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Things to do in

São Miguel Island

Our most recommended things to do in São Miguel Island

Azores Whale Watching Expedition and Islet Boat Tour

1. Azores Whale Watching Expedition and Islet Boat Tour

This 2.5-hour excursion begins with an introduction to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and other marine species, their natural habitat, communication, migration and behavioral patterns. After the briefing, board the designated boat and head out to sea. The boat will approach the whales slowly and carefully as the naturalist guides and marine biologists on board provide commentary. The boat trip also includes a tour around the Princess Ring Islet of Vila Franca do Campo, for an up-close look at the volcano and resident wildlife. Light food is permitted on board, and a camera is essential to capture the wildlife you spot on the tour.

São Miguel Azores: Half-Day Whale Watching Trip

2. São Miguel Azores: Half-Day Whale Watching Trip

Enjoy a half-day whale watching trip in the Azores, one of the ‘top ten’ whale-watching spots in the world, and get the opportunity to meet the ocean giants in their natural habitat. Meet the boat crew and get a short briefing about safety and code of ethics and then put on your life vest and head out in the ocean. Listen as the crew follows the instructions given by radio from the lookouts placed in strategic points along the coastline using military-grade binoculars to find and communicate the position of the animals. Take comfort that the crew has a 99% success rate of sightings. If whales are spotted it´s time to enjoy the company of these magnificent animals, always keeping a safe and respectful distance. It´s usual that more than one group of whales and dolphins are observed per trip. On the way back to the marina, observe the geological formations of the island as the boat sails close to the coastline. If no Whales or Dolphins are spotted, you will receive a full refund, or you can book another trip for free.

Sao Miguel: Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience

3. Sao Miguel: Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience

Discover the diverse green vegetation, clear and fresh waterfalls and old water mills on this adventurous canyoning tour through the forest. Unless you choose the option with pickup from Ponta Delgada, your adventure starts at Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões, one of the most popular natural areas in the Nordeste region.  The activity starts with you picking up your safety equipment, followed by a short walk of about 20 minutes. Once at the entry point to the stream, listen to a safety briefing.  Along the route there will be vertical challenges at waterfalls, which you will combat with the technique of abseiling. The highest waterfall is 8 meters in height. In between there are short walking sections, as well as a more playful area with a slide and jump of about 5 meters.

São Miguel West: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

4. São Miguel West: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

Explore the highlights of the western half of São Miguel island on this guided tour by van. Discover the famous crater lakes of Sete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo, picturesque waterfalls, amazing cliffs, and stunning rock formations around the coast of the island. Start with a visit to Ribeira Grande, one of the most picturesque towns of the Azores, followed by a surprising view of some amazingly beautiful cliffs on the North coast. Then travel to the inner areas of the island to see the gorgeous waterfall of Salto do Cabrito, surrounded by wild vegetation. Drive to the top of Fogo Volcano to enjoy views of the most pristine and magical of the crater lakes of São Miguel. From the top of the mountain, enjoy the stunning views over a large portion of the island. After a tasty meal to restore your energy levels, head to Sete Cidades, to understand why this is considered by the postcard of the Azores. Enjoy views from two completely different perspectives over the famous twin lakes.  End the day in Mosteiros, on the western coast of the island, where the lava rocks have formed enchanting small islets and natural pools.

Azores: Vila Franca do Campo Islet Kayaking Experience

5. Azores: Vila Franca do Campo Islet Kayaking Experience

Paddle along the beautiful coastline of Vila Franca de Campo. Choose between the morning or afternoon tour and embark on a kayaking adventure suitable for families with children. The level is appropriate for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. Your professional instructor will make sure that everyone feels safe and comfortable. Get geared with the necessary equipment for your kayak tour. Then, receive a safety briefing from your instructor before heading out onto the waters. This tour takes you on a 4.5 kilometer stretch along the beautiful Vila Franca do Campo Islet. During the excursion, you may take a dip into the refreshing waters and try some snorkeling.

São Miguel: Glass Bottom Boat Tour with Snorkeling

6. São Miguel: Glass Bottom Boat Tour with Snorkeling

Discover the life that lies deep in the Azores Sea from the comfort of this glass-bottom boat, with an expert crew and guide. Your adventure begins at Vila Franca do Campo Marina. A biologist will give you a briefing about the itinerary and then you can set off. Learn about the marine life, nature, and historical curiosities of Vila Franca do Campo. You can spot the unique sea life of the protected area and observe the seabirds and crustaceans that fill the islet landscape. The biologist will help you identify the species, but you can expect to see everything from colorful shoals of fish, to starfish, sea cucumbers, and underwater volcanic activity. When you want to cool off you can go for a swim and snorkel, and get closer to some of the wildlife you've been spotting.

Sao Miguel: Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience

7. Sao Miguel: Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience

After either gathering at the meeting point or being collected from your accommodation, you will make your way to Parque da Ribeira dos Caldeirões, located in the north-east part of the island. It takes around 45 minutes to drive from Ponta Delgada. Get the chance to do rappels, jumps, slides, and rock slides. Start your adventure by trying your first decent, abseiling alongside a waterfall of around 5 meters. Continue your way down the river on an exciting water slide (toboggan), followed by the first jump of around 2 meters in height. Then enjoy wading through the river as you approach the second abseil of around 7 meters which ends in a natural pool. There will be some time for the equipment distribution with the help of your guides before you take a short hike in order to approach the stream followed by a security briefing. On average it is about a 20 to 35-minute hike, depending on the pace of the group. During the full-day option, you will stop for a picnic, and later finish the tour by returning back to town by car.

São Miguel East: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

8. São Miguel East: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

Explore the highlights of the western half of São Miguel island on a guided tour by van. Discover the hot springs at Furnas, the waterfall at Ribeira dos Caldeirões, as well as the remote rugged beauty of the Nordeste region. Enjoy the beautiful scenery along the northern coast of the island until you get to the Santa Iria Lookout, with a spectacular, ample view of the north coast in both directions, before continuing to Furnas. Find yourself in Furnas and admire a spectacular panoramic stop to gaze over the lake and town. Descend where you will be given the choice of visiting the geothermal fields and tasting the sparkling waters, or bathing in the hot springs, for an additional fee. Next, discover a traditional way of cooking as your lunch of cozido (stew) is pulled from the warm volcanic soil. In the afternoon, continue the journey eastward, with a stop at the charming waterfall of Ribeira dos Caldeirões.  Explore Nordeste, the most unexplored and rural part of the island. Visit two amazing lookouts over the high cliffs that characterize the East coast of São Miguel, before returning to Ponta Delgada.

Azores: Sete Cidades Scenic 4WD Tour from Ponta Delgada

9. Azores: Sete Cidades Scenic 4WD Tour from Ponta Delgada

Get off the usual tourist trail on a 3-hour 4WD tour of the Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) region of the Azores island of São Miguel, departing from Ponta Delgada. Traveling by 4WD vehicle, you will experience the dramatic scenery of the volcanic crater and its flora and fauna in a more immersive fashion.  Drive to the mountain top to look down on the 2 impressive lakes of the caldera (basin), one with blue water (Lagoa Azul) and the other with green water (Lagoa Verde). Along the way, take in many other picturesque spots of São Miguel, including the peaceful lakes of Lagoa das Empadadas, Lagoa de Santiago, and Lagoa do Carvão.  Enjoy stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, volcanic cones, and stretches of green, and go to villages that have played a vital role in the story of the island.

Furnas: East São Miguel Island Nature Tour

10. Furnas: East São Miguel Island Nature Tour

After being collected from your accommodation, begin your tour of the beautiful natural landmarks of São Miguel. Discover a region abundant with beautiful scenery, lush landscapes, and fantastic viewpoints. Take a tour of Plantações de Chá Gorreana, the oldest tea plantations in Europe. See the only fields of tea in Europe, and whilst at the plantation, you can sample the tea for free and roam around the fields. After that, head to Furnas to explore the valley and take a dip in the hot springs to relax a bit and connect with nature. After the visit to the hot springs, you can purchase some lunch in Furnas. After lunch, visit the lagoon and roam around a bit to enjoy the surroundings. When the visit to the lagoon is finished it's time to head to Vila Franca to have a look at the world-famous islet. Finish the tour in Ponta Delgada with a visit to the pineapple plantations.

Frequently asked questions about São Miguel Island

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What people are saying about São Miguel Island

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 4,273 reviews

Incredible experience! We saw the most amazing places which as the title states are ‘hidden gems’! Fernando was our friendly guide for the day, who was so knowledgeable about the Azores! He made the tour so much fun & we all thoroughly enjoyed our day! Lunch was delicious - with an abundance of different foods to sample! This tour is completely different to all the other tours we booked - and finished our holiday off just perfectly!

I highly recommend booking this excursion. Furnas is such a beautiful place, especially at night. The hot springs are so relaxing - with different types of pools to experience! Paulo is a fantastic & knowledgeable guide - who made the experience even more special! Delicious authentic food at a local restaurant - relaxed atmosphere and quiet location!

We booked this tour to cover both sides of the island, the views on this tour were just spectacular. Vera was a really good tour guide she managed to squeeze in so much for us.

Guide was absolutely fantastic, and an activity that he took very setriously and made it completely safe! So much fun!

This was a really great tour, our guide was really friendly and took us to some beautiful places.