Hotel Gaivota Apartamentos
Avenue Infante D. Henrique 103, 9500150, Portugal
More about Ilha de São Miguel
The chapel of nossa senhora da paz.
The trail to Lagoa do Fogo.
Surfers on Sao Miguel island.
Bicycle lane on Sao Miguel.
Travel Tips for Ilha de São Miguel
Excellent Travel Guide
I highly recommend purchasing the Bradt Travel Guide before setting out to the Azores. It is packed with information on walks and driving tours, what to see, what to avoid.
Most of the information is very good but the directions aren't always correct. Being a gardener, our favorite spot on Sao Miguel was definitely the gardens at Terre Nostra, but we realize this isn't everyone's cup of tea.
Be sure to take your bathing suit if you are planning a visit here -- regardless of the temperatures or the weather, since the hot springs are perfect. They have showers and changing areas available for your use.
A lovely way to spend a day.
Festa do São João da Vila
The popular festas populares (saint day festivals) - São António on 13th of June, São João on 24th of June and São Pedro on 29th of June - that take place throughout of the archipelago are a testament to the deep religious faith of the people. One of the most beloved is santos populares (popular saints) is São João.
Festa do São João da Vila is held in Vila Franca do Campo in honour of the town's patron São João. The festivity takes about a week though the highlight of the festival happens on the night of São João, the 23rd of June, when hundreds of dancing and singing couples parade through the town's main street, colourfully decorated with paper garlands and flowers, paying homage to the saint.
São João marches are organized through the year by people in every village of Vila Franca do Campo, from Água d'Alto to Ponta Garça, and are as much a tribute to the saint as the popular sardinhas - grilled sardines are offered as a symbol of welcome to visitors that are invited to freely taste corn bread, grilled sardines and wine. There are stands all around the town offering a great variety of traditional Azorean dishes and drinks.
The night of the 23rd of June is long and marry, with music and dancing lasting from dusk till dawn, while sardines are grilled and the wine flows on every street corner. The celebration closes with a fireworks launched from the south jetty of Porto de Pescas.
more pics in the Vila Franca do Campo travelogue
Cracas - Most Unusual Shellfish
I've been told about one thing that I really must not miss in the Azores - cracas. To my surprise, most of the local restaurants did not serve them. But António found a nice place and brought me there on the day before my departure from the island. Thus the last wish about what to experience in the Azores was fulfilled.
Cracas (barnacles) are strange small shellfish that come from deep waters. They are hidden in tube-like holes they carve in the rocks. Small pieces of rock which have many little holes filled with cracas are cooked in salt water with a bit of hot pepper. The tiny morsels have a delicate white meat and are removed with a thin metal hooked utensil. The meat is tender and sweet and with some nice vinho verde... oh, you'll be in paradise :) It would be worth going back to the Azores just for cracas :)
Take the hiking trail to Lagoa do Fogo.
From the little village "agua de alto" on the sothern part of the island you have a road leading towards Lagoa do Fogo.
After a couple of kilometers you can leave the paved road and take a little dirt trail the rest of the way to the crater rim of Lagoa do Fogo.
You have to go through a gate with a sign, but the sign only states that you can not take motorised vehichles through the gates, so you are welcome to go through as a hiker.
The whole hike takes around 3 hours if you are relatively fit and´getting down is a little faster, but not much as it is quite steep.
The view on the top is amazing and the hike itself goes through some fantastic nature too. Good hiking shoes/boots is a must and you should bring some waterproof clothes too as the weather can change very quickly there.
Walking in the middle of the Atlantic!
Shortly after passing a stone aqueduct on the road to Sete Cidades, you come to a sign on the right that indicates a hiking trail. You can drive along a paved road until you come to the start of the hiking trial. After a short hike through the forest, you come to a steep concrete path to the top of the caldera overlooking the two lakes. I think this is the most beautiful view in Sao Miguel and it seems to be higher than the viewpoint at Vista do Rei. It's a great spot for a picnic and you can continue hiking along the top of the caldeira if you want.
Popular Hotels in Ilha de São Miguel