Sao Miguel is the largest and most populous of the nine islands of the Azores, offering some of the most dramatic scenery and memorable experiences. To give you a taste, check out some of the excursions you won’t want to miss.
When you first catch sight of the volcanic complex of Sete Cidades, the view of its almost circular caldera rim and green and blue lakes will take your breath away. It’s easy to see why this ranks as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal and is the source of Azorean legend.
It’s claimed the lakes – one green and one blue – formed from the tears of a shepherd and a princess who shared a forbidden love. The town of the same name rests on the floor of the caldera, at the side of the lake, and the area can be explored on foot, by bicycle or in 4×4 off road vehicles.
The Furnas Valley, surrounded by towering hills and lush green vegetation, is set within the caldera of the Furnas volcano. The legacy of its volcanic history is evident in the numerous steaming fumaroles and bubbling hot springs and the occasional whiff of sulphur in the air. The volcanic complex is home to the Lagoa das Furnas where a major programme is ongoing to restore the lake’s original habitat and preserve its ecosystem and biodiversity.
Whilst in the area you can experience how people live with the volcano, from the underground cooking of the famous “Cozido das Furnas” stew, to sampling some of the natural mineral waters and swimming in a thermal pool.
Whale and Dolphin Watching
To see these majestic whales and playful dolphins in their natural environment is a magical experience. The islands are surrounded by a rich marine life and a remarkable 25 different species of cetaceans, one third of all known species, have been recorded in these waters.
The Azores are considered one of the top whale-watching destinations in the world, having transferred their expertise from the tradition of whale hunting to whale watching. Some species are resident in the Azorean waters and can be spotted all year, whilst others pass through on their great migration.
Gruta do Carvao
The subterranean world of the Gruta do Carvao lava tube provides a fascinating insight into the movement of basalt lava flows. The cave, which is believed to have formed between 5,000 to 12,000 years ago, is now concealed beneath the development of the city of Ponta Delgada.
The surfaces inside the cave vary from smooth and glossy – calling out to be touched – to the less inviting rough and irregular, and the black basalt gives way to red and orange tones. There are a wealth of geological features to appreciate, including lava stalactites, lateral benches and lava bridges, along with both pahoehoe and aa lava.
The Natural Monument of Caldeira Velha lies on the northern flank of the Agua de Pau stratovolcano; an area of secondary volcanism, producing fumaroles and iron-rich hot springs, and rich biodiversity. Take a dip beneath the warm waterfall and relax in the thermal pools, whilst discovering the volcanic origins of Sao Miguel and the geothermal resources of the Agua de Pau Massif.
And these are just SOME of the highlights!
Imagine what else this amazing destination has to offer.
With prices for our recommended 5 day, 4 night trip from £725pp, wonder no more! Take a look at our website, or simply contact our team and we can answer your questions and provide you with a quote for your next geography trip.