When you are going to Caldeiras in Ribeira Grande, just one foot before Caldeiras (Thermal Centre), there is on your right side a route which goes to this protected conservation area. The whole valley, covered by luxuriant vegetation, is the site of the naturally carbonated spring that provides the mineal water known as Água das Lombadas.
Visited this ceramics workshop at the village of Lagoa. Pots, cups, jugs, mugs and vases manufactured locally. Founded in 1862, it's a fairly small family business. It is typical that the pottery is white with blue ornaments and the only original looking thing is the "caped woman" in traditional dress. See picture. You can buy small bottles in that shape. Oh, and also the blue and white street signs you can see all over the towns of this island are made right here.
You can visit the Cha Gorreana tea plantation, see how tea leaves are processed and also buy some locally grown tea (black or green). The plantation was founded in 1883 and its one of the two plantations operating on S.Miguel island. It was very interesting to learn about the process: the picking, withering, rolling, fermentation, drying, selection and packing. A lot of the work is manually done and old equipment still being used.
I was especially pleased to hear that no insecticides or fungicides are used.
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.
The only maar lake in São Miguel Island.
This small lake is located at the centre of the islands, a few kilometres from Vila Franca do Campo.
Take the route crossing the Island from the South to the North.
A vineyard located about 6km from Ponta Delgada.
Following the regional route which goes from Ponta Delgada to Relva village, past the airport, you will reach a viewing tourist point, on your left side, over Relva and the sea. The route begins just here, but cars are allowed until to the entrance, a trail.
When you reach the trail, you have to walk down to the sea level, going staight one.
Some houses are pepperd in this so called village, where the landscape is beautiful. Remember you have to go up!
This village of fishermen is located at the southwest side of the island, and is well known for both natural swimming pools and microclimate. Also one can find a reasonable beach.
Restaurants serve local seafood!
At Capelas village, try to follow the signs (almost invisible) that says "porto" or ask for "porto". Mainly, you have to go to the center of the village and, after makind the half-round of the main roundabout, some 100 meters after exiting the roundabout, turn right, following the little "porto" sign.
You will got a very narrow streed that goes following down the cliff down to the little harbour. Only little cars can pass that street, so, if you have a large car, it's better leave the car upper in the street and walk down the little harbour.
In that harbour you will get some peace and quiet ambiance near the seaside. In August, surelly, you will see lots of kids divin from hte rock into the sea.
A vineyard located between Faial da Terra and Água Retorta.
Follow the sea coast beginning in Faial da Terra...