The territory was discovered when the Portuguese were travelling the world by sea to find new lands and continents. São Miguel island was discovered in the 15th century, between 1426 and 1439. People from the continent started to settle in the territory in 1444.
The island has a volcanic nature, which means that the island began to exist after a massive volcanic eruption. In São Miguel, the volcanos are not in the known shape of a pyramid. Currently, the extinct volcanos are beautiful lakes that make the landscapes of the Azores breath taking. Usually, the weather is warm in the São Miguel, however, there is a lot of humidity in the air, which may make it difficult to breathe as soon as arriving on the island, but visitors get used to it after a few minutes.
When visiting the Azores people should bring their driving license. The best way to arrive on the island is by plane, which can be taken from Lisbon or Porto airport, more easily. In São Miguel airport, there are rental cars available to the visitors. To visit some of the most amazing landscapes of Portugal, visitors should rent a car to enjoy all the beauties that São Miguel has to offer.
Personally, the lakes are the most beautiful attraction on the island. During this article, I will enumerate some of the most iconic lakes that exist on the island.
Lagoa do Fogo
Lagoa do Fogo, or Lake of Fire in English, is located near Ribeira Grande and was formed 15,000 years ago and has been classified as a natural reserve since 1974. The lake has an area of around 130 hectares. However, visiting this lake may be a little bit tricky. Once arriving at the place, it is very likely to not see anything because of the fog. But the patient will win here, just wait a few minutes and be amazed by the beauty of this place.
Lagoa das Sete Cidades
Lagoa das Sete Cidades is probably the most well-known lake in São Miguel. The lake has two different colours. On one side the water is blue, while on the other it seems green. Of course, it has conceived a legend about a princess and a farmer that fell in love. The father of the princess did not allow the marriage and forbade his daughter to visit the farmer again. On their last date, the princess and the farmer cried a lot. The princess had blue eyes, which filled the blue part of the lake, the farmer, who had green eyes, filled the green part of the lake with tears. The lake was classified as Protected Landscape by Rede Natura 2000.
Azores - Sao Miguel
Azores - Sao Miguel
Lagoa do Canário
Located in the municipality of Ponta Delgada, this lake integrates the Forest Park of Mata do Canário. This place sometimes is forgotten by travellers, as they only can see it from the viewpoint. Right next to the lake the silence remains. It is a place where peace rules and visitors hear nothing but birds singing and the sound of the water and wind.
Visiting São Miguel and not visiting Parque Terra Nostra should not be allowed. The park has one of the most beautiful botanic gardens in Portugal, as well as outside volcanic pools, where visitors may have a bath. The water of the main pool is brown, due to its iron composition. The temperature of the water will probably be around 40ºC. Recently, another two hot water pools were added in the park, however, they are smaller than the main attraction. To swim and enjoy the baths, the visitor should wear old swimming suits, as they may not be used again after the bath, because the iron of the pool will probably be impossible to wash out.
Still located in Ribeira Grande, there is a place called Caldeira Velha, where people can also enjoy natural hot baths. There are three natural pools filled with water that comes from a magnificent waterfall. In the three pools, the temperature of the water varies from 26 to 38ºC. Just like in Parque Terra Nostra, it is advisable to wear old swimsuits, as the iron present in the water may not be washed away from clothes. To access the baths, adult visitors, from 15 to 64 years old, pay an €8 entrance fee.
Ponta Delgada is the main town of the island. The town also has a lot to visit, namely the Portas da Cidade. They are composed of three arches made with regional rocks. These doors welcome the visitors and residents of the Ponta Delgada, foreshadowing the beauty of the city. Right next to the sea, this city has amazing architecture where the colour brown stands out. Almost all the old buildings have brown and white as the main colours. Probably, because it was the colour of the most abundant construction material on the island.
In the city, there is also a plantation of the well-known Azores pineapple. Visitors can see the greenhouses where the fruit is being planted, as well as enjoy a juice, for example, made with this natural gem that can only be found in the Azores.
The Azores is a hidden gem in Portugal, as it is not as visited by tourists as the other Portuguese archipelago, Madeira. The archipelago and São Miguel have a lot of potential and incredible places to visit. But beware: when driving visitors must be careful because you never know if you are going to meet a herd of cows around the corner!