What to do in Sao Miguel - Azores

Planning a visit to Sao Miguel in a few weeks and feeling a bit overwhelmed with choices? We get it. When we initially landed on the island, deciding on our first activities was a challenge. Now that we've gained a better understanding, we're excited to share our insights with you.

6 minute read


Viewpoints and Miradouros, Lakes and Lagoons, Hot Springs, Hikes and Walks, Food and Dishes.


The possibilities seem endless for first-time visitors to São Miguel. In this article, we aim to assist you in making decisions and provide an overview of the myriad things to do on this stunning Azorean Island.

Tip: Keep revisiting this article as your trip approaches. As we continue to explore and reminisce about our time, we'll consistently add new spots to enhance your experience.

Visit the Viewpoints and Miradouros of São Miguel

Let's dive right into one of our favorites: the viewpoints, also known as Miradouro, scattered across the island. Whenever you spot a sign leading to one, hit the brakes and take a moment to explore. Even after one year on the island we keep finding new ones. Therefore make sure to just stop at ones not listed here as well and create your own itinerary as you explore the island. While nearly all of them offer spectacular views, be sure to make a stop at:

- Miradouro Santa Iria (if you're lucky, catch a glimpse of surfers in the cove on the left side)

- Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego (perfect for a beautiful sunrise)

- Miradouro do Pico dos Bodes (a fun observation deck – on clear days, you might spot Santa Maria from there)

- Miradouro do Pico do Ferro (providing a view over Furnas Lake – Lagoa das Furnas)

- Miradouro do Ilhéu de Rosto de Cão

- Miradouro da Ilha Sabrina (located next to the ocean hot springs and amazing for a sunset)

Extra Tip for the Sunset Lovers: Check if Sunset Steve's Bar (Piscinas Naturais) is open. It's the best spot for drinks during the sunset on São Miguel.

Lakes? Who said Lakes?

When it comes to lakes, you can hardly make a wrong choice; each one is beautiful and offers different activities. Lagoa da Fogo is perfect for a 360-degree view of the island (on sunny days, of course), while Lagoa das Furnas is better if you're into sports or looking to start various hikes. For instance, explore Grena Park (be mindful not to lose your entrance ticket to avoid double charges) or Mata Jardim Jose do Canto (a scenic hike to a waterfall and more affordable than Grena).

If you park near the beautiful old church (Capela de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias), you can also walk to Grena Park and the Fumarolas where the Cozido das Furnas is cooked. Other notable lakes include Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde in Cete Cidades. There you can also rent kayaks or a little boat to tour the lake on your own. Sometime you can also rent bikes to drive along the shore.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for clouds over the mountain tops on the west side of the island. If it's clear, hop in the car and be sure to visit Miradouro da Grota do Inferno.

If you decide to explore Miradouro da Grota do Inferno, follow the tip above and take a walk down to Lagoa Canario. This is another lake worth seeing if you're in the area. On your way down to Cete Cidades, make a stop at Miradouro da Lagoa de Santiago.

One of our favorite hikes includes visits to several lakes, namely Lagoa Rasa, Lagoas Empadadas, and a few smaller ones. For a great route, check AllTrails and park at the Carvão Aqueduct. If the sky is clear, don't miss another viewpoint along the way! Make sure you find it on our map and check it out! The last lake, which may be of interest if you're in Vila Franca and heading north toward Ribeira Grande or the Gorreana Tea Plantation (or vice versa), is Lagoa do Congro.

A Person at the Lagoas Empadadas lake
The lakes are always a happy place :)

Hi we're Sarah & Gregor
We love unconventional adventures and exploring ruins. You can typically find us petting a cat, fermenting veggies, surfing (trying to anyway), or writing another article for you to enjoy.