The 5 most beautiful hiking trails on Sao Miguel

What if I told you that there is a place in Europe where the vegetation is as lush as in a tropical rain forest? A place where the landscape is interspersed with azure volcanic lakes, where you can bathe in sulfuric hot springs and drive from viewpoint to viewpoint, each one even more dramatic than the last.

Welcome to the Azores! An ecological paradise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, made up of 9 different islands, 1360 kilometres from continental Europe and 1925 kilometres from North America.

azores hiking

I spent one week hiking on Sao Miguel, the archipelago’s biggest island. “Big” might be pushing it a bit though: with a surface of 760 km² and a population of about 140.000 inhabitants, it is hardly a dot in the big ocean! But what a dot! I spent a week walking the island’s well maintained trails and discovered a place where respect for nature and traditions go hand in hand! A place where tourism hasn’t taken over yet and hopefully never will!

But with over 20 trails, where do you even start?
Glad you asked! These are my 5 favourite hiking trails on Sao Miguel:

1/ From Mirador Lagoa do Fogo down to the lake

Standing at the viewpoint overlooking Lagoa do Fogo, you’ll notice a small track leading to the lake shore down below. It takes about 30 minutes through endemic plants and abundant vegetation and you’ll have the stretch of beach almost all to yourself!
Linear walk
Time: 30 minutes one way

Lagoa do Fogo Sao Miguel

2/ Faial da Terra to Salto do Prego

The charming village of Faial da Terra, in the south eastern corner of Sao Miguel is the starting point for a walk up to one of the best hidden waterfalls on the island, the Salto do Prego. On the way back, you pass the beautifully restored, previously abandoned, village of Sanguinho
Circular walk
Time: 1 ½- 2 hours

3/ Trilho do Feno

On the north coast of Sao Miguel, the trail leaves from the church at the end of Fenais da Ajuda. This is the ideal walk if you want to experience rural Sao Miguel, passing farmers attending to their fields.
Circular walk
Time: 2 hours

4/ Serra Devassa

The area around “Lagoa do Canário” is nick-named “The Lake District” and this walk will show you exactly why. The path rises pretty steeply until you arrive at 2 beautifully situated lakes, hidden far up in the hills. The path then descends to the shores of Lagoa Rosa and back up to the departure point.
Circular walk
Time: 2 hours

5/ Chá Gorreana

The only place in Europe where tea is grown is situated in the Azores. On the north coast of Sao Miguel you can follow the “Ruta do Chá” or tea trail. A visit to the old tea factory “Chá Gorreana” is a must, but even better is to wander off amidst the tea plantations across the road! The amazing views over the Atlantic are a bonus!
Circular Walk
Time: 2 hours

There are plenty of other walking trails in Sao Miguel and if you’re not keen on walking, why not check out some of the other things to do in Sao Miguel?

Have you been hiking on Sao Miguel? Or maybe you have a favourite walking country ? If so, please share! Always looking for inspiration!

21 Replies to “The 5 most beautiful hiking trails on Sao Miguel”

  1. iris

    And mine are meant to run :P. Great destinations! I’ve also switched to a healthier lifestyle and training for my first 5k race. Sneaking in my running routine into my travel destinations is super challenging, and your blog posts are super inspiring.

  2. Tanvi

    Hey thanks for the info.. Its gonna be useful for me when I travel to Portugal.. I just had a question.. Is it possible to do all these hikes in Azores on our own?? Or do we need to register with any hiking group, just so that we don’t get lost anywhere 😀

    • Els Post author

      Thanks for your comment! Oh yes, you can do them all yourself. I hired a rental car to get to the starting point and the walks are pretty well indicated.

  3. antonette - we12travel

    I’m dying to visit Azores, it’s supposed to be a hiker’s paradise. Have you considered going to La Palma? I’m sure you’d love it, it’s a bit like what I can from see in your pictures… my colleague is actually departing to Azores today and I’m slightly jealous … but not too much because my vacation for this year is still coming up 🙂

    • Els Post author

      It’s really great indeed! I haven’t been to La Palma, but heard lots of good about it! If it’s a hiking paradise, then yes, sounds like my cup of tea! Enjoy your vacation!!

  4. Revati

    The Azores has never been on my map really, but that’s probably because I didn’t know much about it. Those landscapes look absolutely stunning, and now I’m looking for an excuse to head to that dot in the ocean!

  5. Lesley

    The Lagoa do Fogo view is amazing! We love getting back to nature like this, especially as a family. I’m going to do more research on Sao Miguel for my 2016 bucket list.

  6. carly

    Wow, stunning pics, the Azores are a destination I’d love to get to. I always wanted to go there for the diving, but I this has made me realise there’s much more to these islands.

  7. Karla Around The World

    I am now putting Sao Miguel in my travel bucket list. It looks like its so laid back and you can freely be one with nature. I love that there are lots of hidden waterfalls and there are plenty of trails here. Hoping to read more from you!


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