Imagine a picturesque volcanic island full of scenic natural beauty and endless outdoor activities. Or being on an island that has been compared to Hawaii but with 90% fewer tourists. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Yet, surprisingly, this description of paradise exists and can be found in the Azores.
The Azores is a chain of 9 volcanic islands located off the coast of Portugal. One of these islands is the iconic São Miguel Island which has made quite the name for itself. Its lush nature, black sand beaches, strong culture, and breathtaking views can make for a lifetime trip. Let's just say there won't be a shortage of things to do on this island for a travel enthusiast.
If São Miguel sounds like the right place for your next getaway, keep reading to find out the seven top things when you visit this magnificent Azores island!
1- Attend/Host a Wellness Retreat
If you're into taking care of your well-being and living a healthy lifestyle, I'm sure you have probably thought about attending or even hosting a wellness retreat before. What doesn't sound better than dedicating days to increase your well-being abroad in a beautiful destination?
Well, São Miguel Island makes for the perfect destination for a wellness retreat. To start off, the island cultivates the perfect zen environment as it is still a hidden gem, and tourism is at a low. In addition, the tremendous natural beauty surrounding every inch of the island makes for the perfect setting to get back to the basics and focus on yourself. In addition, the endless amount of nature makes for dozens of opportunities to get active.
No question is whether or not an Azores retreat would be an incredible experience! If you want to take a retreat to this peaceful, volcanic island, check out Wellness & Nature in the Azores with Fit4Travel. It is an all-encompassing wellness retreat where you can attend or host your own retreat.
2- Azores Whale & Dolphin Watching
Ever want to see whales in real life? Then, when you visit the Azores, they will be easy to come by! In fact, São Miguel island was rated as being one of the top places in the world to go whale and dolphin watching. This is due to the island being home to the world's largest whale and dolphin sanctuaries.
On your whale and dolphin watching excursion, you will be able to see common species like bottlenose dolphins, bluefin whales, and sperm whales any time of the year. However, if you go during the summer solstice, you may be able to see rare species like spotted dolphins, bearded whales, and others. Whale watching in the Azores will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the vast number of beautiful whales and dolphins jumping through the waters.
3- Sete Cidades
The Sete Cidades is a must-see when you visit São Miguel Island due to its breathtaking landscapes. They are lakes that are found in the northwest of Ponta Delgada. Known for their iconic, contrasting blue and green colors, the Sete Cidades is a must-see.
The blue lake and green lakes are perfectly placed beside each other in a valley surrounded by luscious green mountains. This natural beauty is perfectly picturesque and will definitely be a highlight of your visit. For the most perfect lookout points, visit Miradouro da Vista do Rei (the highest point) Miradouro do Cerrado das Freiras or the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno viewpoint.
However, there are more than just the viewpoints at the Sete Cidades. You can also take a hike through the gorgeous trails that snake around the lakes through the natural greenery and florals. Or, you can also enjoy kayaking in the Sete Cidades to get an up-close experience.
4- Lagoa do Fogo
Another spectacular destination on the island is the Lagoa do Fogo, a crater lake within the Água de Pau Massif stratovolcano in the island's center. The crater was formed during an eruption in 1563, giving the lake its name, which translates into "Lake of Fire.
The stunning turquoise lake surrounded by lush volcanos makes this spot one of the most magnificent places in São Miguel. In addition, this spot's isolation from the rest of the island is one of the features that makes it so unique. Finally, as this location is found in the center of the island, Lagoa do Fogo is the perfect place to disconnect and find beautiful hiking trails to immerse yourself in nature without distractions.
5- Lagoa das Furnas
When taking a trip to Lagoa das Furnas, you may be able to see some Azores' volcanic activity. The volcanos surrounding are now dormant since the last eruption in 1630. However, you can still feel the volcano's warm presence all over the area.
There are multiple hot springs, mud springs, thermal pools, fumaroles and steam holes located around the valley. In addition, you will be sure to smell sulfur anywhere you go. Overall, there is no better place for a relaxing day in São Miguel than the Furnas.
6- Visit the Hot Springs
There are four prominent hot springs on the São Miguel Island that are a definition of paradise. These hot springs are Ponta da Ferraria (near Sete Cidades), Caldeira Velha (near Lagoa do Fogo), Parque Terra Nostra (Furnas), Poca da Dona Beija (Furnas).
Every hot spring location listed has something unique about it that makes them all deserve to be explored separately. However, they also all share a commonality. They are engrailed with lush jungles and exotic plants, with the sounds of nature calming your soul as you float in the mineral-rich waters. Plus, these water minerals are beneficial for you to soak in both physically and mentally.
7- Day-trip to Beautiful Beaches
There is no way you come to the Azores without spending some time on their magnificent shoreline beaches. Every shoreline on São Miguel island is unique but simply incredible. Some are endless black sand beaches, and others are rocky, surrounded by lush greenery. In addition, like everywhere else on the island, you will find them beaming with characteristics of the island's volcanic past.
There are vast opportunities to explore when you visit São Miguel Island in the Azores. With every option above, we are sure you can build an adventurous itinerary filled with awe-inspiring excitement, culture, and relaxation. In addition, we hope this guide helps you fully immerse yourself into the unique Azores culture so you can get the most out of your visit.
There are plenty of things to do in the Azores because of its impressive offerings. The Sao Miguel island is an autonomous region with many experiences to explore that reminisce their volcanic past. However, If you're not into travel planning, want to host a wellness retreat, or are looking for a group to explore the Azores with, Fit4Travel offers an itinerary to the Azores that will take you to all these options and more! So check out the itinerary and contact us if you're ready for a Greek adventure of a lifetime!
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