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Top Ten Things to do in São Miguel Island, the Azores

Hello there! If you are currently planning your perfect trip to the Azores and are looking for the top things to do in São Miguel Island, the Azores, this post is the perfect fit for you! São Miguel Island is one of the main islands of the Azores and what in incredible place to be at. Of course there are many more places to visit in São Miguel Island than just these few on this list, however I wanted to give you a nice overview over the most incredible places that were my personal highlights. If you are looking for a more indepth guide to traveling the Azores, make sure to check out my Azores Travel Guide.

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FAQ About Traveling to São Miguel

How to get to São Miguel?

The best way to get to São Miguel is to fly to the city of Ponta Delgada. The airport is called Aeroporto João Paulo II, short for PDL. 

How do you get around in São Miguel?

The best way to get around in São Miguel is to rent a car. It simply gives you much more flexibility to discover places and sights off the main roads. I also loved that I could explore the island at my own pace and do what I wanted, whenever I wanted. You can easily rent cars on the Azores with Azores Rental Cars.

What to Wear and Pack for Traveling the São Miguel?

Even during the summer months, the weather in the Azores can be quite unpredictable. That means days can be sunny and warm but in the next moment, it can get windy and cloudy. That’s why I recommend bringing many layers from shirts to sweaters and a raincoat! 

What to Eat When Visiting São Miguel?

São Miguel is an island which means that it is the ideal place for every seafood-lovers! We had fish, pulpo, and many more ocean treasures while sipping on local wine from the island of Pico. 

Miradouro da Grota do Inferno – A Glimpse into a Volcanic Crate

Let’s start this list with a bang! The Azores are often described as the Hawaii of Europe and there are a few things on this list, where this description is incredibly accurate. One of those places is the Miradouro da Grota do Inferno. From that viewpoint, you can see the crate of the volcano that erupted here, created the island we know today. At its ground you can also see the lake that remained after the eruption. However, the most majestic part of that viewpoint is the breathtaking scenery you get all around it.

How to get there: You can park your rental car nearby, but you actually have to walk to the viewpoint itself. From the parking lot, you will cross a small but beautiful forest, filled with lush greens and beautiful foliage. Once you made it through that little forest, you will be on top of the hill, overlooking the valley. A small path with a wooden handrail then guides you to the viewpoint itself from where you can see the lake and more. It is a breathtaking place and best to be visited on a sunny day. Because if it is cloudy, you will find yourself within one cloud sooner or later, so it is best to place this part of your Azores itinerary on a day with good weather!

Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo – Viewpoint Above the Clouds

The crazy thing about the Azores is that whereever you are, the weather can always change within minutes. Sometimes out of nowhere, you find yourself standing inside of a cloud. It was like this when we visited the next breathtaking viewpoint in Sao Miquel. The Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo gives you a fantastic view of an incredible panorama, including the mountain and the Lagoa de Fogo. When I was there, it was super foggy, giving it an almost eery atmosphere, which was very moody and somehow even fitting the place better than sunshine, I think!

Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz – Azulejos and Ocean Views

This place will grant you not only the perfect view of the gorgeous blue Atlantic ocean but also a beautiful chapel in the style of the typical Portugese azulejos churches. On a sunny day, everything here will be blue in the best way: blue skies, blue ties, blue ocean. Let this be your hint to color-coordinate your outfit accordingly, like I did!

The Top 8 Things to do in Terceira, the Azores & The Top 9 Things You Shouldn’t Miss in São Jorge, the Azores

Miradouro do Pico do Ferro – Seeing the Furnas Valley from Above

Some of the most impressive sights in the Azores are those that are formed by the volcanic activity that still to this day shapes the apperance of the Azores. Once upon a time they were created by so called hotspot volcanoes, which is an interesting phenomenon. Basically it means that where the Azores are located the earth’s crust is thinner than usually due to being located at the tectonic plates. Magma could surface there and solidify, creating more and more landmass until one day, we had the Azores as we have them now. One of those places, where you can acutally see how living on the volcano still influences daily life is from the Miraduro do Pico do Ferro. From there you can the see entierty of the Furnas valley.

Poça da Dona Beija – the Azores’ Best Spa Experience

If you know me, you know that I love all kinds of amazing spa experiences from around the world! And one that I loved to experience was the visit at the Poça da Dona Beija. So as you already know the island of Sao Miquel is shaped by volcanic acticity. In the Furnas valley you have a lot of these activity. The Poça da Dona Beija is a place where you can bathe in heated pools of mineral rich water. These minerals come with great benefits for your skin and overall health. The water is so filled with them that it is every yellow and will stain all lighter bathing suits, so dress accordingly.

Caldeiras – Steamy Volcanic Activity

Staying in the Furnas valley, still admiring the volcanic activity in São Miguel sland, the caldeiras are some extraordinary sight! Here you can see steamy hot water emerging from the earth. The steam is rich in sulfur, giving it a peculiar smell which is quite intense. I loved this place for its rough beauty, showing how powerful mother nature really is.

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Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego – A Flowery Paradise

When visiting São Miguel, one of the greatest pleasures is to just drive around and marvel at all the different sceneries. One of the most impressive and breathtaking sceneries that you may find here is the gorgeous Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego. The flowery paradise is one of those places where you don’t know at what to marvel first. The incredible ocean view that lays behind the green lush steep cliffs of the island or the flowers that frame the scenery. The Miraduoro is just one of many viewpoints that can be found in São Miguel, that provide restrooms and most importantly the opportunity to actually have a barbeque in front of that view, which is something I will have to try next time I go to São Miguel!

Gorreana Tea Plantation – Visit the Only Place Where Tea Grows in Europe

What if I told you that in the Azores you can visit a sight like no where else in Europe? That sight is the only tea plantation in Europe! Visiting it is one of the top things to do in São Miguel. At the Gorreana Tea Plantation you can freely access their fields. That sight alone is a huge reason to visit the place as soon as you can. However the experience at the Gorreana Tea plantation goes even further, as they offer free tours through their factory, showing and explaining how tea is harvested, dried and created. There you will learn so much of tea and its different leaves and tastes, it convinced even me, a devoted coffee drinker to give it a try! And if you want to try it, you can do it right next door in their lovely café where tea and pastries await you!

Cascata do Salto do Cabrito – Chasing Waterfalls in the Azores

Another great thing about traveling the Azores is ou being able to chase as many waterfalls as you want! The island is full of them, small and large! The one that I visited is the Cascata do Salto do Cabrito and I loved it very much! From the spot where you can park your car, you have to walk a little while downhill to get there. Personally I loved that walk after driving around the island. Once you reached the waterfall you can walk up to it. However if you dare, you can also do a longer climb up some stairs to get a view from above! I didn’t do it because of my fear of heights, but my boyfriend really liked it!

Ponta Delgada 

Last but certainly not least we have the beautiful capital city of Sao Miquel on that list! The small city comes with a bunch of wonderful boutiques, cafés and restaurants, so basically everything you need. I loved its architecture, especially the Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião in its center!

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Top Things to do in São Miguel
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Hi There!

My name is Paula and I love to travel and explore our beautiful world. Stamps in my passport and adding countries to the list of places I have visited is what makes me truly happy. With this blog, I want to help you explore our world too.

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