10 reasons you should visit the Azores

10 reasons you should visit the Azores

We could probably name a hundred reasons why you should travel to the Azores. The Azores are nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Because they are so remote, mass tourism is non-existent and nature is unspoiled. You’ll never see so many greens in your life! The hills and mountains are covered with grass, Japanese Cedars, Hydrangeas, Ginger Lilies and many other trees and flowers. The contrast with the blue of the sky and the lakes or ocean is incredible!

The Azores are ripe with delicious foods, geographical wonders and landscapes straight out of Jurassic Park. However, due to their isolated location and how expensive it was to reach them, they’re sadly often missed out by visitors to Portugal, and even the Portuguese themselves.
1. Waterfalls

The number of waterfalls on the Azorean islands is countless. Sometimes you have to do some serious hiking to reach them, but the views are always worth it! If you’re not into hiking; no problem. There are many waterfalls just a few meters away from the road. But we do recommend to search for the hidden ones. You can even swim at some of the waterfalls!

2. Hotsprings

If you don’t like cold water you can try the hot springs. The hot springs are a delight to swim in. Especially the thermal pool of Furnas. The pools are surrounded by palms, ferns and conifers of a subtropical Atlantic forest, which makes it so surreal!

3. Geysers

Yes, you can also find geysers at the Azores! The difference with Iceland is that these geysers are surrounded by tropical vegetation! I thought it was very fascinating to see the geysers at Furnas, which is situated at the crater of one of the most active volcanoes of the Azores! Knowing that the heat comes from deep under the ground, makes it a little scary!

4. Lakes

The lakes all look different here. You have blue ones, green ones,… even black ones! You can hike around most of them which will offer you wonderful views!

5. Hiking

The Azores are known for great hiking trails. At São Miguel you have 21 official trails. Every hike has amazing sights and takes you along incredible places.

6. No mass tourism

Never in your life, you will hear such silence. The only thing you’ll hear in many places is the sound of nature; the wind through the trees, a waterfall, birds… not people, cars, airplanes,… what a relief! You’ll find yourself in places without anyone else around. No waiting for a spot to take a picture, no loud tourists who scare away animals, no waiting for a table at a restaurant. Just perfect!

7. The people

The locals are so sweet and helpful! They even help without ask. It is great to be in a place where everyone says hello to everyone! Also, the tourists are different from others. Everyone says hello and has respect for the islands.

8. Small towns

You’ll need to get used to the small roads, the non-existent sidewalks, and the uncertainty whether a certain food product would be in store the next day or not (depended on delivery and the weather). At Ponta Delgada, São Miguel there were some shops and restaurants but don’t expect a big city. It still really small and quiet. It is the only town with a shopping mall, which is not too big but has a food corner, shops like Zara and a huge supermarket.
You’ll need to adjust a little at the beginning but you’ll love the charm of these small towns with their cute little churches and squares.

9. Whales and dolphins

The Azorean Archipelago is one of the best sites to spot whales and dolphins. No less than one-third of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in the world can be found here. According to some tour operators of the islands, you have a 97% chance to encounter the mammals on their trips. How this is possible? At São Miguel, these elusive species are spotted by people who are at a lookout on the coast. They use powerful binoculars and guide the boats from the shore to the location of the dolphins and whales. Be prepared for some amazing video footage in the near future!

10. Magnificent coastlines

Flying above the islands gives you the best idea of what the coastlines look like. Dark cliffs decorated with different greens, waterfalls that debouche into the ocean and massive rock formations formed by lava. Every island looks different with its own features.

We could give you plenty more reasons to visit the Azores, but we think we covered most of it. We have plenty more to share with you all in the coming weeks about the Azores! So stay tuned!

Thermal Baths and Spas in São Miguel

Thermal Baths and Spas in São Miguel

The Azores archipelago is known not only for its natural beauty and landscapes but also for the natural properties and health benefits its thermal waters provide. This list will provide you with the most updated and comprehensive information of Spas with thermal water pools and natural thermal baths located on São Miguel island.

Spas with Thermal Baths

Furnas Boutique Hotel

The 4-star boutique hotel is located in Furnas, site of the largest concentration of thermal waters in Europe. The hotel Spa Center has 10 treatment Rooms, floatbed, Shirodhara, Vichy Shower and Hydro Massage, Sauna, Hamam and a Fitness Center.

Photos: Furnas Boutique Hotel

Termas da Ferraria

The place of Ferraria has a great richness: Two springs of volcanic thermal water, who warm the waters of the natural pool in Ferraria and that are used in the Thermal SPA. The therapeutic qualities of the of Ferraria’s thermal waters lead it to become almost a place of worship.

Termas da Ferraria is a contemporary oceanfront retreat featuring multiple geothermal pools, spa services and a restaurant.

Photos: Termas da Ferraria

Pedras do Mar Resort and Spa
The Resort Spa, “Pedras D’Alma” (Stones of the soul), features a beauty and well-being center, indoor pool with jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath with chromotherapy and gym. Outside, you can enjoy the pool with sea view, play tennis and explore the Saint Peter walking trail and its natural pools.

Photos: Pedras do Mar Resort and Spa
Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

Located in the Furnas Valley, Terra Nostra Garden Hotel is surrounded by trees, calderas, mineral and thermal springs. Next to the Terra Nostra Botanical Park, it features indoor and outdoor thermal pools and is a short drive from volcanic beaches, forest areas, and two golf courses.

Photos: Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

Thermal Baths

Ponta da Ferraria

Ferraria’s natural pools are warmed by two springs of thermal waters of volcanic origin. They are considered a unique case in the world, due to the existence of thermal salt water with a very high sulfur content. It is said that the water, cures problems of rheumatism and are also used to treat diseases of other geneses.

Photos: Visit Azores, By Açores

Parque Terra Nostra

With a temperature between 35º-40º Celsius (95º-104º F), the thermal spring that supplies the pool is charged with essential minerals. Surrounded by vegetation and large trees, it is one of the best ways to restore one’s energy and experience the mystical natural surroundings characteristic of Terra Nostra Park and the Valley of Furnas.

Photos: Parque Terra Nostra

Poça da Dona Beija
Offers 5 different natural thermal pools with a breathtaking tropical landscape, showers and a gift shop. The high iron content of its water springs is said to combat anemia, allergies, acne in children and parasitic diseases. The clay and mud found in the pools are suitable for pelotherapy.

Photos: Poça da Dona Beija
Caldeira Velha

Located on the north slope of the Fogo Volcano, Caldeira Velha is a waist-high pool of mineral water located under a warm waterfall. The magical atmosphere makes it the perfect place to end a busy or active day. Dive in the pool, relax and enjoy!

Photos: Tripadvisor

Termas das Caldeiras

The Termas das Caldeiras are located in the city of Ribeira Grande and offer an unlimited number of options for those seeking relaxation and well-being. In addition to massages, thermal baths and relaxation exercises you can enjoy all the surrounding nature that will surely add quality to your experience.

Photos: Termas das Caldeiras


What to visit in Sao Miguel island

What to visit in Sao Miguel island

The Azores Archipelago, a group of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic, is a tourist destination yet to know but with a unique beauty. Composed by 9 islands, the Azores in general and São Miguel, in particular, will win your heart because of its landscape diversity, with peaceful plains, foggy mountains and many ravines with breathtaking views of the Atlantic coast.

These are the spots that you should not miss at all:

Sete Cidades Lake

One of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, it showcases the Green and Blue Lakes, which according to legend, were formed from the tears of a shepherd and a princess who shared a forbidden love. These lakes can be seen from King’s View.

Fire Lake

A nature reserve since 1974, this crater lake reaches a maximum depth of 30 meters.

Ribeira Quente Village

A small village with traditional fishing boats and a sheltered beach. The Fogo Beach is formed by a stretch of sand in a bay where there are several submarine hydrothermal vents. This makes the seawater warm, an unusual event that contributes to make this beach quite popular.

Furnas Valley

Home of a significant geodiversity such as a volcanic caldera with a lake, fumarolic fields, and various thermal springs. It is one of the most important geosites in the archipelago.

Ponta da Madrugada and Ponta do Sossego Viewpoints

Located in Nordeste, these are prime locations to see the sun rising. Part of the many viewing points of Nordeste, which are known for being carefully landscaped, the Ponta do Sossego Viewing Point is the most iconic of them all.

Ribeira dos Caldeirões Park

The Ribeira dos Caldeirões Park corresponds to a landscape valuation project that aimed at using for tourist purposes a set of water mills and the whole structure of paths that existed there.

Ponta da Ferraria

Spa and bathing site with therapeutic water springs that have been used since the fifteenth century.

How to get in Sao Miguel island

How to get in Sao Miguel island

Unless you want to adventure yourself to get there by boat, the easiest way is by plane. During many years, only Azores Airlines had flights to the Azores, which made it a very expensive destination.

Nowadays, São Miguel has direct flights from many airline companies, not only to mainland Portugal but also to countries like Spain, Denmark, UK and the United States.


List of companies with flights to São Miguel:

Legend of “Sete Cidades”

Legend of “Sete Cidades”

This legend is very well known in Portugal, as it is about one of the most beautiful lakes in the country, located in the Azores. It is a beautiful love story that I believe will touch your hearts.

Legend has it that many, many years ago, a kind young Princess with bright blue eyes lived in a great kingdom, in the place where the village of Sete Cidades exists today.

The Princess loved her life in the countryside and one of her favorite things that she loved to do was to walk through the fields, smelling the flowers, dipping her feet in the stream or simply admiring the beauty of the mountains and valleys that surrounded the kingdom.

One day along her walk, the young Princess saw a herd of sheep grazing in a meadow. Nearby watching the herd was a lovely green-eyed Shepherd and the Princess decided to talk to him.

The Princess and the Shepherd talked for a long time – about the animals, the flowers and the weather. From this moment on, they met every day to talk to each other.

As the days and weeks went by, the princess and the shepherd met every day in the very same spot that they first met. As time passed, they fell in love and they promised each other their eternal love.

When the King heard that the Princess had been meeting with the Shepherd, he was not pleased. The King wanted for his daughter to marry a Prince from one of the neighboring kingdoms and so he forbade her from seeing the Shepherd again.

Out of respect for her father, the Princess accepted this cruel decision but she pleaded with him to allow them to meet one last time so that she could say goodbye. Touched by her plea, the King agreed.

The Princess and the Shepherd met one last time, in the green fields where they first met. Once again they talked and talked, not only of their love but of their parting as well.

As they talked, they cried. They cried so much that the tears shed from the Princess’s blue eyes streamed down the valley and formed a blue lagoon. The tears which poured from the Shepherd’s green eyes formed a green lagoon.

At last the couple said their goodbyes and the tears which they cried formed two lagoons that would remain together forever- just like the Princess and the Shepherd who could never be together but would never part.

They are called the ‘Lakes of Sete Cidades’. On bright, sunny days the colors of the lagoons are so intense, that you can almost imagine the passionate way that the young Shepherd looked at his Princess…