The Ultimate Itinerary of São Miguel Island (Made By An Azorean)

sao miguel itinerary road trip local tips

São Miguel, Azores, my home island. With so many different landscapes and things to do here, planning a route is essential. This is the exact road trip itinerary I use to show São Miguel island to friends visiting.
Local tips for international travelers, all updated for 2022.

A significant portion of the time I spend in São Miguel, my home island, is (re-)exploring it when I’ve got friends visiting.

Pressure is on me to make sure I keep them busy with a balanced itinerary plan that allows them to have a good travel experience.

This 4-day São Miguel road trip itinerary is the result of several years of being a local guide. Here’s what you can find in this article:

São Miguel Road Trip Itinerary – Sections

The ultimate road trip itinerary of São Miguel

I love to plan itineraries. It’s kind of my thing.

I’ve done detailed itineraries in Croatia and Portugal, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, and Greece.

This itinerary for São Miguel was first created when I got friends visiting in 2015. Since then, I’ve updated it several times, the last time being in May 2022.

Other blunt copies of this itinerary – seriously, same title, map and article structure – have shown up in the web as well, but I can assure you this is the original thing. 😉

Things to know about this São Miguel itinerary

  • You’ll need 4 full days, this is the bare minimum you’ll need to explore São Miguel. The order of days is pretty much irrelevant. If you have more time, the better.
  • It’s tailored for first-time visitors. Have a read at the top things to know before going to the Azores and this other page to complement the info here.
  • It assumes you’ll have a car. I highly recommend you get your own wheels in Azores or you won’t be able to cover all the attractions that I mention here.
  • Although you will likely drive 300+ km and walk a total of 30km in 4 days (data: my phone!), it’s not intended to be a rally course. I’ve seen some crazy “itineraries” who are only doable by spending entire days incarcerated in a car ticking spots off the list. Quality over quantity!
  • Keep your plans flexible. You’ll most likely need to tweak something and accommodate other factors… like the unstable azorean weather.
⚠Keep Azores green and beautiful

The Azores have been consecutively named one of the top sustainable destinations worldwide. Don’t spoil what has been unspoilt for centuries. 💚

When you’re in the islands, please try to minimize your impact at all times. Be careful with any activities thay may cause visual, noise, and physical pollution. This includes avoiding playing loud music on phones and obviously taking ALL the trash with you until you find a bin, especially plastic!

where to stay sao miguel azores

Where to stay in São Miguel

Explore this list of the top-rated hotels, hostels, villas, and guesthouses in São Miguel with parking.

Itinerary of São Miguel on a map 🗺️

You can use my itinerary map in Google Maps as a reference. The pins below represent the places we’ve been (including small descriptions) separated in four different days:

sao miguel itinerary guide local tips azores sete cidades
Prepare for nature overload.

Itinerary Day 1 – Sete Cidades

This day is to explore the west side of the island. Try to pick a day where the weather is clear for Sete Cidades; otherwise, all that you’ll see will be clouds.

Here’s the day plan.

  1. Vista do Rei Viewpoint
  2. Monte Palace Hotel
  3. Canário Lake
  4. Boca do Inferno Viewpoint
  5. Sete Cidades Lake
  6. Ferraria

Miradouro da Vista Do Rei (Vista do Rei Viewpoint)

sao miguel itinerary road trip sete cidades view
Vista do Rei appropriately translates as King’s View.

Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Sete Cidades Lake) is the most well-known postcard of the Azores. You’ll see it in every brochure, ad or article about the islands.

The first contact you’ll have with the lakes will probably be from Vista do Rei viewpoint. The spot is just at the right distance to appreciate the view over both lakes.

Although commonly they’re known for the green and blue lake, this is actually the same lake separated by a bridge, they just reflect the light differently due to the surrounding vegetation. You can drive or walk around along the dirt road (Cumeeiras) to get views from different angles. This exact road is the most spectacular track on the World Rallye Championship.

ℹParking in Vista do Rei

The lookout area has undergone some reconstruction and re-opened in 2018 with some changes. There is still some parking available nearby, but I’d advise you to leave your car in the short-term car park, just 200m before you get there. You can stay there for 20 minutes.

If you plan to spend more time exploring the area, you’ll have to head to another parking site located 1 kilometer further ahead (after the viewpoint and the hotel).

Monte Palace Hotel

Built in the 70s and operational for less than 2 years, the abandoned hotel Monte Palace tops the hills around the crater lake of Sete Cidades near Vista do Rei.

Before, people would enter and freely explore the building all the way up to the top floor, but entrance to the site is now forbidden due to danger of collapse. Enter at your own risk.

Miradouro da Boca do Inferno (Boca do Inferno Viewpoint)

sao miguel itinerary road trip sete cidades

While the view from Vista do Rei is inspiring, the one from Miradouro da Boca do Inferno has jaw-dropping potential. I have been here countless times, but every time I feel goosebumps again.

From up there, apart from the crazy views of the mountains and the sea in the background, two other lagoons are visible: Rasa and Santiago in a complete 360-degree nature experience. The view is wide open to the entire volcanic crater of Sete Cidades, formed 22,000 years ago.

Also known as Lagoa Do Canário Viewpoint due to the nearby Canário Lake, Boca do Inferno has become super popular in the last years. Come as early as possible to avoid crowds and have the place to yourself. On a bright sunny day, this is one of the most incredible views I’ve seen. Ever.

ℹHow to get to Boca do Inferno viewpoint
  1. Coming from Vista do Rei viewpoint, DO NOT turn left on the first exit down to the Sete Cidades village. Continue straight for about 7 minutes, following the signs to Lagoa do Canário
  2. After about a 7 minutes drive, you’ll notice a car park on the right, where a short walking trail begins, and a small entrance to a dirt road just on the opposite side.
  3. The gate is not always open, but if it is, you can go in with there your car. Otherwise, just park next to the hiking trail.
  4. Continue for about 3-4 more minutes straight until you see a set of stairs upwards next to some picnic tables.
  5. Start the hike up. You’re 5 minutes away from paradise!

Boca do Inferno Viewpoint – Tips

  • ⏱ How long: To do the small hike, wander around, fully take the view in, and visit Canário lake, you’ll need at least 30 minutes. The gate closes to cars at 7pm (summer time); after this hour, you’ll need to walk about 15 min to the main road.
  • 💰 How much: Entrance is free.
  • 💡 Tip: The path is muddy and slippery. Be extra careful if it rained recently.

Lagoa do Canário (Canário Lake)

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Apparently this lake has been nicknamed Snapchat Lake because it resembles the ghosty app’s logo, but it will always be Lagoa do Canário (Canário Lake). Snapchat may be dead, but this lake definitely isn’t.

Anyway. Canário Lake is housed in a small volcanic crater in the Devassa mountain range, surrounded by a dense forest. It’s actually quite hidden which gives it a peaceful feeling when you finally get there. Perfect place to meditate if you’re into it.

You can get there by entering the above’s entrance gate to Boca do Inferno and turning immediately left.

hotels sao miguel azores

Top hotels in São Miguel
Pre-filtered list of hotels with top reviews and location with parking and free WiFi included.

Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Sete Cidades Lake)

sao miguel itinerary road trip sete cidades view

Time to go down to the Sete Cidades lakeshore level. On the way down there are several viewpoints you can briefly make a stop and take in the view, particularly Miradouro do Cerrado das Freiras. The more you descend, the more the dormant volcano crater will absorb you and win you over.

Sete Cidades is also the name of the small village next to the lake. Everything seems untouched since the 50s here, but this area holds some of the best outdoor activities you can do in São Miguel.

Biking along the lake shore, SUP, or kayaking are just some the options to spend your afternoon. Or hey, just chill and get some vitamin D. By the way, if you are lucky enough to go on a sunny clear day, I can assure you the colors around you will be more vibrant and breathtaking.

Whatever you do, please take all trash with you – especially plastic – to the nearest bin. Oh and if you decide to swim in the lake, don’t wear sunscreen… Help keep this place beautiful.

The Sete Cidades Tale 👸

There’s a cute little story about the reason why one of the lakes is blue and the other green. Legend has it that once upon a time a shepherd and a princess fell in love, but were prohibited to see each other due to their different family statuses.

When they met for the last time, they cried so much that the Sete Cidades lakes were formed. The blue-eyed shepherd gave origin to the blue lake while the green-eyed princess formed the green lake.


sao miguel itinerary road trip ferraria
Road to the ocean @ Ferraria.

Fancy a dive in hot ocean? Ponta da Ferraria is a small cove surrounded by gigantic lava rock cliffs where the ocean water is warmed up by a geothermal natural spring beneath. It’s quite an experience to swim in mix of cold and hot ocean water while the waves slosh you around!

There is no proper beach here, you most likely have to find a place to sit in the rocks. May not be the most comfortable spot, but it’s worth for the view: between giant cliffs on one side and the wild Atlantic on the other.

Checking tides near Ferraria is important. Be careful on low tide as it can get VERY HOT in some spots and can even burn you. However, if you go on the peak of high tide you won’t feel the warmth of the spring at all – aim for somewhere in the middle.

There are also housed baths with an outdoor swimming pool, but who wants to pay when you can go for the thrilling (and completely free) swim in the ocean?

If you still have time after your swim, head to Mosteiros to watch the perfect sunset and eat some local seafood – you can’t go wrong with lapas!

Ferraria – Tips

  • ⏱ How long: Count with at least an hour to get there, swim in the ocean and relax.
  • 💰 How much: Entrance is free to swim in the ocean; if you prefer to use the outdoor pool of the nearby spa
  • 💡 Tip: We need to talk about the road to Ferraria. Not gonna lie: it’s sinuous and extremely steep. I would not recommended coming here if you’re not comfortable driving manual.

Itinerary Day 2 – Ponta Delgada & Lagoa do Fogo

This day includes a whale-watching tour from Ponta Delgada and a venture out to Lagoa do Fogo, another of the three main lakes in São Miguel. Feel free to reverse the order of these sights.

  1. Whale-watching tour
  2. Ponta Delgada
  3. Pico da Barrosa (Barrosa Peak)
  4. Lagoa do Fogo (Fogo Lake)
  5. Caldeira Velha

Whale-Watching (from Ponta Delgada)

Whale watching is a must-do activity to do in the Azores, especially if you are able to
time your trip right to see several different species of cetaceans. The ideal time for this is between April and June.

A ticket is not exactly cheap but is definitely worth the unique experience. The last time I went, I chose to go with Picos de Aventura and it surpassed my expectations. A great friendly staff, prioritizing safety but also allowing space for some fun and have a great time out there in the sea.

We ended up seeing three sperm whales, dozens of dolphins and even a turtle – a “very good day” according to our guides.

Safe to say we had a blast (see video below!).

Tips for Whale-Watching in São Miguel 🐋

  • If you’re visiting other Azorean islands such as Faial or Pico, I’d recommend to do your Whale Watching tour there. Especially in Pico. São Miguel has good observation conditions, but they have great ones.
  • Make sure the company you go with complies with all the safety and ethical regulations to avoid disturbing and stressing out the animals. Sea Color Azores is a great example.
  • Expect to pay at least 55 Euros for a 3-hour trip.
  • Dolphin interaction tours is NOT recommended. There has been increasing proof these tours have a negative impact on the stress of the animals. For some reason the most experienced whale-watching company in the AzoresEspaço Talassa – stopped doing it.
  • Most companies depart from Ponta Delgada or Vila Franca marinas, usually at 2-3 different time slots in the day.
  • Make a reservation for the tour at least 2-3 days in advance.

Ponta Delgada

sao miguel itinerary road trip ponta delgada marina
Seaside Ponta Delgada.

Up until a few years ago, if I was a visitor, I’d much rather spend my precious time exploring the rest of the island than visiting Ponta Delgada. SHOCKING statement about my own birthplace. But hey, it’s the T.

In recent times, the city is slowly awakening from its long sleep. Trendy restaurants, kitsch shops, and quaint cafés all popping up. Buildings and churches abandoned for decades have gained a new life. And now I’ve realized I’ve got material to make a post about the best things to do in Ponta Delgada.

Main suggestions: walking along the seaside promenade (locally called “Avenida”), visit the farmers market in Mercado da Graça – great place for shopping souvenirs and local food! – and take a stroll around the area of Igreja Matriz (Matriz Church).

Ponta Delgada is the definition of a great hub. Not only it has more restaurants, shops, and overall infrastructure than anywhere else, but it’s also geographically located almost in the center of the island.

🏨 Where to stay in Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada is still the best choice of a hub to explore São Miguel. The so-called capital of Azores has got a wide choice of hotels, but I do have some favorites:

sao miguel itinerary where to go - best hotel ponta delgada
xImage source:

Hotel Azor, Ponta Delgada

Modern design, with a gorgeous terrace pool, at a walking distance to the city center. If you want to splurge AND be centrally located, this is it.

sao miguel what where to stay - out of the blue cheap hotel
Image source:
Out of the Blue, Ponta Delgada
Stylish, clean, comfortable hotel at a very reasonable price. Excellent value for money!

Also look into other cheaper options in Ponta Delgada with Superb rating (or better).

Pico da Barrosa (Barrosa Peak)

itinerary of São Miguel açores - Pico da Barrosa
North and South coastlines of São Miguel.

At the very peak of the road that goes from Ponta Delgada and just before arriving Lagoa do Fogo, stop in Pico da Barrosa.

It’s one of the few places in São Miguel where you can see both the south and north coasts at the same time. It helps to put the island in perspective.

Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake)

São Miguel Island route In 4 days | Lagoa do Fogo

Lagoa do Fogo – Fire Lake is my favorite lake of them all and one of my top special places in São Miguel.

First of all, you can consider yourself extremely lucky if you go to Lagoa do Fogo on a clear day. This is very rare up in this high part of the island.

You can get down to the beach down there through a 30-min hike down in a dodgy trail. A few years ago, we used to had a wild beach just for ourselves but you’ll likely find dozens of other people there too. In case you’re wondering, you can NOT swim on the lake.

itinerary of São Miguel | Lagoa do Fogo beach
Panorama of the beach in Lagoa do Fogo.

Despite the possible crowds, it’s still a blissful peace. The sensory overload of smells, sounds, and vivid colors is unmissable. It’s the kind of gorgeous that grabs hold of you tightly. And no matter how hard I tried, pictures don’t do it justice!

Every single time I go to Lagoa do Fogo I fell a bit more in love with it. Modern construction is not permitted in this area, so there is no worry of the views being spoiled any time soon.

⚠Take good care of Lagoa do Fogo

Please be aware this has been a site of unspoiled nature for centuries. Don’t help spoil it now. As a Natural Reserve, this an especially sensitive spot compared to other places on the island.

Last time I was here I was shocked to see a group of tourists listening to schizophrenic hip-hop with loudspeakers and leaving plastic bottles behind. Don’t be like them.

  • Take ALL your trash with you
  • Since 2019, it’s now FORBIDDEN to swim in the lake
  • Keep SILENCE as much as you can to not disturb the peace and natural balance. Noise pollution is also a kind of pollution.

Caldeira Velha

4-day itinerary of São Miguel Azores | Caldeira Velha
Where’s Brooke Shields?

Located halfway in the road between Lagoa do Fogo and the city of Ribeira Grande, Caldeira Velha is a natural park – ok, more like a Jurassic jungle – with a pair of hot springs.

No kidding: both thermal pools are stone-walled and surrounded by intense lush foliage which really gives tropical vibes.

The main highlight is the waterfall spring (>20ºC), at the end of the park. It’s a bigger pool with a stunning backdrop. There is also a more shallow and hotter spring (>35ºC) which can get very crowded. No wonder, it’s like a natural jacuzzi!

Final note: if you prefer, you can skip this one and do one of the thermal springs in Furnas instead. Similar experiences.

Caldeira Velha – Tips

  • ⏱ How long: You’ll need at least 1 hour here to relax and go through all the springs. Despite being the most busy time, I recommend leaving it for late afternoon. Just the perfect soothing end of the day.
  • 💰 How much: The entrance to the Environmental Interpretation Center which also allows bathing is 8 EUR per adult (as per 2022). Maximum duration stay is 2 hours. Book your tickets online to guarantee your spot.
  • 💡 Pro tip: Use a dark and old bathing suit. The minerals in the water can easily leave a PERMANENT orange stain. If you recently dyed your hair, you should avoid these kind of pools too.

São Miguel is super trendy post-pandemic – hotels sell out quickly. Book your stay as soon as possible for the best deal!

I’ve made your life easier and you can start your search with my pre-selection of the hotels/guesthouses/villas in the island of São Miguel. This list only includes the top-rated reviewed places in São Miguel, with parking included.

Or just start your own search:

Itinerary Day 3 – Furnas & Nordeste

This day will take you to the wild eastern part of the island, including the quaint Furnas Valley. Prepare to see, feel, and smell the volcanic phenomena of Azores. It’s not a bad idea to assign the day with the gloomiest weather to this day itinerary.

If you have more time around this area, I highly encourage you to do a 2-hour hiking trail in Sanguinho – Salto do Prego. It’s one of my favorites hikes in Azores. The path is gorgeous and it leads to a dreamy waterfall in the middle of the forest. I didn’t add it here because this is already a packed day!

  1. Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lake)
  2. Furnas
  3. Terra Nostra Park
  4. Furnas Thermal Springs
  5. Nordeste
  6. Ribeira dos Caldeirões

Lagoa das Furnas

itinerary of São Miguel island in four days - Furnas
Furnas Monitoring and Investigation Centre.

After Fogo and Sete Cidades, Lagoa das Furnas – Furnas Lake is the last of the 3 main lakes in São Miguel. It may not have the same dramatic views as the other lakes – you may need to head to Pico do Ferro viewpoint for that – but coming here is a guarantee you’ll be feeling more relaxed and tranquil.

On the west section of the lake, don’t miss the Nossa Senhora das Vitórias Neo-Gothic church and the contemporary Research Center, a sort of museum that studies the evolution of the lake’s ecossystem and biodiversity (good place for a break, they have a small coffeeshop).

The main attractions, however, lie on the opposite shore of the lagoon… but geez, what’s that rotten egg smell?!

These delightful smell comes from the geothermal holes and springs that send mud and steam up in the air continuously for centuries. Locally known as Fumarolas, this spot is also where you can find the steaming holes where they slooowly cook the famous Cozido das Furnas (Furnas stew) for about 6-7 hours.

Although personally not my favorite food in the island (too bland and dry), this has a strong novelty factor. It’s not everyday you have a meal cooked by Mother Nature.

Cozido das Furnas (Furnas Stew) 🍲

Basically the opposite of a vegetarian-friendly dish. This stew is a mix of meats – pork, veal, chicken, blood sausages – with local vegetables like sweet potato, kale, or cabbage.

Where to eat Cozido das Furnas (Furnas Stew) 🍲

The days where families would put a stew to cook underground as a Sunday activity are almost gone, and nowadays the restaurants in Furnas village are the ones using the majority of the steaming holes each morning.

The most famous restaurants are Tony’s, Caldeiras & Vulcões, and for a more upscale experience, the restaurant of Terra Nostra Garden Hotel.

Furnas (town)

São Miguel itinerary in four days - Furnas
Eye-candy but not nose-candy @ Caldeiras, Furnas.

I find it incredible how such a small village in the heart of a lush valley holds so many different active volcanic phenomena. Starting with the hot springs of Caldeiras, where the tiny geysers and hot water creeks give the area a VERY strong smell of sulfur and moon-ish vibes. Planet Earth is very much alive guys.

During my childhood, the highlight of going to Furnas was getting to eat the corn cooked in huge bags directly in these mud holes. If you go around summertime, you most likely will find lovely ladies selling freshly-cooked corn cobs. Taste this delicious snack of my childhood and let me know what you think!

Don’t stick to Caldeiras though. The whole town is quaint and tranquil and worth seeing around. Take in the surrounding views, follow the creek next to the camping park, and try to find the upside down house – yes, a real one – in the heart of Furnas.

🏨 Where to stay in Furnas

Furnas is one of the best spots in the island to stay if you’re looking to relax and get away from it all.

sao miguel where to stay - furnas terra nostra
Image source:

Terra Nostra Hotel Garden, Furnas

Perfectly integrated onto the surrounding park and gardens, is the ultimate place to relax.

sao miguel what to do where to stay - furnas boutique hotel nature spa relax azores
Image source:
Furnas Boutique Hotel, Furnas
Located in Furnas with nature-inspired interiors, includes a full wellness and spa program.

Terra Nostra Park

itinerary of São Miguel acores portugal - Terra Nostra Park Hotel
I promise it feels better than it looks @ Terra Nostra Park.

This popular tropical outdoor garden is one of the highlights of Furnas. It belongs to the exclusive Terra Nostra Garden Hotel but you don’t need to stay here to visit it (nor to eat their restaurant, for that matter).

Terra Nostra Park has a stunning collection of plants and flowers from all over the world, some of them dating back millions of years. In some sections, it feels likes Jurassic Park. They even have got different recommended itineraries for each time of the year. Perfect for a post-lunch stroll.

The highlight of the gardens is the iron-enriched thermal pool, one of the most beautiful hot springs in São Miguel. The water is geothermically heated at around 38 degrees Celsius and contains several medicinal properties. And hey, a massive pool with orange water is not your everyday sight!

Terra Nostra Park – Tips

  • ⏱ How long: You can spend an entire afternoon relaxing here, but count with at least an hour or two.
  • 💰 How much: Entrance fee to the park is 8 euros in Terra NostraTowels and lockers can be rented at an extra cost.
  • 💡 Pro tip: If you have lunch at their restaurant, the entrance to the park is complimentary (this is 2017 information, please confirm in advance).
♨️ Thermal Springs in Furnas

São Miguel is home to at least 6 different hot springs and pools, and Furnas alone has 2 different spots: Terra Nostra and Poça Dona Beija .

If Terra Nostra sounds too premium and exclusive, you can skip it and go to Poça Dona Beija instead. It’s a cool experience too, in a more secluded environment next to a small creek. It’s also slightly cheaper. However, the set of 5 small outdoor pools will be definitely more crowded with both locals and tourists.

Unless you have plenty of time in São Miguel, there’s no point in trying them both as they are not that different in terms of experience. Read my article about hot springs in São Miguel for all the hot springs locations in the island and important safety tips.

sao miguel itinerary furnas things to do

Things to do in Furnas Valley

Continue reading more about Furnas and learn more about Furnas Lake, the hot springs, beaches and where to eat!


itinerary of São Miguel azores portugal - Miradouro Ponta Sossego
Quite a powerful view.

The district of Nordeste is the wildest and most remote in São Miguel. The vegetation is thicker, the sea cliffs are steeper and roads are more sinuous. There no particular sight to see but at the same time, everything around you is impressive and worth stopping your car to take it all in.

Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego and Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada viewpoints will make your jaw drop of how intense the scenery is. In both, a vibrant flower garden decorates the path to the edge of green huge scarps contrasting with the blue vast ocean.

A bit further north, there’s also Farol do Arnel, the oldest lighthouse in the Azores. If you want to go down there, I strongly recommend going there on foot if you’re not used to driving manual. The road down there is 35º steep (!) and it’s not a convenient place to be stuck in.

Ribeira dos Caldeirões

This natural park has some of the most amazing waterfalls on the island. It’s just by the main road and worth a small stop to explore a bit and take a stroll into the wild nature. This is one of the spots of excellence for canyoning.

Azores Islands

Itinerary Day 4 – Vila Franca & Gorreana

Day 4 is about tying up the loose ends in the island to make sure you have a good grasp of all angles and perspectives of São Miguel.

And finally, if weather permits, time for an ocean swim!

  1. Ilhéu de Vila Franca (Vila Franca Islet)
  2. Lagoa do Congro (Congro Lake)
  3. Gorreana Tea
  4. Porto Formoso
  5. Miradouro de Santa Iria (Santa Iria Viewpoint)

Ilhéu de Vila Franca (Vila Franca Islet)

Home to a stage of Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Ilhéu de Vila Franca (Vila Franca islet) is one of the most popular sunbathing places in Azores.

It encloses an almost full-circle bay perfect for swimming or snorkeling – make sure you don’t forget your mask – with clear and calm ocean waters. Perfecly safe for kids, although sea shoes are recommended.

There is a regular boat connection between the Vila Franca marina and the islet operating in the summer months only. You can buy the tickets online.

Once again, this is another Nature Reserve with endemic fauna and flora so please be aware of your impact and leave nothing but footprints!

Vila Franca islet – Tips

  • ⏱ How long: You can spend an entire day here, but allow yourself a morning or afternoon.
  • 💰 How much: The boat ticket is 8 euros (online).
  • 💡 Pro tip: There are very limited spots to lay your towel in the islet. While there is a small beach, it completely disappears during high tide, so I suggest going early and taking a spot at the concrete platforms on the opposite side.

Lagoa do Congro (Congro Lake)

Lagoa do Congro is a relatively off the beaten track lake in the heart of São Miguel. While Sete Cidades, Furnas and Fogo receive more and more visitors every year, this one remains remote and hidden.

The hike down through the forest is already a cool unwinding experience, but it’s at the shore level that the magic happens. It will feel like someone set the saturation level to the max – a vibrant green will take over your eyes.

The silence down there is deafening and only disturbed by the splashes of fish jumps and the constant chirping of birds. It’s just like those meditation soundtracks, the only difference being this is the real thing. Speaking of meditation, this is the perfect place to do it!

How to get to Congro lake

  • Coming from Vila Franca, follow the signs to Furnas (direction East).
  • After about 10 minutes, there’s an exit to the left clearly stating “Lagoa do Congro”. You know what to do.
  • Continue for about 5 more minutes and turn left on a poorly-maintained dirt road.
  • Continue through the middle of pastures about 5 more minutes. The entrance to the hike path should be noticeable on the right as there are usually a couple of cars parked.
  • The hike down is easy. It should take you 10-15 minutes (it all will be worth it, I promise!)

Gorreana (Tea plantations)

road trip itinerary of São Miguel island azores - Gorreana tea plantation

road trip itinerary of São Miguel in Azores - Gorreana
Not exactly sure what I was trying to achieve here. But it does look cool.

Working since 1883, Gorreana is only one of the two tea plantations in Europe – the other one is a 5-min drive away, in Porto Formoso! – and produces quality biologic black and green tea.

The tea plantation itself is a stunning scenery overlooking the sea and a great photo opportunity for Instagram. This place always reveal our inner Kardashians and creative photo skills. You can explore around more and take the official hiking trail that starts exactly at the factory.

Gorreana Tea – Tips

  • ⏱ How long: 1 hour is enough to go through the premises and sip on a cup of tea. Allow yourself an extra hour or two if you want to hike up the tea estate.
  • 💰 How much: Entrance is free.
  • 💡 Pro tip: Even though you might not be interested in the way the tea is made, there is free tea inside.

Porto Formoso

This beach is a bit more off the beaten track, as it’s not an usual choice for those visiting the island for the first time. But for people who had never put their feet in dark sands, I think is always interesting to incorporate a volcanic beach experience in the mix, even in winter time.

The scenery around Porto Formoso is quaint and charismatic and perfect to relax for a bit after some intense days. There’s also a beach café serving snacks and full meals.

Miradouro de Santa Iria

road itinerary of São Miguel island azores - Miradouro Santa Iria
I love you São Miguel!

The most well-known viewpoint on the northern coast of São Miguel. From up there you can enjoy a clear view over a big portion of the island. It’s an appropriate spot to say farewell to São Miguel over a gorgeous sunset.

Where to stay in São Miguel

Where to base yourself in São Miguel

Ponta Delgada is an obvious place to set up a base for your trip. Although lacking in natural attractions, it’s super well connected and has loads of restaurants and shops to keep you busy during evenings.

Another option is Ribeira Grande. Many cool accommodations have appeared there in recent years – from budget guesthouses to high-end hotels and the city is a great hub of restaurants too.

If you’re looking for a more remote experience and want to get away from everything, Furnas might be better for you.

Consider staying in two different places (East-West or North-South) to get a different feel of the island. It will save you some driving time too.

Hotels in São Miguel

I’ve handpicked a list of the best places to stay for luxury, budget travelers as well as families.

These are my 3 top hotel suggestions in the island:

sao miguel itinerary hotel azor
Image source:

Hotel Azor, Ponta Delgada

Premium hotel with modern design, located at just a short walk to the center and the ocean.

terra nostra hotel garden azores

Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, Furnas

With charming art-deco vibes and surrounded by a majestic park, it’s one of the most unique hotels in Azores.

sao miguel what to do where to stay - out of the blue cheap hotel
Image source:
sao miguel what to do where to stay - out of the blue cheap hotel
Image source:
Out of the Blue, Ponta Delgada
Stylish, clean, comfortable hotel at a very reasonable price. Excellent value for money!

Or search for yourself!

To make your life easier, you can start your search with my pre-selection of the hotels/guesthouses/villas in the island of São Miguel.

hotels sao miguel azores

Top hotels in São Miguel
Pre-filtered list of hotels with top reviews and location with parking and free WiFi included.

How to get around in São Miguel island 🛣️

Short answer: I STRONGLY recommend renting a car. It will give you total freedom and independence to explore the island and add a sense of adventure to your trip.

Also, the thing is: there aren’t really any good value alternatives.

Scooter/bike are technically possible much more tiring and you’re vulnerable to the ever-changing weather.

Public buses do exist but are not frequent and used mostly by locals to commute around the main towns. They do NOT reach the remote areas where the best landscapes and sights are located. Good luck trying to get to Miradouro da Boca do Inferno or other places in this itinerary.

Taxis are even worse. I was shocked to find the standard prices that are in play these days. A single trip from Ponta Delgada airport to Furnas can cost you a whopping 40 Euros. That’s more than a full day of car rental right there!

How easy is to drive in São Miguel?

Fairly easy. Roads in São Miguel are usually in very good shape, with a main highway connecting the airport to Ponta Delgada, Vila Franca, and Ribeira Grande. Dirt/gravel roads are common but you won’t use them to get to most places (an exception is Lagoa do Congro).

Drivers are NOT aggressive (although don’t expect super safe driving either). There are some things you can find anxiety-inducing though:

  • Parking in Ponta Delgada. Can be a nightmare, especially between 9am to 6pm. Ask your hotel for a parking spot.
  • Curves. Some sections of the island, particularly the north and east are extremely curvy. Slow down and don’t get distracted by the views.
  • Cows. When changing pastures, herds of cows temporarily occupy some of the roads. Relax, slow down or even stop the car and just expect them to pass. They’re harmless.

Which car rental companies are the best in São Miguel island?

Here are some tips to rent a car in São Miguel, starting with which operator to go with.

I always used local companies like Micauto. I usually find them to have the best prices in the island. On the other hand, I never had good experiences with Ilha Verde – also a local company – that for some reason is the most expensive of them all and seems to have an inferior customer service. Autatlantis has become ridiculously expensive too.

Heavyweights like Avis and Sixt have the advantage of an office right at Ponta Delgada airport. Yet, other companies can pick you up there for free and take you to their headquarters.

Where can I book a car rental in advance?

Use Skyscanner or the below RentalCars to compare rental prices. Both are reliable and quickly give you an overview of prices across available operators.

Tips to rent a car in São Miguel

Whatever company you go for, try to book your car as soon as possible. It’s common to have a shortage of cars available to rent in the island (last happened: July 2021).

If you’re not comfortable driving manual, automatic cars are available but in even less quantity though.

The easiest way is to pick up your car directly at Ponta Delgada airport.

Usually, there are no issues with car rentals, but better safe than sorry. It’s wise to make a thorough inspection of the vehicle on the spot and take lots of photos. In the event of any dispute, you’ll have visual proof to back you up.

Finally, it’s standard for companies to hold a large amount on your credit card as an insurance against damage/theft of the car. Don’t worry, the sum is immediately returned upon delivery of the vehicle. If you are not comfortable with this, hiring an additional CDW or Super CDW insurance will lower this fee.

Planning a São Miguel trip independently

Booking a flight to São Miguel

If you are not from the US or simply not into vacation packages, you’re better off by booking your flight independently.

As a rule of thumb, flights to Azores are considerably cheaper from Porto, Lisbon or London. Ponta Delgada airport has the highest number of flight connections. From there you may be entitled to a FREE connecting flight to other islands – check this page for more info.

Booking a hotel in São Miguel

Arranging accommodation before going is highly recommendable. São Miguel is in high demand right now and hotels in the island can sell out, especially in high season.

You can start off by this curated list of insights about my favorite hotels, this pre-filtered list of hotels, guesthouses and villas in São Miguel.

Budget of this São Miguel road trip

I receive a lot of questions around money and budget, so I want to give you a good real-life idea of how much you can expect to spend. This an estimated budget based on summer 2022 prices and the costs of the last few times I had friends visiting.

Cost breakdown of this São Miguel itinerary (4 full days) 💸

  • 🏨 Accommodation: You can find double rooms starting from 50 euros/night, but they go up 30%-50% during summertime. Still, an accommodation budget of 100 euros for 2 is a very comfortable daily budget, let’s go with that.
  • 🚗 Car Rental: Renting a car can cost from 30 euros/day, but more often it will cost you around 50 euros/day or more, depending on the insurance you hire. Automatic cars are even more expensive.
  • 🥘 Food: Restaurant prices have gone up recently due to inflation, but you can still have lunch for about 10-15 euros and dinner for 25-30 euros in most places. No need to tip. In most cases, a personal daily budget of 50 euros for food (100 for two) is a safe target budget.
  • 🎫 Tours and entrance fees: Not many places have an entrance fee in the island, if you want to enter ALL the places mentioned in this article count with around 35 euros. The standard price for a whale-watching tour in 2022 is 60 euros, so 120 euros per person is a fair budget.
  • 🛍️ Others:You’ll want to buy some food and souvenirs to bring back home. Hard to budget these as it will depend on your personal taste and space on the luggage, but 50 euros can buy you PLENTY of stuff!
  • 💰 Total costs: Rounding up, this sums roughly 1000 euros for 2 or 500 euros per person. Please note you CAN do a lot cheaper than this or spend 3x times more. I tried to average these out and allow room for extra expenses. Don’t forget to add in your flights!
roadtrip route itinerary of São Miguel island itinerary - Sete Cidades house
New personal goal: I want to live in that house when I’m old.

Tours and activities in São Miguel island 🚴‍♀️

São Miguel is a gem in terms of outdoor activities and there is a lot to keep you busy. Hiking trails, canyoning, whale-watching, just to name a few.

There are more and more local companies offering tours and/or adventure packages. As I do in other destinations, I recommend you skip them and make a 100% independent trip to keep a sense of adventure and fun on your trip.

Still, if you decide to book a tour, ask about insurance and make sure you ask how many people are going with you. Small groups are always a better choice, even if you have to pay a little bit extra.

São Miguel Flight + Hotel Deals 💰

I usually don’t use travel agencies to book holidays. They end up being more expensive in 99% of the times. Yet I have to make an exception for Azores Getaways because I honestly think they have some pretty good prices for a flight + hotel + transfers packages to the Azores – starting at 599USD!

For São Miguel in particular they have loads of deals. 2 examples:

I particularly recommend using them if you are flying from the United States and don’t have much time to plan your holidays.

More resources about the Azores

My travel tips valid anywhere

  • 🏨 To find the best deals and book your stay with free cancellation, I recommend (from my experience, often cheaper than Airbnb)
  • 🚗 Always compare car rental prices before you book anything (and if possible use local rental shops!)
  • ☑️ Travel insurance is a must these days – don’t overlook it! I recommend Allianz or Safety Wing if you’re always on the go
  • 💰 Use Revolut to save in exchange rates and payments abroad; it’s a game-changer!
  • ⚙️ Amazon has the largest offer in travel gear, clothing, and accessories – check out my Travel Store!
  • ✈️ Are you dealing with a delayed or cancelled flight? Airhelp may help you get a compensation for it!

Have you used this São Miguel itinerary for your trip?
Which other places you recommend to add?
Tell me about your experience below!

Share your thoughts 💬

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  1. Hi, just so you know the website breaks on mobile view at the hotel reccomendation section, hard to read anything after it as the text goes off screen

  2. Thank you so much for doing this! We are going to Sao Miguel in May 2023 and I will be visiting this page MANY times before then. Quick question – we will be on the island for six days. Do you recommend other things to see/do during those two days? (I’m sure we will find a way to fill the time!)

  3. Thank you so much for your tips, we just got home from a 10 day trip in Sao Miguel and used your tips + recommendations daily:)
    Thank you so much for sharing. Your insights made a huge difference for us!

  4. Your site has been so helpful!! Thank you!!

    Do you think 10 days is too long for Sao Miguel? Should I shorten it to a week?

  5. Hi Bruno,
    Obrigado for the helpful and informative guide. I will absolutely be using your 4-day Ultimate Itinerary of São Miguel Island. My husband’s grandparents were born there, so we are finally taking our 17 and 19-year-olds to visit. However, given their busy school schedules, we can only make it happen Dec 26 – Jan 4 (though, I know my husband and I will return in the warmer months once we’re empty nesters). We land and will spend 2 nights on Terceira. Then, the remaining 5 days on São Miguel. Given the winter timeframe, is there anything you would substitute out/in (e.g. Whale Watching isn’t an option in December) for that time of year? And, any thoughts for New Years Eve on São Miguel?
    Com Gratidão,

  6. Hey! I was wondering which months we should avoid visiting São Miguel due to wet weather? Would also like to avoid peak tourist months like July and August due to cost and busy-ness but as we’d like to hike, dry, clearer conditions would obviously be ideal. Any advice appreciated! Thanks 🙂

  7. Hello Bruno,

    I would like to plan a 1 week trip to Sao Miguel at the end of sept with my 1.5 years old daughter. Do you recommend it or isn’t the island infant-friendly? Are the hikes doable with a baby carrier or to dangerous?
    Thanks for your answer.

  8. We are going to Sao Miguel for 5 days at the end of July. We have a car. We were thinking for one day getting a tour of either the west or the east side of the island. Do you suggest this or just do everything by ourselves. If a tour may be worthwhile – which side would be the better side to have a guided tour on?

  9. Hi Bruno, love all the info you have on the Azores.
    We got super excited and booked tickets, however forget to check car rental in advance.
    Just found out no cars available on Sao Miguel. We are thinking about biking around the island. Could you recommend that? We have two weeks the time so no rush. Or are there other means of transport you could recommend?

    1. No other means of transport I’m afraid. Buses are not reliable, taxis are too expensive. Maybe tours? Biking is an option, be prepared for all kinds of weather though!

  10. Just wanted to say a huge thank you for your tips and itinerary for Sao Miguel island. It was so helpful! I had an amazing time exploring thanks to your information and recommendations. My only regret is that I couldn’t stay longer.
    Thank you!

  11. Hi Bruno,

    Sitting in Lisbon airport after a 3 weeker on the mainland waiting for my flight to Sao Miguel. Just finished reading your itinerary and nicely done. I really have no idea exactly what I have planned but your ideas helped my direction. Spending a week and looking forward to exp!oring your home. Any new tips? I’m for sure renting and just see where things take me!



    1. You got that right – the itinerary is supposed to give you a general idea of what’s there, but going with the flow and stop along the way for as long as you please is the best way to explore Azores. Enjoy!

  12. Can this itinerary and all the hyperlink information be purchased? We will gladly download a .pdf of this if it is for purchase. Thanks for any help you can provide. Great work on this comprehensive guide!

  13. Hello Bruno! I loved this article and wish I had seen it before I went to Sao Miguel last June. I was there for three weeks – rented a condo in Porto Formoso overlooking the beach – LOVED IT!!! And it was so reasonable!!! The hosts couldn’t have been nicer. I have some questions about purchasing property on Sao Miguel and living on the island as well as renting to tourists and long-term leasing to locals. Is this something I could ‘pick your brain’ about? I don’t want to fill up your comment section with a bunch of unrelated questions, so perhaps there is a better way to communicate with you? Many thanks!!

  14. Hello, I was hoping to print this webpage to have all these cool suggestions at my finger tips and I don’t love to depend on wifi when traveling. That said, it is linking me to the google map which is fine but i want your article. Any chance you could send that to me?

    1. Hi Mia – do you publish this guide for printing anywhere? Your guide is so very helpful and I would like to carry it with me while I travel the island, but I will not have access to internet.

  15. hi, wanna say thank you for such a cool recommendation. I made my 3 days trip plan according to your tips, and I am totally satisfied by it. I visited almost all places, especially Ferraria, its definetily worth to see and swim! For travelers as me, who can not drive, from Ponto Delgada goes bus to any cities(just should check the schedule), so its possible to travel without car too) and also you can use hich-hiking, people there very friendly, helpful, kind and its safety plus you get cool experience)))

  16. Hi Bruno,

    Myself (dad) and my 11-year-old son will be staying in Sao Miguel for one week from the 15th August 2020 from the UK. It seems like it is pretty quiet over there at the moment?

    I have already booked a Whale tour and swim with dolphins ( so glad they are wild, otherwise I would not have booked it)

    I hoped to book us a snorkelling trip as well, but due to lack of tourist this cannot yet be booked ( they need 10 people) 🙁

    I was wondering therefore if you had any tips where we could go snorkelling on our own?

    We are both looking forward to this trip, the plus side for us will be not so many tourists, and the downside is that people are struggling in your country., I do hope it picks up for you.
    We are going to follow your plans I think even my 11 year old should be able to manage those little hikes.

    Thank you once again.

    Keep Safe

    Mike & Max

    1. Do you have any tips? We leave in June of 22 with a 10/12 year old.
      We are wondering if it’s best to stay centrally located in ponta? And also what is your opinion on sir bnb vs hotel? We are heading to 4 or 5 islands over 20 days. Do you have any personal opinions for traveling as a family?

  17. Hi Bruno,
    I wanted to visit end of July/ beg of August with my 12 year old daughter. I hope this is a good time of the year 🙂 Is there a hike or a site on your itinerary that I should avoid doing (too hard/far/uninteresting for a child)? And what should we make sure to not miss?
    Thank you!

  18. We want to visit the Azores in Oct. We would like to follow your four day driving tour of the island on Sao Miguel. Would you recommend staying in the central area of the island or staying at the two ends of the island.

    1. Staying in the central area is perfectly fine, depends whether you want to change scenery during your trip 🙂

  19. Thank you so much for this awesome itinerary. We followed your plan, but we did it in 5 days. Relaxing from time to time, enjoying the view, the weather and an occasional drink.
    We really have the feeling that we explored the entire island, and that we didn’t miss anything crucial. It was a beautiful holiday.

  20. Alexis and I be in Sao Miguel on Sunday for our 40th, her’s Sunday, mine next week, Oct 2. On island Sept 29 – Oct 3. Looking for out of the way good food spots with great views or cool vibes. And going to try to get to all of these places in your 4-day itinerary!

  21. This is THE best resource on Sao Miguel Azores. Although I loved the entire island, I think my absolute favorite was the Salto do Prego hike. But honestly, all your recommendations are amazing. I basically planned my entire trip using this post. Thanks so much for such a great resource!

    All the best, Viktoria

  22. Wow thank you Bruno, your blog made our stay a blast.
    Your country is truly something special.

    I would add one recommendation – If you want to go to Vila Franca Island, plan it on Sunday.
    During our stay we tried 3x (1st bad weather, 2nd behind 400ppl full day limit and 3rd we just stopped by for a coffee and asked. We were lucky and guy from the office said “Sundays are usually quiet”.

    Thank you!

  23. Sao Miguel Azores Travel Guide 2019 is not currently for sale? My wife and I are coming over beginning of October for our honeymoon. I think this may be the perfect guide, but can’t buy it?
    The trails are of the most interest, especially the highest and longest. Also some SCUBA for myself.



  24. We have planned a trip to Portugal for end of November this year and plan to see Azores. what would you recommend seeing if only have a few days and how will the weather be?

  25. Hi. I was there in 2011 and after much travel, it remains a Top 5 trip. Can you enlighten me and others about the current camping choices on the island? TIA!

  26. Hi Bruno! What an itinerary, you made my day! We are flying in Azores the 13th September with my boyfriend for 7 days, it will be definitely helpful. Do you recommend scooter rental (we’d love to) or is it still better to rent a car? Thanks!

    1. Personally, I always recommend a car.
      BUT if you are experienced driving a scooter and don’t mind the ever-changing weather conditions, go for it!

  27. Going for a week next May, whale watching, the main site from your blog, of course, and wondered about Azores Connections for a few of the attractions, like Lagoa do Fogo, or horseback riding at Sete Cidades. Any input or feedback? Will be renting a car, and likely staying partly in Ponta Delgado, and partly in Furnas/Terra Nostra. Thanks for your great blog!!

    1. Well if you’re renting a car don’t see the point of hiring tour companies, but that’s me, I prefer to travel 100% independently. 🙂

  28. Thank you for an awesome itinerary and all of your tips! We just got back and had the most amazing time! Your details were very helpful! I would love to repay the favor, If you’re ever in NY lmk!

    1. You welcome, glad you had a good time.
      Hopefully will be back to NYC soon, so I’ll gladly accept those local tips 🙂

  29. Hi Bruno, thanks for putting together this itinerary! We are planning a trip next May for 10 days. In your opinion should we try to visit some of the other islands or stay in Sao Miguel. We enjoy hiking and so were thinking of visiting Flores as well. Thanks!

  30. We will be in Sao Miguel the middle of September and would like to know the best time of the day to start our visits to some of the places you’ve mentioned here, especially the sites in Day 1. Are mornings more foggy than middle of the day? We like to start early in the morning and have rented a car. What suggestions do you have? Thank you!

    1. I can tell you that Sete Cidadas and Lagoa do Fago both are cloudy in the A.M. at times. We just returned last week and when we went to the Boca viewpoint twice because of this. In the A.M the views were very obstructed but after a visit to the hotel for photos and a Bifana at Komaki Burger truck we then returned to blue sunny skies. I think this is common for these locales.

    2. Usually very early in the mornings it’s still foggy up in the mountains. It starts to clear up by 9-10am.
      But I’ve been there at sunrise without a single cloud, who knows!

  31. Just got back!! 10 days in Sao Miguel. Pretty much covered the whole Island…thanks to your awesome itinerary! Thanks so much

  32. Hey! Just finished our last day in Sao Miguel. Loved your itinerary, was a super guide to give us direction every day. Great tips and how to get there. Thanks for this! Your homeland is BEAUTIFUL! Can’t wait to come back & explore more.

  33. Bruno. Dude. We just returned from the Azores and followed your 4 day itenary to the T for our honeymoon!
    Thank you for writing such a comprehensive guide to Sao Miguel island. It made our time in the Azores such a blast and easy to decide what to do every day. We also took your advice and rented a car and explored basically everything you mentioned. Without a car it would not have been possible.
    Great article and advice.
    We hope to be back to this piece of paradise sometime in future.
    Thank you again!

    1. You welcome! I’m glad you guys enjoyed your honeymoon.
      Plenty of romantic spots and moments, I’m sure 🙂

  34. We’re headed to the Azores in about 10 days. You book looks great and I will buy it tonight. Do you know if it can be transferred to a Kindle?

    1. Great question.
      There are some tools out there that can convert PDFs into Kindle format, but I’m not sure how it would look.

  35. Hello. I wish to purchase your 2019 travel guide, but am wondering how long it takes to arrive. I am in California…

    1. After purchase, the ebook is available to download immediately, in a PDF version. No waiting time 🙂

  36. Very good write up.
    Question: Is there a map showing all the places you mentioned in your write up?
    I would like to see these places on map to give me an idea as to where they are and distances between them.


  37. Thanks so much for this great article (and the blog in general). Heading to Sao Miguel in the summer and super excited to see this beautiful island.

  38. It would be oh so helpful if we could copy the material on the webpage or print it so we could carry a paper copy during our travel.

    For example, it would be super helpful to print out “The Ultimate 4-Day Itinerary of Sao Miguel” so I could carry it with me when I go there in September.

    This is the only website I’ve encountered where everything is locked down. Not sure why that is???

    The alternative is to take screenshots of everything — which is not very user-friendly.

    1. or, you know, pay for the knowledge and experience this person took the effort to make available to you and buy his ebook.

    2. My website is copyrighted and it’s a way of avoiding having blunt copies of my content in other websites (happens more often that you’d imagine). I’m sure you understand.

      I recommend having a look at my ebook which contains all this information + many other details and tips for a trip in São Miguel.

  39. Bruno,

    Thanks so much for putting this together!

    We will be coming to Sao Miguel in August. I was looking at hotels and intrigued by Hotel Verde Mar & Spa. It seems brand new and I can’t find anyone who has stayed in it. Do you know anything about it? Looks ultra modern and my wife is really into that.


  40. Greetings from California!

    Fantastic blog. Been meaning to study the Portuguese martial art of jogo do pau. Would you happen to know of any schools or instructors on Sao Miguel? Found a a jogo do pau website for Terceira Ilha but it would be nice to split my time between the two islands.

    Muito obrigado Bruno!

  41. Hello Bruno!
    Came back yesterday from the Azores.

    Thank you so so so much for this perfect itinerary. We followed it and were overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this island. The guide is so comprehensive about roads that are dirty and slippery for example. Everything is written down so well that there was never an unexpected circumstance.
    I wish this guide was available for every destination in the world. It is world-class!


    1. Thank you so much for your feedback guys, I’m glad you were able to enjoy my home island and have a good time.

  42. Wow Bruno thank you so much for all your advice on Sao Miguel! Arriving onto the island our family had it easy as we just followed your itinerary. You def made the most of the best spots. The island is truly beautiful and you are so lucky. Reminded us very much of NZ!

  43. Thanks for this great post. My significant other and I will be going to Sao Miguel for 6 days at the beginning of June. We want to see a lot of the island, but also don’t want to move around too much. We are thinking 2 nights at each of no more than three different towns/hotels. Which places would you recommend as good ‘home bases’ to do activities (relaxing on a beach, hiking, hotsprings, whale watching, good food are our main priorities) but not have to spend too much time driving?


    1. I have these exact recommendations on the article above under “areas to stay”. Please take a look!

  44. My husband and I are going to visit San Miguel, Faial, and Terceira in May. My heart was set on snorkeling at Ilheu de Villa Franca but I read the ferry doesn’t start until June. Is there another way to get there or is it completely off limits in May? I also want to know if there are any places we can stop off along the way ( on any of the islands we are visiting) to snorkel on our own.

    1. I don’t understand your question, you can snorkel pretty much anywhere you want, as long as the ocean permits? In São Miguel, look onto the southern coast which is usually less aggressive seas.

  45. Bruno,
    My husband and I have just done your 4 day itinerary around Sao Miguel. We loved every minute of it . It was so good having comments from a local . Thank you for sharing your most beautiful island with us .
    Kind regards ,
    Dave and Colleen Pedersen .

    PS We hope one day you will visit South Africa where we live .

    1. I’m really glad you had a great time.
      Thanks for having the time to share your experience back here and hopefully I can go to SA one day!

  46. Just bought your guide for upcoming trip this June. I am taking my Mom on this trip. I have a couple of questions:

    1. She enjoys walking, but would like to avoid any hikes that are too steep or strenuous. Can you advise any trails we should avoid?
    2. She really would like to do one of the half-day guided safari tours. But, I am thinking that we won’t need this as you basically are serving as our safari guide for us. Can you please advise if you feel any of the guided tours are worth it and, if so, any in particular you recommend?

    Thank you!

    1. 1. Avoid Lagoa do Fogo. Lagoa das Furnas is pretty basic and flat.
      2. There are no “safari tours” in Azores. On the article I say several times I don’t recommend any tours and I’m all for independent travel in Azores.

  47. Just wanted to say, I’m so excited to read all the wonderful information you have here. I am so grateful for this as I have never planned a big trip (from Canada) before so this is super helpful! We are spending 4 nights in the Azores before heading to Lisbon and Porto (4 nights each). Just wanted to clarify, staying in one area for our four nights is fine? All the destinations are code enough for day trips? Thanks again!

    1. You can stay in Ponta Delgada and drive around easily, we are in the last day today finishing this itinerary and everything has been perfect!

  48. Thank you for this fantastic article! For all your articles really! They are so helpful, and we are getting very excited for our trip to Sao Miguel in June. My husbands parents are natives but it will be my first visit with our 8 year old twin daughters. They will get to see where Avo` and Avo^ grew up. (Faial da Terra, Fenais da Ajuda) We will have 7 full days to explore the island. Is there anything else you can reccomended beyond the 4 day itinerary? Especially something the kids would enjoy. We love all the outdoor adventures! Thank you again!

  49. Hi Bruno,

    This is an amazing post, thank you SO much! i was wondering if you could give me a little advice, I would be so grateful. My partner and I are coming over for a week in May, however neither of us can drive. (I know I know, everywhere says you need a car, but we didnt want to miss out!) So, we will book lots of tours etc. My question is, should we still stay in one place for the duration (6 nights) as you had said above, or without a car would it be best for us to stay in two places in different areas of the island (and if so, which?) Also, any other hot tips for being there with no car? Thanks so much in advance-appreciate you get lots of questions but where to stay if you have no car is info I have struggled to find!

    1. I don’t see any reason to move around, unless you want to have different experience (spa hotel vs urban hotel etc).

  50. Hi Bruno. Thank you for this itinerary. After looking around at other blogs, I believe you have the most detailed and helpful information so I will try to follow it exactly. Some questions:
    1) I’ve never driven around Europe (coming from the U.S.) but I am renting an automatic car and will figure it out. What terrifies me is parking. I am assuming parking around main sites are labeled but how is parking by restaurant and such?
    2) I booked a beautiful air bnb on the west side of the island but now I am not sure if it’s the best decision logistically. I will be very close to Sete Citades and such but far from other sites.
    Are there much traffic on the main high ways?
    3) Lastly, as a solo female traveler, are there any places you would say I should I should perhaps skip for safety consideration? (Too remote for example). I’ve traveled solo to lots of cities in Europe but they are always big cities and never anything remotely like Azores so I am bit nervous about this… (I am still going to go just trying to figure everything out).
    Sorry for the long comment and thank you in advance!

    1. 1. Parking in Ponta Delgada can be a problem, apart from many parking lots. In towns should be fine.
      2. There isn’t much traffic, except in Ponta Delgada.
      3. It’s perfectly safe, much safer than any big city in fact.

  51. Hello! Thanks for all of the suggestions. I also love detail planning every trip we go on and your information has helped me immensely with our upcoming trip in June. What do you recommend for getting around to other islands? I’ve seen that there are ferries & flights, what about private charters to sail to the other islands? Or do you think that flying and taking ferries is truly the best option?


    1. Considering the distances involved and that we’re talking about the Atlantic, I think ferries or flights are the best option.
      There are companies doing island-hopping private sails, etc, though. All depends on the time you have and your sensitivity to seasickness.

  52. Very detailed and informative.
    Do you recommend we stay each night at a different location to do the 4 days or come back every night to Punta Delgado?
    Also what are the driving conditions on Sat Miguel?
    Could you recommend vegetarians at each of these locations for the 4 days.

    1. Like I mentioned in the article, I recommend picking a hub and staying there. Carrying stuff every day can be tiring, but hey, that’s just me.

      There are a couple of vegetarian places in Ponta Delgada (e.g. Treze). Other restaurants will have a vegetarian option, but I wouldn’t raise my expectations.

  53. This is a great resource! We are considering going in March. We love the outdoors, but are a little concerned about the weather being too cold (we are from Florida). Would you recommend we look at another time of year or is March ok?

    1. March can be sunny and hot or just miserable and rainy, who knows?
      If you only can come in March, just book your flights!

  54. Im going to Sao Miguel in April, i will definitely use this guide since im planning for 4 1/2 days there!
    What would you recommend to do to travel around the island for someone who does not drive like me? Should I stay one might in each sector of the island ? can i bike around? can i take the bus and then walk the rest of the way?
    thanks in advance!!

    1. This itinerary is assuming you’ll have a car. If you don’t you might not be able to reach some of the places mentioned here just using public transportation. Bike is possible, but distances are great, you need to be in really good shape.

  55. hello geekyexplorer…your 4 day plan looks really interesting and i am locking in a trip for may based on what you advise…i have few questions though…1. is it possible to do your 4 day plan in the same timeframe by scooter (i can extend it an extra day if needed) 2. do you have any advise re campsites to link with your plan as I am thinking rather than having one base we would move on each day and if we did that could we still work to your plan? 3. do you have any suggestions re scooter hire in ponta delgada…we might go by car but I am thinking everything would look so much greener on a scooter! thanks for any feedback you can give and for your great page!

    1. 1. Yes, but I’d count with 1 or 2 more days just in case. Rain can be a problem.
      2. There are some campsites on the island: Furnas is one of the best. They are safe, clean and set in beautiful landscape.
      3. Sorry, I don’t, never hired a scooter in Azores before!

  56. Hi there,
    I have just purchased your travel guide and look forward to planning our trip. Quick question: we are planning a stopover in the Azores as we travel to Lisbon in mid March. Would you recommend 2 or 3 night stay in the Azores? We will have a total of 7 days for our vacation.

    1. Well that is an extremely short time and will depend on what you’re looking for. To be fair, you could easily spend 7 days in EITHER Lisbon or Azores (that would be my option), so it’s a matter of adjusting the proportion you want to see nature vs city. I’d do at least 3 nights in Azores, but that’s just me.

  57. Your itinerary was so helpful for our recent trip to Sao Miguel! I don’t think we would have found the second viewpoint for Sete Cidades without your hints. Thank you very much!

  58. Hello!

    We are headed to Sao Miguel for 5 days in December. We are booked at the Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico. Do you know anything about this hotel? It looks decent, but does not seem to have some of the charm that some of your suggestions have. Thanks very much for all of your wonderful suggestions. Cathy, Boston

    1. Sorry for the late reply. It’s one of the most classic hotels in Azores and has been recently renovated. Great choice and perfect location.

  59. Went Surfing with Azores Surf Centre. They have an office and accommodation near Santa Barbara beach, Ribeira Grande, and surf on the South Coast too. Pin them on your map! Fantastic instructors and great place to stay. Had so much fun!

  60. This is excellent!!! Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us. We plan to travel there in May 2019 and will definitely take advantage of your recommendations!!

  61. Wow have you read all your reviews? You are amazing!
    Just wondering if I dont rent a vehicle is there another way to do all on your list?
    Also, I am kinda nervous driving in another country, are these trips mainly highway driving? Or dirt gravel roads?
    Thanks so much.

  62. Hi Bruno,
    Thank you for making our exploration of São Miguel perfect! We just came back from this vacation – best 7 days EVER! Your blog was a great help, even if we did not always follow it to a 100%, but the information you provided was so helpful, so concise. Covers all the must-see points – with detail, passion and humour)))
    We fell in love with the island – and you are partially to blame!))) Thank you for your blog – Obrigado!

    1. Aw Kate, thank you so much for sharing your experience.
      I’m happy you had a good time and thank you for passing by!

  63. Thank you! This is so informative…we are going late January 2019 and will be following this itinerary

  64. Your post has been very informative! I just came back from 11 days Sao Miguel and I thought I would get bored…I was wrong, in fact, I want to come back and see more! Slow paced is the best way to experience everything the island has to offer.

    A recommendation from me for whale watching (Ponta Delgada): go for this small local company called Sea colors Azores ! They do research on whales as marine biologists and only act out of best interest for all cetaceans.

  65. Been in the Azores for the last couple of weeks and took your suggestions for the islands we’ve visited. The itinerary for Sao Miguel specially has been really helpful. Thanks for posting.

  66. hi we will be in azores from 11-24oct. I will follow the itinerary for Sao Miguel, its fantastic the details you have added. What should the rest of my trip be like, Which islands and how long. We need to fly back on 24th from Sao Miguel so thinking 1 more day in SM. would love to hear back

  67. Thanks for writing this blog, super helpful. We would land up following it in our upcoming trip :).

    We are planning to be on Sao Miguel Island for 5 days, and would rent a car. However, we are wondering if a Smart automatic car would be sufficient enough to get us to all the points you discussed, mainly from road condition/mountainous/unpaved roads perspective or should we consider having a slightly bigger sedans cars ? Would you suggest an all wheel drive crossover ?

  68. My wife and I used this guide to help plan our 3 day Sao Miguel trip and it worked wonderfully. We cut the whale watching and tea plantation and were able to shuffle some of the other activities depending on weather and location. The trip was incredible and this guide was spot on. I would just emphasize to potential travelers the importance of renting a car. Between the views and the rally car styled roads, exploring the island by car was one of the best parts of the trip. Oh, and AirBnB is active and great on the island. Thanks for the guide!

  69. Do you mind suggesting places to eat each day? Outside of Furnas I didn’t see any specific recommendations (if I missed something I apologize). My group will be fine packing lunch if necessary but restaurants are preferable. Thanks for all the great info!

  70. Thank you so much for this itinerary! We were just there for 5 days. We referred to this every day and had such a wonderful time. There is still so much to see do and eat, I hope we can come back soon. Thanks again

  71. HEllo, we just booked two houses thru and purchased our one-way airfare from JFK!!!..We are stoked!!! WE will be on Sao Miguel for 10 nights….can your 4 day itinerary be spread out for that long by taking out time? will we run out of sites to see on Sao? Can you recommend other sites….thanks so much, Mike

    1. Hi, you’ll likely have a very good grasp of the island in 10 days. I recommend you do some hiking trails and check other areas such as Mosteiros, Caloura or Tronqueira which I didn’t mention.

  72. Thank you so much for the helpful guide!! Are there any options to rent a boat with nightly accommodations to visit multiple islands?

  73. This article about Sao Miguel has made me really want to go there (although it was already on my plans). Nicely explained! I guess it also appeals to me since I share the same geek travel attitude.
    I have a question regarding the best time to visit the island. I won’t be able to make it before the end of September, and I was wondering if that is a good time to go.
    Thanks and keep up the brilliant work!

    1. By the end of September you’ll still have some nice warm weather and actually can be a time of little rainfall. Not the best time for whale-watching though. But still very much worth to go!

  74. Hi! We want to thank you for your awesome travel itinerary and tips. We used many of your recommendations when traveling to Sao Miguel last week. We based ourselves in Ponta Delgada and booked our rental car with Micauto (excellent service!) in advance. It was a great experience driving the island ourselves. We didn’t have as much time as we wanted in the Azores so we couldn’t get to everything, but you guided us so well. Everything that you described is spot on, and I enjoyed your humor, as well! We want to go back so badly. Thanks again and cheers!

  75. Your itinerary is amazing thank you so much for sharing and making it user friendly! How lucky you are to be from somewhere so beautiful!!!

    1. Also, he isn’t exaggerating about the low amount of automatic cars or rental cars in general. We have learned the hard way. Book book book in advance!

    2. Thanks for sharing your feedback and passing by Yodit, I would have to agree I’m very lucky, yes 😀

  76. Hi Bruno:

    We will be spending a week each on Sao Jorge (Aug18-26) and Sao Miguel (Aug 26-Sep 2). Concerning whale watching (this time of yr): is it worth our time & effort (ferry,taxi,tour) to go to Pico, or is the whale watching just as good on Miguel?

    Also, do you suggest an itinerary for Sao Jorge…or a guide book? Looking forward to your itinerary and guide…thanks for the hard work! Suzanne

    1. I think I’ve replied to you via email?

      Anyway, here’s my reply.

      I believe whale watching in the islands of the central group is superior with a slightly bigger chance of sightings. Pico is #1 spot and Espaço Talassa have lots of experience. To be fair, if there’s any company that does it from São Jorge directly it would be a good option (not aware of any to be honest).

      Can’t help you with a guide of São Jorge, I’m afraid.

  77. Thanks so much for all of the information! We are going there in 2 weeks and can’t wait to explore your beautiful island

  78. hi there. i am thinking of going here for 4-5 days. i will be travelling solo and was thinking of renting a scooter/ motorbike. can i get to all these places on a scooter? or should i rent a car?

    1. Great question! You can do these places on a motorbike/scooter, but it can be tiring.
      Some of the spots in the eastern part of the island are remote and are more than 1-hour drive from Ponta Delgada.

      I’d say to visit all the main spots, you should plan your trip VERY well so you can stay in different places along the way, sort of a road trip.

  79. Thank you for this itinerary. We just came back from our 6 days in Sao Miguel traveling with our 3 year old and checked off most of the places on this itinerary. We had the best time and it was easier to use your tips to find places even with our car rental having a GPS system. The one thing that needs to be updated on this is the hotel at Vista do Rei – they have walled up the entrances and put up DO NOT ENTER signs everywhere. 🙁 We were hoping to see the lake from the hotel, but understand it’s closure is for safety reasons. Anyway, the island is beautiful. We hope to make it back again soon!

    1. Thanks for the update Shirley, I was there recently too. Didn’t enter but spotted some people on the rooftop so assumed everything was like it was. I’ll update the article!

      Glad your family had a great time 🙂

  80. One of the best, most useful, non commercial BS and honest location guides I have ever read. Fantastic work, will be using this for our trip and many thanks for the time in making this!!

    1. To be 100% honest, “non-commercial BS” is the best compliment you can give me so can’t thank you enough. Have a great trip!

    1. Good plan, if you want to take your time and have a chilled trip leave the most remote spots for another time. It’s good to have additional reasons to come back! 🙂

  81. Thank you! This blog was literally our bible on our trip to Sao Miguel! Not a single location was a disappointment, and all the details and directions are really helpful. You’re so lucky to have such a beautiful place as your home!

    1. Thank you for your feedback Emilie, I’m really happy you had a great time.
      And yes, the more I travel the more I realize I am very lucky to call a place like this “home”!

  82. We used your itinerary when we visited in June and it was perfect! It was our only source for what to do in Sao Miguel and we really appreciated all of the information. A tip I stumbled upon was we could download an offline map of the island through Google Maps. It helped us navigate the island via rental car and provided real-time directions (in airplane mode). Thank again!

    1. Thank you Jennifer for sharing your experience. I’m glad my tips were useful! Also great tip on downloading offline map 😉

  83. This is amazing! Azores is on my bucket list and you just gave a perfect amount of description and resources to make it a reality.

  84. Thank you so much for such a helpful post!!! Due to your blog I’m considering going to the Azores at the end of October/early November but I’m finding such conflicting information about the weather at that time. Is it usually cold & rainy or fairly warm & sunny?
    We will only have about 7 nights-would you recommend staying on Sao Miguel the whole time or combining with another island (and if so which island)? Like you, I prefer to relax and enjoy a destination rather than rushing through a checklist!
    Thank you again for your help!!!

    1. There’s no way to predict the weather in Azores, much less in a time of the year like October/November. I’m not exaggerating when I say it could be either rainy or warm & sunny the entire time.

      I don’t know what is “warm” to you – this varies a lot from person to person – but I’d expect temperatures as low as 12 degrees, worst case scenario.

      Regarding your itinerary, I think you answered your own question 🙂 You won’t get bored with 7 days in São Miguel, if you want you can combine it with a smaller island (I’d suggest Faial, Terceira or Pico), but that would complicate the logistics.

  85. Great plan! I wish i can find the same for Madeira. (will be doing both). Have you seen something similar about Madeira? (if I’m lucky 🙂

  86. Hi here – just wanted to say THANKS x A MILLION for writing such a detailed description of Sao Miguel island for travelers – your information gave me everything I needed to confidently book a trip to the Azores and I loved every minute of it! The instructions for getting to viewpoints, trailheads etc were perfect and so helpful, and your explanation and guidance on everything about car rentals, weather and everything else practical was key to making our trip so wonderful and memorable. I also loved all the food recommendations! My only discrepancy was about Ponta da Ferraria and the natural hot spring – the water was not warm at all about 3 hours before low tide, everything else I read suggested going at low tide or else you won’t feel the hot spring and I think they were right! Otherwise you were such a big help in providing the tools for a perfect trip, so perfect that my boyfriend proposed at the end of our vacation! Thanks again 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience – I’m glad you had a great time and CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT!

      Ferraria is a hit and miss and sometimes depending on the current, you can only feel the warm water in very specific spots. I advised against going on low tide because there have been people with burns; but if you go on high tide you won’t feel the spring at all. I’ve rephrased this on the article. Thanks again!

  87. Hi Bruno, we just had to rebook our tickets, (we were supposed to leave today) and our 5 full days became three plus an evening. What would you suggest for such an unexpectedly short trip? Thank you!

  88. Great Guide Bruno. Helped me out a bunch. A note for all (and if possible to add this to the guide to save others). If you Google Map Lagoa do Fogo, it takes you about 30 minutes away from where you should head. Put in this GPS instead: We luckily had a friend who went a few days before, so he sent us it.

  89. Olá! My husband and I are just finishing our 13 day trip to the Açores. Your guide was a great help – muito obrigada for so many great tips. I would add that we’ve had a lovely stay at Casa das Palmeiras and recommend it.

  90. Thank you for such a great itinerary and write up!

    I’ve been coming to São Miguel almost every summer for 15 years to visit my husband’s family and can attest that you hit all the high points of the island. However, you have some gems in here that I’d never been to. Lagoa do Congro is a gem!!! Can’t wait to go back and visit the fish this summer

    1. The good thing is there’s always something new to find out. I was born here and I’m still surprised with new hidden gems every year!

  91. Hello,
    We are 2 Erasmus students in Lisbon. We visited the island last week. Thank you for your excellent recommendations for Sao Miguel. We stayed 4 nights and nearly done everything you said. It was one of the best trips we had. The island is like heaven and was luckily sunny everyday we were there. Your recommendations were very helpful and your plans for each day are very detailed and logical. Thank you once again!!! 🙂

    1. Hi a friend and I will travel here for 4 days in July 2018. Did you rent a car or scooter? If so, which company did you use and how much was it? Thanks for your help 🙂

  92. your blog has helped me to learn so much about what to do in Sao Miguel. I bought your book but am having trouble downloading the map offline. Can you give me any advice?

  93. In sao miguel now! Your post is AMAZING! Wish you had a short itinerary for every location to which I want to travel! Many of the ‘off the beaten path’ spots have become quite crowded! This morning, we explored the old monte palace hotel- super awesome. By the early afternoon, a few larger buses had pulled by, and the abandoned hotel had quite a few people! Same with boca do inferno. Regardless, still a highlight of our trip. Sao miguel is a beautiful island. The nature is gorgeous, the people and food have been great, and I love the cows!! We are staying at the Azor Hotel- also wonderful – staff, location, service, food. I’m eagerly looking forward to following more of your itineraries. Thank you for your guidance!!!

    1. Also- has real-time camera views of many of the lakes and viewpoints, so you’re able to see the cloud conditions before your drive 🙂

    2. I’m very happy you liked it and allowed you to have a safe and memorable trip! Sadly many spots of the islands are becoming crowded and I particularly find those big buses quite visually polluting!

  94. This article is AMAZING, and I can’t wait to try much of this out when I’m there in July! Thank yo so much!

  95. Hi,

    Amazing website you got here! Do you think travelling towards San Miguel early October would be a good option? Whale season just about to end, but weather should be okay? We don’t mind some rain etc but we don’t want to be stuck in rain 24/7 🙂 Thanks!

    1. I can’t predict how’s the weather going to be. October is a shoulder season so anything can happen. You literally could get light rain every single day or don’t witness a drop at all.

  96. Would this route be possible using public transport as I don’t have a drivers licence?

    1. Short answer is no. Too much hassle. Many of these spots are not reachable by the bus network.

  97. We are going to Azores in June. We are stopping in Sao Miguel, Pico & Flores. We are going to rent a car but I am a bit nervous as I am scared of heights. Are there any roads to avoid? If there is a small stretch of land on either side of car, I am fine but I do not like to be driving on the edge of a cliff!!!!!!!

    1. Sorry, just seen this now. Unfortunately some of the roads are on the edge of cliffs, especially on the eastern side of the island.

  98. Wow thank you so much Bruno for this amazing itinerary. Me and my family are going to travel the Azores this summer for our first time (my dads family originates from Pico) and we’re stopping in Sao Miguel for 4 days on the way to Pico and Terceira. I can’t wait to check out the places on your list. Do you have any tips on Terceira by chance or know of any bloggers that do?

  99. Thanks for writing this piece, Bruno I’ll be going to São Miguel (again!) in early May so was checking to see if I missed anything. Your itinerary is almost identical to the one we did on our first trip to São Miguel so to all the other readers out there, I would just like to say that what is suggested here is indeed ‘do-able’. One thing I would like to add is that while in the Nordeste area, a visit to the Ribeira dos Caldeirões Park is worth it. There is a very nice, easily accessible waterfall which you can walk right up to just outside the park entrance (opposite side of the road) and a few smaller ones inside the park. Great photo opportunity! An hour is easily spent here. Entrance is free so no increase to the budget!
    Just to add on about the car rental, yes, they do hold about €800-€1000 (depending on the car agency) against your credit card as an insurance against damage to/theft of the car. This is immediately cancelled upon delivery of the car safe and sound. I don’t know about other travellers but we rented from Ilha verde car agency because it was actually the cheapest during our visit in March last year! Everything went smoothly and they didn’t even bother to check the car when we dropped it off at the airport. We just parked, dropped the keys off at the office and caught our flight back!
    For this upcoming visit, we have ore-booked a car from Ilha verde via Ryanair. The amount for a small, 4-passenger car – €74.54 for 7 days! That was the cheapest I could find after all my research. I know that this is in direct contrast to what you wrote so I thought you’d like to know this update

    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and giving out suggestions to improve this itinerary, I’ve now included them in the article!

  100. Bruno,
    Angels literally sang from heaven when I found you online! My husband and I (40s but adventurous) fly into Lisbon for awhile then on to sao Miguel for A few days in May. Your itinerary and advice are perfect! I’m just frustrated I didn’t find you earlier sifting through hours of useless information online elsewhere!
    We will be in Sao Miguel May 3-May 6th staying at Terra Nostra. I realize it’s during the big religious festival time, and it sounds like many people fly in from other islands. I’m wondering how that may affect our stay? Is it normally crowded on the island? Should we avoid or engage any local areas more for a cool experience?

    1. I’m glad I helped you!
      The big religious festival is Santo Cristo and tends to concentrate in Ponta Delgada only. There are indeed more people visiting the island (many Azorean emigrants living in Canada and the US come back) but other than that if you’re staying in Furnas, there shouldn’t be a problem.

  101. ThankYou!! I have been researching for my Sao Miguel trip next month, and you shed a lot of light on how to plan. As a single traveller, I am frustrated with the tour sights pricing for singles but there are minimums, so very few tours are available to me.

    It seems that a rental car is the best advice rather than hiring a full day driver. What are the roads/destinations I should avoid in terms of elevation, narrow roads, frankly, the most dangerous – i don’t want to miss a gear and fall off a mountainside/volcano-side.!
    what do you suggest for a 3 day stay in Ponta Delgrada? walking in the town, rent a car, and tours.
    Thank you!

    1. Roads in São Miguel are very safe, well maintained and easy to drive. Perhaps the east part is more windy, but you won’t have a problem. Parking in Ponta Delgada might be an issue though.

  102. This is wonderful, thank you! What is your advice for the amount of time to spend on the island. I’ll be renting a car and traveling alone. I plan to hike, swim, and enjoy the hot springs and views. I’m not especially interested in whale watching. Would you recommend Fri-Wed or will Sat-Wed be sufficient time. Also, I don’t want to rush!

    1. Ciao Alice, I am planning to go to Sao Miguel from 18.5.- 23.5. I am a girl, traveling alone and would like to go hiking, swimming and perhaps kayaking one day. What time are you there ? We could perhaps hike one day together if times matches. Enjoy your stay! Flo

  103. Hello. Can you tell me if you think it is a nicer stay on the east or the west end of the island (Beira or Nordeste)? I am traveling with my family and we enjoy the beautiful sights, perhaps a small beach, relaxation and proximity to a village and a few restaurants

    1. In both you have all those, it’s a matter of geographically what you want to be closer to. Or just pick between sunrise or sunset? 🙂

  104. Hello,
    I am wondering if you have any advice for traveling with someone who is mobility impaired and will likely be using a wheelchair? Thank you!

    1. Well obviously the hiking trails are not a good choice for you, but you can get around by car on the island (honestly driving around is a great part of the experience by itself). Tour agencies can also provide assistance.

  105. Great post!! I’ve been living in Lisbon for a year, and I absolutely cannot wait to visit Azores! Now reading your article made me want to book a flight right away 😀 ^_^ … Thank you for sharing all this info!

  106. Loved your story. Just wondering what Portuguese morning tv show are you referring to? Nellie host of GenteTV

    1. They’re all the same, random talk-shows talking about everything from the type of soap you should use for your nails to the latest crimes in the country.

  107. Hi, Bruno. You mentioned in the article 2 beaches that you prefer. We’re going to stay in Ponta Garca as a base, and some of our big group plan to spend a little time at the beach. I (not them, who plan to swim and sunbathe) fully understand that the Azores is not the right place for such activities, but nevertheless maybe you name a pair of decent beaches not far from Ponta Garca (Moradia T5), if there are some. Thanks ahead.

  108. Hi, Bruno. Thanks a lot for so proper instructions. Would you be so kind to give some more pieces of advice. We plan to be in Sao Miguel from 28/06 to 06/02, and I’m ready to rent a car and follow at least some of your instructions and routs (Furnas, Nordeste). But we’re 9 in the group: 6 adults and 3 kids, and due to it we, firstly, will have to stay in Ponta Garca (rather distantly, but couldn’t find anything else yet that would suite our big group and not very big budget), and, secondly, we decide to take a taxi at least for one full-day trip to the Blue and Green Lakes and Hot ocean, cause I’m afraid to be lost in such a long way, and moreover they say only locals know exactly when the ocean starts getting hot during the daytime. Don’t want to spoil the impressions of the most unique cites. So perhaps you know anyone to recommend with the van for 9 passengers, cause 2 vans (for 6 persons each) as taxies tend to be rather pricey. Thanks ahead.

    1. I’m sorry, but I really don’t know anyone in those conditions.
      I wouldn’t be worried about getting lost though, roads are well sinalized and there’s always Google Maps 😉

      As for the tides, you can check them online too. Low tide is when you should avoid Ferraria because it’s too hot.

  109. Awesome post! Definitely going to refer to your blog as I get prepped for my trip this year. Do all the car rental companies charge an absurd deposit fee? It looks like they are all about over 1000EUR/ 2k USD. Have you taken photos of your car to ensure that you get your deposit back?

    1. Not sure what is the standard these days, but that seems like a very high deposit indeed. Maybe try to negotiate and compare with other agencies?

      Just in case, whenever I rent something, I always take photos and I suggest doing the same!

  110. I am wondering if you have this more in an itinerary form. I would like to print the different locations and tips, but to print this whole article is 70 pages! LOL

  111. Thank you so much for this post – it has been a huge help to me in planning a trip to São Miguel in a couple of weeks (can’t wait)! I was wondering if you have any particular restaurant recommendations in Mosteiros?

  112. Bruno
    Optima dica.
    Estou a programar 4 dias em São Miguel.
    Pena ter de por o Google a traduzir para Português.

  113. Boas Bruno, nos vamos a sao miguel agora em marco, e nos queriamos alugar um carro. gostari de saber que companhia tu alugas-te o carro, se nao for muito trabalho. Obrigado.

  114. Hi! I am coming to Sao Miguel with my boyfriend for 5 days and we want to do hiking. We were wondering that we would like to stay in Ponta Delgada and an other place also? Could you recommend any other town in the island? A car rental is a must I guess?
    Thank you very much for this nice post, it was very helpful!

    1. Please read the entire article, the answers to your questions are there. Yes car rental is a must in my opinion!

  115. You’re a loser. Quit writing travel blogs .. and quit suckling at your mommy’s tits and pay for your own hotel rooms. I recommend Azul! (except I didn’t pay for it so it was great value).

    1. Thank you for your constructive comment and for taking the time to write down something here 😉

  116. Hey Bruno , thanks so much for your article !

    I would like to ask you a tip about where it s better make a reservation to sleep , if we don’t want to rent a car !

    I mean , which area can you suggest me , that is more full of public transport to go around ?

    Thanks a lot to share all your knowledge =)

  117. Hey I am hoping to visit Sao Miguel in June of 2018 do you just stay on one place as a home base and travel each day to the specific places listed on the itinerary or do you go to a different place and stay there each day? Thanks

    1. As I mention on the article, I choose a base. It’s unpractical to always be on the move, but that’s a personal opinion, of course!

  118. Thanks Bruno for all these detailed info! Our connecting flight to Pico got rejected by the airline since we are not starting the flight in Portugal but abroad, and since internal flight tickets are quite pricey, it seems we will be “stuck” in Sao Miguel for 11 days. I know there are many hiking trails in addition to your itinerary suggestions, but do you think we will be bored in Sao Miguel for 11 days?

    Btw I also read your Lisbon blog posts and loved them! As I lived there myself, I thought I would know the place but your “I used to recommend this but not anymore” type of edits made me realize how everything changes. Lots of new insights for our Lisbon stop after the Azores… Thanks!

    1. If you like nature, I don’t think you will be bored. Check activities and other stuff to do, like whale-watching, canyoning, etc 🙂

      Alternatively, you can look into the option of ferries to go to other islands, they are cheaper, but more time-consuming.

  119. Hi Bruno!
    Coming from New York City, I very rarely drive. How easy are the roads to drive on? And is there always enough parking at the sights you listed? It might be the city person in me but I’m worried I’ll show up to these places and have no where to put my car to go on a hike.

    1. I’m from Toronto, and For someone who’s been there many times. We do not drive. It’s cheap to take a cab or bus. Roads are narrow, on mountains and drivers pass you on blind spots, but the locals are used to it.

      Beautiful island with beautiful people.

      Hope you love it

  120. Lovely tour, wonderful itinerary, BUT hotel recommendations are way too pricey! That was a surprise considering you’re a local…one would think you’d be more friendly to visitors’ wallets!! THANKS for the sight-seeing advice.
    Will check out your Croatia advice…since I’ve been there a number of times, I will be interested in learning of your point of view. THANKS!

    1. Thanks a lot for the feedback.
      I have recommendations for other price points too on my travel guide and I provide a link to Booking with a shortlist of the best hotels in São Miguel: these include a wide range of prices. Anyway I will include a cheaper alternative to my posts. Thanks again.

  121. Thank you so much for putting together this itinerary! My fiance and I will be going to the Azores for our honeymoon (Sao Miguel and Pico!). We are definitely using your guide for Sao Miguel and will be so excited to report back!!

  122. As everyone says your itinerary sounds perfect. So far I’ve got hotel and air. BUT can you believe car companies are sold out for July 13-18th already??? We all much appreciate all the hard work you put into this site. I’m sure I’ll have questions later. Right now my mission is to secure a car.

    1. Actually I can because same thing happened last year!
      There is simply no supply for the huge demand. Try looking in smaller companies… Good luck!

  123. I am from S.Miguel (Azores) and I would like to compliment Bruno for his fantastic job on conveying my island so beautifully. I thank him for all the practical information he has put out there for everybody, including my friend who is planning a trip to S.Miguel this summer with her extended family. Hope you all enjoy our pearl in the middle of the Atlantic!

  124. Thank you so much for this itinerary, it was really helpful. We stuck to your suggestions and weren’t disappointed. It saved us so much time and ensured that we got straight to the best places. I doubt we would’ve seen and enjoyed as much as we did without this info. We had the best time on San Miguel and hope to return to see more islands. Thanks again!

  125. Hi Bruno, Thank you for your advice. I bought the pdf guide but couldn’t find the access to the offline map. This is the most important part for me.

  126. Hi Bruno
    we’ll be coming to San Miguel in June, for 8 nights. Your itinerary is really amazing. We are thinking to stay 3 nights in Ponta Delgada, 2 in Sete Cidades and 3 somewhere else on the island. Could you help me with an ideea? Is Furnas a good solution? Thank you

  127. Thank you so much for such an informative post! We are planning a trip in August with my family. This will help me a lot in my planning.

  128. Hi! I want to tell you huge thanks for this article. It is soooo useful! I used it to make an iternary for one day (yesterday, actually), corrected by month (skip all the sun bathing and other swimming) and by what I already saw myself (actually only the trail around Sete Cidades). The time to spend in each location and personal recommendations (like what hot springs and view point to visit) are extremely helpful. That’s just what is usually required for proper planning and most of the time missing in the guides. Thanks again!

  129. Thanks bruno for all the ideas to check. We are heading to Sao Miguel in February for a week with a 13month old, staying in Ribiera grande. Any tips on travelling with a baby?

  130. Hi Bruno, This is amazingly thorough and descriptive – thanks! Having a hard time finding places to stay for the third week of April (we are going to stay 3-4 days). Would you recommend staying in each general location that you provide on your daily itinerary for one night, or making a certain place your home base (Ponta Delgado?) and make day trips from there?

  131. You are lovely! I am from O’ahu and plan itineraries, too! You have captured essence of promoting a tourism of tracking lightly. Noise is pollution, too! Yes it is! Cheers’ we go to São Miguel July 28-aug 6!

    1. Oh wow! I believe we have very similar spirits, for some reason the Azores are nicknamed the Hawaii of Europe!
      I would love to visit someday!

  132. Thank you for this plethora of information!! What is the best way to find a small house to rent on the island?

    1. Airbnb has some places, but I’m personally not a fan. The best way is to ask around or search for “casa rural” (rural house) in Google!

  133. This looks like a great schedule. I will be visiting in June for 5 nights and was thinking about doing 3 nights in Sao Miguel then fly for 2 nights in Terceira. But it sounds like that may be too much. Maybe better to do the 5 nights and use your plan and just see Sao Miguel?

    1. Personally I would recommend that, yes. It’s better to not rush things and really have time to take it in that being in a crazy rally always worried about time. But that’s my opinion anyway!

  134. Hi, what a great guide, we will be visiting sao miguel for the 1st time next year and will be using your itinerary 🙂
    We would really like to do some lake fresh water fishing, as a local would you know where to get a fresh water lisence?
    Ww have tried the forestry commission, but no response. Much appreciated 🙂

    1. I honestly don’t know the answer Philippa. The major lakes in São Miguel are environmentally protected areas so fishing is not allowed. All I know are fishing tours done in the ocean.

  135. Hello, thank you so much for laying out this trip. We’re planning on going early April for a week…can you tell me weather for that time and we’re also thinking of seeing vila franca islet. I read ferry in summer months. could we kayak at this time of year. any info would be great!!

    1. Can’t tell you about the weather, as I mentioned several times it’s completely unpredictable. Not even weather forecasts get it right most of the time. A typical day would be rain in the morning and sun in the afternoon with temperatures around 15-20 degrees, but what do I know? 🙂

      In 2017, the ferry only operated in peak summer months (started in June). Still not sure about this year. I think you can still go there by kayak – just get in touch with someone from the Vila Franca Marina. Alternatively, you could possibly privately hire a boat, I imagine they also arrange that.

  136. Wonderful article great help for us planning a trip for June 2018.

    Can I pose a logistic question? If we as a couple elect not to switch hotels after checkin Azor Hotel in Ponta Delgada for 7 or 8 days, is it still feasible to island hop for just 2 or 3 day trips for Pico & Flores & maybe Terceira? May book a mini tour …are there plenty on offer from Ponta Delgada? Or would you say that day trips with return on same day is too rushed?

    Much appreciated:)

    1. That’s not very feasible I would say. First of all, the regional flights are expensive considering the time they take. A 30min flight can easily reach 100 euros.

      If I’m right, there aren’t many flights from Ponta Delgada to Flores (once a day?) and Pico deserves at least 2 full days. Terceira is the only one I see that might be technically possible. Expensive and rushed, but possible.

  137. thank you for the information. It has been helpful. I have a question for you. If we are coming from Toulouse France by car and want to get to your island with our car where/how do we book a space on a passenger boat and how much, in general would it cost? We are thinking about coming in the middle of April. What do you think the weather could be like? We speak both French and Spanish but, unfortunately not Portuges. Gracias….
    Marge Pett

    1. I don’t think the journey from mainland Portugal to Azores is an easy or recommendable one. There aren’t any ferries a it’s too remote to be a passenger route.

  138. Your article is great! Very helpful. We are planning a 7 day family trip (2 adults 2 teenage kids) for November. Will we have any issues if we do not speak Portuguese? Also do you think this itinerary would be good for a November trip as well? Do you have any other suggestions?

    1. Hello Aimee,
      we just got back from Sao Miguel and followed this amazing itinerary more or less to the “t”. We even did the trip to the waterfalls near Faial.
      You won’t have any issues not speaking Portuguese. Everyone we spoke to spoke a little or very good English! and were all super friendly.
      While we were there the weather wasn’t great – warm, but lots of rain. It didn’t really spoil the trip one bit! The hot springs are great when it’s rainy!
      Accuweather website was very accurate with the weather forecast and we used it for all the outdoor plans.
      also, was very helpful in getting to Lagoa do Fogo when it wasn’t foggy!!!
      You will love it there 🙂

    2. Thanks Kiki for sharing your experience!
      I would just add while knowing Portuguese isn’t mandatory, it’s always nice to learn some words and can earn you extra smiles from locals 🙂

  139. We have booked a flight to Sao Miguel in February for my 4 kids (ages 7-14) my husband and I. What accommodations would you suggest and what part of the island should we look at staying on? My husband and son would like to do some mountain biking and we’d like to try canyoning. is there any must see attractions in the winter and are there places to avoid in the winter?

    1. Hi Lisa, you can find my top choices of accommodation in this post itself.

      Unless there’s a storm going on, there aren’t places to avoid, just beaches aren’t usually too pleasant. Hot springs are a must in chilly weather!

  140. My boyfriend and I are looking for an adventurous vacation with some possible surfing options. The only time we are available is the end of November and first week of December (planning for 10 days). Will it still be a good time to visit? I don’t mind having a sweater or coat on that time of year and understand we are at the mercy of weather, but I’m hoping for some affirmation before making travel arrangements. Thanks!

    1. Sorry just seen this!
      This December I was surprised to see a perfect weather perfect in the island. Not hot obviously but sunny, clear skies and mild weather. If this is the time you can come, weather is NOT a reason to stop you 😉

    2. Hi Andrea – did you end up visiting this time of year? (Nov-Dec) I am interested in this timeframe as well and am curious what the weather is like. Thanks!

  141. I was very excited to find this link. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. My husband was born in Faial and we visited for the first time in 2015 with our kids. We have decided to go back next August 2018 and this time we will be stopping in Sao Miguel fo 4 days. I’m very excited and this link is helping with the planning. Thank you again.

    1. Planning with a year in advance, that’s got everything to be a killer vacation! I hope you have a great time in Azores and enjoy getting back to your roots 🙂

  142. Thank you sooooo much. We followed your guide to a T and had an awesome time- can’t imagine what we would have done otherwise. Few comments that may help other travelers:
    -the Porto formosa beach you referenced I believe is actually called praia das moinhos.. We followed signs to Porto Formosa beach, and it was fairly unremarkable.. Luckily we asked someome for help ams they pointed us to the awesome other beach (which I assumw is what you meant)
    -you seem to imply that the Barrosa miradouro is where to start the hike to Fogo… Your picture and the trail actually start at another miradouro very close by (I think it is just called Lagoa da fogo)
    -your other article with a comprehensive guide to Pico was awesome.. Really hope you make one for each of the other islands so we can plan where to go next !

    1. Thank you for your words and your feedback. I’ll make sure to rewrite some stuff just for the sake of making things more clear.
      – Yes, you’re absolutely right. Porto Formoso is the village, the beach is indeed called Praia dos Moinhos.
      – Right again. Pico da Barrosa is a viewpoint, the hike starts at a different viewpoint further down.

      Hope you are back to Azores again! 🙂

  143. Thank you for the guide! I’ll stay 4 days in Sao Miguel from the 20th to the 24th of September (and then I’ll visit the other islands) and I’ll follow your guide for sure!.
    I have only one question about car rental: do you know if it is possible to have only one reservation for the car and “hop off / hop on” among the different islands or I have to make a reservation for each island? Furthemore, which is the cheapest way to rent a car? Do it from here or rent it directly there? I know there are not a lot of car but I’ll go “off season”, so I think I’ll find them..

    Thank you!!!!

    1. You can have the same (with the same car), but you’ll be dependent on the ferry. I’d just take one for each island and I strongly advise to book it in advance, even though it’s not summer anymore!

  144. This is a great itinerary! Thanks for posting. I just published a guide to Sao Miguel with similar advice, good to know I discovered a lot of the local places! My guide includes some perspective and advice for American travelers, such as avoiding hotel food and packing in smart-car-sized luggage. Nice post- I can’t wait to go back!

  145. Hi Bruno, First I have to say thank you so much for your detailed and comprehensive itinerary. It is inspiring us to make a visit! A couple of questions if you don’t mind. We’ve been trying to find a time to get to the Azores and it looks like mid-November is an option. Realizing it will be cool, but are we crazy to be considering going then? Also, we only have a week and would prefer to spend it all in one or two places on Sao Miguel. What in your opinion would be the best places to base ourselves for convenience of exploring? I assume Ponta Delgado as the obvious but we also love smaller villages that have a couple of restaurants or accommodations. If there are any small “resorts” we’d be interested as well. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for your awesome blog!

    1. You’re not crazy, but I wouldn’t have high expectations about the weather.

      For a week, I’d advise to split your stay between Ponta Delgada (all the convenience of a town) and Furnas (that village-feeling you’re looking for). Logistically it makes sense and you can even save some time in getting back and forth. Enjoy!

  146. I just wanted to say thank you so much for this excellent guide! I found it by accident when researching my Azores trip and it was so helpful. I absolutely loved our visit to Sao Miguel and your itinerary was perfect. A lovely pace so that we saw everything we wanted, without feeling too rushed and there were no long drives, everything was grouped together really well. I also used your tips for Lisbon, as we had a few days there on our way back to the UK. All in all we had an incredible holiday, with beautiful sights and incredible food and drink. Thank you!

  147. Thank you so much for this guide! We stayed 1 week in Sao Miguel and your advices were really precious, we loved your homeland!
    We are enjoying right now a beautiful evening in our garden in Ribeira das Tainhas, so peaceful! We will read your guide for Lisbon, needed for next week!

  148. Just wanted to say thank you, Bruno! My husband and I just returned from Sao Miguel and found all your suggestions invaluable. Would not have had the wonderful time we had without them. So great to have your blog out there. (Loved the Azores!!!)

  149. Thank you for putting this together! This is what we used for our 4 days in Sao Miguel, and it worked out perfectly. Remember you mentioned the corn cooked in Furnas? well, we found a guy right outside the entrance of Dona Beija! (funny the only reason we went to that one was due to your recommendation, and now we found you the corn-good karma:). check it out! my older son who never eats corn actually loved this corn!

  150. Hi Bruno,
    let me say that your blog is very precious.
    We’ll be in Sao Miguel for a week and then in Lisbon for the successive week on late August 2017 and took great inspiration from your tips.
    What’s your definitively choice between Ponta Delgada and Lagoa as basis to visit the Island?
    I’ve found two good place to stay and we have rent a car.
    Thank you very much by now.

    1. Lagoa is more laid back, closer to beaches and has really good restaurants, but so does Ponta Delgada. But the latter has some stuff to visit like the farmers’ market and the seaside promenade.

      The choice can only be done by you: check which place looks nicer and you want to visit 😉

  151. Hey Bruno!! Thank SO MUCH for taking the time to give us info about the Azores- we are planning a trip at end of July and your website has helped quite a bit. Question:

    We are planning on seeing Sao Miguel, Pico, and Flores, splitting our time equally between 13 days total. Trying to figure out how to maximize the free interconnecting flights with SATA. How would you recommend? For example, if we fly from Lisbon to Flores initially, since this is not direct, would SATA cover the cost of the flight to Sao Miguel and we would only be responsible to pay for the flight from Sao Miguel to Flores? And which order would you visit the islands?

    Kelly and Kevin

    1. Sorry I completely missed this comment. Anyway someone in the future might find it useful.

      It’s exactly the opposite you mentioned. If you fly from Lisbon to São Miguel, you can ask for a reconnecting flight to Flores. This flight (São Miguel > Flores) is free, subject to availability on SATA flights.

      The order is a bit irrelevant I think. But the cheapest option –
      the one with less flights you need to pay – won’t be the most convenient, because you’d need to stop in São Miguel every time.

      I’d personally do Lisbon > São Miguel > Pico > Flores and then ask for a reconnecting flight to go back to Lisbon from Flores.

  152. Going in one week, do you know of any GPS free downloads for the island of Sao Miguel?

    1. Hello. You can check HERE.wego application (IOS / Android) which allows to download offline maps.

    2. Oops… you are probably already back. sorry. Might be useful for others.

  153. Hi Bruno,
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing itinerary! My boyfriend and I are going to be there July 9-14 and we’re definitely going to follow this as much as possible. Do you have any recommendations on clothing for this time period? We also rented scooters; do you think the activities and locations that you provided are accessible by scooter?
    Thank you!

    1. Bring a light rain jacket, comfy shoes and you’re set! 🙂

      As for the scooter, it shouldn’t be a problem, but prepare for longer and more uncomfortable rides than a car. Depending on the scooter, it might be illegal to drive on the main highway of the island, which can increase journey times further. But if you’re used to, not a problem.

  154. Hi Bruno, Thanks for an outstanding itinerary. I am currently in Sao Miguel and trying to fit in every place you mentioned. Could not hike due to rainy weather. I have one day to explore city of Ponta Delgada. What would you suggest there to see? Looking to take a trip to Villa Franca Islet. Everything is I been told is shut down on Thursday, June 17. Any suggestions will be welcome. Thanks again for a magnificent ideas.

    1. For sure Mercado da Graça, the farmers market, and take a stroll in Avenida until Portas do Mar. The center with Igreja Matriz is also worth a visit.

      Thursday 15th is a bank holiday, so I’d look into going to the beach, hot spring. Skip the islet, it will be packed!

  155. Hi Bruno,

    Fantastic stuff! I booked (flights) two days ago from 13-18 July, and I just saw this post this morning, and I’m very glad I did. Planning on renting accommodation in Sao Roque, will save some money on hotel rooms and also good place to leave car. I would ask for you to personalize an itinerary for me, however the one provided above is more than sufficient, so I can only offer you a drink/dinner when I’m over there if you are around those dates. Really appreciate your detailed and thorough plan, will use it religiously with my friend as we are there for those 5 days.
    When I see what you guys paid for car rental (62 euros for I’m guessing 4 days?), the prices must have increased as now I can’t find anything under 190/200 for 5 days.

    Let me know if there’s anything else I should know, or if you are around those dates for that drink!

    Kind Regards,

    1. Thanks Gianmarco.
      As stated the prices are per person, we paid 60*3=180 euros in total.

      I will be in Azores at that time, yes, will be pretty busy but I’m sure I can find time for a drink 🙂

  156. Hi,
    This itinerary looks great, thanks for putting together! I’ll be in Sao Miguel for five nights, arriving in the evening and leaving in the evening, so will have five full days. Looking at your itinerary and the distances between Ponta Delgada and some of the day trips, do you think it would be worth it to spend several nights elsewhere to minimize the driving each day (eg. three nights in Ponta Delgada, two nights somewhere such as Furnas)? If so, what other town would you recommend other than Ponta Delgada?

    1. I would recommend that, but not for the sake of distance. We’re talking about 30/40 min driving.

      But staying in Furnas + Ponta Delgada gives you 2 different perspectives on the island. I’d look into staying in Sete Cidades as well, more remote and scenic, although the accommodation offer is not that big.

  157. Thank you – we are planning a trip next May to time it for whale watching and are thinking of flying to Lisbon, then on to Pico for a week (and do whale watching) and then on to San Miguel for a week. Do you suggest flying from Boston to Lisbon and then to Ponta Delgado? I understand it will save on inter-island flights …. is this correct? Thank you, Pam

    1. Not sure what you mean by “saving on inter-island flights”. You’ll have to do at least one inter-island flight, no matter what.

      You can also do Boston > Ponta Delgada > Pico > Lisbon > Boston.

      In any case I suggest looking at Azores Getaways, they have pretty good Lisbon + Azores packages.

  158. I love this itinerary, ;we are going in October 2017 and I’m looking for a similar itinerary for Faial and Terceira. Can’t wait! It looks beautiful

  159. I am planning my trip to the Azores around your itinerary, and am excited about it! My only problem is I will only have 3 days on Sao Miguel, what things should I do instead of others? My trip is from June 17-20, 2017. Thank you.

    1. Well, that really depends on what you want to do. Perhaps cut whale-watching and get yourself half-a-day gone already. With all the hikes I mention, you might be able to squeeze it all in just 3 days.

  160. We followed your blog to cover most points. Like you said we had to stay flexible as we had three, out of four days of cloudy and rainy weather. We would definitely have to go back again to catch the views from Pica da Barrossa, see Porto Formoso, and hike Salto de Prego. Agua d’ Alto was so pretty in spite of all the rain we went in! Thanks for the wonderful suggestions!

    1. It’s a shame you didn’t get lucky with the weather, but hey, the islands is green for a reason! Thank you, hope you come back for round 2!

  161. Brilliant blog Bruno! Thank you!
    We have 1 extra day in the Azores. Should we do Santa Maria or Sao Jorge?
    We are already doing Terceira, Flores, Faial, Pico, and Sao Miguel all in 12 days..

    1. With 1 day I’d go to Santa Maria, but honestly I would much rather spend an extra day in one of the places you’re going. The Azores is supposed to be a relaxing place, not to be rushing around.

  162. This is awesome, just booked a trip to the Azores after reading your website.

  163. Woow, this looks really amazing,
    This is really on my have to do list before i get into my 40’s

    Keep posting,
    Kind regards

  164. I am heading out with family next week, and I can’t wait to follow this itinerary! It is expected to rain throughout though, so I hope we get to experience some of the wonderful sites! Thanks in advance!

    1. Don’t worry about the weather too much, it’s always changing and even rainy days have moments when the sun comes out 🙂

  165. Hi Bruno Brilliant blog but it makes my blood boil because I’ll be visiting just for 1 day in September on a cruise ( Must check out Furnas Hotel for a week next year and flights from Ireland ) I know it’s a ridiculously short time 7 hours but what would you recommend in that time. I’m more interested in the interior of the island but there’s so much to see so I’ll leave the furthest away sights until next visit
    Thanking you in advance for any help ,

    1. 7 hours is probably only enough for 2 or 3 sights. I’d not miss Sete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo.

  166. Thank you Bruno for the great itinerary. We are in Ponta Delgada now and it’s raining for the next 3 days…any suggestions? Lots of cloud coverage and can’t see much.

  167. Hi we are in São Miguel at the momwnt and can’t figure out how do you get down to the beach at lagoa do fogo?

  168. Hi Bruno,

    Great article! I’m going to be there in mid-June and am planning to propose to my girlfriend. I’ve engaged a photographer and am looking to make this super special. Any thoughts on the most beautiful place to pop the question? There seems to be a bunch to choose from!

    Thanks for your help!

    1. haha this is an unique question, no pressure!
      Well i’d consider Miradouro da Boca do Inferno or Lagoa do Congro. Green all around you! 🙂
      If not, Terra Nostra Park is also a beautiful place, but less “wild”.

  169. Wonderful article with so much information. This has been extremely helpful to me while I plan my vacation for my 16 year old son and myself.
    Is it easy to island hop? We are considering taking a flight to another island since we will be in Sao Miguel for a week. If we do island hop, should we make hotel reservations at the other island? Which island would be your pick, if we are to go explore another of the Azores gems?

    Thank you,
    Jean K
    Long Island, NY USA

    1. Yes, I highly recommend book everything i n advance. The other islands don’t have the level of infrastructure as São Miguel and hotels and car rental agencies are often sold out.

      I’d definitely look into Pico, São Jorge or Flores.

  170. Hi Bruno,

    I think you will be the right person who can really help me 🙂

    We will visit the Azores 29th of june – 5th of july, Our plan will land at 11:20 pm, and depart 7:00 am. We want rent a car. I know some rental companies have “meet and greet”. Have you had the experience with this option?

    I thought one option can be: to book one night close the airport the first night and the next morning pick up the car at the airport. The problem might be the drop off the car. I have had experience in early flights to only throw the keys into to their box.

    can you please help me?

    thank you


    1. Why go back to the airport? Why don’t go to a rental company that’s closer to your hotel? This way you can pick up the car in the morning of the following day.

  171. Hello,
    we are arriving to Sao Miguel in beginning of May 2017 and I would like to ask you, if there are any ferries operating to other islands- Pico, Terceira, Flores?
    Thanko you in advance 🙂

  172. Hi
    How come we read about only one tea plant. There appear to be two (Gorreana and Porto Formoso? Enjoying Sao Miguel by the way ‘as we type’!
    Gr Perry and Daniëlle

  173. Hi Bruno,

    Thank you very much for sharing the information. My girlfriend and I would like to ene the vacation with two or three days scuba diving and fishing. Where would you suggest to go on Sao Miguel?
    Thank you in advance,

    1. There are several scuba diving companies in Ponta Delgada and Vila Franca. They usually depart from the respective marinas and go to different places in the island.

      Take a look at diving spots in São Miguel here.

  174. Hi, I’ll be visiting May 24-June 2. I am renting a car and basing myself in Povoação. I am renting an automatic car because I never learned to drive manual. My nephew warned me about some of the twisty roads and to be careful. I am debating between exploring the island on our own or hiring a private tour guide. I am open to either as long as I am able to get great photographs! Any advice on driving on the island appreciated. Thank you!

    1. I guess it depends on your budget. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, want to be available for photos and your budget permits, go for the tour guide.

      There are definitely some twisty roads, but usually they’re in great shape and driving is easy. The hardest part for me is parking in Ponta Delgada for free 😉

  175. Hey Bruno,

    You mentioned the price of 62eur to cover the car hire for 4 days. I’ve checked with various companies, including Micauto and for the cheapest car they all seem to go around 130eur (with full insurance). Is this normal?

    Cheers and congrats on the great blog!

    1. The prices I’ve indicated are per person. We were three so the total was 180eur. So I’d say 130 is good. But how many days are you renting?

  176. Hi Bruno,

    at 1st, thank you for your ‘insider’ 🙂 info about Azores. We are planning one week Azores trip. I’ve read planty of your articels which are very useful 🙂

    one small question. is it necessary to wear hike shoes for the trials?

    thank you very much

    1. Hello Bruno, my husband and I are arriving June the 8th 2017, at 6:30 a.m.and return home to Canada onTuesday the 14th.
      I have read you blog and we were wondering whether you would consider doing private day tours for us. We have booked hotel in Fenais da Luz for 2 days and another hotel in Vila Franca Do Campo for 4 nights. I will get into more detail if you are interested in doing some tours for us. Looking forward to nearing from you.

    2. Hi Kim,

      Unfortunately I won’t be in Azores at that time.
      However I can provide a personalized itinerary for you, get in touch with me.

  177. I’m arriving by air and staying in and Airbnb near Hotel Marina Atlantico, in Ponta Delgada. I’d like to rent a car but I’m concerned about parking as the flat does not provide one. We arrive by air on in the morning on May 1 and are flying to Lisbon the morning of May 3.

    There are three car rental agencies within walking distance of our flat, Micrauto, Europcar and Rent a Car Eurocor. Would we be able to park on there lots over night? Is are there parking lots nearby? Is there parking available on the streets?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated?

    Your website was very informative and helpful.



    1. Yes, there is parking available on the streets and there is an underwater car par right next to the hotel. If you are willing to pay you are sure to get many options to park on the streets.

  178. Hi Bruno! Thank you for all your great ideas and suggestions! I am planning on spending one week in the islands. Which other islands would you visit for the remaining 3 days?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Thank you for passing by! With 3 days I’d probably just go to Faial/Pico or Faial/São Jorge – and it will be tight!

  179. Hi Bruno,
    Thank you for your website . You provided very detailed itinerary. it’s very helpful to plan my trip to Sao Miguel.
    My son has peanut allergy. We would like to try the local foods. Does Azorean cuisine contain peanuts or peanut oil? What kind of dish that we should avoid? Can you give me some advice. Thanks.

    1. I try to be detailed, but sadly didn’t include any peanut allergy recommendations! 🙂 Azorean and Portuguese cuisine in general are peanut-free, to be honest I can’t remember of any dish that has peanuts.

  180. This looks great and we are going to try to follow it in March. I was looking at Pico tours and there is one that is a full day inclufpding whale watching and Lihue de Vila Franco. I would love to see the island, would you recommend this tour in March?

    1. Ilheu de Vila Franca is better in summer to enjoy snorkeling, but whale watching is one of the best times of the year, so why not? 🙂

  181. I am so thankful for your website. Love all of this VERY helpful information. Very grateful for all of the hard work you did to build this website which will help so many people enjoy the country.

    I would love a bit of advise. We are flying into Ponta Delgada on June 27 and decided to do all of your day one journey . We would love to take your advise as well about Mosteiros to watch the perfect sunset and eat some local seafood on our first night. Wondering if you could possibly recommend where we should drive and stay that night being that the next day June 28th we are going to go to stay at Terra Nostra hotel to enjoy the hot springs.Being that we are flying our on June 30 we thought of spending the last night in Ponta Delgado to be closer to the airport.
    Thanks again and looking forward to hearing back from you.

  182. Thank you! this is super informative, and I am thinking this will be my guidebook for my September trip!
    We have flights booked already (arriving at PDL the crack of dawn Saturday and departing the following Sunday afternoon from PIX). It seems from this 4 days is a good amount of time to stay in Sao Miguel.

    I really wanted to do the Pico hike, and there’s a world heritage site on that island… there seems to be another WHS on Terceira, which would be nice to check out (my gf would love to), but it seems that may be too rushed.. Would you recommend ~3.5 days in Sao Miguel (probably staying centrally the whole time), and the remaining 3.5 days or so in Pico (is there enough there to do in that time)? I noticed some flights from PDL to Pico include a 24 hour layover in Terceira, which I was considering (though it’s hard to find exactly how to book those flights)— also, that would seem to be gambling that we get good weather in Pico

    1. I think your itinerary is fine, as long as you don’t rush too much! The Azores are to be experienced without stress!

  183. Thank you for this post! I will be going to Sao Miguel in a few months and this itinerary is perfect. Could you talk a little more about the 2-hour hike to the waterfall, I’m very interested in that. Also, unfortunately, I don’t know any Portuguese and limited Spanish. Do you think this will be a huge issue?

    1. No, I think you will be fine, maybe worth to learn how to say the basics 😉

      As for the waterfall, you can read the official description here:

  184. Hi Bruno. Thank you so much for the detailed itinerary!

    I shall be visiting mainland Portugal and Azores this May for 3 days with my family and your post has been really informative and helpful! I’m totally going to rely on this itinerary for my trip.

    Your other blog posts too are really good and will really help in framing my itinerary. Thank you again for all this information from an insider’s point of view.


  185. If we have our home base in ponta Delgada can we make our way back every night After touring the island ?

  186. Hallo Bruno,

    Thank you for a very informative blog. I intend to visit San Miguel in August with my daughter, 9 years old. I’m looking for a small and quiet village, not too crowded and touristy, with a nice beach where my daughter can play and swim. I would appreciate it if you could recommend such a secluded place. We’d rather avoid staying in one of the bigger towns. Thank you in advance,


    1. Hi Ioana. I’d try looking into Porto Formoso, in the north coast. It’s a lovely little village in a small bay, great for kids!

  187. Hello Bruno,
    I tend to visit Sao Miguel
    By reading your post, i’m very interesting in the way up to Pico da Barrosa then walk down to the lake
    By the way, could you give me some details about the starting point of this hike? How long does it take the hike? And is there any parking near to the starting point?
    Thank you

    1. As long as I know there is no direct hike. You’ll need to go on the road to the viewpoint where the carparks are, further down. That’s where the hike starts!

  188. Bruno, you just took the planning out of my trip in a few days and reduced the intra-family arguing. I cannot put a price on that. Thank you.

  189. Bruno! Thanks for a great and detailed guide to the highlights of the island. Its clear you take a lot of pride in your homeland and want people to enjoy it. My gf and and I just went to the azores for the first time last week spending a few days in Flores then ~4days in Sao Miguel. Your guide was indispensable. Despite having a shorter time frame due to rain/fog the first day, we were able to see nearly everything on your guide in 3days of hopping about the island in our rental car. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks for your feedback, I am very happy I could provide you with some useful resources for your trip. Come back soon!

  190. Greetings Bruno,
    Thank you very much for this. It is very informative and useful.
    Could you please tell me about mobile sim cards, should I buy from there or I can bring my own from Lisbon, will it work there? Does all areas in the island have cell coverage? What is the best sim card I can buy for phone call and internet use?
    In addition, about Care Rental, I will do Online booking to pick up and return from/and to the airport of Ponta Delgada, is this the best way? What is the best deal I can get?
    Appreciate your feedback.
    Thanks again for the great blog!

    1. Mobile network operators are exactly the same as the ones in the mainland, so your sim card will work in the islands. There are some more remote areas, but coverage should be Ok.

      Regarding car rentals, I can’t tell you what is the best deal, you will need to look into the specific dates you’ll be there. I suggest looking at Skyscanner for this and compare the rates. Unless your hotel has free pickup service, I’d say pickup/dropoff in the airport is more convenient. 🙂

      Have a great trip!

  191. I am in ponta delgada right now, after a 3 days drive around the island. Your itinirary was hellpfull but it would help more if you explain how to get to some of the places… especialy the *miradouro da groto do inferno* i could not find it. Allso… there is a missunderstandig between *terra nostra parc* and the terra nostra garden in furnass… so i missed 2 places i wanted so much to see…
    No the people didn’t know…

    1. Thanks for your feedback, I tried to be as detailed as possible but certainly didn’t cover EVERYTHING. I will look into updating this post in the future and will make sure this is on the changes list.

      Terra Nostra Park is the park in Furnas which contains Terra Nostra Garden Hotel inside.

  192. Wow! Awesome blog! Hubby and I are going to Terciera in Nov for 6 days. We decided to fly to Sai Miguel for the weekend. With only 2 days what would you say are the highlights of the island that we could see? We will be staying at Terra Nostra in Furnas. We are in our early 60s and enjoy nature. Thanks so much for your time!

    1. Furnas and surroundings is definitely one day. Go to Lagoa do Fogo as well, but only if weather allows. Else, head to Sete Cidades. Enjoy your stay!

  193. HI I am traveling to Sao Miguel in little over a week. I am trying to decide between just staying in Sao Miguel or heading over to Pico to hike Pico Mountain. I will be in Soa Miguel 5 days including the days I enter and leave. Going to Pico would be a 30 hour excursion. Can you recommend what may be the better decision. This article was great, and has put a lot more insight into my trip.

    1. I can’t recommend what is the best for you, I personally think Pico and São Jorge deserve more days. But if your goal is solely to hike the mountain, go for it!

  194. Thank you so much, the best information! I am going in october, you helped me very much deciding on the itinirary.

  195. This review is amazing, thank you so much! We’re going in a couple of weeks, I was just wondering if you could give me a bit more detail about the trails that you walked on? Thank you again, this itinerary has been so helpful 🙂

    1. We actually didn’t go to a lot of trails due to time constraints, we hiked down Lagoa do Fogo and a bit of the Gorreana trail. There are many others you can try with different lengths and difficulty levels. I’d try Sanguinho!

  196. Awesome review! I am travelling to Azores in Oct-Nov, from Canada and staying two weeks on three of the islands. Can you help me out? I am a Veteran of the Canadian Army and a medical cannabis advocate and patient, are there any tips or leads you could pass on to help me out? If so please contact me directly at [email protected]

    1. Can you be more specific in terms of what kind of tips do you need? There are plenty of them in the article! 🙂

    2. Is there a medical cannabis community there? Where would he the best place to find someone to help me in my search. And what can I expect to pay for quality cannabis or hasish.. To treat my chronic pain and PTSD.


  197. Great blog Bruno! I will be traveling to Sao Miguel in late September for four days. I based my itinerary on yours! Very helpful!! Thank you! 🙂

  198. This looks like a great itinerary, really helpful! We’ll be visiting for the first time
    In a few weeks so will definitely try out your schedule. Thanks!

  199. Excellent blog and review, full of useful information from an insider, thanks a lot for sharing! We are going to visit Sao Miguel from 15th to 22nd September and I am wondering if we can still visit Ilhéu de Vila Franca? You mentioned above you were calling them, can you share a phone number for the company operating the boat trips during summer? I couldn’t really find any information about them…

    1. Thanks a lot I will make an inquiry with them directly! Can’t wait for visiting the Azores!

  200. Hi Bruno! Your blog has been so incredibly helpful in planning my trip to Portugal at the end of the month. We booked a hostel in Ponta Delgada and from your post, it seems like renting a car is the best bet. However, I saw below that you said parking in Ponta Delgada is chaotic. Do you have any other recommendations for us? Thanks so much! Appreciate your help.

    1. Maybe chaotic is a bit exaggerated, but it’s hard to find a free spot. If you’re willing to pay or stay outside the city center you should be fine.

  201. Hi! Great post, I’m headed to Sao Miguel in January. Was that the daily car rental price that you stated? or total price (which seems ridiculously cheap, but just checking).
    Thank you!

  202. Hello! Thank you for such a well put together post!! This is going to help me plan our latest adventure (7 days in Sao Miguel~June 2017!)
    Since we are staying the entire time on this 1 island- do you think its worth different accommodations? Or is getting from coast to coast easy enough to stay in 1 central spot? And if so, do you have suggestions? (looking for a B&B type of place as opposed to a hotel)

    Thanks in advance!!

    April~from Canada

    1. My bad….i see your hotel suggestions (at first i thought it was spam ;P) But I still would like to know if you would recommend being at 1 location the entire time….thank you!

    2. No spam, just targeted personal suggestions which you may follow or not! 🙂

      I think with 7 days you can try two different locations to give you different points of view. Maybe a few days in Ponta Delgada and the rest a bit more remote?

  203. This is very helpful! Thinking of trying to visit the island for about a day and a half- not much time at all but wanting to at least go. Is that a reasonable time frame to see highlights, granted not everything will be seen? Thank you for the advice about renting a car!

    1. I wouldn’t advise to rush. 1 day and half is not enough for everything in São Miguel, so I would stick to one or two main sights.

  204. We have been in Sao Miguel for 7 days in the last week of June, staying at Pousada de Juventude in Lagoa, an ideal place for car trips.. We have learned well your trip plan and it helped us a lot to plan our own trip. We were lucky (and patient) enough to see all the highlights, including Bocca do Inferno which honored us with ten minutes of clear view. We have been even at Picco do Fero, above lake Furnas. It is a beautiful island which we have already recommended to our friends in Israel.
    However, regarding the food, we didn’t find any highlight, even not at Cais 20. Similar restaurants in Lisbon were much better.

    Thanks very much !

    1. Thank you very much for sharing your experience.
      I can safely say ten minutes in Boca do Inferno is already something to celebrate on!

      For the food, I still think there is a lot of room for improvement. The last few times I went to Cais 20 I didn’t actually like it at all, hence I remove it from my suggestions here on the website. There’s still great food in a handful of places around the island though!

      Thanks again and have a great day!

  205. Hi Bruno
    I am able to work remotely for my company for a year and I have chosen to spend 2 months in The Azores as it looks amazing . I have chosen to spend a month on Sao Miguel and then another month in Faial .
    Your blog is very helpful and made me even more excited. I have done a lot of research already but it was great to read all your information .

    However I thought I would check . I am fairly confident that English is widely spoken , is this true.
    I will be on my own for some of my stay and unfortunately I only speak English (shameful I know ) 🙁

    1. I think you can get around with English more or less okay. Younger generations can speak the basic of the language.

      I’m sure that after one month you’ll be able to say some words in Portuguese though! 😀

  206. Love your blog, and the spirit with which you travel!

    We are headed to Sao Miguel and had planned to rent bikes in PD. Do you know if biking is common in the island (are there bike routes or will we be on the main roads)? We thought to do an adaptation of your itinerary, PD-SeteCidaded (overnight), the bike to Lagao de Fogo (overnight), then bike to Furnas (overnight) and return by bicycle to PD. Overall three nights. Are we crazy? (Answer is probably yes generally, but more specific, for brig bicycle tourists on the island!)?

    1. Short answer: yes, you’re crazy, but I love the idea!

      Long answer: Unfortunately there are no bike routes around the island, you’d have to use the same road as cars. Doing the routes overnight you’ll find much less cars, but you need to be really careful so that they can see you. Some of the roads in São Miguel get really dark at night.

  207. This was the best itinerary ever! My 3 adult children and myself went to everything on the island that you talked about and more. Just not in the same order. We expanded on it and spread it over 8 days. We even went to the places that you were not able to go to such as the trail hike at Salto do Prego. It’s a beautiful island! You were very helpful!!
    Annette from Canada

  208. Found this in the nick of time. We arrive in a few days and will use this to get around. Only one concern, I Am Canadian and the only one who can drive stick. It’s a 9 seater van. I am told they tend to tailgate on the island, according to my FiL who is from there but won’t drive this trip. Will the roads be okay for me?

    1. To be honest, I didn’t know what tailgate was until Googling it.
      I don’t see anyone doing that nowadays…

      Also I don’t see any reason for concern, roads are perfectly safe to drive in Sao Miguel. You can just encounter a random herd of the cows on the middle of the road, just wait for them to pass and smile 🙂

    2. That’s perfect! He has not been back in 25 years so I have been trying to convince him we will be fine. We are very excited! Thanks for the itinerary! We will take selfies with the cows! 😀

  209. Man i used this as a framework for my 3 day roadtrip through Sao Miguel and you saved me tons of time and energy, not having to see any other source. Just checked this in the airplaine and saw and experienced the best of the island! Thanks!

  210. Hi Bruno,
    You are doing a great job with your blog. I will start next Sunday to Sao Miguel and will stay 2 weeks at Furnas. I guess that we will do some of your recommended trips.

    Regards Giuseppe

  211. Hi Bruno, thank you so much for your blog. I’ve just started looking into a trip to Sao Miguel for next year and this has been really helpful.

    My husband and I are looking in to potentially going on day tours to different parts of the island for convenience (and cheaper than taxis maybe?) but we’re not really ‘tour’ people as we don’t want to be rushed. Do you know if day tours are good to do and generally give enough time to see the island?

    Many thanks,

    1. Like I mentioned in the article, I highly recommend getting your own wheels.

      If that’s not an option, that is a hard question to answer since now tour companies are popping like mushrooms, each with its itinerary and experiences. What kind of tour would you like to do?

      You can even go for a private tour for more freedom, but these are way more expensive!

  212. Boas Bruno,
    Nao percebo como te da 62 euros no aluguer de carro. Ja fiz varias simulacoes nas companhias que referis-te e nenhuma da valores tao baixos como esse.
    De resto, o guia esta espetacular.

    1. Pagámos 62 euros por pessoa, cerca de 180 no total por 3 dias.
      São valores de 2015, mas fiz uma reserva semelhante este ano e o preço foi muito similar.

      Obrigado, um abraço!

  213. Hello Bruno, Going there for the first time with my mom to visit where both my parents are from (Nordeste) , and my mom hasn’t been there since her last visit in 1969. Do most shops & restaurants accept U.S dollars ? and how much would a typical sit down dinner cost in dollars ?

    1. I am not aware of any place accepting US dollars in São Miguel. A “normal” eating out dinner will cost you around 12-20 Euros per person, let’s say around 20 USD.

      There are much cheaper places though.

  214. Hi Bruno,

    Im going to Sao Miguel for the first time next month. Can you tell me if i rent a car from autatlantis can i pick it up at the airport? (Ponta Delgada airport)

    I find your blog and information very helpful and I will be following most of your recommendations on my trip.

    Thank you,

    1. I don’t think Autatlantis is at the airport. Only the big ones – Sixt, Europcar, etc and Ilha Verde.

      Hope you have a great time and the weather helps!

    2. I’m confused because you said before that they were not at the airport but on the autatlantis website they have that option, so i don’t want to book it and than when I get there it’s not realy in the airport that I pick up the car. Thank you anyways, Maria

  215. I just posted this on your FB page, but I’ll add it here as well: My husband’s family is from São Miguel, and he last visited the island with his father in 1987. We are bringing our three children this summer, and I would love to find a restaurant he has raved about. He said that the meal was cooked underground, but the restaurant was “in the middle of nowhere” (not in Furnas). While this restaurant may not even exist anymore, I am going to try to find it! Any ideas?

  216. Hello and thanks for the great blog post! I’m heading to Sao Miguel for 5 days in July and I am hoping to hike/camp for most of the time. Do you have any information on tent camping on Sao Miguel? It’s a very hard topic to find info online!

    Thanks so much – I can’t wait to come to the island and follow your recommendations!

    1. You can find some camping parks throughout the island. Wild camping is illegal, but you “can” still do it in some places. Don’t do it in natural reserves though! (e.g. Lagoa do Fogo).

  217. Hi Bruno. Thanks for your inspiring and make-me-smile blog. I had it for breakfast while wondering how windy it can be here (candelaria). You helped us planning this and some other day :)! And I hope I will find the corn selling old ladies ;-).
    Enjoy your day wherever you are!

  218. Great article! I’m actually going to spend 4 days in S. Miguel and I have one thing that is not clear to me: where do you have to hike and leave the car behind to get to certain attraction?

    1. Where you leave your car is dependent on where exactly you want to hike. There are some small car parks improvised next to the start of some trails. Does that answer your question?

  219. We’ll be arriving by ship at Ponta Delgada in October and will have 8 hours to explore the island by rental car. Would we have enough time to drive to Nordeste via the southern coast, stopping at Furnas Valley on the way? (How long to reach Nordeste?) If so, should we return to Ponta Delgada via the north coast or retrace our route along the south coast? An alternative might be to drive the south coast only as far as Povoacao then backtrack to Furnas and head to the north coast on EN2-1A, passing through Ribeira Grande on our way back to Ponta Delgada. (We have been to the west side of the island on a previous trip.) Would appreciate your thoughts. thank you.

    1. Well, 8 hours is not much, but I suggest make the best out of it. Go to Nordeste one way and come back the other way!

  220. Ah, this entry is perfect! I was literally looking for an itinerary by a native. Leaving on Sunday, staying for 6 days, so a 4-day hit list is ideal since we like to have empty time for relaxing and surfing. Thanks!

  221. We have a 7-day trip planned in São Miguel in early May. Besides hotel and flight, is there anything you advise booking *in advance* of the trip vs. booking when we are there (booking only a day or two in advance)? We are interested almost everything São Miguel has to offer! (Canoeing, paragliding, whale watching, scuba/snorkel, biking, hiking, hot springs, etc.) Many thanks for the helpful post and tips!

  222. Thanks for all the info. As I am leaving for Sao Miguel tomorrow, what is the best place to snorkel that can be reached from shore?

    1. Not sure what you exactly mean, but snorkel is quite tricky because the waves tend to be big. Try places like Mosteiros, Capelas, Vila Franca.

  223. This is great information. My husband was born in Sao Antinio and came to the U.S. in 1972 when he was 7. We are going there in a couple weeks and cannot wait. This is his first time back.

    1. Thanks Christine. I’m sure he will find a lot of things different but I’m sure the essence of a laid-back and nature-friendly island is the same! 🙂

      Have a great journey!

  224. hi Bruno,
    First of all, thank you for your blog posting. I’ve been doing a lot of research and this is by far the most informative piece I’ve found. Thank you!
    We just booked flights to visit the 2nd week in April for 3 days. Are there any restaurants you would recommend we try? My boyfriend and I love good food (especially seafood), are pretty adventurous and want to try something local to the area if possible. If there’s anywhere you would suggest we’d appreciate it.

    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Becca, glad you found it useful.

      I highly recommend A Tasca in the city center of Ponta Delgada and Cais 20 for seafood. You can find lots of seafood restaurants in Lagoa too. Alabote comes to mind right now.

      Have a great trip!

    2. hi Bruno,
      Thank you for the reply! Much appreciated and can’t wait to try both.


  225. Dear Bruno, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of the island. This is possibly the most useful blog post I’ve ever read. I like your style of writing with lots of enthusiasm and humour. So thank you!

  226. Ola! Eu e os meus amigos estamos a pensar ficar em ponta delgada por 7 dias. o teu itinerario pareceu-me espetacular! e vai ser de grande ajuda.
    Só estamos com problemas neste momento é encontrar alguma maneira simples e barata de fazer a travessia para o pico e para as flores… mas tudo o que vimos ate agora é carissimo! tu como São miguelense quais são os teus conselhos? OBRIGADA

    1. Olá Sara.
      Não tens muito mais opções a não ser pela Atlântico Line (ferry) ou pela SATA (avião). A não ser barcos/veleiros privados…

      PS: Sou micaelense 🙂

  227. Thank you so much for writing this! Sao Miguel is my primary bucket list destination. When Google Earth was released, around 2005, I used to spend hours spinning the globe, clicking a random location, and zooming in and viewing the photos. Cete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo confirmed for me that this island is the most beautiful place on Earth. I can’t wait to visit. My plan has been to propose on the tree-lined path in front of Sao Nicolau church in Sete Cidades, or in the garden down the street which outstretches into Lagoa Azul. All with a photographer to capture the moment. I just need to find the right girl first! At least I now have an idea of when to go (June) and what other amazing sites to focus on. Thanks again.

    1. Wow you seem to have it all figured it out!! Good luck on your quest, I’m sure she – whoever she is – will have a great time in Azores!

  228. Hi Bruno,

    First, thank you for your itinerary. I think it’s gonna be pretty useful for my next trip.
    We are flying from Lisbon to Sao Miguel on June 25th until June28th. We only have three days there.
    Also, we already booked all our night, in the same accommodation in Ponta Delgada. However, is it a better idea to sleep near from each activities?

    Thank you very much for your answer.

  229. Hey Bruno, many thanks for sharing such a detailed and well-written itinerary with the rest of the world. I wonder if you could tell me if it is easy and secure to camp around the island? Is there a lot of camping areas throughout the island or should I base myself in just one spot and move around every day to visit different places? Also, I am trying to make this trip as low-cost as possible but until now I am by myself in it, so I am not sure if It is financially viable to me to hire a car. If I do not find company, would you recommend travelling around by public transportation? Any tips on it? I will be in the island for 4 full days. Many thanks in advance for replying! All the best

    1. Camping is secure but can be illegal in many reserves and natural parks. There are some buses around the island, but I highly recommend getting a car, as they don’t run frequent and don’t get to many of the more beautiful areas of the island.

  230. Booked my flight too! good recommedations! I’ll be there for 7days, any other insider recommedations?

    1. Hi Bruno,
      Hmm more on nature and recommended hiking trails? How about scuba diving as well? Have you also tried that?

  231. What are the laws about medical marijuana like over there and is it hard to find or can you take your own medicine without getting in trouble?

    1. Portugal does not penalize the use of “light” drugs like marijuana. Have no idea whether is easy to find or not, sorry!

  232. Great blog, so insightful!

    We’ve just booked to visit in the last week of March and now I am so excited. We’ll be there for Good Friday – do you know if most shops/restaurants/sites/etc will close for this holiday?


    1. Thanks Laura.

      Yes, I’m afraid it’s a bank holiday in the Azores so you’re most likely find many places closed.

  233. Hi, it’s amazing review and tip for me! I have a question. I am looking forward to visiting Azores Islands in September. Are there any places that I can enjoy beaches? Or could u recommend right islands for me to enjoy swimming?

  234. Hi, I’m new to your blog, but I wanted to conemmt on what I have read about your journey around Portugal. I’ve never been to the Azores, but I have been to Portugal (Lisbon, in fact) and I think it is so great how certain aspects of culture are universally appreciated food, architecture, beautiful landscapes/scenery, and traveling in general. Every new place that I visit, I always tour the city snapping as many photos as possible; I make it a priority to visit many different restaurants, and I always try to practice the language, even if I only have a pocket-size-dictionary-knowledge of the language Those things, for me, really make for a great traveling experience.Traveling to places like the Azores really gives you such a grand world view, it teaches you about other cultures, as well as your own. Thanks for sharing your perspective on the beauty and gastronomical splendor of the Azores!

    1. “De nada” Jhonaiker. 🙂

      While there is no “right” or “wrong” way to travel, I agree trying to learn a lot of the local culture and food is definitely more rewarding.

      You need to explore the Azores one day!

  235. Great information! We’ve booked a week in may, very excited! Just wondering if you would recommend staying in one place and using it as a base, or moving around and staying in 2-3 places? For whale watching and diving do you know if you get better prices for reserving on the spot once you are there rather than through a website in advance? Thanks!

    1. Hi Katie,

      All depends on what you want to. Distances are not that high and if you base yourself in Ponta Delgada you can be in the west and east extremes of the island in about an hour.

      As for whale watching, prices should be the same booking online or on the spot.

  236. I was wondering if there are ferries or inexpensive flights from Porto. I prefer the ferry and if so how long of a ride would it be end of August? Thank you!

    1. There are no ferries from Porto unfortunately. You can find inexpensive Porto-Ponta Delgada flights with Ryanair though.

  237. Hi, thanks for the post. I came across your post while planning a surprise birthday trip for my husband and I couldn’t resit. I think i’m gonna book the flight tickets soon (from Munich). My question is, could we do this touron a motorbike? is there a place we can rent one on the island cause my husband is such a passionate rider. would the weather in early June good enough for it? Thanks, P

    1. I think Azores make a great surprise trip!

      Motorbikes are actually a great way to get around, just mind there are some very curvy areas in the island (particularly in the North and East). It’s fairly straightforward to rent one, I can recommend you Autatlantis or Micauto!

      Weather in June is perfect, please check more details on the best time to visit Azores.

      Have a great stay!!

    2. Hi Bruno,
      thanks for the quick reply. Would you recommend any of the island nearby? cause we have more than enough time i’m thinking of taking advantage of the free flights between islands from sata and would like to visit another island for 1-2 days. which one would you recommend us?

    3. Please note that by using the free flight you only have (at most) 24 hours in São Miguel. There are some strict conditions to use this service, check SATA’s website for more detail.

      If you want to visit other island, I recommend Pico, São Jorge or Flores. These are the more scenic islands, with loads of impressive landscapes.

    4. ah thanks for the info, I must have misread it. By the way, which village is the best place to stay on Sao Miguel, in term of atmosphere and scenery? Since we dont like to move around much I would like to choose two places to stay each for 3 nights. Thanks, you’re really helpful.

    5. and from which company did you rent your car for €62 for 4 days? I checked the Micauto and Autalantic sites and their offers are a lot higher.
      Besides, do you think Vila Franca Do Campo is a great place to stay overnight?
      Thanks a lot for all the informations. I really enjoy reading your blog. And we both love Barcelona a lot. Hope we’ll go there again soon.

    6. As mentioned, 62EUR is the value per person. To get the final rental value you should multiply by 3 (around 180EUR).

      Anywhere in the island can be a good place to stay, it all depends on your travel goals!


  238. Hi Bruno
    Loved your Itinerary. We have just booked flights and hotels in Ponta Delgarda and Furnas in July. Its our first time and have used your info when booking. Have booked Hotel Marina Atlantico and hopefully(waiting for confirmation) Terra Rostra Garden Hotel. Looking for car hire next. Very excited about our trip, Thanks for all the info!!!

    1. Great choices, glad I was useful!
      Hope you have a great stay and don’t forget to eat some “bolo lêvedo”, local pineapple and lots of fish! 🙂

  239. Very interesting. Glad we have already booked. We are going in March 2016. So looking forward to our visit. Even more so now. Love your lovely photos. Going with husband, son and his wife and two granddaughters (10 and 7).

    1. That’s great to hear Wendy, I’m sure it’s gonna be some great family holidays! Are you staying in São Miguel only?

  240. Beautiful! And I love your photos! During my visit in Sao Miguel, I felt in love with Furnas, volcanic city with thermal waters. I dedicated a small post, I hope you like it 🙂

    1. Furnas is such a quaint place, isn’t it?

      Thanks for sharing your experience Paulina. However unfortunately I can’t allow links in comments, so I’ve removed yours. Hope you understand.

  241. Hello Bruno!
    Thanks a lot for a decent plan!:) We will spend 5 days on Sao Miguel in January, so your itinerary is more than handy! A quick question if you don’t mind… I’m currently doing through Airbnb accommodation options on the island. Where (which part of the island) would you recommend to stay in January (we plan to rent a car)? Would it be warmer season, I’d definitely stay near the ocean, but not sure what would be the best in Jan…
    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Andres,

      Interesting question. It’s winter season, the sea can be rough and the winds can be quite powerful.

      I would probably choose a completely scenic location like Sete Cidades. Even with bad weather, the landscape is stunning there!

      If not, I’d opt to stay in the outskirts of a city – e.g. Ponta Delgada or Lagoa. Things can be surprisingly “off the beaten track”, and you can have good views if you’re lucky.

      Make sure you check the Airbnb voucher to have discount (“Travel Smart” section).

      Enjoy your holidays!

  242. Olá Bruno,
    first: I just found this blog and I really enjoyed reading it, thanks a lot for all the detailed information!
    A friend of mine and me aro going to Sao Miguel in a few days, we will stay there for a week. I would really like to go horsebackriding, can you by accident recommend any quinta or riding school there?
    Muito obrigada;)

    1. Hey Tina,

      I have never done it in Azores, but I know there’s a lady who does it in Sete Cidades. You can also go with Quinta da Terca, they organize riding tours around the island.


    2. I am back now and did a ride at Quinta da Terca, I would recommend it to everybody who is interested! It was great!;)
      Thanks a lot for the advice! And i really loved the island, it’s just stunning and the people are so nice:)

  243. We arrive next Saturday evening and will be booking a car from the airport to get to Capelas where we are staying.
    We’ll be arriving after 2100hours. Is there anywhere we can get something to eat enroute?
    Thanks for your blog and working it all out – we will base our week on the island around this.


    1. Well, it’s marginally on route, but you can head to Ponta Delgada center to have a good meal. I recommend A Favorita or A Tasca.

      You can also try Quinta dos Açores, in Fajã de Cima. I guess it will be open at that time.

      You welcome, hope you have a great time!

  244. Hi Bruno,

    Thanks for your detailed blog, my husband and I are travelling to Sao Miguel in a week for 10 days! We will be hitting up all the places you suggested and wanted to ask if you had any recommendations for activities in the evening, like live music or bars. Thanks again for your blog and any new tips!


    1. Hey Sarah!

      10 days is great, it allows for a very decent exploration of the island.

      Nightlife in São Miguel is not that lively, I’m afraid. Portas do Mar has a decent collection of seaside bars and there are some live music on weekends in Baía dos Anjos.

      Other area worth to explore is Rua dos Mercadores, also in Ponta Delgada. There is a cool bar in one of the side streets named Travessa dos Artistas.


    1. I recommend Autatlantis. They’re usually cheaper than the big names operating in the island – Ilha Verde, Sixt, etc.

  245. This itinerary couldn’t be more perfect! We’ve been traveling in Spain and Portugal for a few weeks and are heading to the Azores tomorrow. We’ll be there exactly four days. Since we’re past the summer season, we’ll skip the trip out to the island on the south side of the island, but what about whale watching? I know it’s not the best time of year, so should we spend that time seeing other sights on the island or is it worth a try?

    Thank you for such a wonderful, detailed itinerary!

    1. Hi Kathryn,

      Glad to know this was useful to you.
      I would still go for whale watching if there’s good weather, you can still see a lot of species of dolphins.

      Check the “Whale Watching” section of this page for more info.

      Hope you have a great time in Azores. Are you going to Sao Miguel only?


  246. Hi, This is truly a great blog ! We are planning a trip to Sao Miguel for 6 days in 2 weeks (end of September) , your blog is well written, fun to read and very informative. It gave us very useful information and assisted in planning the trip. I have a question regarding the availability of Taxis in the village of Sete Cidades, We will rent a car and do the Walking from Vista do Rei to Sete Cidades (parking near Vista do Rei) and would like to take a taxi back to the parking from the village. Do you know whether there are available Taxis in the village or surroundings which we could call?
    Many Thanks, Eran

    1. Sorry for the late reply, I’ve just seen this!

      Unfortunately I’m not aware of any radio taxi in Sete Cidades, but it belongs to the Ponta Delgada district. I’m sure if you call their radio taxi – 00 351 296 382 000 – you can get one. Else, ask in the village itself, I’m sure someone will get you a number. 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed this article Eran. Enjoy the Azores!

  247. We’re heading to Sao Miguel on Saturday and I’m so glad I stumbled across this – really helpful, thank you!

  248. Is parking convenient, free, and self explanatory in most of these spots? Visiting next month for our honeymoon, have never been before. Thanks for all the input!

    1. Parking should be fine, except in the main city, Ponta Delgada, which actually can be a bit chaotic.

      Let me know if you need anything else, I’m here to help!