São Miguel is the largest island in the Azores archipelago. Because of its large meadows São Miguel is also known as the Green Island. In its landscape they emphasize extensive meadows and spots of forest between valleys of streams.
Located in the middle of the Atlantic, The Portuguese archipelago has nine islands about 1,400 kilometers west of Lisbon. São Miguel is the most important of them all. The island is divided into 5 municipalities: Ponta Delgada, Ribeira Grande, Nordeste, Lagoa, Vilafranda do Campo and Povoacao.
The volcanic landscape of São Miguel
São Miguel is composed of an old massif at the east end and three stratovolcanoes: Sete Cidades, Fogo and Furnas.
In the stratovolcano of Sete Cidades there are two lagoons: the Lagoa Verde to the south and the Lagoa Azul to the north. This volcano of 5 kilometers in diameter, 350 meters deep and 850 meters high is located west of the island.
The Vista do Rei viewpoint is worth visiting here, from where you can see these two lagoons divided by a bridge with arches.
The stratovolcano of Fogo, 3 kilometers in diameter, occupies the center of the island. The volcano is surrounded by lush vegetation, which is called Vale Formoso.São Miguel - Wolfgang Berroth / Shutterstock.com
The highest point on the island is in the east side, at Pico da Vara, of 1,103 meters of altitude. In the central area is the Sierra de Água de Pau, 940 meters high.
Ponta Delgada is the capital of São Miguel and the Azores. It has a magnificent promenade to enjoy both wonderful views and the best Portuguese cuisine.Ponta Delgada - Roman Sulla / Shutterstock.com
Among the most interesting activities to perform are the whale watching and the dolphin bath, unique and hard to forget experiences.
Ponta Delgada also has a beautiful old town It gathers the charm of the small Portuguese villages, with beautiful parks and botanical gardens.
On the coast You can visit numerous villages where you can admire magnificent volcanic landscapes and incredible rock formations. Another attraction of the coast is undoubtedly its natural spas, such as the Termas de Ferraira, as well as the lighthouses in the area.
Inland you can find a large number of viewpoints from which to contemplate the majesty of the island, which highlights the aforementioned Mirador do Rei, in the Sete Cidades Volcano.
«Art, glory, freedom wither, but nature always remains beautiful.»
Next to Ponta Delgada is Lagoa, a small municipality in which the Mirador de Pisão stands out, from which you can contemplate beautiful mountain landscapes, cliffs and beaches.Pisão - Vector99 / Shutterstock.com
Worth mentioning are the natural pools of Caloura, one of the most beautiful municipalities of Lagoa. Caloura stands out for its artisanal fishing port and for being surrounded by typical vineyards protected by black stone walls.
Ribeira Grande is a beautiful town of white houses located on the coast, which has the best beaches around São Miguel.It is famous for its walks with natural pools overlooking the sea and for its interesting historical set. It also has impressive landscapes.Ribeira Grande - ArjaKo's / Shutterstock.com
Very close to Riberia Grande we find the natural park in which Caldeira Velha is located, an emerald hot spring pond where bathing is allowed. And near there is the beautiful caldera that forms the Lagoa do Fogo, belonging to the Sierra de Agua de Pau.Lagoa do Fogo - ArjaKo's / Shutterstock.com
One of the most beautiful places in São Miguel is located in the municipality of Nordeste. There is Salto do Farinha, a long waterfall of forty meters.
The Punta do Arnel Lighthouse can also be seen in the Northeast, one of the most beautiful on the island. It was the first lighthouse of the Azores and has a special appeal to be placed in a remote place, next to a cliff.
In Northeast you can also contemplate the Pico da Vara, the highest point of the whole island.
Villafranca do Campo
Former capital of São Miguel, Villafranca do Campo has one of the most important attractions in the area: Vilafranca Island, which houses the crater of a volcano where many birds live.
In the coastal area of this municipality there are small coves and beaches of great charm.
Povoacao, southeast of São Miguel, offers wonderful views of Lagoa das Furnas, from where you can contemplate the volcanic activity of the island. Next to it is the Nossa Senhora das Vitórias Chapel, a peculiar church that, although abandoned, has a very particular charm.
One of the best views of the entire island can be seen from the Salto do Cavalho, a volcanic wall 5 kilometers east of the Das Furnas Lagoon from where you can see the extensive valley where the town of Furnas and its famous lagoon is located, as well as the craters that extend around it.Fumarolas São Miguel - Vector99 / Shuttertock.com
São Miguel is a true oasis in the middle of the Atlantic, perhaps little known, but worth visiting.