São Miguel is the largest of the 9 islands in the Azores. This is where the capital Ponta Delgada with its 18,000 inhabintants is located.

If you have the time and the funds, we highly recommend visiting the other islands such as Flores, Faial or Terceira as well. A flight from São Miguel to Flores, the westernmost island, costs between $80 and $100.

However, there is much to do on São Miguel Island itself to keep you entertained for 2 weeks.

Amazing things to see in São Miguel


Salto do Rosal

Waterfall located at the end of a trail in the botanical garden of Mata Jardim Jose do Canto. We had the place all to ourselves when we went. The botanical garden is also lovely and includes a small church on the lake.

  • Duration: 1h 35 min
  • Length: 4.8km | 3 mi
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Type: In and out

Miradouro da Grota do Inferno

Beautiful hike leading to the vista, Miradouro da Grota do Inferno. This vista overlooks the lake Lagoa de Santiago. We recommend this location for sunset on clear and partly cloudy days.

  • Duration: 1h 36 min
  • Length: 4.6km | 2.85 mi
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Type: Loop

Miradouro do Pico da Barrosa

Perhaps the most iconic hike in Azores. Known for its dirt path which follows the spine hills to give stunning views of the lake Lagoa do Fogo the rolling hills and the ocean below.

  • Duration: 2h 38 min
  • Length: 6.4km | 4 mi
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Type: Loop

Cascata da Ribeira dos Caldeirões

Large waterfalls with nearby trails surrounded by wild hydrangeas bushes. Feels a bit like wandering through a fairy village.

  • Duration: 48 min
  • Length: 2.3km | 1.4 mi
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Type: In and Out

Salto do Cabrito

Double waterfall with a staircase you can climb up on the right side. The stairs lead up into the canopy of the area. Here, there is a walkway you can follow for a short hike.

  • Duration: 0h 43min
  • Length: 1,8km | 1,1 mi
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Type: In and Out


Hot springs

Poca da Dona Beija

Hot springs spa offering multiple pools with varying temperatures and in-pool seating. This seemed less crowded than Caldeira Velha. Do not bring your favorite bathing suit as it will be stained by the red clay.


Piscina Natural da Sofia

Natural hot river which pours into the ocean at this point. The water is hotter during low tide and cooler during high tide. We recommend coming earlier in the day or come later and stay until sunset to avoid crowding.



Ilheu de Vila Franca do Campo

Take a boat off the south coast of Sao Miguel and travel to the small island, which is really the top of a volcano. Depending on your preference you can swim, hike around, or lounge on the large rocks surrounding the crater pool.


Praia do Calhau da Maia

Quiet beach typically full of families. The waves are calm here because the area is slightly sheltered. There is also a path along the west side of the beach which leads to the beach, Praia da Viola.


Praia do Monte Verde

Beach outside of the cute town of Riberia Grande. The waves here are quite large, meaning surfing can be possible. Nice way to enjoy the evening.


Other Sites

Jardim Botanico Jose do Canto

Large botanical garden surrounding the a former palace. Established in the mid 19th century and includes flora from all over the world.


Gorreana Tea Plantation

The only tea plantation in Europe. It is free to enter the tea fields and wander around. You are also welcome to book a tour to understand the agricultural process.


Ruinas do Monte Palace Hotel

A would-be five-star hotel, which was abandoned during construction. It includes a lot of street art and murals inside. On the roof top you have the perfect view overlooking Sete Cidades, which is blue on one side and green on the other due to algae growth. The rooftop is an excellent place to watch the sunset.


During our time in the Azores, Natalie was still in grad school. We were living off of one income, so we did not get to eat out very often. Therefore, we sadly cannot recommend many places. We do recommend trying some of the local dishes. The area is known for incredible steaks and fresh sea food. Their specialties are Steak in Regional Sauce (a brown gravy made with white wine and red pickled pepers), and grilled dorade (gilt-head bream) served with fries. There are also many soft white cheeses similar to Mexican cheeses. We also recommend the regional wine Mare Cheia. The red wine was our favorite.

Calcada do Cais

Great restaurant in the capital of Sao Miguel. We enjoyed it so much we visited twice. The servers were friendly, and the food was honstly some of the best we had ever experienced. During COVID, the restaurant was temporarily closed. We hope that the chef and owner are still the same. Hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as we did.


General Tips


It should be noted that the weather can be incredibly rainy. Another couple we are friends with experienced rain every day for two weeks. During our two weeks, it rained once or twice. However, while some parts of the island are rainy other parts are sunny. Typically, the summer months are drier.

Therefore use the webcam app to see, if the weather is better halfway across the island (30 mins by car). This was often the case for us. The app is called Spot Azores, and you can download it for free.

Apple app store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/spotazores/id1083559349

Google Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pt.tetrapi.spotazores&pcampaignid=web_share


We recommend renting a car for your trip. The roads are safe and fairly easy to navigate. Plus, it allows your itinerary to be more flexible.