GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE BEST SAO MIGUEL HOTEL OR ACCOMMODATION
September 29, 2017
Read this Travel Honey guide to choosing the best Sao Miguel hotel or accommodation. We’ve spent over two months traveling in Sao Miguel, so get in the inside scoop on each accommodation, including real photos!
Ponta Delgada is on Sao Miguel Island and the largest city in the Azores. If you’re visiting the Azores for the first time, Ponta Delgada is a great place to stay. It’s also only a short drive to the Ponta Delgada airport and it has the best restaurant choices. Check out our Guide to Sao Miguel Restaurants for where and what to eat.
Sao Miguel hotels are more affordable than most other European countries, especially if you don’t visit in the summer. If you do visit in the summer, book ahead for the largest selection. Most São Miguel hotels, especially the nicer ones, include a breakfast with your stay. We’ve listed below some of our favorite Ponta Delgada hotel options and hotels on other parts of São Miguel Island, because if you have more than a few days, staying outside Ponta Delgada is a good way to experience the island.
To get the full reviews of each hotel, photos of each hotel, and a map with all the hotels, click here. If you want to see a day-to-day Sao Miguel itinerary, click here. And if you still an Azores overview, start here.
Ponta Delgada is on the south coast of São Miguel and where you’ll find the most Sao Miguel hotels and Airbnbs, including more high-end options. Ponta Delgada also has the most restaurants, both the traditional and the more modern, and is home to some of the only nightlight on São Miguel Island. Despite being the largest city in the Azores, the city center has mostly 2-3 floor historic buildings and maintains a charming feel.
Ponta Delgada main square is around Igreja (Church) Matriz De São Sebastião. It’s also the city center although the more restaurants and shops spread east of the church. Stay at least a couple days in Ponta Delgada unless you really want to get away from people. If you’re not renting a car, Ponta Delgada is also your best bet, because you’ll find most tour operators and taxis. But do yourself a favor and rent a car. You’ll appreciate the flexibility and the better opportunities to explore.
If you’re not into city life but want to be near Ponta Delgada, there are great Sao Miguel hotel options in São Roque, which is home to a few popular beaches and just outside of town to the east. There are not main hotels, but good Airbnb type options like Milicias Beach Apartment (see below). Rabo de Peixe, which is technically closer to Ribeira Grande (which we describe below) but we’ve included here because it’s only 15 minutes from Ponta Delgada, has a great eco-resort type option (Minuvida Orchard Lodge – see below).
Furnas is a wonderfully quaint town in the middle of Sao Miguel Island towards the east and is known for its hot springs and green crater lake. If you’re going to São Miguel Island for more than two nights, spend one night in Furnas. Furnas also has two awesome design inspired hotels, both with great restaurants. You’ll pay a little more, but they far exceed the other lodging options in town.
The next biggest city on Sao Miguel Island is Ribeira Grande on the north coast. Ribeira Grande is smaller and more quaint than Ponta Delgada with fewer and more traditional restaurants options than in Ponta Delgada. It’s very close to Santa Barbara Beach, one of the best beaches on São Miguel. You’ll find fewer and more budget hotels, so look for an Airbnb-type option (unless you want to spring for the Santa Barbara Beach Eco-Resort – see below).
The other Sao Miguel hotel options outside Ponta Delgada, Ribeira Grande and Furnas are limited. It’s difficult to find a decent hotel that is not too far from good restaurant options. So it’s best to stick with guesthouse or Airbnb-type lodging and you have to be willing to drive to food.
We hope this gives you a better idea about your Sao Miguel hotel options. If you want to see all the hotels on a map and get a link to an album of photos and videos for each hotel, it’s included with the Travel Honey São Miguel itinerary. You’ll also get a day-by-day guide to best activities and restaurants. Or if you want an overview of the Azores islands, start here.
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