São Miguel is the largest and most populous island in the Azores archipelago. Because of its natural beauties make the island is know as “The Green Island”.
How to get around:
There are not that many options to get around in the Island you can either rent a motorcycle or a car. If you are an adventurous and you have more time in São Miguel you can try hitchhiker through the island. We have meet few people doing that and they say is an awesome expirience. Due the lack of time and my lack of expertise riding a motorcycle we rented a car.
Renting a car for 5 nights will cost you an average price of 200 euros with fuel included. We have rented throught a local company Ilha Verde.
Where to stay:
We rented a flat through airbnb the Hands House, the flat is located in the heart of Ponta Delgada and at foot distance of the main sights. The owners where really passionated about their hometown and gave us few tips about things to see and even told us the best apps to install in other to better enjoy the island. As a welcome gift they left us a basket with typical goods from Azores like the bolo lêvedo that became our favourite breath and was our breakfast choice during the all stay.
Where to eat:
Prepare yourself to win some weight! By suggestion of friends from São Miguel we went to the best spots. You cannot miss:
- The tuna steak at Caloura Bar, Agua de Pau. Average cost of 40 euros for two people.
- The cow steak accompanied with a fresh craft beer at Associação Agrícola, Ribeira grande. Average cost of 40 euros for two people.
- The seafood at Cais 20, Ponta Delgada. Average cost of 100 euros for two people.
- The Furnas Stew made “under the ground” taking advantage of the hot vapors of the Furnas volcanic activity. Try the O Miroma restaurant, Furnas. Call to reserve and ask at which time the restaurant staf go get the stew at Caldeira das Furnas, this way you can see the way the stew is made. Average cost of 30 euros for two people.
Our 4 day itinerary
There are many things to do and see in São Miguel, below I share with you our relaxed 4 day itinerary:
Day 1 – Get to know Sete Cidades and sorrounding areas
Our first day started with a ride to the esthe of the island to see the most know lagoon, Lagoa das Sete Cidades, he haved stopped in almost all the viewpoints, is impossible not too! My favourite one was the Miradouro do rei near the abandoned hotel Monte Palace, we climbed to the phantom hotel roof and could see all the lagoon.
After see the lagoon we went to Sete Cidades vilage where we ate fresh fish at the local restaurant, the vilage is really small but it worth to see the church of São Nicolau built partially with vulcanic stone.
In the afternoon we went to Termas da Ferraria, infortunatlly we couldn’t swim in the natural pools with hot water because it was full tide.
Day 2- Ribeira Grande
In the second day we went to visit Ribeira Grande. We started with the tea platation, Chá Gorreana. For free, you could see the factory where the tea is produced and walk by the plantation, there are several trilles to follow and get deep in the plantation if you want to. Azores is the only place in europe where is produce tea, Chá Gorreana is the oldest plantantion and keep the artesanal method of production, visit the factory is a sweet visit to the past. At the end you can tast the tea and also buy some in the store inside the factory.
In the afternoon and after a great lunch at Casa Agricola we went to the Mulher do Capote
liquor factory where we tasted few liquors and bought few bottles! After this tastefull digestive, we went to see the Lagoon of Fire / Lagoa do Fogo another natural beauty of Azores. To end the day fully nothing better then a relax dip in a warm waterfall of iron water, that’s right I am talking about the Caldeira do Velha. The entry cost only 2 euros and can spend a good time relaxing in the park or diping in the waterfall warm water. Make sure you don’t use your favourite swimming suite because the water will make some damages.
Day 3 – Furnas
Furnas is a full package comprising a lagoon, a valley and a village.
We have visited the lagoon and walked by the fumeroles, the kitchen of the tradicional dish Cozido das Furnas.
In the village is possible to see even more impresive fumeroles don’t miss the visit!
Beside the cozido Furnas has another traditional “dish” in this case a bread the Bolo Lêvedo so buy some there 😉
During the afternoon started to rain a lot but nothing stopped us of going to the Terra Nostra Natural Park, the park features magnificent trees and vegetation from all over the world. It also has a giant hot water pool and two jacuzzis perfect to spend an unplesent raining afternoon.
Day 4 – Ponta Delgada
I have told before that our stay was in Ponta Delgada, we let the visit of the city for the last day so we could wake late walk into the Market/ Mercado da Graça buy some typical gods from Azores like cheese and sweets.
After lunch we went to see the pineapple plantation (free entry) and get to know how this delicious fruit grows.
By the end of the day we went to down town in order to see the Saint Sebastian Church, Santo Cristo and off course the city doors.
Resuming we had a awesome and relaxing stay in Azores and we defenitly need to come back to see the nordest of the island (we didn’t get the time to go) and also to get to know other islands.