São Miguel, the main island of the Azores when we look at inhabitants, events and accessibility, is many times just a stop over to get to other islands of the Azores. If you’re looking for things to do on São Miguel in one day, read further.
We visited São Miguel on a one-day stopover and share some of the options to make the most out of your stay.
Check out our tips and tricks to enjoy São Miguel in one day:
Rent a scooter and join a boat trip
If you’re an adventurous traveler and like to have the independence to go where and when you want, renting a scooter in São Miguel is awesome!
We rented the scooter for half a day and managed to get to the main must-sees of the island in no time. Besides, you can enjoy the surroundings closely while you feel the fresh air in your face and smell the different smells of the Island. Smells of flowers, freshly cut grass, eucalyptus, a bakery and… cow poop!
Oh yes, you’ll find a lot of cows enjoying the typical lush green hills of the Azores. And flowers? Be impressed the light blue hortensia flowers along the curvy roads.
On the other part of the day, preferably in the morning, while the sea is nice and calm, we suggest booking a boat tour. There are options for all budgets and tastes, from speedy and environmentally-conscious whale watching tours to sea fishing trips for first timers, it’s up to you! There are many types of fishing trips in São Miguel. Most take place in the mornings, like most whale-watching tours. So you might want to rent the scooter in the afternoon.
But please enjoy the sea while visiting the Azores, it’s a must. You’ll get a unique view over São Miguel and the seas around the Azores are a unique opportunity to watch ocean wildlife. Read more about the whale watching tour in Vila Franca do Campo in this story.
Join a full-day tour with whales, Furnas Botanic Gardens and HotSprings
If you’re in São Miguel together with your friends and family and looking for a fun full-day experience with no worries, check out this full-day tour! This full-day pack includes a boat ride to spot whales and dolphins, a delicious lunch and a van trip to see the crater lakes and village, and exotic botanic gardens. To end the day, you can enjoy a relaxing thermal bath!
This tour departs from the Marina of Vila Franca do Campo. Here, you’ll go on a fast and stable RIB boat for about 3 hours to search for whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. After all this excitement at sea, you’ll be going on a short van tour up the Furnas volcano crater. Before you continue your sightseeing on land, you’ll grad a delicious lunch in a village restaurant, where you can opt for the most authentic geyser-cooked “cozido”.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit nearby volcanic activity, and taste the mineral waters. The last part of the day-trip takes place in the Terra Nostra Gardens with a guided walk and the chance to enjoy a thermal bath.
This organized tour is great if you want to get fully immersed in the local culture and nature without having to plan anything. It’s all taken care of! Just enjoy!
Book a full-day experience with Whales, Dolphins and the Princess Ring Islet
This full-day pack is ideal for true ocean lovers who are visiting São Miguel during the summer months. This full-day experience includes two boat trips departing from Vila Franca do Campo and a break for lunch.
The first boat tour is real speedy adventure! You’ll go searching for some wildlife at sea! The friendly and experienced crew will welcome you and give you a short briefing about what to expect.For about 3 hours, you will be out at high sea to look for wild whales in their natural habitat.
If you’re looking for a boat trip that respects the ocean and its magical creatures, this is it! This local tour operator is certified by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) – the world’s largest marine conservation partnership, assessing animal welfare, conservation, and sustainability standards. In fact, the vessels used for this tour are small expeditionary rigid inflatable boats with most consumption and noise efficient engines available – improving proximity to the whales with minimal environmental impact.
After the first exciting boat trip, you will return to Marina and enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant (included). And in the afternoon, the next adventure will be to discover the Princess Ring Islet.
You’ll go on a converted traditional fishing boat to the islet. Enjoy the time to get to explore this magical volcanic crater and natural pool, sunbathe and swim in the crystal clear waters.
This full-day pack to go whale watching and snorkeling at the Princess Ring is a great activity for your friends and family during your one-day stay on the island.