Hiking is the best way to experience São Miguel. These are tips from a local for finding the best hiking in São Miguel for all hiking levels and preferences.
Hike along Sao Miguel’s coastlines, through old ruins and to hidden beaches – not to mention year-round edible plants and flowers. Hiking is the best way to experience São Miguel island. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re only up for a short walk or seek something more technical and challenging. Here are some tips on finding the best São Miguel hikes:
Check out the Visit Azores App for all trail maps, directions and info for hiking in Sao Miguel. All official trails are listed under “Experiences”. The app allows you to download offline maps and is offered in several languages. Trails are rated by difficulty (easy, medium, hard) along with route and elevation info, so you can find the best hike for you in São Miguel.
Check the weather. The weather here is quite changeable, and with several microclimates one part of the island could be raining and another sunny. Best to check the weather the day of your hike or day before and have a back-up option just in case. Weather reports often miss the mark. At quinta minuvida João gives you his detailed weather report based on his scrutiny of between three and five different weather reports for that day;-) You can also check out SpotAzores with live webcams all over the island. Watch out for their ridiculously annoying ads though… And remember there’s no such thing as bad weather. There is only bad gear. ALWAYS bring a waterproof (not just water resistant) raingear. The island is lush green for a good reason ;-).
- If a low pressure system is influencing the weather best to choose coastal hikes such as Praia da Viola or Atalho dos Vermelhos, which will still offer great views and are a safer bet than the mountains.
- If the day is bright and sunny and you can see the mountaintops, go for the hikes around Sete Cidades or Lagoa do Fogo.
Stay off the beaten path. If you want to avoid the crowds while hiking in Sao Miguel? It’s best to come between October and May. You can see a detailed weather by month including average rainfall, here. Winter is great for hiking, although its cooler and stormier than summer. This makes for peaceful trails, long walks on empty beaches and enjoyable time in the hotsprings – you’re not elbow-to-elbow with Fat Joe and his jolly family. Go see Sete Cidades, Lagoa do Fogo, and Furnas – the must see places on the island, but then remember there are a million other must see places on the island. (Thankfully social media and mainstream hasn’t yet discovered them.). Check some of them out in the video of Azorean landscapes below.
So pick the best hike in São Miguel for you and go find your own must see place and let us know what you discover! We promise to only tell the cool people ;-).