18 Exciting Things To Do in São Miguel, Azores

things to do in sao miguel azores green pastures

What are the best things to do in São Miguel? What to do when you’re visiting for the first time? These are all tips from a local that calls São Miguel “home island”.

São Miguel is the largest island in the Azores archipelago. It’s also where I was born so no matter where I go, it will always be my favorite place in the entire world.

As a visitor, São Miguel is likely to be your first introduction to the Azores and let me tell you, there’s a lot to keep you busy for a few days.

If you’re visiting for the first time and wondering what to do, this article lists the unique things you can’t miss in São Miguel island. I’ve threw in lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, beaches, and even things to do when it’s raining.

This article has been updated in January 2024.

Let’s start, these are the best things to do in São Miguel!

1Visit the twin lakes in Sete Cidades

things to do in sao miguel azores sete cidades lake
Fun fact: on particularly bright sunny days like this one, it’s more like the blue and the light blue lakes. Zero editing in this pic.

Let’s start big. Out of all the lakes in the island, Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Sete Cidades Lake) is definitely the most iconic postcard of Azores.

This half-blue, half-green crater lake reflecting both the sky and the surrounding hills is a true visual wonder. Head to Vista do Rei, Cerrado das Freiras, or Boca do Inferno viewpoints for the best views.

While you’re at it, go down the breathtaking caldera to Sete Cidades village passing by the bridge that divides the lake into two. The lake itself is a popular spot for stand-up paddling, kayaking, or just chilling at the shore.

There’s a lot to see in the whole area of Sete Cidades , filled with unspoiled beauty and lakes come in all shapes and sizes. It’s also one of my favorite areas in the island for hiking.

⚠The fragility of Azores

The Azores have been consecutively named one of the top sustainable destinations worldwide. Yet with the recent tourism boom, this fragile balance is now threatened.

When you’re in the islands, please try to minimize your impact at all times. Leave nothing but footprints everywhere you go, help local and sustainable businesses, and be aware of any activities causing visual and noise pollution. This includes avoiding playing loud music on phones and taking ALL the trash with you until you find a bin.

Thank you for keeping my home island green and beautiful. 💚

2Take a bath at the hot springs

poca dona beija sao miguel

While not of the same scale of the ones like Blue Lagoon in Iceland, you can find several tropical and stunning hot springs in São Miguel. Heated up geothermally, some of these spots turn into beautiful spots, each with its one unique feature.

Hot springs are better enjoyed when the weather is misty or even rainy; they’re great if you’re visiting São Miguel island in the colder months.

These are the most popular hot springs in São Miguel island:

♨️ Hot springs in São Miguel
  • Caldeira Velha has a stunning jungle backdrop and a gorgeous-looking waterfall that runs right into the pool.
  • Ferraria is an underwater geothermal spring that heats up ocean water, which can reach 30 degrees.
  • Terra Nostra is the largest of them all and is at the heart of a lush park with the same name (see more below).
  • Poça Dona Beija is a set of 5 open-air pools next to a small creek in Furnas. Stunning place, but can feel very crowded at times.

things to do sao miguel azores hot springs

Hot springs in São Miguel

The best places to enjoy a mineral-enriched bath in São Miguel island. Includes important tips for a safe swim.

3Relax in Parque Terra Nostra (Terra Nostra Park)

things to do in sao miguel azores thermal pools furnas
The main thermal pool at Terra Nostra Park.

This majestic park in the heart of the Furnas valley started as a private collection back in the end of the 18th century. Since then, Terra Nostra Park has evolved to become a fascinating collection of plants, trees, and flowers, all carefully arranged by a team of in-house gardeners. It’s probably the lushest and most unique garden I’ve ever been.

As a bonus, Terra Nostra Park also features outdoor thermal pools (included in the entry ticket). Make sure you wear an old bathing wear, as the mineral-enriched orange-y water can stain your clothes permanently.

Make no mistake guys – this is one of the most unique things to do in São Miguel.

Tip: if you have lunch at the restaurant of Terra Nostra Hotel the park entry fee is waived.

4Have a tea break at the only tea plantations in Europe

azores tea plantations gorreana

Gorreana and Porto Formoso are the only two tea estates in Europe and have been producing organic black, green, and orange pekoe teas since 1883.

Visit the tea plantations to know more about how the tea got to Azores, how it’s still produced sustainably and ecologically. Plus, there are free tea tastings too!

hotels sao miguel azores

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

5See baby pineapples

azores pineapples plantations

While pineapples usually grow in fully tropical climates typical from places near the Equator, seeds were introduced in São Miguel island in the 19th century to take advantage of the fertile and nutritious soil. And the best way they found to cultivate pineapples were in greenhouses which become very popular in the Ponta Delgada area.

You can visit these greenhouses and go for a tour about the odyssey that is to grow these fruits. It takes a total of about 2 years (!) but the end result is an Azorean pineapple smaller in size, but with a sweeter and more intense taste.

Also, can we talk about how cute are baby pineapples?!

6Eat a meal cooked underground in Furnas

things to do in sao miguel furnas stew potholes
Welcome to the moon!

How does having a meal cooked by Mother Nature sound to you? Well, this is exactly one of the main highlights of Furnas, the volcanic hotspot of São Miguel. In between steamed vents and mud pools, there are potholes where locals bury pots of food and retrieve them about 6 hours later, fully cooked.

The traditional Cozido das Furnas (Furnas Stew) is cooked here; a rather giant mix of all sorts of meat (chicken, beef, pork) with local vegetables. Vegetarian options may be available. The best place to try this delicacy is either in Terra Nostra Hotel restaurant (elegant and more pricey) or Caldeiras & Vulcões (more pedestrian, equally tasty) in Furnas center. Make your reservation at least 24 hours in advance.

7Enjoy the unspoiled beauty of Lagoa do Fogo (Fogo Lake)

things to do in sao miguel azores fogo lake

If there’s a place that will make you insignificant in front of Mother Nature, this is it. High up in the mountains and right on the heart of the most remote and preserved areas in São Miguel lies Lagoa do Fogo , literally translated as Fire Lake. This volcanic crater has collapsed and created a breathtaking lake which is best enjoyed on the (rare) clear days.

Car rentals are not allowed during summer months between 9am and 7pm. All non-residents should take a shuttle up to the lake, with a cost of 5€.

Take the steep 30-min hike down to the shore of the lake and spend some time there soaking the unspoiled nature around you. Swimming or fishing in the lake is forbidden. This is a nature reserve and one of the most fragile zones in the island, so please be extra careful with littering and/or any form of pollution you may be causing, including noise pollution!

Find your deal in São Miguel with a map!


8Hit a hiking trail

things to do sao miguel azores hiking azores serra devassa trail
At a trail in Sete Cidades.

The Azores Islands are home to some of the most scenic hiking trails you can find.

In particular, São Miguel island is packed with volcano craters, lagoons, small rivers and waterfalls which are accessible only on foot. There at least 20+ official trails in the island, with all ranges of difficulties and distances and covering all kinds of landscapes.

Always bring comfy shoes, a bottle of water, and a light jacket. Waterproof clothing is also recommendable as the weather is truly unpredictable.

🚶‍♂️ The best hiking trails in São Miguel
  • Gorreana – snaking around tea plantations and boasting gorgeous views over the northern coast of the island. Easy.
  • Sanguinho/Salto do Prego – it goes through one of the most remote areas of São Miguel and leads to an enclosed waterfall in the middle of a lush forest. Medium difficulty.
  • Lagoa das Furnas – a circle hike around Lagoa das Furnas. More like a long flat stroll. Easy.
  • Praia-Fogo – connecting the vibrant Lagoa do Fogo (Fogo Lake) to the ocean it’s one of the most complete and rewarding to accomplish. Hard.
  • Serra Devassa – this trail will take you around what is known as Lake District in Sete Cidades and come back to the start next to Lagoa do Canário. Loads of eye-catching views over a series of lakes and lagoons. Medium.

9Do a whale-watching tour

whale watching azores

Many whale and dolphin species choose Azores as part of their migration route or even as their permanent home, including sperm and blue whales, as well as common and bottlenose dolphins (see this yearly calendar of the cetacean species in the Azores). You’ll never want to see dolphins in an aquarium or zoo again.

Whale and dolphin watching tours leave Ponta Delgada or Vila Franca do Campo‘s marinas.
Please 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 a price of roughly 65 euros/person, which will be refunded or used as a voucher for another trip for free in case of no sightings.

“hotels sao miguel

My favorite São Miguel hotels

The best hotels and guesthouses in São Miguel, for each kind of traveler.

10Awe at the view from Boca do Inferno

things to do in sao miguel azores boca do inferno

São Miguel has countless beautiful views, but from in loco experience the one that makes people go “wow” most often is the Boca do Inferno viewpoint. This spot has a privileged view over the entire Sete Cidades caldera and its gorgeous lakes. On clear days, the Sete Cidades, Santiago, and Rasa lakes are all visible from here, contrasting with the lush green hills and the vibrant blue from the Atlantic far back on the horizon.

To get here, follow the signs to Lagoa do Canário and enter the dirt road on your left (if the gate is closed, you can walk there for about 20 minutes). By the end of the road, there’s a small car park where the small hike to paradise begins.

11Go for a swim at Vila Franca’s Islet

things to do in sao miguel vila franca islet
When nature decides to shape an almost-perfect ring.

Vila Franca Islet is quite possibly the best bathing site in Azores. Almost fully enclosed in an islet, in a ring shape, lies a bay with a small strip of sand and virtually no waves. Perfect for kids but also enjoyable for grown-ups, this islet is a Nature Reserve which adds to the feeling of an exotic swim. Bring your snorkeling gear.

There’s no need for tours to visit the islet. Simply book your boat ticket online and show up at Vila Franca Marina, preferably early in the morning. It’s advisable to book as early as possible as the islet as regulations limit the visitors to 400 per day. The trip takes about 20 minutes.

Tip: I have to say if you’re not into beach that much, there’s not much to do here. The majority is area is actually a protected reserve for sea birds. Alternatively, you can see the islet from a boat tour (including whale-watching tour) or from a viewpoint in the main island. Miradouro de Nossa Senhora da Paz is your best bet.

12Tour Ponta Delgada

With so many nature highlights scattered throughout the island, it’s easy to forget about Ponta Delgada. The unofficial capital of Azores is a quiet, unpretentious, and laid-back town and is a great way to peek into the local way of life.

The local farmers market – Mercado da Graça – is held here, a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get to know local ingredients, arts & crafts, and why not, buy some stuff to take back home.

A stroll around downtown will take you from Portas do Mar, the seaside promenade and marina to some of the best restaurants of the island. Ponta Delgada is also where you can take a break from the hiking life and grab a coffee at Intz48 or a drink at Raiz Bar.

things to do in sao miguel Ponta Delgada Azores

What to do in Ponta Delgada

The most special travel guide I’ve created: my hometown’s.

13Tour Nordeste’s viewpoints

things to do in sao miguel azores nordeste

Many fail to see Nordeste district, the eastern side of São Miguel which is also the wildest and most remote area of the island. However, if you want true dramatic landscapes with towering cliffs and endless ocean blues, this is the best place to go for.

Head to Ponta da Madrugada or Ponta do Sossego viewpoints for incredible views of the island with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. You can even bring your own BBQ stuff and have an outdoor lunch (make sure you don’t leave any trash!).

Don’t miss the views over Farol do Arnel viewpoint, a breathtaking peek into the oldest lighthouse in Azores.

14Chase waterfalls

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While Flores island boasts dozens of majestic waterfalls that are more impressive, in São Miguel there is no shortage of waterfalls sites.

The ones at Ribeira dos Caldeirões are definitely the most accessible (just by the side of the road) but head to Salto do Cabrito or Salto do Prego for a new level of unspoiled beauty. Both are in the middle of the forest and take a 2-hour and 50-minute hike to get there, respectively. I dare you to enter the icy cold water!

15Spend a day at the Furnas Valley

Furnas caldeiras azores springs geysers
Smokin’ hot.

No other place in São Miguel has such visible and overwhelming volcanic activity like Furnas. You can see it on the steamed vents and in the potholes where locals cook the famous cozido das Furnas. You can hear the bubbling of mud pools. And you can definitely smell the sulfur in the air.

Surrounded by lush green hills, Furnas feels like a fairytale village where time has stopped and you’re forced to witness Mother Earth reveal itself 24/7. While you’re at this painfully grounding task, buy a bolo lêvedo , a traditional sweet bread from the village, usually filled with jam, cheese, or ham.

There’s plenty of things to do in this side of the island, here are some highlights:

📍 What to see in Furnas
  • Terra Nostra Park – historical garden dating back to the 18th century, with hundreds of plant species from all over the world. It’s lush, vibrant and a must-see!
  • Caldeiras – hot and mud springs right next to Furnas Lake which feature steamholes where the famous Cozido stew is cooked underground. Come right before lunch to see the buzz!
  • Furnas Lake (Lagoa das Furnas) – one of the top 3 lakes in São Miguel. While not boasting as dramatic views as the other two, it’s still a beautiful tranquil place. Do the hike around the lake, it’s easy, flat, and will give you a nice overview of the area.
  • Parque da Grená – recently opened private park with hiking trails, waterfalls, and lush forest.
  • Miradouro do Pico do Ferro – stunning open views over the Furnas Lake and Valley.

16Hit the dark-sand beaches

things to do in sao miguel azores beaches dark sand
It does not seem from this picture, but the sand is darker when you’re up close IRL.

One of the first things you should know before visiting Azores is that there aren’t Instagram-worthy beaches with soft white sand and turquoise waters. I’ve seen bloggers and influencers leave the island disappointed with what they consider “inferior beaches”.

The beaches in Azores are of volcanic origin, which means the sand is of a greyish, almost black color. This obviously doesn’t let the sunlight reflect (it’s’ hotter on the feet!) and reduces the visibility of the water. However, they’re clean and warm, peaking to 24/25 degrees Celsius during late summer.

For a refreshing swim in the Atlantic Ocean in São Miguel, I recommend Praia de Santa Bárbara (which doubles as a surfing spot), Praia dos Mosteiros and Praia Água D’Alto. If you’re not used to, waves can be a bit rough, especially on the northern coast.

azores beaches

Beaches in Azores
The best Azores beaches plus important tips before you go for an ocean swim.

17Get adventurous!

Outdoor activities Azores kayaking

With such a fantastic scenery, no wonder adventure tours and outdoor activities are so popular in São Miguel. There’s a plethora of things you can choose, from surfing classes to canyoning or horseback riding. While in Azores, why not try something you never done before?

I gathered feedback from some people – these are some of the best experiences to try:

18Marvel at Congro Lake (Lagoa do Congro)

With as much of beautiful as of mysterious, Congro Lake is a hidden gem in the heart of São Miguel. First of all, it’s not as acessible and there are no viewpoints over it. The only way to get here is by a 15-min hike down through dense forest.

Once you get down there though, it’s totally worth it. With no one around, this a perfect mindfulness background, with all the vibrant green all around you, and with silence only interrupted by the birds chirping. There isn’t any infrastructure near the lake, so bring a snack and water with you (but please don’t leave anything behind!).

What to do on a rainy day in São Miguel?

The bad news is that statistically, your chance of getting rain in São Miguel is very high. There are rarely more than 4-5 clear sunny days straight in a row in the islands.

The good news is that as quickly as it comes, it goes away. So what should you do on a rainy day?

Hit the hot springs

No brainer. When it’s misty or rainy, a great plan is to go to the hot springs in São Miguel, like the ones in Terra Nostra or Caldeira Velha. In fact, these are better enjoyed in the winter time.

Visit Mercado da Graca

Located in central Ponta Delgada, this farmers’ market is the best spot to get a glimpse of the local delicacies and buy some things to bring back home.

Go to the tea plantations

Gorreana and Porto Formoso are the two tea estates of the island, where you can know more about how the tea is produced in the Azores. Out of all the things to do in São Miguel, this is one of the few which can still be enjoyed with meh weather.

Go deep inside a lava tunnel

With almost 2km of length, Gruta do Carvão is the longest lava tunnel in the island. You can go inside (with or without guide) to discover more about the volcanic origins of the island. Tickets start at 5EUR.

things to do in sao miguel azores green pastures

Planning a São Miguel trip independently

What is the best time to go?

The Azores have mild temperatures all-year round, but weather during fall and winter is a bit unstable.

If you’re looking for the best chance of good weather, visit between July and August. Keep in mind this is also the time of the year with more tourists: prices of accommodation, flights, and car rentals goes up. Oh and you’ll need to book the best restaurants ahead.

On the other hand, if unpredictable weather is not a concern, I recommend visiting in shoulder season, either in April-May or September-October, where temperatures are milder and you’ll be able to see the best sights with fewer human density.

How many days in São Miguel?

São Miguel is the largest island in Azores, and there’s a lot of nice places to visit. As a bare minimum, I recommend 3/4 full days – I planned my suggested itinerary around this timeframe – but for you to be more relaxed and flexible, stay for a full week.

If you’re staying for longer, split your stay between two places (eg West and East) to save some time traveling within the island.

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 through Skyscanner or Google Flights independently.

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 arriving 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.


⭐ My top hotel recommendations in São Miguel ⭐

things to do in sao miguel - best hotel ponta delgada
Image source: Booking.com

Hotel Azor, Ponta Delgada

Premium hotel with modern design and within walking distance to the city center and to the ocean. Ah and there’s a gorgeous pool on the terrace!

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: Booking.com

Out of the Blue, Ponta Delgada

Cheap, affordable, and convenient. Great value too!

São Miguel Flight + Hotel Deals

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

For São Miguel in particular they have LOADS of deals. Like this week-long adventure package in São Miguel (including a whale-watching tour) or this 3-island package.

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

Azores Islands

There’s more in my complete travel guide about the Azores islands. Including:

hotels sao miguel azores

Top hotels in São Miguel

Pre-filtered list of hotels with top reviews and location + parking included.

My travel tips valid anywhere

  • 🏨 To find the best deals and book your stay with free cancellation, I recommend Booking.com (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 my Travel Store
  • ✈️ Are you dealing with a delayed or cancelled flight? Airhelp may help you get a compensation for it.

Over to you: what more things to do in São Miguel island do you recommend? Share your suggestions below!

Share your thoughts 💬

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  1. Hi,
    I am thinking to visit Sao Miguel in January 2023 with a 2 year old. Do you recommend taking the trip or we should plan it when our child is much older.

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with the rest of us! We’ll be visiting for a week and promise to be respectful guests. Can’t wait!

  3. This is amazing. Our whale watching tour was cancelled whilst on our trip and we THOUGHT our only alternative was to visit Ponta Delgada. We didn’t know what to do until we found this site. Thank you so much – very useful information!!!!!

  4. Hi! Could you please inform me about the island, are the roads in good condition for driving if you hire your own car? Is it safe in general?
    Are those sites easily accessible by car?
    Any tips on that?
    Thank you!

  5. Hello! I will be arriving April 29, 2020 from a cruise ship. Ship will be in Terminal Maritimo for about 8 hours. I enjoy horseback riding when on vacation because I can see new places from a different perspective. Would there be any public stables near enough to the port for me to rent a horse?

    Thank you.

    1. Recently there have been some issues with baggage and major delays.
      Personally, I never had any problems with them, apart from 1-hour delays.

  6. Just came across this blog. Traveling to San Miguel late Oct. Not looking for warm adventure..we are looking for outdoor adventure and experience local culture. Thoughts?? Also thinking about going to Lisbon…or should we stay and visit other islands. Thoughts?? We have 8 days to explore.

    1. I suggest giving a read at my article about outdoor activities in Azores.

      Definitely no time for other islands. You can do 4-5 days in São Miguel and 3-4 in Lisbon, but could get a bit too short as Azorean weather in October is highly unstable.

  7. Hi Bruno,

    great article! We are arriving on a Saturday morning from Canada so will be tired and wanting to adjust out body clocks to the local time. Once we get checked in and eate, we are looking for a hike to stretch out legs that is not overly strenuous, since we will be tired. Any suggestions on that or other activities that would be good for a low energy day? Thanks in advance!

    1. I think the hike around Lagoa das Furnas is a great one and mostly flat.
      If you’re too tired, you can also relax in hot springs in the town (Terra Nostra or Poça Dona Beija).

  8. Bruno,

    I am a rock climber… I guide in the United States and what not. I’ll be in the Azores for a week in early October for a honeymoon of sorts. I can’t really find anything about established climbing areas other than tour guides which I would prefer not to use. I know a few Portuguese climbers but they live on the main land and are not familiar with anything on the islands. Do you know of any established climbing areas or people I could talk to that would know? On another note, if you had 7 days in the Azores, which island other than Sao Miguel would you commit to staying at for a few days.

    Thank you so much for your great content!!

    1. I’m not familiar with rock climbing areas in São Miguel, it doesn’t seem to be a common activity. I encourage you to speak with a tour agency just to find out where they can take you and perhaps you can try it yourself.

      As for your second question, I’d recommend a small island. 7 days for 2 islands is really not much, so I’d go for Faial or maybe Santa Maria.

  9. Wow, what a great site. Wish I’d seen it before. I’m arriving in Ponta Delgada May 11, departing on the 15th. Do I need to book a taxi for my arrival at 6:30am? I have a tour booked to pick me up at 8am at the Hotel. I am travelling alone so I am lucky to get on a 2day tour that will show me the most popular points of the island.
    I plan to book a whale watch also. I am nervous about driving and its expensive to rent. Are there buses that will get me to other parts of the island if I want to explore on my own?
    Also, are there any neat cultural activities to do other than the one I found to visit a dairy farm?

    1. Sorry, just seen this comment now.
      But for everyone arriving at 6h30: the only way is through a taxi (or car rental, obviously).
      Also like I mentioned in another articles, there are bus connections to the main towns in the island, but they don’t take you to the main sights.

  10. Thank you for the info. I will be enjoying being outdoors in nature but I also love food? Any tips on where to eat? I have an Airbnb booked and have access to a kitchen but I want to try the local foods. Thank you!

  11. Thank you very much for so much information on your site. We are a middle aged, in good shape couple that love to walk/moderate/easy hikes. We arrive on June 23 and leave the morning of June 26 to Funchal. Hotel Azor is booked for this time. Your site provided so many accommodations; we booked Praia de Santos and hope this will work for us as we want to be able to walk to the city center. We will not have a car so walking to restaurants is very important. Please advise whether this hotel is a good choice for our needs. Thank you!!! Elizabeth and John from NJ, USA

    1. Funchal is in Madeira, so I’m confused?

      Yes you are able to walk to restaurants in the city center, it’s a 15-min walk.

  12. Hi Bruno we will be visiting Sao Miguel for 7 days in June and were wondering whether to visit another island during our trip. Do you think we should stick to just Sao Miguel for the whole week or is there enough time to visit another island? If that is the case which island would you suggest? Thanks!

    1. I think I’ve answered you on another article, but here goes again: with 6 days I’d stick to São Miguel only.

  13. Hello Bruno,

    My husband and our 2 year old will be heading to Sao Migual next week Sept 13 to 20. Do you have any recommendations that is 2 year old friendly?

    1. Sorry for the delay in answering.
      The whole island is kid friendly, I don’t see any place suited for kids specifically.

  14. Hi Bruno just got here staying at Pedras do Mar resort and spa, little cold the weather but its nice, just reading your blog , very good! Thank you ,Csaba

  15. Thanks for sharing so much great information! We are off to Sao Miguel next week- March 7 for 6 days. We are so excited to explore the island! I know the weather will be quite erratic at that time. Do you have any suggestions as to what to pack for this time of year? Thank you! 🙂

  16. We’re off to the Azores in mid-late April for 10 days. We will be in Sao Miguel for 5 days and this guide is already super helpful. Thanks so much for posting this!

    1. Great to hear that, hope you have a great great time in my home island. Don’t miss the whale-watching, it’s the best time of the year!

  17. Hi there,

    I will be visiting Sao Miguel in September and am an avid hiker. I will be there 5 days and want to hike every day. Could you please let me know the best, prettiest hikes. We are looking for medium to advance hikes, doesn’t matter how long or how tough. Thanks!!!!! Also, we will be rent an apartment on airbnb….just wondering what area is closest to the bars and restaurants so we can walk there.

    1. Try Pico da Vara, the highest point in São Miguel. Apart from that, Sanguinho, Lagoa do Fogo-Água de Alto and Gorreana are the best hiking trails in my opinion 🙂

  18. Thanks so much for the great advice. We’re heading to Sao Miguel in 26 (who’s counting) days and we’ve got your articles bookmarked on my laptop, for easy and frequent access.

    Now, as for the difference between a canoe and a kayak, I have to admit that I was perplexed when I first read your comment. However, after thinking about it, I can see how you might feel that they’re much the same, and I also have to admit that it took some careful consideration before I felt prepared to put the differences into words. But here’s my best (unscientific) attempt to explain.

    Difference #1 Canoes are designed for two people and are ridiculously tippy with just one. Kayaks, on the other hand, are intended for one person. There are kayaks built for two people, but those are just silly.

    Difference #2 – You sit on the bottom of a kayak, on a bit of a seat that fits directly on the fibreglass, or plastic, or whatever your kayak is made of. In a canoe, there’s a bench that extends across the boat, so you’re up above the water.

    Difference #3 – Canoes are completely open, with no deck at all. Kayaks are enclosed, with a hole that you lower yourself into, so you can sit on the bottom.

    There may be other differences, but as I see it, those are the most important ones. Either way, they’re both great modes of transportation for nature lovers.

    Looking forward to using your advice, beginning March 11, 2017
    Denise and Rick
    Fans from Canada

    1. haha thank you for your thorough explanation, it makes perfect sense and now I feel silly for confusing both! 😀

      Hope you have a great time in Azores, only 14 days left now (but who’s counting?) 🙂

  19. Hi Bruno,
    My husband and I are heading to Ponta Delgata February 22-25th. We’re perfectly ok with exploring in the rain. Any suggestions or recommendations of places to visits or trails that might be best this time of year? We plan on renting a car for at least part or our stay. Thanks so much!

  20. Thanks for the info! We are getting married end of Sept 2017 and Azores was suggested to us for a honeymoon destination! I can’t wait! Sounds like so many places to go and things to see, how to decide what to do?! Any tips for honeymooners as “must see/do” that wasn’t mentioned?

    1. I’d say that just exploring the island is material for any honeymoon bucket list. To be honest I don’t have any honeymooners special tips, but there’s many things to do and places to go here, just follow what you think you’ll enjoy more.

  21. Hi Bruno, I know Sao Miguel is not a party venue but pls could you suggest a venue for a special birthday dinner for a group of 10 to 14 people in June? Preferably within reach of Furnas.
    Great itineraries! Thank you!

    1. Not sure what’s your budget or the kind of food you’re looking after, but you can try Hotel Terra Nostra for something fancier and Tony’s or Caldeiras for something more within budget.

  22. I will be going for 2 weeks in May. I’m a foodie and I was wondering if there is a food tour, or whether there are cooking classes I can take while there?

    1. Sadly to my knowledge, there’s nothing similar (yet) in the Azores. I’m sure there are some guided tours where you get to taste some local delicacies, but certainly not a “food tour”. Great business idea though!

  23. Olá Bruno, parabéns pelo excelente post sobre os Açores!
    Estou agora a planear a minha visita a são Miguel em setembro e nós gostávamos de aproveitar e passar também na Ilha do Pico no entanto os voos de uma ilha para a outra são caríssimos e parece não haver barcos… Tens alguma ideia ou sugestão ou a nossa única hipótese é mesmo um voo de 160€?

    1. Antes de mais peço desculpa pelo atraso na resposta, mas este comentário escapou-me completamente! Sei que já vou tarde, mas ainda assim mais gente pode ter a mesma dúvida.

      Sim, os voos inter-ilhas são muito mais caros do que deviam ser. No entanto, sugiro que des uma olhada nos reencaminhamentos gratuitos da Azores Airlines. Se comprares um voo para São Miguel, podes ir para outra ilha (e.g. Pico) gratuitamente, desde que não fiques mais de 24 horas em Ponta Delgada.

  24. I am visiting the Azores with my family at the beginning of August. Do you think we need to pre book the bicycles or do you think we’ll be able to arrange this when we are there.

    1. What about MTB/DH bikes? Is it worth reserving them or are they available on the spot as well?

  25. Hi, do you have any idea how is it with free / wild camping in Azores (Sao Miguel, Flores, Corvo, Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge)? We are going there in two weeks for backpacking, however, it is not always possible to sleep in the camps. I was for example wondering about sleeping near Lagoa do Fogo but I haven’t found anywhere whether it is allowed or not. Thank you.

    1. Wild camping in Portugal is illegal. Despite being often overlooked by the police, you still can’t camp on natural parks or Reserves like Lagoa do Fogo.

  26. Thanks for such a great and informative article! I will be returning to Sao Miguel for the second time this June and am beyond excited. I have looked into flights to the islands as I hadn’t been before, and I find them quite expensive – you mention that SATA sometimes offers free flights to the other islands? That doesn’t seem like a realistic option in the 21st century :)) thanks for clarifying! Cheers

    1. SATA offers forwarding flights. Although there are no direct flights from Lisbon to São Jorge, you can fly Lisbon – São Miguel and then the flight to São Jorge is free. Conditions apply though.

      Have a great time!

  27. Hi
    I will be in San Miguel October 4-11, 2016 and would like to find a local hiking group to join for a hike.

    Can you help me find one?

    Thank you.

  28. Thrilled to have found this and we will definitely take in your suggestions when we visit for the second time in March. I would love some restaurant recommendations. We will be visiting for 8 days, staying at hotel Marina Atlantico. We are foodies and very adventurous with our selections. Any suggestions will be most welcomed.

  29. Olá! Texto muito bom! Parabéns! Encontrei-o quando estava à procura de coisas a fazer em São Miguel. Vou ficar lá durante 6 dias agora em Julho. O meu plano é ficar duas noites em Ponta Delgada e depois ir caminhando e acampando (selvagem) pela ilha durante os restantes dias e ficar a descansar ao pé de umas lagoas. Que lagoas recomendas? Gosto bastante das Sete Cidades mas parece já demasiado turístico. Que achas da Caldeira Velha?

    1. Obrigado Cédric!

      Caldeira Velha (não é uma lagoa) é excelente para relaxar depois de um dia de explorações!
      Sete Cidades é turístico, mas se ficares lá a acampar na zona da vila é super relaxante, aconselho vivamente a ires. Lagoa do Fogo é completamente selvagem (nem sei se é permitido ficares lá a pernoitar?) mas de qualquer forma é um must-go. Se quiseres lagos mais fora do roteiro mais turístico, tens a do Canário, Empadadas e a Lagoa Rasa.

      Have a great time!


  30. Hiking and biking would be definitely my favourite activities to do in Sao Miguel. I always love to spend my time in a foreign country in a very active way!

  31. I honestly never thought about going to the Azores, but this sure looks incredibly!

  32. I had, honestly, never even thought about traveling to the Azores for the very reason you stated. I’m psyched to learn that there is so much to do! You should be working for the tourism board! Lol! Thanks for enlightening me and maybe I’ll see you in the Azores some day 🙂

    1. Well it’s always good to add a place to your bucket list, isn’t it? 😀
      Sure, let me know when you are around, I go there frequently!

  33. Okay, it’s time for me to unsubscribe because it’s not fair to keep wanting me to visit this gorgeous places! 😛 Seriously, I’ve always wanted to go to the Azores , I hope to do it one day. When I do, you can be sure I’ll ask you for tips 😀

    1. Please don’t, I promise I’ll post about horrible places from now on 😛
      Hope you do, you won’t get disappointed. And for sure expect some insider tips!