Fogo is a true natural wonder.

Around the lake you find several hiking trails, including a 13 km long day hike and a short (2 km) trail, that goes directly to the lake via a rocky path.

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Lake Fago on a sunny day 🙂 [Azoresphotos.visitazores.com by Gustav]

3. Admire the geysers in Furnas

Be warned, these sulfurous boiling geysers smell unpleasant. Steam is jetting up from the sizzling cracks in the earth in the midst of boiling mud pools. At the Caldeiras das Furnas, you will not forget that you are on a volcanic island.

Around the geysers you can visit some sites that are absolutely fabulous, such as the crater lake Lagos das Furnas. This lake is located in a picturesque setting and is a fantastic location to rest or to have a picnic. The special green-yellow color of the water is unique.

Don’t forget afterwards to visit the nearby village of Furnas, known for its many hot springs.

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Hotsprings bij Furnas [Azoresphotos.visitazores.com by Maurico de Abreu]

Another highlight is the Parque Terra Nostra. This 20-hectare park, is one of the finest in the world, equipped with lakes and a large variety of trees, shrubs and plants. The floral splendor is overwhelming and the many trees exist already for several centuries.

4. Explore the northeast coast

São Miguel’s “Nordeste” (meaning northeast in Portuguese) is a flowery gem studded with panoramic views. The Miradouro do Sossego -with stunning views of the coast and the mountains- and the Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada, are two flagship beautiful outlook points in this region that you cannot miss.

Miradouro Ponta do Sossego

Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego by Parruco

5. Stroll in the vibrant city of Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada is the most developed city in the Azores. Whitewashed houses and buildings, monasteries and churches adorn the rolling hills surrounding the city. Cobblestone streets and squares decorate the center.

Find a postcard from Ponta Delgada, and look for a picture of the Portas da Cidade. This triple black and white entrance gate was built in the eighteenth century and since then serves as the symbol of the city.

The beautiful square is the perfect base for a walk in the center. The black and white paving stones take you to the imposing Church Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião and to the monastery and pilgrimage Convento de Nossa Senhora de Esperança.

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Ponta Delgada

Walk in the evening to the beautiful promenade, because this is the perfect place to enjoy delicious “Petiscos” (Portuguese tapas) of different types of fish. And then end the day with a relaxing stroll along the coast line.

There are still a lot more things to do on the island – for example make a visit to the Gorreana Tea Plantation (Sao Miguel is the only place in Europe that produces tea!) or to the hot spring Ponta da Ferraria on the West coast (near Ginetes ).

Livro Açores turistico, São Miguel.

Tea plantation on São Miguel [ Picture by Azoresphotos.visitazores]

São Miguel is indeed a unique island and has as holiday destination so much to offer, that you would definitely come back again. Curious what else the Azores has to offer? TUI Netherlands is the only European charter who flies to 3 different Islands of this archipelago. This is ideal when you want to visit more islands of the Azores, because every island is unique and one of a kind.

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