Things To Do On Sao Miguel, The Azores: A Three Day Itinerary

Sao Miguel

Since getting back from my five month trip I have been struggling to adapt to ‘normal’ life again. The routine, sitting in an office behind a computer all day, having responsibilities and to-do lists… Life is so much more fun and more relaxed when you are traveling;-)

I am trying to incorporate things I loved about traveling, like being outside and enjoying beautiful nature, eating an exotic lunch or having a coffee while reading a book, as much as I can in my spare time at home as well. Which in general goes pretty well, but after a couple of cold, rainy and miserable weeks I could not stand it anymore and was desperate for an escape to the sun.

In my search for sunny places I came across a great last-minute deal to the Azores. I didn’t know a single thing about the Azores but the pictures on Google looked stunning so without a second though I booked it.

Sao Miguel turned out to be

one of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen!

sao miguel itinerary

I did not go on this trip alone, my parents have taken me and my sisters on great holidays around Europe as long as I can remember and I have so many fond memories of these trips. I am a real family person and love spending time with my parents and sisters. That’s why for my trip to the Azores, I asked my dad if he wanted to go with me. I really enjoyed spending a couple of days together, away from all obligations and distractions, which enabled us to have real conversations and talk about things that don’t usually come up during a Sunday visit.

My 3 day Sao Miguel itinerary

Because I only had a couple of days to explore the Sao Miguel (I left Friday afternoon and came back Tuesday morning 5am…) I crammed as much sightseeing into these days as possible. On the three maps below you can find all the places I visited, there is so much to do and see on the Azores! My dad and I rented a scooter for day 1 and 2, on day 3 we exchanged the scooter for a tiny Smart because the places we wanted to see were a bit further away.

Itinerary day 1: the South of Sao Miguel


Itinerary: Talisman hotel – Caloura Bay – Bahia Palace – Hike to Lagoa do Fogo – Talisman hotel

Highlights day 1

R 1-1 road: from Ponta Delgada to Agua de Alto, passing through sleepy little villages on a beautiful coast road.

R 1-1 road: from Ponta Delgada to Agua de Alto, passing through sleepy little villages on a beautiful coast road.

Caloura Bay: cute and tiny harbor with gorgeous views!

Caloura Bay: cute and tiny harbor with gorgeous views!

Hike to Lagoa do Fogo: 4-5 hour hike, a steep climb from Bahia Palace hotel but definitely worth the effort. About halfway into the hike you find a levada, a water channel with clear and fresh water, along which the trail runs. The landscape is really varied and offers beautiful coast views!

Hike to Lagoa do Fogo: 4-5 hour hike, a steep climb from Bahia Palace hotel but definitely worth the effort. About halfway into the hike you find a levada, a water channel with clear and fresh water, along which the trail runs. The landscape is really varied and offers beautiful coast views!

Itinerary day 2: the West of Sao Miguel


Itinerary: Talisman hotel – Viewpoints Lagoa Verde & Lagoa Azul – Ribeira Grande – Caldeira Velha – Talisman hotel

Highlights day 2

The view over Sete Cidades, Lagoa Verde & Lagoa Azul: spectacular, stunning, sensational!

The view over Sete Cidades, Lagoa Verde & Lagoa Azul: spectacular, stunning, sensational!

R 1-1 road: from Sete Cidades to Ribeira Grande, another day enjoying the beautiful coast road, passing through villages like Ajuda da Bretanha and Remédios.

R 1-1 road: from Sete Cidades to Ribeira Grande, another day enjoying the beautiful coast road, passing through villages like Ajuda da Bretanha and Remédios.

Ribeira Grande: town with beautiful buildings and one of the oldest churches of the Azores.

Ribeira Grande: town with beautiful buildings and one of the oldest churches of the Azores.

Caldeira Velha: a natural hot spring in the middle of the forest where you can soak and relax. There are showers and dressing rooms. Entree fee is €2 per person.

Caldeira Velha: a natural hot spring in the middle of the forest where you can soak and relax. There are showers and dressing rooms. Entree fee is €2 per person.

View over Lagoa do Fogo: I cannot believe there is an island with so many stunning views and gorgeous lakes! Road R 5-2 climbs up to a 950 meter high pass before descending down to sea level again. A beautiful road!

View over Lagoa do Fogo: I cannot believe there is an island with so many stunning views and gorgeous lakes! Road R 5-2 climbs up to a 950 meter high pass before descending down to sea level again. A beautiful road!

Itinerary day 3: the East of Sao Miguel


Itinerary: Talisman hotel – Lagoa das Furnas – Calderas – Povoação – Ponte dos Sete Arcos – Chá Gorreana – Talisman hotel

Highlights day 3

Lagoa das Furnas: an abandoned and crumbling church at the south side of Lagoa das Furnas, a very scenic sight.

Lagoa das Furnas: an abandoned and crumbling church at the south side of Lagoa das Furnas, a very scenic sight.

Eating a warm Bolo Levedo, the regional delicacy, at a tiny and very cute shop.

Eating a warm Bolo Levedo, the regional delicacy, at a tiny and very cute shop.

Bolo Levado, jummie!

Bolo Levado, jummie!

Calderas: thermal activity in Furnas village. We walked around the calderas and steaming vents with their pungent sulfur smell.

Calderas: thermal activity in Furnas village. We walked around the calderas and steaming vents with their pungent sulfur smell.

Povoação: cute village with car free center and beautiful little streets.

Povoação: cute village with car free center and beautiful little streets.

Chá Gorreana: one of the two remaining tea factories on the Azores (the only place in Europe where tea is grown), operated since 1883. Very interesting to visit!

Chá Gorreana: one of the two remaining tea factories on the Azores (the only place in Europe where tea is grown), operated since 1883. Very interesting to visit!

3 days on Sao Miguel: practical and budget information

Check Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog for detailed travel advice for Sao Miguel, a gorgeous and undiscovered island in the Atlantic Ocean! Budget information and 3 day itineraries with map and highlights.

Travel package from the Netherlands to Sao Miguel

I booked a travel package with Tui, the price for 2 people was €500 (€250 per person) and included a return flight, transport from and to the airport of Sao Miguel and accommodation in Ponta Delgada. I was on the island for 3,5 days (leaving Friday afternoon and arriving at Tuesday morning 5am).

1. The flight from Schiphol to Sao Miguel

If you do not want to buy a package deal, there are several airlines flying to Ponta Delgada:

Air Berlin
Tui
EasyJet
Primera Air
Ryanair
Sata Air Açores and Sata Internacional
TAP Portugal

I always use Skyscanner to find the best ticket prices.

2. Transport from the airport of Sao Miguel to the hotel in Ponta Delgada

There is an airport shuttle bus which costs €5 per person for a single fare and runs regularly. It takes about 20 minutes to the center of Ponta Delgada. Taxis are available, but I don’t know the exact fee. It is about 4km to the city center so I estimate it would be around €10.

3. Three nights (breakfast included) at the Talisman hotel

The Talisman hotel was really nice, we had a large room (actually two rooms, a living room and a bedroom with two separate beds), a spacious bathroom with a bath, air conditioning and a safe. The breakfast buffet was great, lots of food to choose from like regional fruit, thee and cheese. The staff was very friendly and accommodating, all together we had a great stay.

Hotel Talisman Ponta Delgada

Food and drinks on Sao Miguel

I have to admit I splurged a bit during this trip and did not watch my budget that closely. In total we spend about €200 on 4 dinners, 3 lunch meals, lots of coffee and delicious ice-creams and some groceries, so €100 each.

Interesting food

Transport on Sao Miguel

To explore the island, we rented a scooter for two days (€50 in total) and a Smart for one day (€40), both at Auto Ramalhense. Petrol for the scooter was €5, petrol for the Smart was €15; total  transportation costs were €105 (€52,50 each).

Scooter Sao Miguel
Smart Sao Miguel
There are plenty of rental companies on Sao Miguel, but I was happy with the service of Auto Ramalhense. They brought the scooter to our hotel, returned two days later to exchange the scooter for the Smart and picked up the Smart at the end of our last day on the island.

Also read: 10 reasons to visit the Azores

It was a great trip, short but definitely a great introduction to the amazing Azores. I wouldn’t mind to go back for more:-). You can download the budget breakdown and the 3-day itinerary below.

Looking for more travel planning resources? Check out the Phenomenal Globe Travel Planning Library and my Travel Resource page!

If you have any questions about the Azores, leave a comment below or contact me!

Detailed travel advice for Sao Miguel, a gorgeous and undiscovered island in the Atlantic Ocean! Information about the highlights of the island, average daily budget needed and 3 day trips (with map). Detailed travel advice for Sao Miguel, a gorgeous and undiscovered island in the Atlantic Ocean! Information about the highlights of the island, average daily budget needed and 3 day trips (with map).

 

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14 Comments

    • Thank you Liz:-) It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been! I only visited 1 of the 9 islands, 8 more to explore;)

    • Thank you Paulina:-) Your list is great, it seems I have to go back in May/June to watch the whales!

  1. Hi Lotte! I was wondering if the Smart Car you rented was automatic or manual?

    • I am not sure but if I remember correctly it was a manual car. Have a great trip!

    • Wow, so cool you are from the Azores! It must have been a great place to grow up. I had such a great (and much to short) time on Sao Miguel and would love to return one day:-).

  2. My husband and I are planning to come to Sap Miguel tomorrow through Wednesday. Unfortunately the forecast calls for rain. Any suggestions as to what to do on the island in inclement weather!

    • Hi Andrea, hmm I don’t have many suggestions as we were very lucky with the weather. But visiting the tea factory is one suitable indoor activity. Walking around in Ponta Delgada could also still be nice as long as you pop into a warm and dry cafe regularly (and it isn’t raining superhard;-). I hope you’ll enjoy your trip despite the rain!

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