Things to Do in Azores
Nature lovers will find plenty to marvel at in the Azores, but the otherworldly volcanic landscape of São Miguel Island’s Sete Cidades is one of the archipelago’s most magnificent natural wonders. The massive caldera has two lakes: one blue and one green.
Looming 2,600 feet (800 meters above sea level, Pico do Carvão Viewpoint (Miradouro do Pico do Carvão offers panoramic views of Sao Miguel, the largest island in the Azores archipelago. From the lookout point, you can see volcanic cones, lakes, and the Atlantic Ocean.
With its startling blue-green waters fringed by forested-hillsides and dotted with hot springs, fumaroles and bubbling mud pots, the crater lake of Furnas Lake (Lagoa das Furnas) is one of Azores’ most enchanting natural wonders. Located in one of Furnas’ two ancient calderas, the lake offers the opportunity to explore a volcanic landscape up close. Hiking and canoeing tours are popular ways to get around.
As well as soaking up the other-worldly scenery, a tour to Furnas Lake is best combined with a visit to the nearby Terra Nostra thermal springs, famous for their mineral-rich waters, and a stop at Furnas village, where you can taste local specialty,cozido, a meal cooked up on sizzling-hot volcanic soil.
Characterized by babbling brooks, waterfalls, and vivid bursts of hydrangea flowers, Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park (Parque Natural dos Caldeirões is a protected area that showcases the natural beauty of São Miguel island, part of the Azores archipelago in Portugal.
A site of volcanic activity for more than 100,000 years, the village of Furnas is a thermal hotbed, home to geysers, hot springs, even volcanic steam–powered ovens (called cozidos. Located on the island of São Miguel, Furnas’ springs and mud baths are said to have therapeutic properties, while nearby Furnas Lake offers tranquil views.
The islet of Vila Franca do Campo is a designated nature reserve formed by an ancient volcanic eruption off the south shore of São Miguel—the largest of Portugal’s Azores islands. Whale-watching cruises voyage in the waters beyond, while swimmers and snorkelers explore the nearly perfect circular lagoon in the islet’s sunken crater.