Ribeira dos Caldeirões


This stunning site, which is a combination of botanical garden, open-air museum and mountain valley, is located near the village of Achada.

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The Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park will captivate you with its wild yet manicured nature, the rich green colours of the trees and grass, and the romantic stone water mills scattered across the mountainside.

Garden of Macaronesia

The Ribeira dos Caldeirões Nature Reserve is aptly nicknamed the 'Garden of Macaronesia', a collective name for the islands in the eastern Atlantic from the Azores to Madeira.

In a small area of about 15 hectares, you will find perhaps all the typical plants of Macaronesia, from lush and colourful hydrangeas and rhododendrons, to huge ferns that look more like palm trees, to dense forests of cryptometria, evergreen conifers that create a rainforest feel.

The highlight of this "garden" is the large waterfall falling from the slopes of the Serra da Tronqueira, which feeds the Ribeira dos Caldeirões.

Water mills

One of the highlights of the natural park is the five old water mills in the deep valley of the river, reminiscent of the peaceful landscape of Hobbitín from The Lord of the Rings.

Dating back to the 16th century, the mills are of immense historical value to the area as they have provided livelihoods for the entire nearby region for many years. The stone pitorean miller's houses are also beautiful, and you can visit a small ethnographic museum and gift shop in one of them.

Entrance fees and opening hours

The Ribeira dos Caldeirões Nature Reserve is open 24 hours a day for free, there is no need to buy any tickets or book in advance.

Accommodation in the old mill

Experience the atmosphere of the old days to the full and stay directly in one of the former stone mills. Beautiful family apartments with a simple name Ribeira dos Caldeirões. Prices around130 eur per night are very reasonable, considering that one apartment can accommodate up to 4 adults.

How to get there?

The nature reserve is located near the main ring road near the village of Achada and there is free parking right at the entrance to the village with the mills. From Ponta Delgada, you'll be 46 km from here, see the route map.

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There is also a bus line 105 that passes by Ribeira dos Caldeirões 4 times a day, running from Ponta Delgada via Ribeira Grande to Vila do Nordeste. Unfortunately the current timetables are not available online, only the 2013 version.

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