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5 Reasons to Visit São Miguel, The Azores

If you are looking for a unique holiday destination, São Miguel certainly ticks all the boxes. It is the largest of the 9 Azorean islands and offers some of the most beautiful and unforgettable landscapes on the planet. Aside from the views, the island is also rich in history and culture, geothermal activity and boasts some of the best whale and dolphin watching in Europe. São Miguel is a place to come and explore, but also relax, with a strong undiscovered vibe. If you are still not convinced, read on for our 5 top reasons to visit São Miguel.

Sao Miguel The Azores

#1 Sustainable Tourism

The Azores have only recently begun to grow in popularity as a holiday destination, leaving many parts still untouched by tourism. As a result, the Azores has become one of the best spots in the world for sustainable tourism. You can find plenty of sustainable options across São Miguel from accommodation to activities that respect and have a low impact on the local culture and environment. One of our favourite places to stay in São Miguel is Minuvida, a stunning lodge in a traditional Azorean orchard. Located on the slopes of Fogo volcano, Minuvida offers sustainable accommodation with guided hikes, yoga, local cuisine and the opportunity to really discover São Miguel with local people. Relax, explore and feel at home in the best company with Minuvida.


#2 Unique Cuisine

São Miguel is home to some truly unique dishes. If you live on a volcanic island full of hot springs and geothermal vents, why not put them to use? The people of Furnas have harnessed Mother Nature and use the heat of the geothermal vents to cook the traditional local stew! The Cozido das Furnas is a mixture of meats and vegetables in a pot which is lowered into the vents for 6 hours. Once it is unearthed the meat falls away from on the bone and has a deliciously unique Azorean flavour. Where else in the world will you be able to say you ate food cooked by the Earth itself?!

Sao Miguel Sea Views

#3 Gorgeous Lakes

Over the thousands of years that the Azores have been shaped by volcanic activities it has seen the rise and fall of volcanic peaks. Craters that were once boiling with lava and hot ash are now full of startlingly blue water creating some breath-taking lakes. During your visit to São Miguel you have to visit the twin lakes of Sete Cidades. This wonderful site has been formed by two separate craters right next to each other with a very unique green blue hue. You can hike to nearby viewpoints for the best postcard perfect views of the lakes and the island. Another striking lake is the pristine Lagoa do Fogo, high in the mountains. Its name can be translated as Fire Lake from its former life as a volcanic crater, but now it couldn’t be more different with lush green vegetation and azure blue water. It is part of a nature reserve, so swimming or fishing in the late is forbidden, but the views alone are worth the hike!


#4 Whale Watching

Many species of whales and dolphins either make the Azores their home or pass through as part of their migration route, making it an ideal place to see these magnificent animals in the wild. See nature’s giant, the blue whale up close and see bottlenose dolphins in their element. It is also the perfect way to see São Miguel from a different perspective and see some of the other islands during your trip. There are many great tour options available and most whale watching companies are based at either Ponta Delgada or Vila Franca do Campo marinas.

Whale Watching in the Azores

#5 Relax in Nature

As São Miguel is not quite yet on the tourist map, you can enjoy the island without the crowds, especially during the off-peak periods. The island’s beautiful nature is best explored on foot and you can easily have the trails to yourself as you make your way through unforgettable valleys of lush green vegetation. If you are looking for something a bit less active, then head to one of the island’s black sand beaches or unwind with a yoga session whilst surrounded by nature. There are plenty of opportunities to escape and get away from it all on São Miguel!