Flying to Sao Miguel, Azores was a spontaneus decision rather than a studied plan. The main reason why we decided to visit this portuguese island were free plane tickets to any point of the Europe we could use because of my fiance’s frequent travels – we simply chose the farthest :)
Azores Islands are beautiful, GREEN with marvelous landscapes – they are called European Hawaii for a reason. It consists of nine volcanic islands and Sao Miguel, also known as Ilha Verde, is the biggest. We stayed in Ponta Delgada, the capital city of the islands. Sounds almost like metropolis but there is less nad 70 000 citizens living, the town is small, charming, with days passing by really slowly.
Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores
Flying with AirBerlin we started our journey in Berlin, changed planes in Dusseldorf and then flew straight to Ponta Delgada. What kind of surprised us was an average age of the travellers – it was about 70, looked like we were the youngest on board. It didn’t change during our one week holidays, most of the visitors were german pensioners.
The room in our hotel (Sao Miguel Park Hotel) wasn’t ready when we got in, so we had a really nice first excursion around the city.
Ponta Delgada is a typical small town with small market square, town hall, and a church in a central point. It has a lots of parks with spreading trees and single palm trees.
Typical houses of Ponta Delgada are low, located side by side by charming, tight streets – some of them were so narrow the drivers had to fold the mirrors of the car to avoid hooking the pedestrians.
Here is the City Gate, the historical entrance to the village of Ponta Delgada.
The city has a nice marina, containing a yachting centre and tourist area near the port.
Food in Ponta Delgada, Azores
We’ve tried several restaurants in Ponta Delgada during our stay, I can highly recommend two of them. First one is Rotas (da Ilha Verde), inconspicuous vegeterian restaurant organised in old tenement house. Waiter seems a bit gloomy but excellent lentil soup, chickpeas in curry and vegetable tarta makes it up!
Second one – our favourite – is a Tasca Tapas Bar with wide range of fish, seafood, tapas and wine. We’ve been there twice and would be back for sure if we stayed longer. Nice surprise was a polish-speaking waiter, it was the only time we heard polish in Azores. Here are some pics from a Tasca:
Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel, Azores
Lagoa das Sete Cidades is a twin lake – the green and the blue – situated in the crater of a volcano. On our way to Sete Cidades we admired some awesome views.
My favourite point during the whole trip was the path leading to the Lagoa de Santiango viewpoint. There’s no other place like that!
Sete Cidades in all its glory, notice the difference in lake colours. The name “Sete Cidades” also stands for the small town located on the left.
Mosteiros, Sao Miguel, Azores
The village of Mosteiros is located in the northwestern part of the island. It’s best known for it’s coastal cliffs and a rocks towering over the ocean’s waters. We spend some time listening to waves smashing against the rocks.
I can almost hear the waves when I look at these photos.
Ponta da Ferraria, Sao Miguel, Azores
Quite interesting place on the Sao Miguel map. Ponta da Ferraria is a natural rock pool, when cold ocean waters mix with hot springs – definitely the thing to try! It was a bit too cold for bathing and the tide was throwing us on the rocks but it was worth it.
Nossa Senhora da Paz, Sao Miguel, Azores
Nossa Senhora da Paz stands for Our Lady of Peace and it a beautiful chapel located nearby Ponta Delgada. During our visit we could see people parachuting over the town.
Gorreana Tea Plantation, Sao Miguel, Azores
Gorreana is the only tea plantation in Western Europe. It’s been family owned & operated since 1883, the owners are proud to use the same method of production as over 130 years ago.
Farol do Arnel, Sao Miguel, Azores
Farol do Arnel is a lighthouse situated at Nordeste – northeast part of Samo Miguel island. The road leading down to the lighthouse is really steep so it’s recommended to walk rather than drive by car.
Lagoa das Furnas, Sao Miguel, Azores
Lagoa das Furnas stands for the lake but it’s not what it’s place is best known for. What makes it attractive are the hot springs steaming and bubbling from the ground craters.
Do you know that there are people selling food cooked in a hot water coming out of the craters? We didn’t have a chance to try it as we came right after a heavy rain and everyone was gone. We weren’t that hungry because of the sulfur odour though ;) Check it out:
We found a picturesque old house surrounded by greenest of the woods.
Terra Nostra Garden, Sao Miguel, Azores
Terra Nostra Garden is beautifully appointed park with trees and plants from all over the world. You pay about 6 euro for all day entrance, it includes visiting the gardens, bathing in hot thermal water pools and natural jacuzzis.
Caldeira Velha, Sao Miguel, Azores
Last but not least, there is a wonderful park of Caldeira Velha. We visited it right before returning our car to the car rental so we only had 40 minutes to enjoy it. Fortunately we made it before the trip of pensioners, so we had some space to relax, it started to get crowdy, while we were leaving.
There is a beautiful waterfall in the park. Changing rooms are located right next to it so you can swim in, enjoying the nature.
There are two natural thermal pools in Caldeira Velha, one of them is super hot with boiling water and another one is just perfectfor the relax.
Summing up: Sao Miguel island may not be the best place for party beasts and nightlife lovers – the highest form of night entertainment we found in Ponta Delgada were some tavernas and drink bars near the marina. But if you’re a nature lover looking for unknown places and longing for escape from everyday life – go for it, you’re gonna love Azores just as we did!