Summary of Sao Miguel Regional Guide – Click button above to download guide, itinerary and map!
Our Regional Guide divides the island into 8 regions and includes hikes, beaches, swimming holes, sites, activities, shopping, restaurant and bars for each of these regions. This guide also includes helpful insider tips like what to pack, what to eat and drink, what apps to download, and how best to use your cell phone in Portugal. Here are the 8 regions covered by the guide:
- Ponta Delgada. The largest city in São Miguel. It has the most hotel & restaurant options.
- São Roque & Lagoa. São Roque is next door to Ponta Delgada and has the closest beaches to Ponta Delgada. Lagoa is about 10 minutes east.
- Sete Cidades & Northwest Coast. Sete Cidades is the famous double crater lake. The town itself is scenic on the lake but there’s not a lot to see. There are great views if you head towards Mosteiros on the west coast.
- North Coast (Ribeira Grande & East). Ribeira Grande is the second biggest city and worth a visit. Santa Barbara beach is beautiful and great for lunch. Along the northeast coast there are many awesome hikes and you’ll find both tea plantations.
- Lagoa do Fogo. A beautiful crater lake that is a must visit if the weather is nice. There’s also a nice hot spring nearby.
- Southeast Coast (Caloura, Vila Franca do Campo). Caloura is known for having the best weather and you’ll find many beaches along the southeast coast.
- Furnas. A cute town and home to a green crater lake. It also has awesome hot springs. A must visit.
- East Coast (Povoação to Nordeste). Less populated, so head here if you want off the beaten path.
Summary of Sao Miguel Itinerary – Click button above to download guide, itinerary and map!
This Sao Miguel itinerary covers what to do in Sao Miguel, including awesome hiking, spectacular scenery, hot springs and amazing meals. This São Miguel Itinerary includes all the São Miguel highlights, including Sete Cidades, Lagoa do Fogo, and Lagoa das Furnas and many tasty restaurants. This Azores Itinerary is on-the-go in that there is usually at least one hike every day, but if you want a slower-paced trip, you can choose to skip some of the hikes, take more siestas and spend more time in the hot springs!
Here’s a preview of what to do in Sao Miguel in 7 Days:
What to do in Sao Miguel – Day 1
Many visitors arrive on a red-eye, so we’ve included a couple breakfast places that open early. Most hotels will allow you to pay for breakfast even if you didn’t book the night before, and they will allow you check you in early if they have space. We have a low key day in Ponta Delgada for Day 1, but nothing is a must see, so you can skip if you only have a few days. Or save it for when it rains and jump to day 2 or 3 if you want something more active. We’ve included the top sites, but the Regional Guide and the Travel Honey Map have a more robust list of things to do in Ponta Delgada (including spots for shopping) than the itinerary. The map is a great way to wander Ponta Delgada, just click on the markers as you go to see what’s around you. 🐾 Day 1 Transport: You can easily walk to everything in Ponta Delgada. If you decide to do the activities in the afternoon, you can either drive or walk the few miles there.
What to do in Sao Miguel – Day 2
Day 2 is to Sete Cidades (the famous must-see double crater lakes) on the west side of the island. We’ve included our two favorite viewpoints, two 2 optional hikes and things to see as you travel towards the west coast. Check the webcam before you go to Sete Cidades, it’s not worth visiting the viewpoints if it’s fogged in. Sete Cidades is also the name of the town in the valley below the lakes, which is worth stopping for if you have time. In the summer, the road between the two viewpoints and down to the town is lined with hydrangeas. We’ve included lunch options in Sete Cidades and Mosteiros (on the west coast where there are less touristy food options than in Sete Cidades). The west coast also has Termas da Ferraria, the amazing hot spring in the ocean. It’s still cool to see if you don’t go in – but if you’re game for a dip, check the tide and plan the rest of the day based on that, because you can only go at low tide. 🐾 Day 2 Transport: It’s about a 30 min drive from Ponta Delgada to the Miradouro da Vista do Rei viewpoint of Sete Cidades, and another10 minutes to the town of Sete Cidades. It’s another15 minutes to Termas da Ferraria then 40 minutes if you go straight back on the coast (add another 10 if you go back through Sete Cidades).
What to do in Sao Miguel – Day 3
Head to Lagoa do Fogo, another crater lake that is often foggy – check the webcam and consider doing Day 3 whenever Lagoa do Fogo is clear! There’s a cool hotspring near Lagoa do Fogo, but if you’re trying to decide on one hot spring to do, the ones in Furnas are better in our opinion. If it’s hot out, we’ve suggested a couple beaches to do instead. For an optional physical activities there’s the Quatro fábricas da Luz hike on the south coast and there’s also a hike you can do from the viewpoint down to the actual lake of Lagoa do Fogo. There are two ways to drive to Lagoa do Fogo from Ponta Delgada: north to Ribeira Grande then south or past Lagoa and then north. We’ve listed Day 3 as if you’re coming on the north route, because then you can have lunch along the south coast and do the hike after. You can flip it and do the hike first, then hot spring and have lunch in Ribeira Grande. Or look at the Travel Honey Regional Guide for one of the many hikes on the North Coast. Or bag the hike and head to the beach! 🐾 Day 3 Transport: It’s about a 30 min drive from Ponta Delgada to Lagoa do Fogo and about 10 minutes to the Caldeira Velha hot spring. The Quatro Fabricas da Luz hike is about 25 min from Ponta Delgada and about 30 min drive from Lagoa do Fogo. Ribeira Granda is about a 15 min drive north of Lagoa do Fogo.
What to do in Sao Miguel – Day 4
There are many amazing hikes along the north coast. We suggested two of our favorites, but check the Travel Honey Guide if you prefer different lengths/difficulties. If you’re not into a hike, check the Travel Honey Guide for the amazing viewpoints along the north coast to the east of Ribeira Grande. We suggest lunch on Santa Barbara beach, which is still enjoyable in all weather. Or head a little further up the coast to Praia dos Moinhos. If it’s not beach weather, wander around the town of Ribeira Grande or finish up any activities you missed on Day 1 in Ponta Delgada or Caldeira Velha hot springs if you missed it on Day 3. 🐾 Day 4 Transport: Both hikes about 40 minutes from Ponta Delgada.
What to do in Sao Miguel – Day 5
Head to Furnas, which is quieter and quainter than Ponta Delgada. The town is on an active volcano, so the highlights are: hot springs, cozido (a stew baked in the ground!) and Lagoa das Furnas (a crater lake).
You can either head north towards Ribeira Grande then down to Furnas, or along the south coast and then north, they’re about equidistant. Both the Terra Nostra Hotel and Furnas Boutique Hotels have amazing restaurants, but otherwise the restaurant choice is somewhat limited. There are three awesome hot springs, one at each of those hotels and Poca da Dona Beija. Both the Terra Nostra and Poca da Dona Beija are public, so they can get a lot busier on the weekend. We’ve listed two options for a hike. The “Grená – Pico do Ferro – PRC22SMI” hike starts from the viewpoint of Lagoa das Furnas (Pico do Ferro). “Lagoa das Furnas – PRC6SMI” is more of a flat walk that just goes around Lagoa das Furnas. Try to see the viewpoint of Lagoa das Furnas when the sun is out, you can see the green of the lake better. Also, go early or late if you can, because there can be tour busses. 🐾 Day 5 Transport: Furnas is about 40 minutes from Ponta Delgada and 25 minutes from Ribeira Grande.ach is about a 20 min drive from Ponta Delgada. Ribeira grande is about 25 minutes from Ponta Delgada.
What to do in Sao Miguel – Day 6
There are two waterfall options for Day 6. All the hikes listed are good to do if the weather isn’t great, so you can jump ahead to this day if there’s a little rain earlier in the week. Option 1 is the South Coast. On the way, you can do anything you missed on the afternoon of Day 3. You can also keep driving up the coast to Nordeste, stopping at viewpoints and circle back along the north coast. They are no must sees, and it’s 3+ hours of driving, but you’ll be able to see a lot of the island. Option 2 is on the north coast, you’ll hike through the forsest then can swim under the waterfall (you can skip the hike). There’s a hot spring at the end of the hike. 🐾 Day 6 Transport: Povoção is about an hour from Ponta Delgada. Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande is about 30 minutes from Ponta Delgada.
What to do in Sao Miguel – Day 7
On your final day, we suggest visiting the tea plantations, because it’s easy to do after you check out of your hotel and doesn’t require showering like a hike or swim. It’s also a good option if the weather is bad. If you have more time on Day 7, we’ve also suggested some nearby hikes or beaches. For lunch, try any of the north coast options on Day 3 or Day 4). 🐾 Day 7 Transport: The tea plantations are about 30 min from Ponta Delgada.
Download the full itinerary, map and guide to know exactly what to do in Sao Miguel!