São Miguel Itinerary - On the Sustainability Route

For those planning a trip to the Azores, check out our itinerary in São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores.

Table of Contents

Although it is so close, we didn't know anything about the Azores. What is considered according to Forbes: 'the Hawaii of the Atlantic', has been growing in popularity. After visiting, we want to come back again to know even more. In this article, we leave our itinerary in São Miguel, as well as all the tips, points of interest and entry conditions.

How to get around São Miguel

Since São Miguel is the largest island in the Azores, it is clear that travel takes longer.

In terms of public transportation, although existing, they will not be the best option at all. This is because the more remote or more touristy areas may not be covered by these means of transport.

For us, the best way to visit the island of São Miguel is by car rental. With this, you will have all the freedom to reach the main points of interest and more remote places.

There are several car rental agencies, most located at the airport in Ponta Delgada. Hertz was our choice for this adventure through the Azores. To get the best prices, there is nothing like a book in advance.

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Our means of travel in São Miguel.

Our vehicle, an Opel Crossland, did very well during the days we spent here. Whether on the back roads or even on the steeper climbs we had no problems at all.

It is worth noting that the roads in São Miguel surprised us positively.

Where to stay in São Miguel?

Since São Miguel is the largest island in the Azores, the range of hotels on offer is diverse. It may be easier to stay in Ponta Delgada to begin with, but once you've rented a car, getting around the island is extremely easy because the roads are in good condition.

In our case we wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of Ponta Delgada and look for a nook where we could have the true Azorean experience.

We chose to stay at Quinta das Amoras in Santo António de Nordestinho, belonging to the Nordeste municipality.

We highly recommend it! Not least because in these pandemic times, here you will find a quiet corner.

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Quinta das Amoras, the perfect place to relax.

The Quinta das Amoras has a house and two bungalows, all of them properly equipped, including a kitchen and outside a panoramic balcony with barbecue.

There is also an orchard and a swimming pool in the surrounding area that can be enjoyed on hotter days.

Reservations can be made through the Page of Quinta das Amoras.

Visiting the Azores in Covid-19 times

The procedure for entry into the Azores at this time of pandemic is relatively simple. A proof of negative covid-19 test result is required upon entry.

Note: The test is a mandatory condition, and can be taken in mainland Portugal up to 72 hours before or on arrival in the Azores. But, in the second option they will have to wait for the results without leaving the accommodation.

We performed it 72h before, in a laboratory with agreement, because the test is paid in full by the Azores Regional Government. When we visited for stays longer than 7 or more days, it was necessary to repeat the test on the 6th day in an Azorean health unit for free.

For more information on all the measures in place and the laboratories with convection you can consult here .

With the negative test result, we still had to fill out the My Safe Azores questionnaire, to expedite the entry procedure.

At the airport in Ponta Delgada, don't worry everything is properly marked. As soon as we landed, we went to a space where all our documentation was checked and about 5 minutes later we were getting into the car to explore São Miguel.

Our opinion is very positive of the whole procedure, everything is very well organized.

Watching Cetaceans in the Azores.

Any trip to the Azores requires a whale watching tour. Why? Because the Azores are a paradise for those who like marine life. Sometimes we look for this kind of activity in other countries and we have it so close to us.

The region has an ecosystem with exceptional characteristics, forcing more than 20 types of different cetaceans, with a third of the existing whales being in the region.

Our environmental concern, always leads us to think twice when performing certain types of activities. And in this case it was no different, we absolutely did not want to do whale watching with a company where we felt we were putting animal protection at risk.

After exhaustive research and information gathering, Futurism was our choice and we couldn't have been happier.

Why Futurismo?

First of all, it is important to emphasize that the Futurismo is a company certified by the World Cetacean Alliance as a responsible whale-watching company.

Futurism is part of TTC (The Transformational Travel Council), in which the ambassador for Portugal is the Commercial and Marketing Director, Carlos Picanço. The mission here is for tourism to be process in a positive way, in other words, for all travel to be transformational.

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Watching Cetaceans with Futurismo can be done on catamaran or zodiac.

When they conduct tours, they do research and collect data. These are then processed for all the investigators in the world, an effective sharing that helps to learn more and more about marine life.

Futurismo goes far beyond science and plays an active role in education, especially of the youngest. From awareness and learning campaigns in schools on São Miguel to garbage collection with families.

They are always very active, and the latest project 'Guardians of the Azores' will allow an active role for the Azorean community in creating scientific knowledge, while exploring and protecting the best of the Azores.

The Unmatched Blue Whale

On the day scheduled for our tour, anxiety dominated, much for the fact that we might see a blue whale. But, without high expectations, before 9 a.m. we were at the Futurismo offices.

The tour was to be conducted by Catamaran, by our preference. With this pandemic situation the safety measures were reinforced and we saw our Catamaran and being cleaned and disinfected before departure.

To emphasize that at no time we felt unsafe, the use of mask on board is mandatory, during the whole trip. Upon entry, all participants were measured for temperature, hands were disinfected, and the boat capacity was reduced.

The tour is always accompanied by several marine biologists and so we made the most of it to ask any questions we had.

This tour was really transformational, because in addition to the leisure component, we also had the opportunity to learn and still feel in a way useful because, on each trip is made photographic collection of the animals found for later analysis. Therefore, we tourists also contributed indirectly to all this work of Futurismo.

A few minutes after boarding, we were seeing common dolphins, and still managed to identify a 'black edition'. That is, a common dolphin but one that did not have the yellow side stripe like its companions.

Not long after, the sperm whales showed up! They were a group of 7 and were at rest and socializing.

Curiosity: Did you know that sperm whales are the kings of diving. They are adept at diving for food, averaging 45 minutes underwater, although dives lasting over 1 hour have been observed!

Of a sudden, we were surprised by the largest animal in the world. Yes, the magnificent blue whale! The euphoria of everyone on the Catamaran was noticeable, even our biologists.

For us, it was the culmination of a long-awaited moment. We have been planning for some time to observe a blue whale in its natural habitat, the thing is that this is only possible in some places in the world, the Azores is one of those places.

It was sensational, it left us speechless. With this, we want to say that sometimes we look outside what we can observe here in our home country, Portugal. Don't let that happen, the Azores are rich in marine life, and they are so close. Let's value what we have!

The pictures taken on this tour may give the feeling of closeness but, the truth is, you can never get too close to your marine friends.

To finish, we still saw again another group of sperm whales, many Portuguese caravels, salp, terns and shearwaters.

It was a very productive day at sea.

Snacks in São Miguel - what to try?

We already know very well that our country stands out for its gastronomy. From north to south, there are delicious delicacies to try, and of course the Azores are no exception.

Restrictions on restaurants didn't stop us from snacking, and even though we couldn't eat in restaurants, we ordered. In the cafes, selling at the wicket was allowed, so we took advantage of it.

Here are some examples of the gastronomy that should be part of any itinerary in São Miguel:

Pineapple: is almost a must, and can be found in many Azorean products. We like it plain.

Fofas de Povoação: Typical of the village of Povoação, very similar to éclair. These are filled with vanilla cream and covered with chocolate. We tried them at the restaurant, Pic Nic.

Bolos Lêvedos: a kind of bread, with a sweetish flavor. It sells anywhere in Furnas, as they are typical of the area.

Queijadas da Vila: you can find them in Vila Franca do Campo, the place to eat them is, get the name right, Queijadas do Morgado. They are so good!!!

Shells and limpets: small snacks that will delight you. We are not big fans, but in São Miguel they are in the ideal place to try them.

Cozido das Furnas: is the most traditional you'll get to taste. For those who don't want to cook their own, there are several restaurants in Furnas where you can try your luck.

Beef: For those who like a good steak, you have to give it a chance here. Unfortunately, we were not able to try the one from the Associação Agrícola de São Miguel which they say is very good.

In addition to these examples, there are still some others that we would like to suggest for those who have more time on the island. For them, a visit to Rei dos Queijos right in the heart of Ponta Delgada passes by, we brought you a beautiful specimen of cheese from São Jorge.

Still in Ponta Delgada, we hear that the Louvre Micaelense, hides the Secret. You can't miss the tuna steak, a delicacy of several restaurants; the bifana, in one of the historic cafés and the chicharro or carapau, whatever you want to call it at Mané Cigano.

Don't forget a draught beer at Lagoinha, a liqueur (we like the pineapple one) or simply a tea.

Itinerary em São Miguel: what to visit?

São Miguel is the largest island in the Azores, and with so much to explore it can seem difficult to create an itinerary that fits the available time we have on the island.

The trick is to divide the island by parts/areas or even parishes. In our itinerary in São Miguel, we tried every time we went to an area to visit all the points of interest we had marked. This way we wouldn't have to come back again.

This itinerary in São Miguel can easily be adapted according to one's preferences.

Ponta Delgada

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Portas da Cidade, in Ponta Delgada, the calling card of São Miguel.

It is the gateway to São Miguel, and is perhaps the busiest place, in terms of crowds, on the island.

For this reason, we did not want to spend too much time here. To make the most of it, we took advantage of the day of our arrival and took a walk around the city center.

Main points of interest include:

  • City Gates
  • Coal Cave
  • Graça Market
  • Santa Clara Lighthouse
  • São Brás Fort
  • Populo Beach
  • Plantation of Pineapples

Arruda Pineapples

In addition to cheese and tea, pineapples are also a typical Azorean product. The Arruda Pineapples has a history of more than 100 years.

On his former family property, Dr. Augusto Arruda created the entire plantation of pineapples from scratch, for the best growing results and for tourists to visit.

It should be emphasized that this was once one of the largest exporters of pineapples in the entire world.

The visit is free, at the entrance we are given a pamphlet with all the explanation and history of the place. Then we can follow the journey through each of the greenhouses, where we can follow all the stages of growth of the pineapple.

We still had time in the gift shop to try a free pineapple liqueur. And of course, we didn't come empty-handed.

Tip: For the big cheese lovers, like us, you really have to visit the Rei dos Queijos. Which as the name implies is really the 'king' of cheeses, given the huge variety inside the small store. Can you get just one cheese?!

Vila Franca do Campo

The town of Vila Franca do Campo is one of the most popular and the one that appears on every itinerary in São Miguel. All this because of the popular islet with the same name.

About 500 meters from the coast, the islet is volcanic in origin. Marine erosion, tectonic movements and differential settlements gave rise to its current shape.

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The best view of the islet of Vila Franca do Campo is aerial.

In 1983 it was classified as a Nature Reserve, for the protection of biodiversity. The islet is also a nesting area for the cagarro, a protected seabird.

In order to minimize human impact on the islet only 400 people per day are allowed.  

In our quick passage here, we unveiled several beaches, one of them the Degredo beach, and visited the Nossa Senhora da Paz Quinhentista Ermida, where you have a panoramic view over the town. This was rebuilt in 1764 and frequently restored over the centuries.

Furnas

Furnas must be one of the most unmissable places on the island. Consequently we had to include it in our itinerary in São Miguel. After all, who has never heard of the cozido das Furnas?

In addition to the cozido, in the center of the village it is possible to delight ourselves with the typical bolos lêvedos. It is a kind of bread, but semi-sweet, to be eaten with butter, jam or simply.

Located in the municipality of Povoação, in Furnas we can observe manifestations of active volcanism, the fumaroles or calderas.

The Furnas area is one of the richest hydrological areas in Europe. For this reason, we encounter the existence of varied vegetation and a vast botanical repository. Here you can also find a wide variety of thermal waters and thermal pools.

As in all places on the island of São Miguel, the viewpoints allow you to appreciate the verdant landscapes from various perspectives. Our favorite was undoubtedly Salto do Cavalo, which in the faint late afternoon light dazzled us with stunning views.

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View from the Pico do Ferro viewpoint to Furnas lagoon.

Passing by Furnas means a stop at the homonymous lagoon, which, although not the prettiest on the island, promises a fantastic walk.

From the various points of interest of Furnas we highlight:

  • Furnas Pond
  • Terra Nostra Park
  • Grena Park
  • Poça da Dona Beija
  • Chappel of Nossa Senhora das Vitórias
  • Mata Jardim José do Canto
  • Furnas Boilers
  • Furnas Waterfall and Aquarium
  • Pico do Ferro Viewpoint
  • Lombo dos Milhos Viewpoint
  • Salto do Cavalo Viewpoint
  • Pedras do Galego Viewpoint

The famous Cozido das Furnas

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The Furnas area, known for its fumaroles where cozidos are made.

On the banks of the Furnas Lagoon one of the world's unique dishes is made: the cozido das Furnas. Access costs 3€ per person.

At one point in the lagoon there are small holes dug in the volcanic floor, this is where the cozidos are cooked. It takes about 6 hours until they are ready, all through the geothermal heat of the volcanoes. There is the possibility of making your own cozido, for this you just need the ingredients and the pot.

For those who don't want to go to all that trouble and enjoy the end result, we recommend Tony's restaurant in the town center.

Terra Nostra Park

Any self-respecting itinerary in São Miguel immediately brings us to Parque Terra Nostra.

It has won several awards over the years and has even been highlighted by Condé Nast magazine as 'one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.'

Returning to history, it goes back more than two hundred years, when the then Consul of the United States of America in San Miguel, Thomas Hickling built his summer residence here.

It was only in 1848 and by the hand of the Viscount of Praia, who acquired and built the current Park house, that the space came to life. After his death, it was the Marquis of Praia and Monforte who embellished the house and created the lush garden.

Although for some years the Parque Terra Nostra had been degraded, it was annexed by the Terra Nostra Society, under the direction of Vasco Bensaude, when the Hotel Terra Nostra opened in 1935. Years later, and after restoration of the space, we can all enjoy this wonderful place.

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Terra Nostra Park, even on rainy days deserves a visit.

On the day we visited Terra Nostra Park the weather didn't help much and it was rainy, yet we still managed to get a little opening.

We have chosen not to go bathing in the thermal water tank, but for those who do it is essential that you do not bring new bathing clothes, as the iron water will leave your clothes with staining.

At the entrance we are given a map of the place, very useful as the space is huge, although everything is well marked.

There are several nooks and crannies, but the distinction goes to the camellias, as this is one of the largest collections in the world.

We can also count on:

  • Cycadales Collection
  • Ferns Collection
  • Vireyas Garden
  • Beds of Azaleas
  • Garden of Endemic and Native Flora of the Azores

We really enjoyed the avenue of ginkgo biloba, which took us back to an avenue worthy of a movie. Beautiful, beautiful, and with the rainy weather, it added a touch of mysticism.

Price: 8€ adults

         4€ children (3 to 10 years old)

Time: 10:30 am to 4:30 pm

Sete Cidades

The Sete Cidades area deserved two days of our itinerary in São Miguel. First because the weather here is very unstable, and on the first day we didn't enjoy much. But, also because the area has a lot to see and do.

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Despite the cloudy weather, the Sete Cidades lagoon still gave an air of its grace.

From viewpoints, to lakes, to trails, the town of Sete Cidades is so complete.

So, as soon as we arrived in this part of the island, we took advantage of the various viewpoints, which included:

  • Grota do Inferno viewpoint (the most popular and with the best views)
  • Vista do Rei viewpoint
  • Lagoa do Canario viewpoint
  • Candelária viewpoint
  • Pico do Carvão viewpoint
  • Pico do Paul viewpoint
  • Lomba do Vasco viewpoint
  • Cerrado das Freiras viewpoint
  • Cumeeiras viewpoint

And with this we can say that we are the 'kings' of the viewpoints. Whenever we saw an indication of one, we couldn't resist stopping.

At the beginning of our journey through the Sete Cidades area, we visit the coal aqueduct. Without wasting much time, we continue to the Empadadas lagoon and Rasa lagoon, where we take the opportunity to take a walking trail.

Nearby there are other small lagoons such as the lagoon of éguas, lagoon of caldeirão grande or the lagoon of pau pique.

Continuing on the same road, it takes us to the highest altitude, about 800 meters from sea level and where is the Canário lagoon. Surrounded by typical Macaronesian forests and cryptomeria plantations, it also has the viewpoint with the same name as the lagoon.

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Grota do Inferno viewpoint, one of the most sought-after viewpoints on the island.

Nevertheless, a small sheltered trail leads to the Grota do Inferno viewpoint. The day we went it was so windy that if it weren't for the sublime views it offers over the blue lagoon and the green lagoon, we would have given up.

In this area and next to the Vista do Rei viewpoint is the Monte Palace hotel. It was one of the most luxurious developments on the island, but today it is in a sorry state of degradation.

Jetting down to the village of Sete Cidades there was still time for a short stop at the Santiago lagoon.

Tip: Enjoy a picnic by the ponds, you will find several picnic parks for that.

Western Part of the island

Taking advantage of the day we were around the village of Sete Cidade, we also went to explore this western part of the island.

On our itinerary in São Miguel we really wanted to include Ponta da Ferraria. This is a natural pool in the sea where you can bathe in hot water. The weather didn't help and ruined the idea.

The place is spectacular, and even without bathing it was one of our favorite places in São Miguel. Nearby we enjoyed the views from the Sabrina Island viewpoint and the Ponta do Escalvado viewpoint.

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Ponta da Ferraria, well known for its natural pools.

We were hoping to visit the Ponta da Ferraria lighthouse, but because of the pandemic situation we can only see it from the outside. It is the second oldest lighthouse on the island of São Miguel and the largest in the Azores.

Following our itinerary in São Miguel we went to the town of Mosteiros, where the rock formations on the beach surprised us. Right next door there is another natural pool, Caneiro.

On the way back to our accommodation, located in the Northeast, we decided to include in our trip a short visit to the town of Santa Barbára, Santo António, where the natural pools and the belvedere with the same name are located, and the town of Capelas.

This is where we saw an amazing rock formation, they call it the Elephant's trunk, because it resembles just that.

In this area there are several viewpoints that give us the opportunity to observe the scenery, they are:

  • Porto das Capelas Viewpoint
  • Vígia das Baleias Viewpoint
  • Sertão Viewpoint
  • Navio Viewpoint
  • Pedras Negras Viewpoint, probably the best for observing the Tromba do Elefante
  • Beira-mar Viewpoint

We also discovered some natural pools, the Poços de São Vicente Ferreira. But, we did not go diving because the sea was not inviting.

This area of the island has several natural pools, and just in the parish ahead, Calheta are the Poços das Calhetas - Calhau da Furna. At the Calhetas viewpoint we saw an incredible sunrise, there was a light breeze that we will never forget.

Lakes, viewpoints and tea

We already knew beforehand that the Azores were a vast expanse of green and for this reason, we wanted to include in our itinerary in São Miguel as many lagoons and viewpoints as we could put.

We took the opportunity to get to know the Caldeira Velha area better and stopped at almost every viewpoint we found along the way.

In the end we did not forget the tea plantations and went to the two existing ones on the island.

Among the sights visited were:

  • Chã da Macela Viewpoint
  • Fogo lagoon Viewpoint
  • Bela Vista Viewpoint
  • Coroa da Mata Viewpoint
  • Ponta de Santa Iria Viewpoint
  • Barreiros Viewpoint
  • Frade Viewpoint

Some of the lagoons on the inner part of the island that we explored were:

  • Congro lagoon, which you have to walk along a small trail to reach
  • Areeiro lagoon
  • São Brás lagoon

Fogo Lagoon

Perhaps the most beautiful lagoon on the island of São Miguel, at least it was for us. It is one of the largest lagoons in the Azores and has been classified as a natural reserve since 1974.

The vegetation that surrounds it is lush, the place of phenomenal beauty. Because of its location, being the highest lagoon in São Miguel, here we also find several species of birds.

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Fogo lagoon, one of the most beautiful in São Miguel.

In the Fogo lagoon there is a small beach of the same name, which can be reached via a trail. It has been recognized as one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal in the wild beach category.

The best view of the lagoon of Fogo is perhaps from the viewpoint of Pico da Barrosa. It is a mandatory stop, the view you get over the lagoon leaves you in awe.

Caldeira Velha

The Caldeira Velha area deserves more attention than we gave it. Our time was not enough, and in our itinerary in São Miguel, we left Caldeira Velha to explore better on a next trip.

Caldeira Velha is highly sought after not only for its diverse vegetation and fauna, but also for its hot, thermal waters.

Due to the abundance of iron the water has a brownish color, as in other places on the island. Coming from hot springs of thermal origin, it is said to have medicinal properties.

In addition to the bathing areas and trails we can find an Interpretation Center. It is very useful for those who want to know more about how the island was formed, its biodiversity, geodiversity and geothermal energy.

Curiosity: in the Caldeira Velha area we can meet the smallest bird in Europe, the starling. It is considered a subspecies endemic to the island of São Miguel. Note that there is a need for a guide to accompany.

Gorreana Tea

Coming to the Azores and not trying to visit the tea plantations is almost unthinkable. To convince even those who don't like tea, let me say that it is the only place in Europe where it allows cultivation, given the conditions.

Besides, the plantations are something extraordinary, it's like entering a magical world.

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The green of the Gorreana Tea plantations ravishes hearts.

The Gorreana tea is the oldest tea plantation in Europe, growing and producing since 1883. The original eastern traditions have been maintained for 5 generations in the family.

On the premises you can visit the factory and museum, but also the plantations. In the factory and museum you can see the original machinery dating from 1840, which still works!

All through the space, the intoxicating smell of tea leaves us wanting to take the product home. Of course, as tea lovers that's what we did. Gorreana produces about 33 tons a year, and the tea is 100% organic and harvested between April and September.

Although the factory and museum are essential to visit to understand this whole origin of cha, we were a little disappointed that there was no one to explain the whole process and guide through the factory.

On the other hand, the tea plantations are something else, you walk along the green fields, losing track of time. We have visited plantations in several countries, but we liked the one in Gorreana the best.

Porto Formoso Tea

We didn't want to end our itinerary in São Miguel without visiting the Porto Formoso Tea Factory. Once again, and together with Gorreana they are the only ones of their kind in Europe producing tea.

When we entered we were very well received by a collaborator who showed us a short video summarizing the whole history and production process. At the end we were invited to visit the room where the tastings take place, but we could not do so because of the restrictive measures in place.

The space surrounding the Fábrica de Chá Porto Formoso is very charming and we were very sorry we could not enjoy the wonderful terrace overlooking the tea plantations.

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The view from the terrace to the Porto Formoso tea plantations.

Well, it looks like we're really going to have to go back for some tea at this lovely place. At least we didn't come empty-handed and with us we brought some of the varieties they have.

Visiting the Northeast of São Miguel island

In our itinerary in São Miguel we chose to stay in the Northeast of the island. It may not be the most valued area of the island, but for us it is one of the most beautiful.

In the Northeast we found capes and coves, breathtaking landscapes. Here we found the peace and tranquility we needed on this trip.

Composing this region are the verdant fields where 'happy' cows graze, to finish the frame, hydrangeas and azaleas give an air of their grace in spring/summer.

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Ponta do Sossego viewpoint, enchanting us with its views.

Once again, we explored all the sights that could starting with:

  • Vigia das Baleias Viewpoint, here we saw a fantastic sunset
  • Pedra dos Estorninhos Viewpoint
  • Boca da Ribeira Viewpoint
  • Ponta do Arnel Viewpoint
  • Vista dos Barcos Viewpoint
  • Ponta do Sossego Viewpoint
  • Ponta da Madrugada Viewpoint, great for sunrise
  • Tronqueira Viewpoint, for the best views of Serra da Tronqueira, Pico da Vara and Pico Verde

Following on from our accommodation, in Santo Antonio de Nordestinho, we find the Parque Endémico do Pelado. Also nearby we can enjoy the natural pools of Boca da Ribeira.

In the garden of Ribeira do Guilherme, we come across an abundance of vegetation. The priolo, a bird endemic to São Miguel, is here, and part of the garden is included in the Special Protection Zone of Pico da Vara and Ribeira do Guilherme.

We went to see the sunrise at the Arnel lighthouse, and it was definitely an excellent choice.

This was the first lighthouse in the Azores, in 1876. Over time it has undergone improvement and adaptation works. It is an admirable specimen, and really worth a visit, although in times of pandemic you cannot enter.

A little further on, is the beach of Lombo Gordo, one of the best known in the Nordeste. Curiously, and due to the influence of sea currents related to the settlement of sands, the beach has an extensive sandy beach in the first 7 years and in the following 7 years it is reduced to half its length.

Salto da Farinha

Located in the parish of Salga, the Salto da Farinha waterfall was one of our favorites. With a height of 40 meters, it is in the winter months that it has the highest water flow.

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Salto da Farinha, one of our favorite waterfalls.

There is a viewpoint of the same name on the site, but the waterfall can only be reached by taking a short trail past the picnic park.

The name of the waterfall comes from the grain milling that was done at the site in the old days.

We visited in the late afternoon, and we were the only ones on site, this way we could thoroughly enjoy the beauty and harmony of this waterfall.

Nearby is also the Poço Azul. Its name comes from its crystal clear blue waters that captivate visitors.

Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park

The Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park is a well-hidden 'secret' in the municipality of Nordeste.

We liked the place so much that we ended up going there twice. The park is located on the slopes of the Serra da Tronqueira and here we can find the Ribeira do Guilherme.

On site there is great diversity of fauna and flora, all the spaces are very well cared for and there is even a recreation area where you can have a barbecue. In fact, something that left us amazed was these areas, they are everywhere, always well equipped and cared for, even wood for the barbecue is available.

In the Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park there are still 5 water mills, dating from the 16th century. These are classified as Buildings of Public Interest, and some are still in operation.

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The imposing waterfall in the Ribeira de Caldeirões Natural Park.

In addition to the mills, one of the great attractions of the park is its towering waterfalls, which can be observed along the route.

Municipality of Povoação

In the municipality of Povoação our first stop at the Água Retorta viewpoint. The parish of the same name is said to be the most picturesque in the Azores. Really, by the landscape we are left in awe.

More ahead on Alameda dos Plátanos, although the weather has not helped, it was a pleasure to visit. The hydrangeas were not yet in bloom, hence not as much contrasting color.

We didn't have time, but the trail was also closed because of the rains, we are talking about the Salto do Prego. The waterfall is semi hidden in the middle of the forest, which makes it magical.

After the Salto do Prego two viewpoints were waiting for us:

  • Pico dos Bodes Viewpoint
  • Pôr-do-sol Viewpoint

On the day we toured the Northeast of the island, we decided to also include a brief stop at Ribeira Quente in the São Miguel itinerary.

wise-travellers-sao-miguel-acores (10)
'Hidden' between two tunnels, the fantastic Ribeira Quente waterfall.

Here we enjoyed the views from the Ribeira Quente viewpoint and made a brief stop at the waterfall of the same name.

It originates from springs in the interior of the island, giving its waters specific properties. The waterfall is easily accessible, despite being located between two tunnels.

We parked the car at the tunnel exit (although there is no parking) and walked through the tunnel until we reached a small access to the waterfall.

It's location in a small gorge and the lush vegetation gives you the feeling of being in a Jurassic Park movie. It was phenomenal!

Our trip to the Azores ended in the best way, and even though it was short we feel we made the most of this green paradise. We are looking forward to getting to know more islands in the Azores.

For those who are thinking of traveling in times of pandemic, the Azores are a great option.

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