Natural wonders of Sao Miguel (Azores)

In the first post about Sao Miguel, I mentioned some of the places we found interesting in the towns and villages of the island. In this post, I want to talk about its natural wonders. Let’s dive into hot springs, hike trails to waterfalls and lakes and enjoy the calming effects nature could have on one’s soul.

Sao Miguel is famous for its hot springs. We visited three, each different, beautiful and very relaxing. Even Kubík loved it and could stay there for hours. Each of them needs to be booked in advance. The first is Caldeira Velha and it is the most remote of them. Up in the hills above Ribeira Grande, it is an interpretation center of volcanic activity with three pools to enjoy.

One of the pools of Caldeira Velha

The other two are in Furnas, the main hot spring town. The Poça da Dona Beija is quite fancy, with five pools of different temperatures. You’ll get the most out of the experience if you come before sunset and watch the pools slowly light up in the upcoming dark.

The water from the pools flows into a stream, where it cools down and eventually mixes with a river

The third is the Parque Terra Nostra. As the name suggests, it really is mainly a park, with mazes of flowers, bushes and trees arranged in elaborate ornaments. There is a huge round pool of dark orange hot water to dip into.

Parque Terra Nostra pool

A little bit down the road from Caldeira Velha is a side road with a very steep incline which will take you to a beautiful waterfall called Salto do Cabrito. There is another interesting and uncommon place here apart the waterfall. At the other side of the parking lot, opposite from the waterfall, is a small inconspicuous sign that says “fuente” (spring). Follow the short trail to find a small stream of slightly sparkling mineral water of great taste. Remember to bring a bottle.

Salto do Cabrito

Heading inland from the town of Faial da Terra, on the east of the island, there is a beautiful trail winding through the forrest and going to the Cascata Salto do Prego.

Salto do Prego, the water was pretty cold

A lean waterfall emanates relaxing atmosphere and welcomes to sit for a while and reflect. On the way back, there is a small semi abandoned village called Sanguinho with a lot of cats and a little hiker bar. Back in Faial da Terra one can dip into the municipal infinity pool and watch the waves of the ocean.

View over Faial da Terra
The infinity pool by the ocean

There are numerous hiking trails on the island. We did just a few shorter ones. Lagoa do Fogo trail takes you down a steep slope to the lake inside the crater.

Lagoa do Fogo trail
Lagoa do Fogo from above

On the north-east cost, right in a bend of the road, there is a park called Parque Natural Ribeira dos Caldeirões. It is quite hidden in a ravine and very interesting to see. There is an exposition on water mills and how they were used here in the past. It is a very short walk, so even very small children can make it. There are a few picnic tables, as well as a coffee shop.

Milling houses
Parque Natural Ribeira dos Caldeirões



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