Here are the highlights of my trip to the island of São Miguel in the Azores, including the best sights, beaches, restaurants and places to stay.
I’ve finally visited the Azores, the only region in Portugal that I had never put my feet on. I’d been hearing great things, so I decided that it was about time to tick it off my wish list.
I picked São Miguel, the main island in the Azores (there are nine in total), for my nine-day holiday. The idea was to take it easy, do some sightseeing, absorb the nature, and above all to relax. I don’t like to rush from one place to another, I’m a slow traveller by nature.
Lagoon of the Seven Cities is nature at its best. It’s made of two small lakes – a blue lake and a green lake – that are connected by a narrow strait, situated in the crater of a dormant volcano.
This is the Lagoon of Fire. When I arrived here it was so foggy that I couldn’t see a thing, then all of a sudden the deep fog started to lift and revealed the most beautiful lagoon ever. Magic happens. 🙂
Parque Terranostra is a botanical garden with a volcanic pool located in the Furnas valley. I swam in this copper coloured, mineral filled pool while it was 30 degrees outside and 40 degrees inside. I mean, I totally melted but I also felt completely rejuvenated afterwards.
Caloura is a picturesque fishing village with a natural swimming pool. Before splashing around in these warm waters, I had a great lunch at the Caloura bar which is the white house behind me in the photo. Both the shrimps and the Boca Negra (Blackbelly rosefish), a local fish known for its tasty crab-like meat, were delicious.
Santa Barbara Beach immediately became one of my favourite beaches. Every day, either before or after my ventures around the island I would end up there.
The setting is gorgeous, the waves are great for surfing and the water is an inviting 24 degrees. With a relaxed vibe, no crowds, and the most beautiful sunsets, I was a happy Jo.
Just in front lives the Santa Barbara Beach Resort which has a very nice beach bar.
"Driving around the island was a delight for my eyes."
I stayed at Quinta dos Peixes Falantes because I wanted to be in Ribeira Grande (north coast of São Miguel Island), and it’s just a 10 minute drive from Santa Barbara beach. I had a wonderfully relaxing stay in this well-designed studio that was equipped with everything I needed. Thank you so much, Ana and Fernando, for being such lovely hosts.
Eating in São Miguel:
Traditional food, traditional restaurants.
Eating in São Miguel is all about the islands' local delicacies as well as those nearby. On the menus you will find lapas (limpets), the excellent local queijos (cheese), the Furnas Cozido (meat stew), Azores' bife (steak), ananás (pineapple) and of course a variety of fish including tuna and peixe-porco (triggerfish).
Out of all the restaurants in São Miguel that I visited, the following stood out the most:
I am looking forward to the opportunity of returning to the Azores with Sofia to explore the other islands and share our insights with you. This, of course, entails providing recommendations for the cool hotels to stay in the Azores.
Here's hoping you create new memories here in Portugal. Tag us on Instagram (we would love it if you do!) and let us know how it goes. 🤗
Joana and Sofia
© Photos by JO&SO and by each of the mentioned places.
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