We always wanted to go to the Azores, but we had not had a chance to go yet. When finally, in November 2018, this opportunity came up we wanted to make the most of it! In the four days we were there we had a wedding session, we visited a lot of amazing places, ate very well and met wonderful people! São Miguel, right here in Portugal, is today one of the most beautiful destinations we have ever visited and we can only recommend it. At the end of our adventure, we returned home completely rested and revitalized. So, we leave you below our tips for the best things to do on this charming island.
REST ON TERMAS DA FERRARIA
Ponta da Ferraria is a unique place in the world: here, the geological formations of volcanic origin formed natural pools with very hot salt water. The waters of these spas have various healing properties and are the ideal place to rest and enjoy a wonderful view of the Atlantic Ocean.
VISIT THE LAGOA DO FOGO
We started our adventure in the Azores here, thinking we had started big! Being on the highest and second largest lagoon of São Miguel Island we thought we could not find better. But the truth is that São Miguel Island surprised us throughout our trip, presenting us with stunning view behind stunning view.
WALK THROUGH LAGOA DAS SETE CIDADES
This lagoon is one of the most iconic places in São Miguel (and the Azores!) And it's not hard to see why: the brutal views and amazing landscape of fresh green and deep blue are breathtaking! Enjoy the ride and, at the end, climb to Boca do Inferno Viewpoint for one of the best panoramic views. And here we took one of our favorite wedding photos!
VISIT THE GORREANA TEA FACTORY
Opened in 1883, Gorreana Tea Factory is the oldest tea plantation in Europe and the only one that still exists today! So visiting this place is a truly special experience and we loved it. The 40 hectares of green slopes are unbeatable scenery and the best part is that the visits (as well as the tests at the end) are free!
PHOTOGRAPH THE RIBEIRA DOS CALDEIRÕES
Situated in the Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park, this waterfall is one of the most incredible we have seen to date. To get there, we walk along trails surrounded by abundant Laurissilva hydrangeas and forests. This is undoubtedly a place full of the magic of nature.
WALK THROUGH TERRA NOSTRA PARK
Spreading over 12 hectares, this beautiful park is a true haven for natural life in the middle of the Furnas Valley. Here we find an incredible and exotic variety of flowers and plants to fill the landscapes filled with small springs and watercourses. Walking these natural trails is to discover a true gallery of art painted by nature.
TASTE THE COZIDO DAS FURNAS
One of the most famous places on the island, Lagoa das Furnas is really a must see! To bathe in the typical furnas just pay a symbolic entrance fee that gives you access to a car park. (Do not forget to take an old and preferably dark bathing suit so as not to spoil too much with the mud and iron of the waters!) After a unique dive, go through the village to taste the delicacy that takes since 5am morning to be cooked!
KNOW THE HISTORICAL CENTER OF PONTA DELGADA
Of course, you couldn't miss a tour of the historic center of the island's main city! Ponta Delgada has a charming historic center, full of even authentic buildings that make us travel back in time. Don't forget to take a picture of the beautiful City Gates!
RELAX IN CALDEIRA VELHA
Situated in the volcano of Fogo crater, Caldeira Velha was undoubtedly one of our favorite relaxing experiences in São Miguel. Although we have to pay the admission fee (and there are many free spas on the island) we found the experience to be really worth it. There are two pools of warm outdoor water where we can relax: one that can reach 25ºC and another that varies between 35ºC and 38ºC!
VISIT THE NOSSA SENHORA DA PAZ
Located in Vila Franca do Campo, the Nossa Senhora da Paz Chapel is reminiscent of the Bom Jesus Sanctuary Square in Braga. Here we have spectacular ocean views from the stunning staircase and the church itself is very beautiful to visit.
SEE DOLPHINS AND WHALES IN HIGH SEA
Still in Vila Franca do Campo, we took a boat trip to see whales and dolphins on the high seas. The Azores are currently one of the largest whale sanctuaries in the world and we couldn't miss this opportunity! Our ride was made even more fun by the surprise that our friends from Terra Azul Azores made us putting in a glass bottle to find a special message just for us offshore!