5 day Sao Miguel, Azores Itinerary
Sao Miguel, Azores is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. I am always seeking new outdoor destinations and I knew I had to visit Sao Miguel when I saw pictures. I’m already planning on visiting again sometime soon and can’t wait to share with you what I learned on my trip. This 5 day Sao Miguel Azores itinerary will provide you with tips and a way to maximize your time in Sao Miguel.
If you are wondering what the best Sao Miguel Azores attractions are and the best beaches, you can head here for a list of the top 10 things to do in Sao Miguel. Our itinerary includes a few hikes as well, but for more detailed information on the hikes check out our Sao Miguel Hiking post.
Discover the best things to do in Sao Miguel
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Tips: If you are wondering how to get to Sao Miguel, Azores Getaways has great flight deals. Most flights from the US arrive to Sao Miguel early in the morning around 7 am. If you are the type that can sleep on the airplane for the 5 hour flight and feel awesome, then you will be ready to take on your first day. If you need to get a few hours of sleep, you will need to have booked your hotel with an early check-in.
To maximize your stay in Sao Miguel, Azores we recommend booking your stay at 2 different hotels and staying on each side of the island as you will see below in the Azores itinerary. This will save on drive time and ensure you get to the most out of each area of Sao Miguel. You will also want to rent a car for your stay. You will be driving to all these locations and I did not see very reliable public transportation. Feel free to reverse the order of this itinerary if you are staying on the west side first. Make sure you check out our other Sao Miguel Travel Tips
Miradouro de Santa Iria, Cha Gorreana, Praia dos Moinhos & Terra Nostra Gardens
We were pretty hungry after landing in Ponta Delgada and found that most restaurants weren’t open, at least the ones I was searching while I was half asleep in a new country. We ended up stopping and picking up some pastries, coffee and water at a random gas station. Surprisingly it was delicious and just what we needed to get started. Stay hydrated! Our first stop was Miradouro de Santa Iria. As we headed towards the north end of the island, I couldn’t believe the beauty of lush green tropical plants and hydrangeas everywhere! The lookout was a perfect first stop to get some fresh sea breeze air and spend some time admiring this amazing Atlantic coast. Because it was so early in the morning, we had the viewpoint to ourselves.
Our next stop was Cha Gorreana, the oldest and only tea plantation in Europe. We did a small self guided tour to learn about the history of the tea plantation and sample of the teas. We had this tea every morning at our hotel breakfast. You can spend time and wander around the plantation. We ended up on a small hike that took us under the bridge to the water supply waterfall to the plantation.
Miradouro de Santa Iria
By this time we were ready for some lunch and drove to Praia dos Moinhos beach to enjoy a hamburger and our first Portuguese beers at O Moinho Terrace Restaurant. Parking was available up the street and you can just walk down. Enjoy a burger, beer and some time on the beach before check-in at your hotel.
We booked our first few nights to stay at Terra Nostra Hotel in Furnas. Upon arrival we walked the Terra Nostra gardens. This hotel is an great choice because you get access to the thermal pools after hours. The onsite restaurant was amazing and buffet breakfast had great variety of options and fresh juices. Now it’s time to get some rest for your adventures tomorrow!
Salto de Prego, Miradouro da Ponta de Madrugada, Miradouro da Ponta do Sessego, Farol do Arnel & Ribeira dos Calderoes
Start your day at Salto de Prego. This moderate level waterfall hike is just under 3 miles roundtrip. Although a steep climb to the waterfall, the trail is very beautiful so I recommend taking your time and enjoy the well marked and maintained trail. Once you get to the waterfall, take a dip! I recommend hiking shoes and bringing your water shoes to avoid the slippery rocks & microfiber towel to dry off. Take the trail above the falls to explore the stream and a great view over the waterfall. This would be a great place for a picnic as well.
Next enjoy the rest of the day driving to viewpoints along the northeast side of Sao Miguel and smelling the wild hydrangeas! Stop at Miradouro da Ponta de Madrugada and Miradouro da Ponta do Sessego for some breathtaking views. I always recommend stopping roadside when you see a beer & snack cart and enjoy a refreshing beer (or two!) for 1 euro each.
Driving north we headed to Farol do Arnel, the oldest lighthouse in the Azores. I had read in other posts that you shouldn’t drive down the road because it is extremely steep. We parked at the top and walked down. I wouldn’t recommend driving after seeing it firsthand.
Salto de Prego
The last stop of the day while driving will be at the Ribeira dos Calderoes. This natural park is worth a stop as it’s free and has some paths to stroll and stretch the legs. We did have an amazing grilled cheese at the snack shop there and it was so delicious and inexpensive.
Head back to enjoy dinner in Furnas. You can walk the town so no need to be the car anymore. If you are interested in eating the Cozido das Furnas (Furnas Stew), make sure you make reservations to your restaurant of choice. While in Furnas, walk around and explore what this little quaint town has to offer.
Lagao de Furnas, Pico do Ferro viewpoint, Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Vitóriash & Jose do Canto Forest Garden
Today is another day filled with some must see places. If you haven’t already check out the thermal areas in Furnas town. Then take a drive to Lagao de Furnas. to see the flat view of the lake and to see where restaurants are cooking up the Stew in the earth. You can walk around the Lagao de Furnas but I recommend saving your time for other things in the area, like the Pico do Ferro viewpoint. Drive the the top and check out that view of the lake from the viewpoint. The day we were there it was a fairly cloudy day, but spend some time there because the clouds would blow over so you can get that perfect view.
WATERFALL AT JOSE DO CANTO FOREST GARDEN
Large Sequoia Tree
There is an old Gothic church, Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Vitóriash, on the edge of the lake. If you choose to walk around the lake you will come across this. There is no charge for seeing the church through the fence, however you can pay 2 euros to get a glimpse inside the church and access to the Jose do Canto Forest Garden which has a waterfall at the end. They did warn before that the waterfall has little water because of lack of rains, however I thought this hike was worth it and still beautiful sight to see.
Logoa do Fogo, Salto do Cabrito & Arruda Pineapple
We checked out of our hotel and headed towards the other side of the island. We stayed at Pedras do Mar Resort on the northwest side of the island because we wanted a more relaxed stay than in downtown Ponta Delgada. We enjoyed this location and thought it was centrally located for the rest of our stay. I recommend paying for a second story ocean view room.
Just when you think you couldn’t see anything more spectacular, you see Logoa de Fogo for the first time! We chose an excellent day and it was mostly clear and the view was breathtaking. We decided to hike down to the shoreline and have a picnic (and beer, of course!) This hike is fairly steep on your way back as you literally hike straight down the hill. When viewing the lake, there are several pull out spots along the road. I recommend stopping at each one because you get a completely different perspective as well as other views of the island.
You now have a few different options depending what interests you. These are a few other options to choose from:
HIKE DOWN TO THE SHORELINE AT LOGOA DO FOGO
Sete Cidades, Boca do Inferno, Termas da Ferraria & Mosteiros Beach
Dare I say I’ve saved the best for last? Sete Cidades was even more beautiful than I envisioned it would be. There is limited parking available for the viewpoints, so I recommend parking in the overflow parking (during peak seasons) and walk the road because you will then be able to enjoy the views and also get some great pictures.
View From Boca Do Inferno
The well known viewpoint of Boca do Inferno (that is often featured on postcards and blogs like ours) will provide you the highest viewpoint on the island and a spectacular view. This is a must see viewpoint but can be tricky if the weather is bad. You may want to adjust the itinerary to make sure the day you are visiting it is a good weather day.
After leaving Sete Cidades, we headed to the Termas da Ferraria. This is an interesting spot because you have a natural pool where hot water from underground mixes with cold water coming in from the sea, to create a natural hot water pool. I I wouldn’t recommend staying here a long time. We just got in and experienced it and then stopped at the snack bar for a before heading to our next stop.
We ended the evening watching the sunset the black sand of Mosteiros Beach with an amazing view.
SUNSET AT MOSTEIROS BEACH
There is so many options to see and explore, I hope this Sao Miguel Azores itinerary will help you plan your trip. I hope you will visit soon and I am sure you will love the island as much as I do! If you are going to another island in the azores you could go from Terceira to Sao Miguel or vise versa.
Don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Things to See in Sao Miguel.
For a complete Sao Miguel Guide and ways to save money head here.
Click here for the top things to do in the other Azores Island Terceira or the Terceira Azores Guide.