What to do in São Miguel

Lagoa Sao Miguel

Discover what to do in Sao Miguel for activities, where to go on excursions and how to have fun during your holiday.

Hiking and natural beauty

The island is ideal for hiking. The attractive landscape offers a range of breathtaking scenery, and the local year-round green and blooming very rugged landscape is the main thing tourists come to São Miguel for.

Every climb up the volcano will be an experience. São Miguel offers a variety of different treks, which are described in great detail on the official tourist website trails.visitazores.com, for example.

There are many cyclical routes to choose from, the best ones being Serra Devassa (trek across volcanoes to lakes), Moinhos da Ribeira Funda (trek to abandoned water mills) or Faial de Terra (trek across waterfalls to an abandoned village). Full descriptions of all the treks can be found in the link above.

The most popular places for hiking are the area of the huge caldera with the Sete Cidades lakes or the area around Lake Furnas.

Shorter treks can be done absolutely anywhere you can park your car. After all, travelling around the island by car with many short stops and walks is one of the most popular activities on São Miguel.

Book a hotel on São Miguel in advance

Thermal pools

Apart from hiking, another main draw of the island is visiting the many thermal springs in which it is common to bathe. Thermal iron water springs up in dozens of places on the island, with the following locations being among the most popular:

Whale and dolphin watching

The Azores Islands also attract visitors with cruises that offer dolphin watching, as well as whale watching.

The main whale watching season is from April to October. Between April and May, large whales such as fin whales are more abundant, while humpback whales arrive in October. Smaller dolphins can be seen at almost any time.

Cruises are organised for half a day (about 3 hours) are quite expensive - between 70 eur and 110 eur for half a day. As the waters around the island are full of marine mammals, a cruise is an unforgettable experience.

Agency examples:

In the larger centres you can enjoy the sunset on a catamaran, scuba diving or swimming with dolphins. The offices also offer various jeep safaris. If you have just a little courage, you can wander the countryside on your own.

Beaches and swimming

Despite the wild coastline, San Miguel offers many places suitable for swimming. Although the number of sandy beaches is not large, there are many places where you can find rocky shores that are suitable for entering the water. Just drive around the island and stop at the places you like, there are dozens of them.


That being said, one of the attractions for visitors to the island are the viewpoints. These are always landscaped to make the stop as comfortable as possible. The so-called Parque de Merendas are also frequent, sometimes they are at the viewpoints, sometimes they are just along the roads. These are resting places in nature with benches and barbecues. It's no problem to stop here and spend an afternoon or evening barbecuing or just sitting down for a picnic.

For botanists

Lovers of botanical gardens will find the Terra Nostra Park captivating, but the parks in the capital are also worth a visit. The Azores are teeming with exotic plant species, making every nature walk a unique experience.

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