- Take a whale-watching tour in São Miguel
- Kayak across the volcanic lake of Sete Cidades
- Relax in the hot springs of the Furnas Valley
- Go canyoning on the island of Terceira
|Day 1||Arrive in São Miguel & Explore Ponta Delgada||São Miguel Island|
|Day 2||Visit the Lagoons of Western São Miguel||São Miguel Island|
|Day 3||Whale Watching & Drive to Furnas via Central São Miguel||Furnas|
|Day 4||Experience the Volcanic Activity of the Furnas Valley||Furnas|
|Day 5||Exploring Eastern São Miguel's Pristine Landscape||Furnas|
|Day 6||Fly to Terceira & Enjoy Angra do Heroísmo||Angra do Heroísmo|
|Day 7||Self-Guided Tour of Terceira||Angra do Heroísmo|
|Day 8||Drive to Lajes Airport & Depart Terceira|
Day 1: Arrive in São Miguel & Explore Ponta Delgada
Welcome to the Azores, known for their diverse ecosystems, lush nature, and epic geological formations. This archipelago of nine volcanic islands sits 870 miles (1,400 km) west of Lisbon and was colonized by Portugal in the 15th century. Upon landing at the airport in Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel, pick up your rental car and head to your accommodations.
Day 2: Visit the Lagoons of Western São MiguelTake the day to explore the western side of São Miguel. Drive the coastal route, which includes access to São Miguel's region of lagoons. Among the highlights of this area, you'll find Sete Cidades, a lake in the crater of a dormant volcano. Sete Cidades is a favorite place for hikers, which can also be explored with a kayak or canoe. Another must-see sight is the Ponta da Ferraria, a warm pool in the middle of volcanic rocks formed from a mix of hot springs and seawater.
Day 3: Whale Watching & Drive to Furnas via Central São Miguel
Begin the day with a spectacular whale-watching tour. Spot one (or more) of the 20 different species of whales in the Azores and keep an eye out for schools of dolphins swimming nearby. After this tour, drive east to Furnas to spend a few days on a different part of the island. Stop at some fascinating places along the way, like the hot springs and refreshing waterfalls of the Caldeira Velha. Don't miss the incredible view over the Lagoa do Fogo.
For lagoon lovers, another option is the Lagoa do Congro. This beautiful, hidden, and underrated spot has some of the best views around. Caloura is a small bay surrounded by high cliffs if you're looking for a great place to swim. Near Caloura, you can get on a dinghy to visit Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo, an islet off the southern coast of São Miguel. This is a perfect place to snorkel and see some of the Azores' fantastic sea creatures.
Day 4: Experience the Volcanic Activity of the Furnas Valley
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Today is about discovering the Furnas Valley, the center of São Miguel's volcanic activity and home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the Azores. Highlights include the village of Furnas, which is famous for its hot springs and fumaroles (volcanic vents), as well as the Terra Nostra Garden, where you can go for a plunge into its natural hot waters. Those looking for more thermal pool options can also check out the Poça da Dona Beija.
Don't miss the Furnas Lagoon, where you can try a cozido das Furnas. This special stew is made by placing a pan in a hole in the ground, which gets cooked by geothermal heat. The Lagoa do Congro is also a stunning and isolated lagoon surrounded by lush vegetation. After spending the day exploring the Furnas Valley, return to the village of Furnas to spend the night.
Day 5: Exploring Eastern São Miguel's Pristine Landscape
Head to the eastern side of São Miguel today to explore some of its most pristine areas. This side of São Miguel produces some of the island's famed agricultural products, but among the orange groves and wheat fields are hidden treasures. Start at the picturesque waterfalls of Ribeira dos Caldeirões Park. If you're a thrill-seeker or just want to have a different kind of experience in the Azores, you can go canyoning in this protected park.
Afterward, travel along the eastern coast, stopping at stunning viewpoints like Ponta da Madrugada and Ponta do Sossego. If you feel like going deeper into nature, you can visit the Pico da Vara in the center of Laurissilva. This rare variety of subtropical forest is only found in a few archipelagos in the northern Atlantic.
Day 6: Fly to Terceira & Enjoy Angra do Heroísmo
Drive to the Ponta Delgada airport to drop off your car and fly to the island of Terceira, which is just a short flight away. Once you land at Lajes Airport, pick up your rental car, and head to your accommodations in Angra do Heroísmo (or Angra for short). This UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded in the late 15th century. During its storied past, it was the seat of the Bishop of the Azores and became the capital of Portugal during the civil war of 1828-1834.
Day 7: Self-Guided Tour of Terceira
Today is all yours to explore the island of Terceira. Consider starting with the impressive volcanic chimney/chamber of Algar do Carvão or the Serra do Cume viewpoint, which offers panoramic views over the island. Pack your swimsuit if you want to take a dip in the natural pools of Biscoitos. Meaning "cookies" in Portuguese, these remarkable rock formations were formed by ancient volcanic basalt that cooled to create swimming holes and ridges along the coast.
Keep an eye out for Terceira's various impérios. These small, colorful temples and shrines devoted to the Holy Spirit are scattered around the island. While primarily used around Easter time, they're a feast for the eyes at any time of year, thanks to their impressive structures and vibrant colors, which stand out against Terceira's landscape.
Day 8: Drive to Lajes Airport & Depart Terceira
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