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São Miguel Island

Outdoor Activities

Our most recommended São Miguel Island Outdoor Activities

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. Once whales have been 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.

Vila Franca do Campo: Kayak Rental

3. Vila Franca do Campo: Kayak Rental

Paddle along the unique coastline of Vila Franca do Campo. Rent a kayak anytime you want — it's a perfect activity for the whole family. All experience levels are welcome, and all equipment is provided. The kayaks you will be renting are safe and comfortable, and very difficult to flip. This rental is valid for one hour per person.

Azores: Vila Franca do Campo Islet Kayaking Experience

4. 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.

Sete Cidades: Half-Day ATV Quad Tour

5. Sete Cidades: Half-Day ATV Quad Tour

Drive a quad or ATV on this adventurous tour and experience the beauty of São Miguel Island. Reach the highest peaks of the mountains that surround Sete Cidades Volcano, dash along dirt roads, and absorb the incredible views of the lakes and ocean. Take the opportunity to visit some of the trails that are part of the Azores Airlines Rallye and enjoy both on-road and offroad moments. Expect adventure and stunning natural sights as your guides ensure your safety throughout the tour.

Sao Miguel: Caldeiroes Canyoning Experience

6. 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. The half-day tour takes approximately 3 hours. During this time you will have the possibility of doing rappels, jumps, slides and rock slides. The highest rappel will be 15 meters, with the highest jump being around 6 meters. 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. Throughout the full-day option you will stop for a picnic, later finishing the tour by returning back to town by car.

São Miguel Island: Sete Cidades Kayak Rental

7. São Miguel Island: Sete Cidades Kayak Rental

Venture onto the Lake of Sete Cidades, one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Savor breathtaking natural scenery aboard your canoe on a lake embedded in the crater of an amazing volcano. According to an ancient legend, this stunning lake was the result of a failed love story between a shepherd and a princess who were not meant to be together. The last time they met, the princess, who had blue eyes, cried so much that the Blue Lake was formed, while the shepherd's tears gave birth to the Green Lake. Admire the mystical colors of the 2 lakes located on the western part of São Miguel Island, and paddle your canoe out on the Blue Lake. Have fun canoeing for 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours, depending on the option selected.

Azores: Ribeira da Salga Canyoning Adventure

8. Azores: Ribeira da Salga Canyoning Adventure

Whether you're an experienced traveler or first-time adventurer, have a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a canyoning adventure in Ribeira da Salga. Visit one of the most astonishing places in the northeast part of the island of Sao Miguel, located between Lomba de S.Pedro and Salga parishes. Start your adventure with a quick security briefing and equipment distribution.  Afterward take a half-hour hike towards the location where you'll be able to jump, slide, and rappel down gorgeous water streams into crystal-clear natural pools. The highest rappel can go up to 16 meters, and the highest jump up to around 8 meters. If you are uncomfortable about jumping other options are available.

Azores: Canyoning in Salto do Cabrito

9. Azores: Canyoning in Salto do Cabrito

Relax and disconnect in a beautiful setting in this morning canyoning adventure in Salto do Cabrito. Explore the natural side of São Miguel Island hiking and canyoning through lush forests and cool streams.  Meet the guide in central Ponta Delgada or arrange pick up from your accommodation and travel in an air-conditioned van 20 minutes to Salto do Cabrito. Hike 30 minutes to the stream where an experienced guide will give a security briefing and distribute all the equipment needed for the activity. Once suited and ready to go, spend a few hours exploring the pools and waterfalls. For those who dare, there will be an opportunity to finish the tour with a 4-meter jump. A zipline is also available for those who'd prefer flying to jumping.

São Miguel Island: Full Day All-in-One Tour

10. São Miguel Island: Full Day All-in-One Tour

This tour gives you the unique opportunity to get to know São Miguel island as much as possible during a short stay. The tour will start early going in direction to Vista do Rei where you can enjoy the view over the Sete Cidades Lakes. From there the tour will take you up into the mountains to enjoy the view over the gorgeous Lagoa do Fogo. Then you will venture back down the mountains for a visit to Caldeira Velha, a protected nature reserve, where you will have the option to enjoy a bath in the warm water from a waterfall. The journey will then take you to the viewpoint of Santa Iria where you can see the gorgeous northern coast. Following the coastal views, you will visit the Gorreana tea plantation and its factory, where you can taste two different kinds of tea: black and green. The tour will continue on where you will be able to enjoy the amazing view over Furnas’ valley, and a stop will be made at Pico de Ferro’s viewpoint. Arriving in Furnas Village you will see some volcanic phenomena, known as fumaroles. You will then be able to have some lunch and eat the delicious famous Cozido das Furnas (or Furnas Stew), a gastronomic dish of Azores. After lunch, a stop in the Furnas Lake to see how the famous stew is cooked, then take a walk near the beautiful lake. Returning to Ponta Delgada and passing by Vila Franca do Campo, the first capital of São Miguel, located in the south coast, a last stop will be made at Ermida da Nossa Senhora Paz to enjoy the view to the famous Ilheú da Vila Franca. The tour will finish at your hotel or at the harbor.

Frequently asked questions about São Miguel Island Outdoor Activities

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Other Sightseeing Options in São Miguel Island

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What people are saying about São Miguel Island

Outing at sea in an excellent zodiac. The team took us directly after 20 or 30 minutes in the Zodiac to an area where we saw dozens and dozens of dolphins as well as a fin whale which stayed for a long time. We also saw a turtle and another species of "pilot" dolphins further. The team is professional and gives interesting information. We were lucky and the ocean was very calm. I recommend !

This tour is the way to go. The smaller boats reached the whales much faster than the larger catamarans, We were also able to see the animals a lot closer, especially the dolphins, than the larger boats.

Eat lightly before going. Great trip in the zodiac to see dolphins and whales. Lower your expectations and just enjoy to be happy with what nature reveals to you. Great biologist on board.

A great experience. Manuel and Álex took us to see whales and they succeeded: common dolphin playing with us and a sperm whale.

Great tour guide very efficient service, can't fault it!