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All About Portugal | May 19, 2019

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Things to do in Sao Miguel Island

Things to do in S. Miguel
Clara Campos

There are many things to do in Sao Miguel. The most iconic are linked to nature and the discovery of the natural wonders of this amazing island of the Azores

Things to do in Sao Miguel Island are memorable.

If you are a Nature lover this is the right place to come. Sao Miguel Island is a true natural paradise.

My favourite things to do in Sao Miguel

Sao Miguel, as all the other Azores islands, is shaped by its volcanic origins. Each moment spend there will be treasured.

While facing Sao Miguel’s landscape it is impossible not be overwhelmed by its breath taking beauty. It is not by chance that more and more people each year come to Sao Miguel on holidays.

Lagoa das Sete CidadesPhoto by Galeria de vida de vidro

Lagoa das Sete Cidades

The crater of Sete Cidades is one of the must see places of Sao Miguel. And when you stand in front of it, facing the different colors of its waters you understand why. It is incredible to see how it is divided into two lakes, the so called blue and green lakes. The different colors of the lakes’ waters are explained by many legends. My favourite is the one about a princess who didn’t like to be stuck inside the castle walls. So she went for long walks outside. On one of these walks she met a poor shepherd. They fall in love. But her father, the king, forbade their love, allowing them one last encounter. When they met for the last time they cried so much that two lagoons begun to form at their feet. The princess’ tears formed the blue lake and the shepherd’s gave rise to the green lake. The two lovers lived forever apart but the lagoons born out of their tears would be together forever.

Gorreana Tea Plantation

Even though I am not a tea fan – I am more a coffee fanatic – visiting the Gorreana Tea Plantation is one of most enjoyable things to do in S. Miguel. After all, this is the only tea plantation in Europe. It was founded in 1883 and it produces around 30 tons of tea per year. During your visit you may learn all about tea growing, picking and processing. You may even sample it yourself.

Salto do Prego

The Azores for its amazing trails so tracking is one of the spectacular things to do in S. Miguel. Salto do Prego waterfall is on an amazing trail that starts and ends at Faial da Terra. Salto do Prego is a fantastic place to make a stop, tempering your strengths before starting your way back.

Furnas

Furnas valley is an incredible natural landscape. It is one of the mandatory things to do in S. Miguel. Furnas valley is crossed by two fast-flowing streams. One of them is cold and the other is hot. The color of hot stream is influenced by its content of suspended iron.

Furnas valley is also known for its special “Cozido”. “Cozido” is a stew made from pieces of pork, Portuguese smoked sausages and vegetables. This is a typical Portuguese dish coming from the Beiras region, in Continental Portugal. However the Furnas Cozido is special due to the way it is cooked. Forget the stove. This meal is cooked for several hours inside a hole made on the volcanic soil, under the extremely high temperatures. The cooking process lends the dish a unique flavor.
Furnas, Azores
Photo by psiph

Be sure to visit also the Terra Nostra Park with its amazing garden. And of course, go for a swimm at Poça Dona Beija, a natural open-air spa. Even though there is a €2 charge, it feels like heaven to dive in one of the three existing natural swimming pools.

Scuba diving and snorkeling

The Azorean sea offers warm waters with perfect visibility. Under these conditions, the waters of the Azores boost with animal and plant life nestled inside caves and arches. Therefore scuba diving or snorkeling is one of the things to do in S. Miguel.

Whales and dolphins watching

One of the many attractions of the Azores is the whales and dolphins watching. The best time to see these animals is during summer. There are several tour operators to take you into an unforgettable voyage. Usually these tours last for 3 hours and prices go from 40 to 55 euros. This is definitely one of the things to do in S. Miguel you should not miss.

Fishing

The coast of S. Miguel is rich in many fish species. In fact, the Island is a paradise for all fans of rock fishing. Barracuda, red bream, bluefish bream, conger eel, garfish, trigger fish, jack grevalle, mackeral, moray eel and common sea bream are the most common species available. The best fishing points are Ponta Deigada, Ponta das Freiras, Ferraria, Mosteiros, Ponta da Bretanha, Porto das Capelas, Poços de São Vicente, Rabo de Peixe, Ponta and Porto da Ribeira do Nordeste, Agua Retorta and Faial da Terra.

However, S. Miguel is also an amazing place for high-seas fishing. The area is known for the several record catches made by sports fishermen.

Islet Vila Franca do Campo

Aside the nine islands, the Azores comprise several islets. They stand right off the coast of the main islands. They are truly natural wonders. The most famed is Islet of Vila do Franco. It is the remains of an ancient volcanic crater. It has a circular structure that embraces a lagoon that receives water from the ocean through a canal. The same canal separates the so-called “small islet” from the “big islet”. The lagoon is sanctuary for marine life. Since 1983 it is a Natural Reserve intended to protect all the species that inhabit it.

Caldeira Velha

Caldeira Velha is an unforgettable waterfall with warm water with high iron content. This amazing waterfall that leaves brownish traces on the rocks is on the way up to Lagoa do Fogo.

Lagoa de FogoPhoto by Galeria de maymonides

Lagoa de Fogo

Lagoa de Fogo is the second largest lagoon of Sao Miguel Island. Due to its natural importance, it was classified as Natural Reserve in 1974.

Set on the crater of an inactive volcano, it can reach the 30 meters deep. The best way to discover all the wonder of this lagoon is by foot. I recommend the trail “Lombadas da Lagoa do Fogo”. Go for it and you will know why that this is one of the best things to do in S. Miguel Island.

Where is Sao Miguel island?

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Ponta Delgada: 37.742242, -25.674950
Lagoa das Sete Cidades: 37.855473, -25.786629
Gorreana Tea Plantation: 37.818309, -25.402417
Salto do Prego: 37.752190, -25.201478
Furnas: 37.772699, -25.304056
Islet Vila Franca do Campo: 37.705553, -25.442963
Lagoa do Fogo: 37.759180, -25.470428
Casa da Fonte: 37.845477, -25.233750
Furnas Lake Villas: 37.749017, -25.324331

Main image credits

Photo by Galeria de the-tml

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