Azores (São Miguel Island)- The Ultimate Guide with links
Sao Miguel Island in Azores, Portugal is filled with vibrant lakes, volcanos, lush trails, hot springs, hydrangeas, and black sand beaches. Get insights into hidden coves untouched by time, trails that lead to the heart of the island, and gastronomic secrets that dance on the palate. Packed with insider tips, breathtaking imagery, and curated itineraries, this guide is your passport to an island less traveled✨ I share everything you need to know in organized lists, and how to split up your days on the island. You can expect: 🗺 Interactive google map with everything pinned (75 pins) ❓ FAQ and other tips (such as transportation and how to split your days/activities up on the island) 🥾 Hiking trails + waterfalls (AllTrails links included) 🔍 Viewpoints for simple yet insane sights (TripAdvisor links included) 🍲 Restaurants (menu linked when available) 🏝 Beaches 💧 Hot springs & Thermal baths 🛶 Tours with links (free options also listed) 🏨 Recommended accommodations (Includes budget, mid-range, and luxury options for the following regions: Ponta Delgada, Furnas, Ribeira Grande, and Sete Cidades) 📱 Useful apps & websites 📍 BONUS: 1 week recommended itinerary + 4 day recommended itinerary ____________________________________________ In efforts to help keep my travel guides free forever: **I do make a small kickback at no cost to you on some of the tours and accommodations listed on this guide** If you found this guide extra helpful and would like to support future travel guides or buy me a coffee, check out the "support me" button on this link: https://beacons.ai/theguidedtravels Make sure to save this guide + tag me in your adventures @theguidedtravels. I know you’ll love the island as much as I did, and I would love to see where you decide to go(:
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↓THINGS TO KNOW↓

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How To Get Here:

You'll need to fly into Ponta Delgada Airport (João Paulo II Airport). There are flights from mainland Portugal + other international destinations. I personally recommend flying with SATA Azores Airlines, as it was one of my most positive flight experiences!

How To Get Around:

Getting around São Miguel in the Azores can be achieved in several ways. Regardless of your chosen mode of transportation, always ensure you have a map or a reliable GPS system, especially if you're venturing into more remote areas of the island:

1. **Rent a Car, Scooters, and Motorbikes**-- This is the most popular and convenient option for many visitors. The island's road network is well-maintained, and having your own vehicle provides the flexibility to explore the island's many attractions at your own pace. There are several car rental agencies available at the airport and in Ponta Delgada. 

Car Rentals:

You can also directly reach out to smaller companies like:

- “Happy Azores Rent a Car” (Whatsapp: +351 968 469 275) for car rentals - “Auto Ramalhense” (Whatsapp: +351 919 015 778) for automatic motorbike rentals.

2. **Public Buses**-- São Miguel has a public bus system operated by two main companies, CRPDL and EVT. While they are economical, the routes primarily cater to locals, so they may not always be convenient for tourists. Schedules might be limited, especially outside of Ponta Delgada.

3. **Taxis**-- Taxis are available and can be a convenient way to get around, especially for short distances. They can be hailed in Ponta Delgada or called ahead in other parts of the island. You can get taxi numbers upon arrival at the airport, or you can try contacting these numbers on WhatsApp: (+351 913 100 446) or (+351 914 161 585)

4. **Guided Tours**: There are several tour operators on São Miguel offering guided tours to the island's main attractions. This option is great for those who prefer not to drive and want a more structured experience with local insights.

5. **Cycling**: For the active traveler, renting a bicycle can be a great way to explore parts of São Miguel. However, the island's hilly terrain will be challenging for some, and not ideal for ambitious/busy itineraries.

6. **Walking**: In towns and villages, walking is an enjoyable way to explore spots like Ponta Delgada. However, for longer distances between attractions, it is not practical.

Best Time To Visit + Weather

Given São Miguel's evergreen appeal, there's really no wrong time to visit. Your decision might be influenced by the type of activities you want to engage in and your tolerance for crowds. Always check local event calendars, as festivals and events might further influence your decision on when to go. ⬇️ 

**Late Spring to Early Fall (May to September)**:

—WEATHER: These months generally have the warmest and driest weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and sightseeing. 

—CROWDS: July and August are the peak tourist months, so you can expect more visitors and higher accommodation prices. However, the atmosphere is lively, and many local festivals take place.

**Late Fall to Early Spring (October to April)**:

—WEATHER: These months are cooler and have a higher chance of rainfall. However, the Azores are known for their ever-changing weather, so even in these months, you can experience bursts of sunshine. 

—CROWDS: Fewer tourists visit during this period, making it a more tranquil time to explore the island. This can also mean lower accommodation prices and more personal interactions with locals.

—ACTIVITIES: It's a great time for hot spring baths, like those in Furnas, since the cooler weather makes the warm waters even more inviting.**Whale Watching**: If you're particularly interested in whale watching, the Azores are a hotspot. The peak season for spotting various species, including the giant blue whale, is from April to June.

Where to Stay:

This depends on the length of your trip and the activities you plan to do! If it's a short trip, staying in or near Ponta Delgada might be more convenient. If you love hot springs, Furnas is a no-brainer. If you're into surfing, consider Ribeira Grande. Regardless of where you stay, the island's relatively small size means that with a rental car, most attractions are accessible within a day trip.

I've done extensive research and included the best options + descriptions from all 4 main areas of the island (:

If you're specifically looking for cheap hostels/private rooms, I love using Hostel World! It will also provide you with a chat for other travelers visiting during your stay, which can be useful for solo travelers: https://hostelworld.tp.st/Xiu3ebmP

PONTA DELGADA (South): This is the capital and the largest city of both São Miguel and the Azores archipelago. It's the primary hub for dining, shopping, and nightlife, and features a blend of historical and modern attractions. ⬇️ 

Budget ($)

City's Hostel Ponta Delgada
@Theguidedtravels
Adults-only accommodation with a garden, a shared lounge and a terrace. The rooms include lockers, a private bathroom/shower, hairdryer, bed linen + towels, and free WiFi. A continental breakfast is available daily at City's Hostel Ponta Delgada.
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Out of the Blue Azores
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The hostel features dormitories and private rooms with either shared or private bathrooms + kitchen. A terrace or balcony is also featured in certain rooms. Out of the Blue has a perfect location so you can easily reach every point of the island. It's far away from the noise and only 3 minutes walk from downtown.
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Mid Range ($$)

Antillia Hotel
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Centrally located in Ponta Delgada, a 4-minute walk from the sea, modern rooms, outdoor/indoor pools, spa, and hot tub. All rooms at Antillia Hotel Apartamento are air conditioned and fitted with cable TV channels. Apartments include an open-plan living room with kitchen and dining area. Free WiFi is available in the rooms. The gym is equipped with cardio and fitness machines, saunas, and on-site Turkish bath. From the Antillia Hotel it is possible to access Ponta Delgada's main landmarks, including the Portas da Cidade and the city's historical Baixa area, both within a 10-minute walk. Free private parking is available.
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Luxury ($$$)

White Exclusive Suites & Villas
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Nestled on the pristine coastline, White Exclusive Suites & Villas melds contemporary elegance with nature's beauty. The suites offer panoramic views of the Atlantic, while amenities like the infinity pool, gourmet dining, spa services, and tailored experiences elevate the stay. This boutique haven, with its island-inspired design, promises both luxury and an immersive Azorean experience.
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FURNAS (East): Located in a volcanic crater, Furnas is renowned for its thermal springs, botanical gardens, and the iconic Lagoa das Furnas. The town is also famous for the "cozido das Furnas" – a stew cooked underground by volcanic steam.  ⬇️ 

Budget ($)

Victória Guest House
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Accommodation with a terrace and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive.
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Mid Range ($$)

Furnas Spring Lodge
@Theguidedtravels
Accommodation with a patio, boasting city views, coffee machine, and around 1.5 km from Fumarolas. It has a garden, barbecue facilities, garden views and free WiFithroughout the property. This is a cozy spot near all the action! This air-conditioned country house comes with a kitchenette, a seating area, a dining area and a cable flat-screen TV. Towels and bed linen are available in the country house.
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Luxury ($$$)

Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
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Positioned at the top end of the luxury spectrum, this hotel within the renowned botanical garden offers an exquisite experience, unlimited access to the garden, thermal pools, and top-notch dining.
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RIBEIRA GRANDE (North): This northern town is distinguished by its beautiful beaches, historic buildings, and cultural landmarks. It's also a popular spot for surfers due to its Atlantic waves. ⬇️ 

Budget ($)

A Casa da Cascata
@Theguidedtravels
The unit features dormitories, private rooms, and also has the option of booking the entire house. Most rooms have access to shared bathroom facilities. There is a communal lounge, kitchen, microwave, and an oven. Extras include a barbecue and an outdoor seating area. Local restaurants are available at a 10-minute drive. Other facilities offered at the property include a games room and laundry facilities. The property offers free parking.
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Mid Range ($$)

Volcanic Charming House
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Outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden and a shared lounge. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and an ATM, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Some units at the property have a balcony with a city view. Rooms are complete with a TV, air conditioning, private bathroom, shower, and free toiletries. A continental breakfast is available each morning!
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Luxury ($$$)

Hotel Verde Mar & Spa
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A luxurious retreat by the ocean. This upscale hotel boasts contemporary rooms with panoramic sea views. Guests can indulge in the state-of-the-art spa, dine in the gourmet restaurant, take a dip in the refreshing outdoor pool, and explore the nearby Santa Bárbara beach. With its prime location and top-notch amenities, it promises an unforgettable Azorean experience.
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SETE CIDADES (West): This northern town is distinguished by its beautiful beaches, historic buildings, and cultural landmarks. It's also a popular spot for surfers due to its Atlantic waves. ⬇️ 

--There are not many options in this area, so options listed below are mid range to luxury pricing-- 

Villa Várzea
@Theguidedtravels
Villa Várzea Nomad Nest is an accommodation with a balcony, located in Várzea. The property is a 35-minute drive from Ponta Delgada and a 10-minute drive from Sete Cidades Lagoon. Free private parking is available on site. The kitchen has an oven, a microwave and a toaster, as well as a kettle. Towels and bed linen are featured in this holiday home. The holiday home features free WiFi
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Mosteiros Place
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4 star cozy retreat close to the sea. This accommodation is known for its comfortable rooms, mountain views, free WiFi, free private parking, and proximity to the iconic volcanic cliffs and black sand beaches of Mosteiros The aparthotel provides guests with a balcony, sea views, a seating area, cable flat-screen TV, a fully equipped kitchenette with a microwave and a fridge, and a private bathroom with a bath or shower and bathrobes. A patio with pool views is offered in all units. The daily breakfast offers continental, vegetarian or gluten-free options.
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Tours/Activities

All links to book these tours are in the beginning of their descriptions! Their locations on the map are their listed meeting points for their tour. 

I did not include tours for hikes, as the popular hikes can easily be discovered by car and allow for you to take your time with sightseeing and taking pictures! However if you are interested in this type of tour, there are plenty on Viator and GetYourGuide(:

(This does not include any hikes/beaches/waterfalls, as there will be an entire section for that).

Whales and Dolphins + Vila Franca Islet (full day with lunch)
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/epDYsjcK Skip the busier stretches of the São Miguel coastline, and head out by boat to discover the marine life and exclusive swimming spots of the island’s south coast. With an in-the-know local guide, you’ll improve your chances of finding the region’s famous whales and dolphins. Swimming and a traditional Azores lunch follow the boat ride at the islet of Vila Franca do Campo. Ride in a boat for unobstructed views of the São Miguel marine life Enjoy a typical regional lunch at the tiny isle of Vila Franca do Campo, and provided snorkel equipment to explore beneath the waves.
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Quad Biking - Sete Cidades from North Coast (Half Day)
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📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/NfytT9jl You'll be the driver of a quad/ ATV which is the best way to feel and experience this part of São Miguel Island! This tour will take you to the highest points of the mountains that surround Sete Cidades Volcano. The itinerary is On and Offroad and you will have the opportunity to visit some of the trails that are part of the Azores Airlines Rallye. If the weather is good, you can count on awesome views to the lakes and the ocean. This will make you feel as you are on the top of the world! The team will ensure your safety and provide brief explanations at each stop. Itinerary: * Fenais da Luz ( North cost) * Pico da Cruz (845 meters altitude) View to Lagoa de Santiago, lagoa Rasa and Sete Cidades lagoon. * Vista da Rainha/Miradouro das Cumeeiras ( View point for Sete Cidades, Green and Blue Lagoon) * Cerrado das Freiras * Passing by Capelas village * Fenais da Luz
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Gorreana Tea Factory
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FREE or paid tour. 📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/nSYh5ldy Visit to the Gorreana Tea Factory! Roam the field for free and get amazing shots, or take a tour of the factory and land. This is the only tea factory of its kind in Europe, where you will learn more about the island's tea culture through the different processes involved in its production and where, at the end of the visit, you will have the opportunity to taste a cup of tea accompanied by traditional biscuits!
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Furnas Tour with Lunch Included
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📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/U56dxIfl The area around this lake has various fumaroles and hot springs where locals cook the traditional "cozido." Alternatively, you van visit Furnas Lake on your own time by car to view the area.
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Coasteering in Caloura
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📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/pnOVnmYj Explore the beautiful coastline of the island of São Miguel and some of its various bays and caves, using various methods (among which: exciting jumps from remarkable cliffs, some moments of controlled climbing, dives, and a refreshing swim directly in the ocean). If you are uncomfortable about jumping, know that there are alternatives.
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Cheese & Wine Tasting in Ponta Delgada
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📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/Z7IceDBX he Azores is home to some magnificent produce and wines, and this experience in Ponta Delgada will showcase some of the best. Your culinary guides will share some delicious pairings of wine and cheeses. It’s good they are there to help, since there are 40 types of award winning cheeses in the region, and centuries of wine making experience. You’ll also try homemade jam, artisan bread, and local fruit along the way.
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Plantação de Ananás dos Açores
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FREE activity Discover the unique way Azoreans grow pineapples in greenhouses and savor the sweet fruit. It is free to walk around the plantation! Head to their cafe for free samples of pineapple alcohol + treat. You'll have the option to buy other pineapple snacks and souvenirs if interested! Walking distance from the town center
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Small-Group Food Tour
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📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/pkndtbAj Spend a few hours exploring Ponta Delgada’s rich culinary offerings on this guided excursion. After meeting up with a knowledgeable local guide at Portas da Cidade, sample local specialties and learning about Azorean food culture while stopping by local markets and eateries like Mercado da Graca, Louvre Michaelense, and O Principe dos Queijos. Enjoy complimentary tastings and drinks along the way.
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Mercado da Graça
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FREE activity Dive into local flavors and crafts at this bustling market in Ponta Delgada.
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Night thermal pools & food experience
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📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/3PYZt2Js Soak in the thermal pools of Furnas when the sun’s gone down, during an evening excursion from Ponta Delgada. You’ll travel with a local guide, and enjoy a traditional dinner of a Portuguese stew that’s cooked in the volcanic ground before immersing yourself into the mineral-rich waters. Extra perks include a stroll to see the Caldeiras das Furnas, the island’s famous bubbling pools.
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Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience
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📌 To book: https://getyourguide.tp.st/oD6RK3i2 Discover the diverse green vegetation, clear and fresh waterfalls and old water mills on this adventurous canyoning tour through the forest! This tour includes pick up.
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Marina Portas do Mar
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📌 To book: https://getyourguide.tp.st/89qnXEzk Experience the feeling of sailing at the end of the afternoon on a private sailboat cruise! Enjoy a more intimate romantic tour or in a family group, local wine, and appreciating the beauty of the Island. You will pass through points such as the Ilhéu de São Roque, Praia das Milicias and head south to enjoy the beauty of the sunset. On the way back you will have the experience and beauty of the sunset. Boarding and disembarking on the pontoon at Portas do Mar marina
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Ruínas do Monte Palace Hotel
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FREE An abandoned 5-star hotel that once promised luxury and unrivaled views of the iconic twin lakes below. Even though it's no longer in use, many people visit because it's set high up with great views of two beautiful lakes, and the old, overgrown building has its own mysterious charm.
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Half-Day Jeep Tour- Sete Cidades
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📌 To Book: https://getyourguide.tp.st/7kBRh0Ae Discover the lakes and craters of Sete Cidades on the Azores island of São Miguel on a 3.5-hour jeep tour, and explore the dramatic landscape of the volcano’s caldera up-close. Visit the church of São Nicolau, and get breathtaking views from Vista do Rei.
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Beaches

Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara
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This was one of my favorite beaches in the evenings! Located in Ribeira Grande, this is a popular beach for surfers.
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Praia dos Moinhos
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Located in Porto Formoso and known for its natural beauty.
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Mosteiros Beach
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Amazing sunset spot! There are a few small bars/restaurants! Grab a pizza and head to the beach for sunset(: When you arrive, go left to be on the black sand beach, or right to sit on the big rocks.
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Praia da Viola
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Stumbled on this beauty last minute! A more secluded beach, known for its natural beauty, waterfalls, and a little river.
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Água D'Alto Beach
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Located on the south coast, this beach combines key attributes such as its wide stretch of sand and the clean and calm waters of the sea.
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Praia do Fogo
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A less-frequented beach known for its privacy and serene atmosphere.
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Caloura, Agua de Pau
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A picturesque fishing port with small bathing areas, combining rocky formations with clear waters.
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Praia de São Roque
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Black volcanic sand beach located near Ponta Delgada.
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Hikes + Waterfalls

Before going, please make sure to check the "link" section for a direct link to the most up to date conditions of the destination when available.

Please also make sure to check the webcams to know the weather conditions in advance: https://www.spotazores.com/ilha/são-miguel/

Sete Cidades
@Theguidedtravels
Offers views of the famous twin lakes, multiple hiking trails. Miradouro da Boca do Inferno Route: A shorter trail leading to one of the most iconic viewpoints of São Miguel. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/rota-do-miradouro-da-boca-do-inferno Mata do Canário to Sete Cidades Route: A trail providing forested paths leading to the lakes. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/pr4smi-mata-do-canario-sete-cidades
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Miradouro do Pico dos Bodes
@Theguidedtravels
Moderate 20-30 min hike offering panoramic views of the island's lush landscapes and coastline. It's a tranquil spot, ideal for soaking in the beauty of the Azores and capturing memorable photographs. AllTrails: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/trilho-do-miradouro-do-pico-dos-bodes
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Cascata Salto do Prego - waterfall hike
@Theguidedtravels
Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 31 min to complete. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to pass through the typical vegetation of the archipelago, in addition to passing through several orchards belonging to families who live in this area. The path has some slopes, steps, and wooden bridges. The biggest reward of the trail is reaching the Salto do Prego waterfall, a beautiful waterfall hidden in the middle of the forest. Check out Faial da Terra while here - it is a charming sea side town located in a valley. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/salto-do-prego-waterfall-trail#:~:text=Try%20this%202.5%2Dmile%20loop,encounter%20other%20people%20while%20exploring.
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Salto do Cabrito
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This enchanting trail starts next to the Geothermal Power Station of Pico Vermelho and takes you on a unique journey to the Caldeiras of Ribeira Grande. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/caldeiras-da-ribeira-grande-e-cascata-salto-do-cabrito
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Lagoa do Fogo
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One of the island's largest lakes with panoramic views! It is the highest elevated lake on Sao Miguel island and spans nearly 2 miles (3 km) in length and is 1.5 miles (2.5 km) wide. There are two main viewpoints from above – Miradouro da Barrossa and Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo, where you can enjoy the views from a few different angles. Sometimes they utilize a shuttle system. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/rota-das-margens-da-lagoa-do-fogo
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Lagoa do Canario - Serra Devassa hike
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This mountainous area offers various small ponds and lakes interspersed with the undulating landscapes. The interconnected trails can lead you to various viewpoints overlooking both the lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/prc5-smi-serra-devassa
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Trilho Pedestre da Atalhada – Nordeste -- (Fajã do Araújo trail )
@Theguidedtravels
This trail takes you through endemic Azorean flora, leading to viewpoints that showcase the rugged northeastern coastline, the sea, and the charming village of Nordeste with its historic lighthouses. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/trilho-faja-do-araujo
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Ribeira dos Caldeirões
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Scenic natural park known for its cascading waterfalls and lush greenery. Visitors can explore restored water mills, walking paths, and enjoy the park's rich biodiversity. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/cascata-da-ribeira-dos-caldeiroes
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Viewpoints

Not a hiker and simply rather drive to see beautiful views? Check out some of the island's best viewpoints below! (Some may involve a very short walk).

Please also make sure to check the webcams to know the weather conditions in advance: https://www.spotazores.com/ilha/são-miguel/

Miradouro de Santa Iria - viewpoint
@Theguidedtravels
Stunning panoramic view of São Miguel's northern coastline, showcasing the island's lush landscapes juxtaposed against the vast blue Atlantic. It's a serene spot, ideal for capturing photographs and soaking in the Azorean beauty. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g616221-d8670364-Reviews-Miradouro_de_Santa_Iria-Ribeira_Grande_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Pico do Ferro
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Provides a breathtaking vantage point over Lagoa das Furnas and the lush valley of Furnas on São Miguel Island. The elevated viewpoint offers a sweeping panorama, highlighting the volcanic crater, geothermal areas, and the vibrant hues of the surrounding landscape. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1190881-d10291991-Reviews-Pico_do_Ferro_Viewpoint-Furnas_Povoacao_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego
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Hawaii-like sight with expansive ocean views surrounded by bright gardens. It's a popular spot for simple picnics and taking photos of the sea and flowers! https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1190888-d7134954-Reviews-Miradouro_da_Ponta_do_Sossego-Nordeste_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro do Caminho Novo
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Meant to be a quick stop. Offers expansive views of the vibrant green landscapes and undulating terrains of the island, and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquil beauty of the Azores. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g656860-d15192017-Reviews-Miradouro_do_Caminho_Novo-Ponta_Delgada_Madeira_Madeira_Islands.html
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Miradouro do Pico do Carvão
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Quick stop offering panoramic views of São Miguel's central region, capturing both its north and south coastlines. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g189135-d25179707-Reviews-Miradouro_do_Pico_do_Carvao-Ponta_Delgada_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro da Vista do Rei
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One of the most famous viewpoints in São Miguel, Azores, offering iconic views of Sete Cidades and its twin lakes. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g11816388-d15069386-Reviews-Vista_do_Rei_Miradouro-Sete_Cidades_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro do Pico da Barrosa
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This viewpoint is at an altitude of 947 meters to appreciate the north and south sides of the island. Make sure to check the webcams for fog. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1190889-d8837651-Reviews-Miradouro_da_Barrosa-Vila_Franca_do_Campo_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro do Cintrão
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Lighthouse location that primarily serves as a viewpoint, offering panoramic views of the surrounding ocean and coastline. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g616221-d14088884-Reviews-Ponta_da_Cintrao-Ribeira_Grande_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada
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You can see the coast, have a picnic, and is a great spot for observing the sunrise. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1190888-d8867562-Reviews-Miradouro_da_Ponta_da_Madrugada-Nordeste_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Hot Springs & Thermal Baths

Recommendation: Avoid wearing white when visiting hot springs and thermal baths due to many of the springs being rich in minerals. The iron, sulfur, and other minerals present in the waters can stain light-colored clothing, and white is particularly susceptible. Over time, these minerals can settle into the fabric and become challenging to wash out completely. The minerals can also degrade the elasticity of swimwear over time, so consider using older or dedicated swimwear when frequenting these hot springs.

Ponta da Ferraria
@Theguidedtravels
Unique spot where a hot spring meets the ocean, allowing for a warm sea bath. The natural swimming area is surrounded by dramatic volcanic landscapes, making it a must-visit in the Azores. Entrance is free for the sea, but there's a spa facility nearby which may charge for its services.
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Poça da Dona Beija
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Located in Furnas, this facility has several iron-rich pools. Entry is 8 euro for adults, 6 euro for ages 2-6, and free for ages under 2 years old.
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Parque Terra Nostra
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Located in Furnas, the park features a large geothermal pool and smaller hot springs. Entry is €8, which includes access to the beautiful botanical garden.
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Caldeira Velha
@Theguidedtravels
Located on the way to Lagoa do Fogo, it's a nature reserve with warm pools surrounded by lush vegetation and offers 3 warm man-made thermal pools and 1 more natural waterfall pool.. Entry fees are around €4-8 depending on which areas you access.
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Termas das Caldeiras
@Theguidedtravels
Despite being a small hot springs experience, this location has a major perk that you won’t find at many of the other hot springs on São Miguel: it’s a lot less touristy and therefore you are less likely to experience crowds. 3 euro entry
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Where To Eat:

Remember, opening hours and offerings can vary seasonally, so it's always a good idea to check ahead or make a reservation where possible. Enjoy your culinary journey in São Miguel! Menus are linked when available.

BREAKFAST:

Louvre Michaelense Bar Bistro Mercearia
@Theguidedtravels
Located in Ponta Delgada, this is a charming café with pastries and coffee selections. Menu: https://www.facebook.com/louvremichaelense/menu/?id=100063865110443&sk=menu
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Prince of Cheese
@Theguidedtravels
A cheese shop in Ponta Delgada with delicious sandwiches and coffee. No menu available to link
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Intz48 Coffee Roasters Azores
@Theguidedtravels
specialty coffee roastery known for sourcing and roasting high-quality beans with a focus on unique flavor profiles. They offer a variety of food options as well. Menu: https://www.facebook.com/intz48/menu/?id=100063562721648&sk=menu
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Queijadas do Morgado
@Theguidedtravels
A traditional pastry shop in Vila Franca do Campo known for its cheese pastries. No menu available to link
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Café Royal
@Theguidedtravels
Trendy coffee spot known for its aromatic brews and delectable pastries.
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Green Love Restaurant
@Theguidedtravels
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot. Offers burgers, smoothies, bowls, and more by the lake! No menu available to link, although they do offer a large variety of options.
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LUNCH & DINNER

A Tasca
@Theguidedtravels
Offers a variety of traditional Azorean dishes. No menu available to link, but you can make reservations here: https://www.zomatobook.com/widget/makereservation03.aspx?id=7MG0AKM41
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Rotas da Ilha Verde
@Theguidedtravels
Offers vegetarian and vegan options with a local twist. Menu: https://www.rotasdailhaverde.com/pt/menu
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Restaurante Associação Agrícola de São Miguel
@Theguidedtravels
In Ribeira Grande, a spot for tasting the island's famed Azorean beef. Menu: https://restauranteaasm.com/menu/aasm-en/
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Bar Caloura
@Theguidedtravels
Set beside the sea, serving fresh fish dishes. Menu: https://restaurantguru.com/Bar-Caloura-Agua-De-Pau/menu
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Gastrónomo
@Theguidedtravels
Features traditional Azorean cuisine with a modern twist. Menu: https://restaurante-gastronomo.business.site
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Restaurante Tony´s
@Theguidedtravels
In Furnas, they serve "Cozido das Furnas", a stew cooked in the ground with the heat from the volcanic activity. Menu: http://restaurantetonys.pt/1/ementa_9002.html
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Quinta dos Sabores Farm House
@Theguidedtravels
Farm-to-table experience with a changing daily menu. No menu available, but has a website: https://quintadossabores3.wixsite.com/oficial
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Mercearia Sao Pedro Wine & Tapas
@Theguidedtravels
Tapas and wine in a laid back atmosphere. No menu available to link
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Cais 20
@Theguidedtravels
Located in Ponta Delgada, it's renowned for seafood dishes. Menu: https://www.cais20.pt/#PratoEconomico
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Restaurante São Pedro
@Theguidedtravels
Offers upscale dining with a focus on Azorean flavors. Menu: https://www.restaurantesaopedro.com
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Adega Regional
@Theguidedtravels
A cozy restaurant offering traditional dishes. No menu to link, but website available: http://adegaregional.com
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Taberna Açor
@Theguidedtravels
Modern restaurant serving traditional Azorean dishes with a twist. The place combines a cozy atmosphere with delicious local flavors, making it a favorite dining spot for both locals and tourists.
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TukáTulá Beach Bar
@Theguidedtravels
Known for its refreshing drinks, chill vibes, and stunning ocean views. Make sure to have dinner here while the sun sets!
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Useful Apps & Links:

-Island webcams: Make sure to check the webcams for the most up to date conditions! If it's cloudy, it may be best to reorder your days for a location with clear weather. https://www.spotazores.com/ilha/são-miguel/

-Travel insurance: Stay protected with Ekta travel insurance! https://ektatraveling.tp.st/TG377tUH

-Download Google Maps and/or Maps.me apps. Before your trip, download the map of São Miguel, and you can use it for navigation without internet access. I like to use google maps and download the offline map since it is the easiest and most widely used! 

-Azores Trails: Useful for hiking enthusiasts, this app provides detailed information on various trails around the Azores, including their length, difficulty, and sights. https://trails.visitazores.com/en/trails-azores/sao-miguel

Bonus: 7 day Itinerary 

This itinerary is meant to be a rough guide if you don't know where to start or how to plan out your days! It's recommended to do 1 region per day. Feel free to swap things out or plan your trip completely different (:

Need help packing? Check out my categorized products to see if you’re missing anything!

Day 1: Arrival

-Arrive in Ponta Delgada airport in the morning + pick up your rental!

-Check into your private room at "Out Of The Blue"

-Explore the city of Ponta Delgada.

-Lunch at A Tasca, where you can dine inside a volcanic cave.

-Spend the evening exploring the small town and getting settled.

Day 2: Furnas

-Grab a quick breakfast sandwich and coffee from Prince of Cheese

-Gorreana Tea Plantation. If you have any interest in tea, definitely take the tour and walk the grounds!

-Miradouro Pico do Ferro Viewpoint

-Head to Restaurante Tony's to try Cozido das Furnas

-Lagoa das Furnas

-End the day at Poça da Dona Beija

Day 3: Sete Cidade

-Breakfast at Intz48 Coffee Roasters

-Miradouro do Pico do Carvão

-Easy/moderate hike to see Lagoa do Canario & Miradouro Grota do Inferno!

-Head to Green Love for lunch, and check out Lagoa das Sete Cidades while in the area!

-Praia dos Mosteiros. There are a few nearby "restaurants" walking distance from the beach where you can get a pizza or other meal to-go. Bring it to the beach to eat while the sun sets!

Day 4: Lagoa Do Fogo

-Join the Whale/Dolphin tour + Vila Franca Islet!

-If you still have energy, I highly recommend visiting Praia Santa Barbara for the evening. Watch surfers catch some waves and a vivid sunset. There is a restaurant here as well- TukáTulá Beach Bar

Day 5: Ponta Delgada

-Enjoy a relaxing day on the Small-Group Food Tour

-Final moments on the beach of Praia do Fogo

-Dinner at Cais 20

Day 6: Nordeste

-Join the Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience

- Miradouro Ponta do Sossego

-Miradouro Ponta Madrugada

-Spend the night in Ponta Delgada. Enjoy dinner at Taberna Acor.

Day 7: Departure 

-Relaxing morning in Ponta Delgada! Grab a coffee from Louvre Michaelense.

-Visit Ananas Dos Acores for free to tour the plantation + sample their pineapple treats.

-Time to catch a flight to your next destination! Follow @thequidedtravels for an upcomingquide to Madeira Island (Direct flights offered by SATA airlines)

-Say Goodbye

+

4 DAY ITINERARY: 

I recommend spending at least a week here, but if you're short on time, I hope this guide helps!

Rent a car here: https://rentalcars.tp.st/pIwRXsDf

Day 1: Arrival To Ponta Delgada and Surroundings

-Arrive in Ponta Delgada airport in the morning + pick up your rental!

-Check into your private room at "Out Of The Blue"

-Explore the city of Ponta Delgada.

-Lunch at A Tasca, where you can dine inside a volcanic cave.

-Drive to Praia do Areal de Santa Barbara for a beautiful sunset on the beach, and dinnerat their TukáTulá Beach Bar

Day 2: Sete Cidades and the West

-Grab something light from Intz48 Coffee Roasters.

-Head to Miradouro da Boca do Inferno for an easy hike and breathtaking views over SeteCidades' lakes. Drive around the Sete Cidades crater and stop at various viewpoints after!

-Lunch at Green Love: Lakeside Lounge for a lakeside meal.

-Watch the best sunsets on the island at either Praia dos Mosteiros or Ponta do Castelo.

Day 3: Explore the Sea

-Enjoy an early breakfast from Cafe Royal.

-Join an 8 hour tour that includes Whales, dolphins, Vila Franca Islet, and lunch!

-If you still have energy, drive to Lagoa do Fogo in the evening for panoramic views and ahike down to the lake.

-Dinner at Quinta dos Sabores.

Day 4: Departure

-Relaxing morning in Ponta Delgada! Grab a coffee from Louvre Michaelense.

-Visit Ananas Dos Acores for free to tour the plantation + sample their pineapple treats.

-Time to catch a flight to your next destination! Follow @thequidedtravels for an upcomingquide to Madeira Island (Direct flights offered by SATA airlines)

-Say Goodbye

* * *
CURATED BY
I have always found joy in exploring the world in the most adventurous and unique ways! I'm an extensive researcher who goes beyond the first page of Google to curate itineraries based on the best experiences worth prioritizing. My expertise in creating informative and inspiring travel guides makes me an essential resource for anyone looking to explore the world or join one of our group trips. With my guidance, I hope to help you discover the beauty of new destinations and explore more of what life has to offer!
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Azores (São Miguel Island)- The Ultimate Guide with links
Sao Miguel Island in Azores, Portugal is filled with vibrant lakes, volcanos, lush trails, hot springs, hydrangeas, and black sand beaches. Get insights into hidden coves untouched by time, trails that lead to the heart of the island, and gastronomic secrets that dance on the palate. Packed with insider tips, breathtaking imagery, and curated itineraries, this guide is your passport to an island less traveled✨ I share everything you need to know in organized lists, and how to split up your days on the island. You can expect: 🗺 Interactive google map with everything pinned (75 pins) ❓ FAQ and other tips (such as transportation and how to split your days/activities up on the island) 🥾 Hiking trails + waterfalls (AllTrails links included) 🔍 Viewpoints for simple yet insane sights (TripAdvisor links included) 🍲 Restaurants (menu linked when available) 🏝 Beaches 💧 Hot springs & Thermal baths 🛶 Tours with links (free options also listed) 🏨 Recommended accommodations (Includes budget, mid-range, and luxury options for the following regions: Ponta Delgada, Furnas, Ribeira Grande, and Sete Cidades) 📱 Useful apps & websites 📍 BONUS: 1 week recommended itinerary + 4 day recommended itinerary ____________________________________________ In efforts to help keep my travel guides free forever: **I do make a small kickback at no cost to you on some of the tours and accommodations listed on this guide** If you found this guide extra helpful and would like to support future travel guides or buy me a coffee, check out the "support me" button on this link: https://beacons.ai/theguidedtravels Make sure to save this guide + tag me in your adventures @theguidedtravels. I know you’ll love the island as much as I did, and I would love to see where you decide to go(:
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↓THINGS TO KNOW↓

Stay protected with travel insurance:

How To Get Here:

You'll need to fly into Ponta Delgada Airport (João Paulo II Airport). There are flights from mainland Portugal + other international destinations. I personally recommend flying with SATA Azores Airlines, as it was one of my most positive flight experiences!

How To Get Around:

Getting around São Miguel in the Azores can be achieved in several ways. Regardless of your chosen mode of transportation, always ensure you have a map or a reliable GPS system, especially if you're venturing into more remote areas of the island:

1. **Rent a Car, Scooters, and Motorbikes**-- This is the most popular and convenient option for many visitors. The island's road network is well-maintained, and having your own vehicle provides the flexibility to explore the island's many attractions at your own pace. There are several car rental agencies available at the airport and in Ponta Delgada. 

Car Rentals:

You can also directly reach out to smaller companies like:

- “Happy Azores Rent a Car” (Whatsapp: +351 968 469 275) for car rentals - “Auto Ramalhense” (Whatsapp: +351 919 015 778) for automatic motorbike rentals.

2. **Public Buses**-- São Miguel has a public bus system operated by two main companies, CRPDL and EVT. While they are economical, the routes primarily cater to locals, so they may not always be convenient for tourists. Schedules might be limited, especially outside of Ponta Delgada.

3. **Taxis**-- Taxis are available and can be a convenient way to get around, especially for short distances. They can be hailed in Ponta Delgada or called ahead in other parts of the island. You can get taxi numbers upon arrival at the airport, or you can try contacting these numbers on WhatsApp: (+351 913 100 446) or (+351 914 161 585)

4. **Guided Tours**: There are several tour operators on São Miguel offering guided tours to the island's main attractions. This option is great for those who prefer not to drive and want a more structured experience with local insights.

5. **Cycling**: For the active traveler, renting a bicycle can be a great way to explore parts of São Miguel. However, the island's hilly terrain will be challenging for some, and not ideal for ambitious/busy itineraries.

6. **Walking**: In towns and villages, walking is an enjoyable way to explore spots like Ponta Delgada. However, for longer distances between attractions, it is not practical.

Best Time To Visit + Weather

Given São Miguel's evergreen appeal, there's really no wrong time to visit. Your decision might be influenced by the type of activities you want to engage in and your tolerance for crowds. Always check local event calendars, as festivals and events might further influence your decision on when to go. ⬇️ 

**Late Spring to Early Fall (May to September)**:

—WEATHER: These months generally have the warmest and driest weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and sightseeing. 

—CROWDS: July and August are the peak tourist months, so you can expect more visitors and higher accommodation prices. However, the atmosphere is lively, and many local festivals take place.

**Late Fall to Early Spring (October to April)**:

—WEATHER: These months are cooler and have a higher chance of rainfall. However, the Azores are known for their ever-changing weather, so even in these months, you can experience bursts of sunshine. 

—CROWDS: Fewer tourists visit during this period, making it a more tranquil time to explore the island. This can also mean lower accommodation prices and more personal interactions with locals.

—ACTIVITIES: It's a great time for hot spring baths, like those in Furnas, since the cooler weather makes the warm waters even more inviting.**Whale Watching**: If you're particularly interested in whale watching, the Azores are a hotspot. The peak season for spotting various species, including the giant blue whale, is from April to June.

Where to Stay:

This depends on the length of your trip and the activities you plan to do! If it's a short trip, staying in or near Ponta Delgada might be more convenient. If you love hot springs, Furnas is a no-brainer. If you're into surfing, consider Ribeira Grande. Regardless of where you stay, the island's relatively small size means that with a rental car, most attractions are accessible within a day trip.

I've done extensive research and included the best options + descriptions from all 4 main areas of the island (:

If you're specifically looking for cheap hostels/private rooms, I love using Hostel World! It will also provide you with a chat for other travelers visiting during your stay, which can be useful for solo travelers: https://hostelworld.tp.st/Xiu3ebmP

PONTA DELGADA (South): This is the capital and the largest city of both São Miguel and the Azores archipelago. It's the primary hub for dining, shopping, and nightlife, and features a blend of historical and modern attractions. ⬇️ 

Budget ($)

City's Hostel Ponta Delgada
@Theguidedtravels
Adults-only accommodation with a garden, a shared lounge and a terrace. The rooms include lockers, a private bathroom/shower, hairdryer, bed linen + towels, and free WiFi. A continental breakfast is available daily at City's Hostel Ponta Delgada.
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Out of the Blue Azores
@Theguidedtravels
The hostel features dormitories and private rooms with either shared or private bathrooms + kitchen. A terrace or balcony is also featured in certain rooms. Out of the Blue has a perfect location so you can easily reach every point of the island. It's far away from the noise and only 3 minutes walk from downtown.
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Mid Range ($$)

Antillia Hotel
@Theguidedtravels
Centrally located in Ponta Delgada, a 4-minute walk from the sea, modern rooms, outdoor/indoor pools, spa, and hot tub. All rooms at Antillia Hotel Apartamento are air conditioned and fitted with cable TV channels. Apartments include an open-plan living room with kitchen and dining area. Free WiFi is available in the rooms. The gym is equipped with cardio and fitness machines, saunas, and on-site Turkish bath. From the Antillia Hotel it is possible to access Ponta Delgada's main landmarks, including the Portas da Cidade and the city's historical Baixa area, both within a 10-minute walk. Free private parking is available.
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Luxury ($$$)

White Exclusive Suites & Villas
@Theguidedtravels
Nestled on the pristine coastline, White Exclusive Suites & Villas melds contemporary elegance with nature's beauty. The suites offer panoramic views of the Atlantic, while amenities like the infinity pool, gourmet dining, spa services, and tailored experiences elevate the stay. This boutique haven, with its island-inspired design, promises both luxury and an immersive Azorean experience.
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FURNAS (East): Located in a volcanic crater, Furnas is renowned for its thermal springs, botanical gardens, and the iconic Lagoa das Furnas. The town is also famous for the "cozido das Furnas" – a stew cooked underground by volcanic steam.  ⬇️ 

Budget ($)

Victória Guest House
@Theguidedtravels
Accommodation with a terrace and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive.
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Mid Range ($$)

Furnas Spring Lodge
@Theguidedtravels
Accommodation with a patio, boasting city views, coffee machine, and around 1.5 km from Fumarolas. It has a garden, barbecue facilities, garden views and free WiFithroughout the property. This is a cozy spot near all the action! This air-conditioned country house comes with a kitchenette, a seating area, a dining area and a cable flat-screen TV. Towels and bed linen are available in the country house.
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Luxury ($$$)

Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
@Theguidedtravels
Positioned at the top end of the luxury spectrum, this hotel within the renowned botanical garden offers an exquisite experience, unlimited access to the garden, thermal pools, and top-notch dining.
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RIBEIRA GRANDE (North): This northern town is distinguished by its beautiful beaches, historic buildings, and cultural landmarks. It's also a popular spot for surfers due to its Atlantic waves. ⬇️ 

Budget ($)

A Casa da Cascata
@Theguidedtravels
The unit features dormitories, private rooms, and also has the option of booking the entire house. Most rooms have access to shared bathroom facilities. There is a communal lounge, kitchen, microwave, and an oven. Extras include a barbecue and an outdoor seating area. Local restaurants are available at a 10-minute drive. Other facilities offered at the property include a games room and laundry facilities. The property offers free parking.
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Mid Range ($$)

Volcanic Charming House
@Theguidedtravels
Outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden and a shared lounge. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and an ATM, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Some units at the property have a balcony with a city view. Rooms are complete with a TV, air conditioning, private bathroom, shower, and free toiletries. A continental breakfast is available each morning!
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Luxury ($$$)

Hotel Verde Mar & Spa
@Theguidedtravels
A luxurious retreat by the ocean. This upscale hotel boasts contemporary rooms with panoramic sea views. Guests can indulge in the state-of-the-art spa, dine in the gourmet restaurant, take a dip in the refreshing outdoor pool, and explore the nearby Santa Bárbara beach. With its prime location and top-notch amenities, it promises an unforgettable Azorean experience.
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SETE CIDADES (West): This northern town is distinguished by its beautiful beaches, historic buildings, and cultural landmarks. It's also a popular spot for surfers due to its Atlantic waves. ⬇️ 

--There are not many options in this area, so options listed below are mid range to luxury pricing-- 

Villa Várzea
@Theguidedtravels
Villa Várzea Nomad Nest is an accommodation with a balcony, located in Várzea. The property is a 35-minute drive from Ponta Delgada and a 10-minute drive from Sete Cidades Lagoon. Free private parking is available on site. The kitchen has an oven, a microwave and a toaster, as well as a kettle. Towels and bed linen are featured in this holiday home. The holiday home features free WiFi
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Mosteiros Place
@Theguidedtravels
4 star cozy retreat close to the sea. This accommodation is known for its comfortable rooms, mountain views, free WiFi, free private parking, and proximity to the iconic volcanic cliffs and black sand beaches of Mosteiros The aparthotel provides guests with a balcony, sea views, a seating area, cable flat-screen TV, a fully equipped kitchenette with a microwave and a fridge, and a private bathroom with a bath or shower and bathrobes. A patio with pool views is offered in all units. The daily breakfast offers continental, vegetarian or gluten-free options.
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Tours/Activities

All links to book these tours are in the beginning of their descriptions! Their locations on the map are their listed meeting points for their tour. 

I did not include tours for hikes, as the popular hikes can easily be discovered by car and allow for you to take your time with sightseeing and taking pictures! However if you are interested in this type of tour, there are plenty on Viator and GetYourGuide(:

(This does not include any hikes/beaches/waterfalls, as there will be an entire section for that).

Whales and Dolphins + Vila Franca Islet (full day with lunch)
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/epDYsjcK Skip the busier stretches of the São Miguel coastline, and head out by boat to discover the marine life and exclusive swimming spots of the island’s south coast. With an in-the-know local guide, you’ll improve your chances of finding the region’s famous whales and dolphins. Swimming and a traditional Azores lunch follow the boat ride at the islet of Vila Franca do Campo. Ride in a boat for unobstructed views of the São Miguel marine life Enjoy a typical regional lunch at the tiny isle of Vila Franca do Campo, and provided snorkel equipment to explore beneath the waves.
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Quad Biking - Sete Cidades from North Coast (Half Day)
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/NfytT9jl You'll be the driver of a quad/ ATV which is the best way to feel and experience this part of São Miguel Island! This tour will take you to the highest points of the mountains that surround Sete Cidades Volcano. The itinerary is On and Offroad and you will have the opportunity to visit some of the trails that are part of the Azores Airlines Rallye. If the weather is good, you can count on awesome views to the lakes and the ocean. This will make you feel as you are on the top of the world! The team will ensure your safety and provide brief explanations at each stop. Itinerary: * Fenais da Luz ( North cost) * Pico da Cruz (845 meters altitude) View to Lagoa de Santiago, lagoa Rasa and Sete Cidades lagoon. * Vista da Rainha/Miradouro das Cumeeiras ( View point for Sete Cidades, Green and Blue Lagoon) * Cerrado das Freiras * Passing by Capelas village * Fenais da Luz
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Gorreana Tea Factory
@Theguidedtravels
FREE or paid tour. 📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/nSYh5ldy Visit to the Gorreana Tea Factory! Roam the field for free and get amazing shots, or take a tour of the factory and land. This is the only tea factory of its kind in Europe, where you will learn more about the island's tea culture through the different processes involved in its production and where, at the end of the visit, you will have the opportunity to taste a cup of tea accompanied by traditional biscuits!
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Furnas Tour with Lunch Included
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/U56dxIfl The area around this lake has various fumaroles and hot springs where locals cook the traditional "cozido." Alternatively, you van visit Furnas Lake on your own time by car to view the area.
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Coasteering in Caloura
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/pnOVnmYj Explore the beautiful coastline of the island of São Miguel and some of its various bays and caves, using various methods (among which: exciting jumps from remarkable cliffs, some moments of controlled climbing, dives, and a refreshing swim directly in the ocean). If you are uncomfortable about jumping, know that there are alternatives.
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Cheese & Wine Tasting in Ponta Delgada
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/Z7IceDBX he Azores is home to some magnificent produce and wines, and this experience in Ponta Delgada will showcase some of the best. Your culinary guides will share some delicious pairings of wine and cheeses. It’s good they are there to help, since there are 40 types of award winning cheeses in the region, and centuries of wine making experience. You’ll also try homemade jam, artisan bread, and local fruit along the way.
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Plantação de Ananás dos Açores
@Theguidedtravels
FREE activity Discover the unique way Azoreans grow pineapples in greenhouses and savor the sweet fruit. It is free to walk around the plantation! Head to their cafe for free samples of pineapple alcohol + treat. You'll have the option to buy other pineapple snacks and souvenirs if interested! Walking distance from the town center
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Small-Group Food Tour
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/pkndtbAj Spend a few hours exploring Ponta Delgada’s rich culinary offerings on this guided excursion. After meeting up with a knowledgeable local guide at Portas da Cidade, sample local specialties and learning about Azorean food culture while stopping by local markets and eateries like Mercado da Graca, Louvre Michaelense, and O Principe dos Queijos. Enjoy complimentary tastings and drinks along the way.
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Mercado da Graça
@Theguidedtravels
FREE activity Dive into local flavors and crafts at this bustling market in Ponta Delgada.
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Night thermal pools & food experience
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://viator.tp.st/3PYZt2Js Soak in the thermal pools of Furnas when the sun’s gone down, during an evening excursion from Ponta Delgada. You’ll travel with a local guide, and enjoy a traditional dinner of a Portuguese stew that’s cooked in the volcanic ground before immersing yourself into the mineral-rich waters. Extra perks include a stroll to see the Caldeiras das Furnas, the island’s famous bubbling pools.
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Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://getyourguide.tp.st/oD6RK3i2 Discover the diverse green vegetation, clear and fresh waterfalls and old water mills on this adventurous canyoning tour through the forest! This tour includes pick up.
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Marina Portas do Mar
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To book: https://getyourguide.tp.st/89qnXEzk Experience the feeling of sailing at the end of the afternoon on a private sailboat cruise! Enjoy a more intimate romantic tour or in a family group, local wine, and appreciating the beauty of the Island. You will pass through points such as the Ilhéu de São Roque, Praia das Milicias and head south to enjoy the beauty of the sunset. On the way back you will have the experience and beauty of the sunset. Boarding and disembarking on the pontoon at Portas do Mar marina
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Ruínas do Monte Palace Hotel
@Theguidedtravels
FREE An abandoned 5-star hotel that once promised luxury and unrivaled views of the iconic twin lakes below. Even though it's no longer in use, many people visit because it's set high up with great views of two beautiful lakes, and the old, overgrown building has its own mysterious charm.
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Half-Day Jeep Tour- Sete Cidades
@Theguidedtravels
📌 To Book: https://getyourguide.tp.st/7kBRh0Ae Discover the lakes and craters of Sete Cidades on the Azores island of São Miguel on a 3.5-hour jeep tour, and explore the dramatic landscape of the volcano’s caldera up-close. Visit the church of São Nicolau, and get breathtaking views from Vista do Rei.
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Beaches

Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara
@Theguidedtravels
This was one of my favorite beaches in the evenings! Located in Ribeira Grande, this is a popular beach for surfers.
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Praia dos Moinhos
@Theguidedtravels
Located in Porto Formoso and known for its natural beauty.
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Mosteiros Beach
@Theguidedtravels
Amazing sunset spot! There are a few small bars/restaurants! Grab a pizza and head to the beach for sunset(: When you arrive, go left to be on the black sand beach, or right to sit on the big rocks.
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Praia da Viola
@Theguidedtravels
Stumbled on this beauty last minute! A more secluded beach, known for its natural beauty, waterfalls, and a little river.
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Água D'Alto Beach
@Theguidedtravels
Located on the south coast, this beach combines key attributes such as its wide stretch of sand and the clean and calm waters of the sea.
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Praia do Fogo
@Theguidedtravels
A less-frequented beach known for its privacy and serene atmosphere.
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Caloura, Agua de Pau
@Theguidedtravels
A picturesque fishing port with small bathing areas, combining rocky formations with clear waters.
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Praia de São Roque
@Theguidedtravels
Black volcanic sand beach located near Ponta Delgada.
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Hikes + Waterfalls

Before going, please make sure to check the "link" section for a direct link to the most up to date conditions of the destination when available.

Please also make sure to check the webcams to know the weather conditions in advance: https://www.spotazores.com/ilha/são-miguel/

Sete Cidades
@Theguidedtravels
Offers views of the famous twin lakes, multiple hiking trails. Miradouro da Boca do Inferno Route: A shorter trail leading to one of the most iconic viewpoints of São Miguel. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/rota-do-miradouro-da-boca-do-inferno Mata do Canário to Sete Cidades Route: A trail providing forested paths leading to the lakes. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/pr4smi-mata-do-canario-sete-cidades
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Miradouro do Pico dos Bodes
@Theguidedtravels
Moderate 20-30 min hike offering panoramic views of the island's lush landscapes and coastline. It's a tranquil spot, ideal for soaking in the beauty of the Azores and capturing memorable photographs. AllTrails: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/trilho-do-miradouro-do-pico-dos-bodes
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Cascata Salto do Prego - waterfall hike
@Theguidedtravels
Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 31 min to complete. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to pass through the typical vegetation of the archipelago, in addition to passing through several orchards belonging to families who live in this area. The path has some slopes, steps, and wooden bridges. The biggest reward of the trail is reaching the Salto do Prego waterfall, a beautiful waterfall hidden in the middle of the forest. Check out Faial da Terra while here - it is a charming sea side town located in a valley. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/salto-do-prego-waterfall-trail#:~:text=Try%20this%202.5%2Dmile%20loop,encounter%20other%20people%20while%20exploring.
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Salto do Cabrito
@Theguidedtravels
This enchanting trail starts next to the Geothermal Power Station of Pico Vermelho and takes you on a unique journey to the Caldeiras of Ribeira Grande. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/caldeiras-da-ribeira-grande-e-cascata-salto-do-cabrito
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Lagoa do Fogo
@Theguidedtravels
One of the island's largest lakes with panoramic views! It is the highest elevated lake on Sao Miguel island and spans nearly 2 miles (3 km) in length and is 1.5 miles (2.5 km) wide. There are two main viewpoints from above – Miradouro da Barrossa and Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo, where you can enjoy the views from a few different angles. Sometimes they utilize a shuttle system. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/rota-das-margens-da-lagoa-do-fogo
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Lagoa do Canario - Serra Devassa hike
@Theguidedtravels
This mountainous area offers various small ponds and lakes interspersed with the undulating landscapes. The interconnected trails can lead you to various viewpoints overlooking both the lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/prc5-smi-serra-devassa
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Trilho Pedestre da Atalhada – Nordeste -- (Fajã do Araújo trail )
@Theguidedtravels
This trail takes you through endemic Azorean flora, leading to viewpoints that showcase the rugged northeastern coastline, the sea, and the charming village of Nordeste with its historic lighthouses. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/trilho-faja-do-araujo
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Ribeira dos Caldeirões
@Theguidedtravels
Scenic natural park known for its cascading waterfalls and lush greenery. Visitors can explore restored water mills, walking paths, and enjoy the park's rich biodiversity. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/portugal/azores/cascata-da-ribeira-dos-caldeiroes
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Viewpoints

Not a hiker and simply rather drive to see beautiful views? Check out some of the island's best viewpoints below! (Some may involve a very short walk).

Please also make sure to check the webcams to know the weather conditions in advance: https://www.spotazores.com/ilha/são-miguel/

Miradouro de Santa Iria - viewpoint
@Theguidedtravels
Stunning panoramic view of São Miguel's northern coastline, showcasing the island's lush landscapes juxtaposed against the vast blue Atlantic. It's a serene spot, ideal for capturing photographs and soaking in the Azorean beauty. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g616221-d8670364-Reviews-Miradouro_de_Santa_Iria-Ribeira_Grande_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Pico do Ferro
@Theguidedtravels
Provides a breathtaking vantage point over Lagoa das Furnas and the lush valley of Furnas on São Miguel Island. The elevated viewpoint offers a sweeping panorama, highlighting the volcanic crater, geothermal areas, and the vibrant hues of the surrounding landscape. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1190881-d10291991-Reviews-Pico_do_Ferro_Viewpoint-Furnas_Povoacao_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego
@Theguidedtravels
Hawaii-like sight with expansive ocean views surrounded by bright gardens. It's a popular spot for simple picnics and taking photos of the sea and flowers! https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1190888-d7134954-Reviews-Miradouro_da_Ponta_do_Sossego-Nordeste_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro do Caminho Novo
@Theguidedtravels
Meant to be a quick stop. Offers expansive views of the vibrant green landscapes and undulating terrains of the island, and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquil beauty of the Azores. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g656860-d15192017-Reviews-Miradouro_do_Caminho_Novo-Ponta_Delgada_Madeira_Madeira_Islands.html
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Miradouro do Pico do Carvão
@Theguidedtravels
Quick stop offering panoramic views of São Miguel's central region, capturing both its north and south coastlines. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g189135-d25179707-Reviews-Miradouro_do_Pico_do_Carvao-Ponta_Delgada_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro da Vista do Rei
@Theguidedtravels
One of the most famous viewpoints in São Miguel, Azores, offering iconic views of Sete Cidades and its twin lakes. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g11816388-d15069386-Reviews-Vista_do_Rei_Miradouro-Sete_Cidades_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro do Pico da Barrosa
@Theguidedtravels
This viewpoint is at an altitude of 947 meters to appreciate the north and south sides of the island. Make sure to check the webcams for fog. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1190889-d8837651-Reviews-Miradouro_da_Barrosa-Vila_Franca_do_Campo_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro do Cintrão
@Theguidedtravels
Lighthouse location that primarily serves as a viewpoint, offering panoramic views of the surrounding ocean and coastline. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g616221-d14088884-Reviews-Ponta_da_Cintrao-Ribeira_Grande_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada
@Theguidedtravels
You can see the coast, have a picnic, and is a great spot for observing the sunrise. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1190888-d8867562-Reviews-Miradouro_da_Ponta_da_Madrugada-Nordeste_Sao_Miguel_Azores.html
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Hot Springs & Thermal Baths

Recommendation: Avoid wearing white when visiting hot springs and thermal baths due to many of the springs being rich in minerals. The iron, sulfur, and other minerals present in the waters can stain light-colored clothing, and white is particularly susceptible. Over time, these minerals can settle into the fabric and become challenging to wash out completely. The minerals can also degrade the elasticity of swimwear over time, so consider using older or dedicated swimwear when frequenting these hot springs.

Ponta da Ferraria
@Theguidedtravels
Unique spot where a hot spring meets the ocean, allowing for a warm sea bath. The natural swimming area is surrounded by dramatic volcanic landscapes, making it a must-visit in the Azores. Entrance is free for the sea, but there's a spa facility nearby which may charge for its services.
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Poça da Dona Beija
@Theguidedtravels
Located in Furnas, this facility has several iron-rich pools. Entry is 8 euro for adults, 6 euro for ages 2-6, and free for ages under 2 years old.
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Parque Terra Nostra
@Theguidedtravels
Located in Furnas, the park features a large geothermal pool and smaller hot springs. Entry is €8, which includes access to the beautiful botanical garden.
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Caldeira Velha
@Theguidedtravels
Located on the way to Lagoa do Fogo, it's a nature reserve with warm pools surrounded by lush vegetation and offers 3 warm man-made thermal pools and 1 more natural waterfall pool.. Entry fees are around €4-8 depending on which areas you access.
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Termas das Caldeiras
@Theguidedtravels
Despite being a small hot springs experience, this location has a major perk that you won’t find at many of the other hot springs on São Miguel: it’s a lot less touristy and therefore you are less likely to experience crowds. 3 euro entry
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Where To Eat:

Remember, opening hours and offerings can vary seasonally, so it's always a good idea to check ahead or make a reservation where possible. Enjoy your culinary journey in São Miguel! Menus are linked when available.

BREAKFAST:

Louvre Michaelense Bar Bistro Mercearia
@Theguidedtravels
Located in Ponta Delgada, this is a charming café with pastries and coffee selections. Menu: https://www.facebook.com/louvremichaelense/menu/?id=100063865110443&sk=menu
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Prince of Cheese
@Theguidedtravels
A cheese shop in Ponta Delgada with delicious sandwiches and coffee. No menu available to link
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Intz48 Coffee Roasters Azores
@Theguidedtravels
specialty coffee roastery known for sourcing and roasting high-quality beans with a focus on unique flavor profiles. They offer a variety of food options as well. Menu: https://www.facebook.com/intz48/menu/?id=100063562721648&sk=menu
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Queijadas do Morgado
@Theguidedtravels
A traditional pastry shop in Vila Franca do Campo known for its cheese pastries. No menu available to link
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Café Royal
@Theguidedtravels
Trendy coffee spot known for its aromatic brews and delectable pastries.
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Green Love Restaurant
@Theguidedtravels
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot. Offers burgers, smoothies, bowls, and more by the lake! No menu available to link, although they do offer a large variety of options.
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LUNCH & DINNER

A Tasca
@Theguidedtravels
Offers a variety of traditional Azorean dishes. No menu available to link, but you can make reservations here: https://www.zomatobook.com/widget/makereservation03.aspx?id=7MG0AKM41
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Rotas da Ilha Verde
@Theguidedtravels
Offers vegetarian and vegan options with a local twist. Menu: https://www.rotasdailhaverde.com/pt/menu
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Restaurante Associação Agrícola de São Miguel
@Theguidedtravels
In Ribeira Grande, a spot for tasting the island's famed Azorean beef. Menu: https://restauranteaasm.com/menu/aasm-en/
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Bar Caloura
@Theguidedtravels
Set beside the sea, serving fresh fish dishes. Menu: https://restaurantguru.com/Bar-Caloura-Agua-De-Pau/menu
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Gastrónomo
@Theguidedtravels
Features traditional Azorean cuisine with a modern twist. Menu: https://restaurante-gastronomo.business.site
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Restaurante Tony´s
@Theguidedtravels
In Furnas, they serve "Cozido das Furnas", a stew cooked in the ground with the heat from the volcanic activity. Menu: http://restaurantetonys.pt/1/ementa_9002.html
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Quinta dos Sabores Farm House
@Theguidedtravels
Farm-to-table experience with a changing daily menu. No menu available, but has a website: https://quintadossabores3.wixsite.com/oficial
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Mercearia Sao Pedro Wine & Tapas
@Theguidedtravels
Tapas and wine in a laid back atmosphere. No menu available to link
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Cais 20
@Theguidedtravels
Located in Ponta Delgada, it's renowned for seafood dishes. Menu: https://www.cais20.pt/#PratoEconomico
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Restaurante São Pedro
@Theguidedtravels
Offers upscale dining with a focus on Azorean flavors. Menu: https://www.restaurantesaopedro.com
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Adega Regional
@Theguidedtravels
A cozy restaurant offering traditional dishes. No menu to link, but website available: http://adegaregional.com
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Taberna Açor
@Theguidedtravels
Modern restaurant serving traditional Azorean dishes with a twist. The place combines a cozy atmosphere with delicious local flavors, making it a favorite dining spot for both locals and tourists.
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TukáTulá Beach Bar
@Theguidedtravels
Known for its refreshing drinks, chill vibes, and stunning ocean views. Make sure to have dinner here while the sun sets!
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Useful Apps & Links:

-Island webcams: Make sure to check the webcams for the most up to date conditions! If it's cloudy, it may be best to reorder your days for a location with clear weather. https://www.spotazores.com/ilha/são-miguel/

-Travel insurance: Stay protected with Ekta travel insurance! https://ektatraveling.tp.st/TG377tUH

-Download Google Maps and/or Maps.me apps. Before your trip, download the map of São Miguel, and you can use it for navigation without internet access. I like to use google maps and download the offline map since it is the easiest and most widely used! 

-Azores Trails: Useful for hiking enthusiasts, this app provides detailed information on various trails around the Azores, including their length, difficulty, and sights. https://trails.visitazores.com/en/trails-azores/sao-miguel

Bonus: 7 day Itinerary 

This itinerary is meant to be a rough guide if you don't know where to start or how to plan out your days! It's recommended to do 1 region per day. Feel free to swap things out or plan your trip completely different (:

Need help packing? Check out my categorized products to see if you’re missing anything!

Day 1: Arrival

-Arrive in Ponta Delgada airport in the morning + pick up your rental!

-Check into your private room at "Out Of The Blue"

-Explore the city of Ponta Delgada.

-Lunch at A Tasca, where you can dine inside a volcanic cave.

-Spend the evening exploring the small town and getting settled.

Day 2: Furnas

-Grab a quick breakfast sandwich and coffee from Prince of Cheese

-Gorreana Tea Plantation. If you have any interest in tea, definitely take the tour and walk the grounds!

-Miradouro Pico do Ferro Viewpoint

-Head to Restaurante Tony's to try Cozido das Furnas

-Lagoa das Furnas

-End the day at Poça da Dona Beija

Day 3: Sete Cidade

-Breakfast at Intz48 Coffee Roasters

-Miradouro do Pico do Carvão

-Easy/moderate hike to see Lagoa do Canario & Miradouro Grota do Inferno!

-Head to Green Love for lunch, and check out Lagoa das Sete Cidades while in the area!

-Praia dos Mosteiros. There are a few nearby "restaurants" walking distance from the beach where you can get a pizza or other meal to-go. Bring it to the beach to eat while the sun sets!

Day 4: Lagoa Do Fogo

-Join the Whale/Dolphin tour + Vila Franca Islet!

-If you still have energy, I highly recommend visiting Praia Santa Barbara for the evening. Watch surfers catch some waves and a vivid sunset. There is a restaurant here as well- TukáTulá Beach Bar

Day 5: Ponta Delgada

-Enjoy a relaxing day on the Small-Group Food Tour

-Final moments on the beach of Praia do Fogo

-Dinner at Cais 20

Day 6: Nordeste

-Join the Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience

- Miradouro Ponta do Sossego

-Miradouro Ponta Madrugada

-Spend the night in Ponta Delgada. Enjoy dinner at Taberna Acor.

Day 7: Departure 

-Relaxing morning in Ponta Delgada! Grab a coffee from Louvre Michaelense.

-Visit Ananas Dos Acores for free to tour the plantation + sample their pineapple treats.

-Time to catch a flight to your next destination! Follow @thequidedtravels for an upcomingquide to Madeira Island (Direct flights offered by SATA airlines)

-Say Goodbye

+

4 DAY ITINERARY: 

I recommend spending at least a week here, but if you're short on time, I hope this guide helps!

Rent a car here: https://rentalcars.tp.st/pIwRXsDf

Day 1: Arrival To Ponta Delgada and Surroundings

-Arrive in Ponta Delgada airport in the morning + pick up your rental!

-Check into your private room at "Out Of The Blue"

-Explore the city of Ponta Delgada.

-Lunch at A Tasca, where you can dine inside a volcanic cave.

-Drive to Praia do Areal de Santa Barbara for a beautiful sunset on the beach, and dinnerat their TukáTulá Beach Bar

Day 2: Sete Cidades and the West

-Grab something light from Intz48 Coffee Roasters.

-Head to Miradouro da Boca do Inferno for an easy hike and breathtaking views over SeteCidades' lakes. Drive around the Sete Cidades crater and stop at various viewpoints after!

-Lunch at Green Love: Lakeside Lounge for a lakeside meal.

-Watch the best sunsets on the island at either Praia dos Mosteiros or Ponta do Castelo.

Day 3: Explore the Sea

-Enjoy an early breakfast from Cafe Royal.

-Join an 8 hour tour that includes Whales, dolphins, Vila Franca Islet, and lunch!

-If you still have energy, drive to Lagoa do Fogo in the evening for panoramic views and ahike down to the lake.

-Dinner at Quinta dos Sabores.

Day 4: Departure

-Relaxing morning in Ponta Delgada! Grab a coffee from Louvre Michaelense.

-Visit Ananas Dos Acores for free to tour the plantation + sample their pineapple treats.

-Time to catch a flight to your next destination! Follow @thequidedtravels for an upcomingquide to Madeira Island (Direct flights offered by SATA airlines)

-Say Goodbye

* * *
CURATED BY
I have always found joy in exploring the world in the most adventurous and unique ways! I'm an extensive researcher who goes beyond the first page of Google to curate itineraries based on the best experiences worth prioritizing. My expertise in creating informative and inspiring travel guides makes me an essential resource for anyone looking to explore the world or join one of our group trips. With my guidance, I hope to help you discover the beauty of new destinations and explore more of what life has to offer!
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