Best of São Miguel Island

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around São Miguel Island
Home to black sand beaches, volcanic craters and topaz lakes, São Miguel is an enchanting destination for outdoor adventures in the Azores. Dozens of hiking trails course over the lush hillsides and skirt the pristine coastline of this Azorean island — the largest in the archipelago. There’s also fabulous biking, sea kayaking and canyoning. When you need a break from adrenaline-fueled activities, you can take a scenic drive to immerse yourself in the lush landscape (it’s not called ilha verde, or “green island” for nothing). You can also go whale watching, visit historic sites of Ponta Delgada, or simply relax in steamy hot springs after a day of adventure. 

There’s much to experience on São Miguel, and you’ll need four or five days to make the most of your stay. You can’t leave the island without visiting the region surrounding Sete Cidades, with stunning blue and green lakes and magnificent viewpoints over the ancient caldera. Previous kimkim travelers have also hiked or biked the Cumeeiras Trail, São Miguel’s most dramatic trail, with stunning views along the crater rim. The Furnas Valley is another of the island’s wonders, and home to a volcanic caldera and geothermal spots of gurgling mudpots and steaming fumaroles. The valley also hides a 19th-century chapel, a forest-fringed waterfall and mineral-rich thermal pools. For something completely different, take a subterranean journey into the intriguing Gruta do Carvão, a lava tube that was formed over 5000 years ago. 
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São Miguel's crater lake of Sete Cidades
Map of The Azores, Lisbon & Porto - 11 Days
The Azores, Lisbon & Porto - 11 Days

Escape to the Azores on this 11-day itinerary that combines a remote island getaway with some of mainland Portugal's essential cultural highlights. Start in the Atlantic archipelago for four days of whale watching, caving, and hiking in the otherworldly landscapes of São Miguel Island. Then it's time to switch gears and head back to the mainland, where sightseeing, food tours, and wine tasting are on the menu as you make your way north from Lisbon to Porto.

Hike along volcanic craters in Sete Cidades
Map of Adventure to Lisbon & the Azores - 6 Days
Adventure to Lisbon & the Azores - 6 Days

In under a week, this adventurous itinerary takes you from the bustling streets of Lisbon to the remote Atlantic island of São Miguel. After visiting the highlights and hidden corners of Portugal's colorful capital, catch a flight to the Azores for three nights in a secluded paradise of lush greenery, volcanic lakes, and unspoiled beaches.

Play with the kids on the sandy beaches of the Azores
Map of Family Vacation in Portugal & the Azores  - 14 Days
Family Vacation in Portugal & the Azores - 14 Days

Get ready to check Portugal off your family's bucket list on this 14-day adventure! Start in Porto, where you'll take a foodie tour and try traditional Portuguese cuisine, cruise the river on a rabelo boat, and see the city via vintage car. Then it's off to Coimbra and Lisbon for tuk-tuk tours, the mysterious Mira De Aire Caves, and a day trip to whimsical Sintra. Finish up with a flight to the Azores for beach time, forest hikes, geothermal pools, and whale watching on São Miguel Island.

A scenic path along the coast of São Miguel Island
Map of Porto, Lisbon & the Azores - 13 Days
Porto, Lisbon & the Azores - 13 Days

Experience two vacations in one on this diverse 13-day journey through Portugal. Start on the mainland to tour the highlights of Lisbon and Porto (with a slew of fascinating day trips to the Douro Valley, Coimbra, and Sintra in between). Then it's time to jet off toward the remote Azores archipelago, where you'll spend four days exploring the volcanic landscapes, verdant scenery, and wild beaches of São Miguel Island.

Sunset over the lagoons of São Miguel Island in the Azores
Map of Lisbon, Porto & the Azores - 12 Days
Lisbon, Porto & the Azores - 12 Days

This 12-day adventure checks off Portugal's classic highlights before escaping to the untamed nature and remote beauty of the Azores. Embark on a perfect itinerary of day trips, culinary tours, and cultural excursions as you discover Lisbon and Porto, then set out across the Atlantic to explore volcanic valleys, crater lakes, and towering waterfalls on the magical island of São Miguel.

Other popular travel destinations in Portugal
Lisbon · Porto · Algarve · Évora · Alentejo · Douro Valley · Sintra · Lagos · Coimbra · Tomar · Nazaré · The Azores · Óbidos · Braga · Madeira · Funchal · Tavira · Sagres · Marvão · Guimarães · Peneda-Gerês National Park · Batalha · Mértola