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10 Must-Visit Places in São Miguel – Azores
This remote archipelago simply abounds with adventures; it is, in fact, the Hawaii of the mid-Atlantic. It has world-class whale watching, sailing, diving, hiking and canyoning; excellent surfing and other watersports; and rich opportunities for on horseback, or on bikes. Then there is the landscape itself: a wonderland of seething mud pots, fantastical caverns, and vivid crater lakes that speak of a volcanic origin.
1. Protected landscape of the Sete Cidades lake – One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal, it showcases the Green and Blue Lakes, which according to legend, were formed from the tears of a shepherd and a princess who shared a forbidden love. These lakes can be seen from the Vista do Rei (King’s View) Lookout, named after King D. Carlos and Queen D. Amélia to celebrate their visit to the island in 1901.
2. Fogo Lake – The Fogo (Fire) Lake is the second largest lake in the Island, and also the highest one, classified in 1974 as a Natural Reserve.
3. Caldeira Velha – A waterfall of warm, iron water where you can take a dip; it is located on the north slope of the Fogo Volcano.
4. Furnas Valley – Home of the lake and parish of Furnas. The valley’s typical smell of sulphur and the boiling, smoking hot springs are secondary evidence of volcanic activity.
5. Ponta da Ferraria – One of the most unique things about this spot is that it is a little natural swimming pool that is fed by a hot spring. The ocean temperature reaches 82 degrees Fahrenheit at low tide. And you can see that the spring itself is a scorching 141 degrees.
6. Ribeira dos Caldeirões Park – The Ribeira dos Caldeirões Park corresponds to a landscape valuation project that aimed at using for tourist purposes a set of water mills and the whole structure of paths that existed here, seeking to create an in loco museum.
7. Portas da Cidade – One of the most iconic monuments of Ponta Delgada, the Portas da Cidade (City Gates) were built in the eighteenth century. Composed of three arches, featuring in the middle the royal and the city’s coat of arms, these gates are the city’s postcard.
8. Terra Nostra Park – One of the most beautiful gardens in Europe, it features a thermal swimming pool and more than 2,000 different trees.
9. Vila Franca do Campo Islet – A nature reserve located approximately one half mile away from the coast, it features a salt water inlet inside. A popular spot for visitors during the summer.
10. Viewing Point of the Ponta do Sossego Garden – Part of the many viewing points of Nordeste, which are known for being carefully landscaped, the Ponta do Sossego Viewing Point is the most iconic of them all.
With liberalization of the airline industry making the islands more accessible than ever before, the Azores look well placed to finally capitalize on their vast potential as a world-leading example of sustainable tourism.
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