Experience São Miguel
The island São Miguel is the biggest and most popular island of the Azores. The lush green landscapes, beautiful trails, unique beaches and the local culture are the reason so many tourists like to visit this island. Did you know that from São Miguel you are in the perfect spot to observe whales and dolphins
? Thanks to its location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, there are more than 25 species of cetaceans
that live or migrate around here. That’s why a boat tour to see whales and dolphins is really something you need to do during your stay in São Miguel.
For all active travelers, there are many things to do in São Miguel. Exciting trails invite for some beautiful hikes, and of course there are some great surf spots around the island as well. Gorging on the local cuisine with fresh seafood, delicious cheeses and juicy steaks should also be part of your holidays in São Miguel!
- Our favorite beach: Praia das Milícias - São Miguel
- Our favorite restaurant: Rotas da Ilha Verde - São Miguel
- Our favorite boat tour in São Miguel: Swimming with dolphins in São Miguel
- Our favorite watersport in São Miguel: Big Game Charter in São Miguel
Language and Currency in São Miguel
Since São Miguel is part of Portugal, the official language spoken is Portuguese. The currency in São Miguel is the Euro. Locals usually speak very good English, due to the booming tourism on the island. If you speak to older people, it might be more difficult to find common ground. However, you will get around easily with English around the island.
Getting around in São Miguel
You can choose between public transport (buses), renting a car, joining a guided tour or hiring a taxi driver to get around in São Miguel.
The buses are quite well connected around the island, however, it is not easy to plan your trip if you would like to visit several locations. Also, the schedules found on the bus stops are not always up to date, which makes it more difficult to make a proper schedule. But if you’re flexible and don’t have any pressure of being somewhere at a certain time, taking the bus is certainly a great way to get around the island.
The easiest way to get around São Miguel is by renting your own car. This way you can explore even hidden corners of the island at your own pace. There are several rental companies, and you can just pick up the car at the airport. It’s recommended to book your car prior to arriving so that you have the guarantee of having one available. You should be comfortable also driving on steep roads though!
If you prefer not having to drive yourself, you can also join one of the many guided tours
. This way you can visit the most famous attractions of the island together with a guided group. This is a great option if you don’t want to organise anything and just enjoy the island without any hustle. One of our favorite full-day tours is a whale watching and Lagoa do Fogo combination
Of course, you can also hire a taxi driver. There are many drivers who offer private tours, where you pay them by the hour and they show you around the best spots or just wherever you would like to go. This way you don’t have to worry about anything but can still enjoy some privacy.
Best things to do during your holidays in São Miguel
The island São Miguel has many things to offer, but the best things to do are visiting the many incredible natural jewels the region has to offer. The two big lakes of São Miguel are Lagoa do Fogo and Lagoa das Sete Cidades
. Visiting these two unique places is a Must-Do during your stay in São Miguel. Lagoa do Fogo is located in the centre of the island. You can do a nice trail around the lake
or simply enjoy the view of the highest lake in São Miguel. Lagoa das Sete Cidades in the West of the island lies at the bottom of a dormant volcano. This creates an impressive lush landscape all around the lake, and its beauty will surely take your breath away!
Another thing to do during your holidays in São Miguel is visiting the Parque Terra Nostra
. This park also includes a botanical garden, and it is located in the mystic Vale das Furnas
. At Parque Terra Nostra, you will find thermal baths where you can simply relax and enjoy nature at its fullest. The water of the thermal pool is around 35-40°C and it’s filled with minerals, which will leave you fully relaxed and recharged!
While you’re in the region of Furnas, make sure to also visit the Furnas Lake. This crater lake has some hot springs that invite for a relaxing dip. Or just do a hike around this crater and enjoy the view over the magical scenery.
The best watersports in São Miguel
Being an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, there are many fun watersports to do around the coast. There are great wave conditions almost all year round for some surfing. Of course, it is also a great spot to do fishing. You can book a big game charter in São Miguel to go out on an adventure and catch some really big fish for example.
The best boat tours in São Miguel
The island São Miguel is lucky enough to have such a convenient location that you can find around 25 whale and dolphin species
around the coast. That’s why the best boat tours in São Miguel are the ones to go whale and dolphin watching. You have many different options to go whale and dolphin watching in São Miguel
. You can choose between a catamaran or a RIB Boat
or also a private tour
. Whatever you choose, chances are extremely high to see some of the impressive mammals in their natural habitat together with marine biologists on board. And trust us, dolphin tours are always a very special experience.
For those of you looking for the extra kick, there is the possibility of go swimming with dolphins in São Miguel!
Yes, you read right - in São Miguel you can actually get off the boat and swim with dolphins in the deep blue sea. This is truly the most magical experience you will have during your holidays in São Miguel!
What and where to eat in São Miguel
São Miguel has a great climate for many different delicious gastronomies - whether you love Mediterranean seafood, juicy steak, yummy cheeses or sweet pineapple. In São Miguel you will find the high end of all of the above! Being an island, it is just natural that you have fresh seafood all year round. One particular thing you should try are Lapas. They are like clams, but slightly different in texture and even better in taste! At Xitaka Restaurant, for example, you can try this delicacy!
Thanks to the lush green fields of São Miguel, there are many cows all around the island. This in return means that you can get high-quality, grass-fed beef at pretty much every restaurant of the island. Try for example the Casa de Bife O Delgado in Ponta Delgada! Meat-lovers will be in heaven!
Consequently, there is also a lot of dairy and thus cheese production
in São Miguel and other islands of the Azores
. Make sure to visit O Rei dos Queijos at Ponta Delgada for the best and biggest variety of cheeses! Besides all the heavy food, there is also local pineapple
you can try. Since they are smaller than the usual ones you will know from more tropical countries, they are also very sweet and super tasty!
Enjoy the beautiful beaches around São Miguel
Being an island, you have many amazing beaches to choose from in São Miguel. There are sandy beaches, rocky beaches and volcanic beaches. So whatever you prefer, you will find it in São Miguel. If you like surfing, you probably already heard of Praia de Santa Bárbara in the North of the island. This wild beach is a famous surf spot and great if you would like to observe the surfers riding the waves and enjoy a nice drink at a chill beach bar!
If you prefer calmer waters and more relaxing scenery, you should visit Praia de Água d’Alto. It is one of the most popular beaches in São Miguel thanks to its sandy beach, crystal-clear waters and impressive cliffs in the background. Here you can really relax and just enjoy the sun during your stay in São Miguel.
Another beautiful beach in São Miguel is Praia dos Mosteiros in the Western corner of the island. The black volcanic sand of this beach forms a unique contrast to the clear blue waters and the green landscape in the back. This beach reflects the wild and fascinating character of the Azores very well.
Finally, one of the beautiful beaches around São Miguel you should definitely visit is Praia do Fogo. This exceptional beach is located only 20 minutes away from the Furnas Valley. Thanks to this location close to the hot springs, the water at this beach is much warmer than on any other beach in São Miguel!
Whatever you decide to do during your holiday in São Miguel, we promise you will love the boat tours and watersports. Sunshine and a lot of fun are guaranteed! For any further tips or requests, feel free to contact us anytime.