São Miguel is the largest island in the Portuguese Azores archipelago, and well worth a visit. São Miguel is known for it’s pristine nature, waterfalls, hydrangea lined roads, rich marine life, and so much more! We spent 8 days exploring the Island this July, and loved every moment of our stay. But you can easily explore São Miguel in less time, 5 full days would be the bare minimum… I will detail out an itinerary for you, keep reading. I’ll keep it short and to the point.
Getting around: While every blog post you read will say you NEED a rental car to explore the island, I’m here to tell you, you don’t. Find accommodations centrally located, where you can walk to some beaches, restaurants & markets. Explore the island with a combination of Taxi’s and organized tours.
Things to do: Surprisingly on an Island that is only 290 square miles, roughly 40 miles long and 9 miles wide, there is so much to do! I operate off google maps, I love that you can download the map and use it offline (without wifi, or cell service). You can use my itinerary in google maps as a reference for planning your visit to São Miguel. 5 full days would be the bare minimum that you need to see the Island, but the more time the better!
Itinerary: how to see São Miguel in 5 days. There is no specific order to the days, but to really enjoy the view of Sete Cidades you need a clear day.
- Day 1- Nordeste
- Day 2- Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo
- Day 3- Sete Cidades
- Day 4- Furnas
- Day 5- Lagoa do Fogo & Caloura
Day 1 Nordeste: We did this on a private full day tour with Green Zone Azores, roughly 8 hours, from 9am – 5pm. We did a clockwise loop, starting on the North End of the island, then headed south along the coast, and finished our day at the beach.
- Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões
- Miradouro da Vista dos Barcos
- Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego
- Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada
- Miradouro do Pico Longo
- Alameda dos Plátanos
- Praia do Fogo
Day 2 Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo: We took a taxi which cost 25Euro each way. Tickets are available for purchase at the end of the marina at Bilheteira Ilhéu de Vila França do Campo, it is a small white booth, you can’t miss it. There are 400 tickets available daily, and boats run on the hour from 10:00am till 6:00pm. Return boats run hourly 10 past the hour starting at 10:10am till 6:10pm. On beautiful sunny days the crescent beach inside the island gets hot, the sun reflects, so make sure to wear sunblock, and prepare for the suns rays. The island can get busy, so try to be on the first boat over.
Day 3 Sete Cidades: We did this on a private half day tour with Green Zone Azores, roughly 4.5 hours, from 9am – 12:30pm. We did the white road around the rim of the craters which is only accessible by 4×4. *If I were to do this again, I would add in the hike to Miradouro da Boca do Inferno.
- Azorean Pineapple Plantation
- Aqueduto do Carvão
- Muro das Nove Janelas
- White Road around the craters
- Miradouro das Cumeeiras
- Sete Cidades
- Miradouro da Vista do Rei
- Miradouro da Lagoa de Santiago
- Miradouro da Boca do Inferno
Day 4 Furnas: We did this on a private full day tour with Green Zone Azores, roughly 8 hours, from 9am – 5pm. Definitely spend a whole day exploring Furnas, or even stay overnight at Furnas Boutique Hotel. It is like you are on another planet, exploring the sulfur thermals, seeing food cooked in the ground, and swimming in thermal waters.
- Furnas Lake
- Furnas Village
- Capela de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias
- Antigo Pomar das Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas
- Restaurante Vale Das Furnas
- Parque Terra Nostra
- Gorreana Tea Factory
Day 5 Lagoa do Fogo & Caloura: We did a half day private tour with Green Zone Azores, then finished the day by Taxi to Caloura. Where we swam in Agua de Pau, and had an amazing seafood dinner at Bar Caloura.
- Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo
- Caldeira Velha
- Salto do Cabrito
- Bar Caloura
- Agua de Pau