Hiking in São Miguel: The 10 Best Hikes

Last updated: 21 November 2020 | Guides, Portugal

Hiking in Sao Miguel
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Are you an avid hiker? Or you love being outdoors? Well, if that is the case, then you will definitely love hiking in Sao Miguel.

This heavenly beautiful island, part of the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is full of adventurous hiking trails. Whether you like hiking for hours or have a nice leisure walk, Sao Miguel has it all. So, don’t hesitate and keep reading on!

I have gathered all of the useful tips and tricks I came upon when I was hiking in Sao Miguel. Plus, I have collected all of the useful information for the 10 best hikes in Sao Miguel. All this, so that it is easier for you to navigate around the island and have the best time ever!

Navigate to:

São Miguel Hiking Trails Map

Sao Miguel Hiking Trails Map
Click on the Map to open in Google Maps

Official Sao Miguel Hiking Trails

Sao Miguel in the Azores islands has 29 official hiking trails. What I mean by “official” is the hiking trails that are approved, maintained and signed by the Azores Tourism Board. These official trails can guarantee that the trails are safe for hiking and there is no danger when hiking in the Azores islands.

While hiking in Sao Miguel, it is recommended to always check the weather before going out. The island of Sao Miguel is known for its unpredictable weather. Thus, it is always good to check the forecast and the conditions of the hiking trails, so that you avoid any unpleasant experiences along the way

Azores Hiking Leaflet
Azores Hiking Trails Leaflet

Off The Beaten Path Hiking Trails

Off the beaten path hiking trails in Sao Miguel are something common. These hiking trails are not marked or maintained by the Azores Tourism Board. Thus, they are not considered safe for hiking.

However, there are plenty of hiking trails like that in Sao Miguel. So, one way or another you will end up on one of them. Don’t worry! It is not as bad as it might sound. The island of Sao Miguel is not so big, so even if you get lost… a bit of hiking will lead you to road, a little parish or another trail.

To make sure that you get out of such trails or paths, it is good to rely on some navigation. Personally, I use MAPS.ME, which is a very cool navigation app. You can download the maps prior to your hike and use them offline whenever you need them. Honestly, this app has saved me countless times and it is the perfect solution when you are away from civilization.

Types of Hiking Trails in Sao Miguel

The hiking trails in Sao Miguel are of two types – linear and circular. The linear hiking trails in Sao Miguel do not end at the starting point, while the circular trails do.

Honestly, the circular hiking trails are preferred for many reasons. For example, imagine you are with a car and have to go on a linear hiking trail. Its end point is somewhere far away from your vehicle. This means you will have to go back all the way to get to it. While with circular hiking trials you get the chance to hike and not think of ways on how to easily get back to your car.

Nevertheless, if you happen to be in need to get a taxi, feel free to check all of the options here ☎️

Best hiking trails in Sao Miguel

Hiking in Sao Miguel island

Hiking in Sao Miguel is one of the best things you can do to explore the island. It is also the best way to explore tranquil nature and enjoy the stunning views that the hiking trails reveal.

There are 29 official hiking trails in Sao Miguel, which you can hike on. Each trail has different length, difficulty level and altitude. Thus, I have picked the best day hikes in Sao Miguel, so it is way easier to choose the best one…

Hiking Sete Cidades hiking trails

Sete Cidades Hiking Trail

The Sete Cidades hike is one of the most scenic hiking trails in Sao Miguel. The hiking trails is going from the Canario lake to the viewpoint of Pico da Cruz. Pico da Cruz is one of the best viewpoints to enjoy some of the best vistas of the valley and Sete Cidades village.

Going further you will walk past by the craters that are now filled with water and known as Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. From the top of the hiking trail you will enjoy a mesmerizing view of the volcanic formations of Sao Miguel island formed millions of years ago. Eventually, the Sete Cidades hiking trail will take you to Lagoa Azul and then to the parish of Sete Cidades.

Sete Cidades Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Parking lot of Lagoa do Canário

        🏞️ End Point: Sete Cidade parish (Church São Nicolau)

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Linear

        🥾 Distance: 11 km

        ⌚ Time: 3 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Medium

Lagoa do Fogo Hiking trail

Lagoa do Fogo Hiking Trail

Lagoa do Fogo is one of the most desired and visited landmarks in Sao Miguel. This tropically mystical lake in the middle of São Miguel island is surely a magnet for tourists. There are many ways and paths to go to Lagoa do Fogo. However, if you want to follow the traditional hiking trail that has been used by the locals for ages, then head to Pico.

Going up and climbing you will reach an irrigation channel, named Levada, which you will have to follow for some time. Following the pathway surrounded by endemic Azorean vegetation you will reach the valley of Ribeira da Praia. There you can enjoy a nice view over the parish of Villa Franca do Campo and its islet. Going down the hiking trail you will eventually reach the beach of Lagoa do Fogo. Be careful when you go through this path, as there is a seagull colony and they can be quite agressive. Especially, during April and May when they are breeding!

Other viewpoints you might want to consider are Pico da Barrosa and the one at the parking of Lagoa do Fogo. Both viewpoints offer one of the best vistas over the Fire lake of Sao Miguel and are the perfect spots to take some snaps.

Lagoa do Fogo Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Pico

        🏞️ End Point: Lagoa do Fogo Beach

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Circular

        🥾 Distance: 11 km

        ⌚ Time: 3 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Medium

Salto do Prego hiking trail

Sanguinho Hiking Trail

Sanguinho in Sao Miguel is a small parish in the southeast part of the island. It is known for its typical Azorean houses, small farms and distinctive Azorean vegetation.

Despite that, the Sanguinho hiking trail is known for leading its visitors to the islands most beautiful waterfalls. Going through thick Azorean vegetation and following a wavy hiking trail, you will eventually end up at the parish. Once there keep following the pathway and not the hens that stroll around it and you will reach the stairway to the waterfall itself. It is quite narrow and steep, so be extra cautious.

Eventually, you end up at the waterall of Prego. If you still have some energy left, go for Cagarrão waterfall. Other than that… Enjoy!

Sanguinho Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Faial da Terra bus stop

        🏞️ End Point: Salto do Prego/Salto do Cagarrão 

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Circular

        🥾 Distance: 4.5 km

        ⌚ Time: 2 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Medium

Lagoa das Furnas Hiking Trail

The city of Furnas is a famous city in Sao Miguel for many reasons. First of all, many people would come visit it for its hot springs, second, it is a great spot for hiking around its lake.

The city of Furnas is quite mystical, as it is usually covered in clouds and fog, plus the smell of sulphur is everywhere. However, a walk around the lake of Furnas is for sure one of the top hiking trails in Sao Miguel. It starts in the city and takes you on a round trip around this mystically emerald green lake.

Along the way, you will get the chance to see how the Cozido à Portuguesa meal is made, using the internal heat of the ground. Then, in the end of the trail is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Vitórias. An architecturally rich religious temple devoted to Our Lady of the Victories. As the story tells, a rich farmer issued the building of this church, as his beloved wife was sick of a terminal illness. Regardless of what happened next, the chapel was finished and is now a memorial of the great fights we deal with on a daily.

Furnas Lake Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Largo das Três Bicas

        🏞️ End Point: Furnas city

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Circular

        🥾 Distance: 9.5 km

        ⌚ Time: 3 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Easy

Hiking Cha Gorreana

Chá Gorreana Hiking Trail

The Chá Gorreana hiking trail is probably one of the most unusual trails in Sao Miguel. This trail is going around Europe’s oldest tea plantation that produces the finest green and black tea.

The hiking trail starts at the tea plantation itself and goes around its tea fields overlooking the vast ocean. Truly, the Cha Gorreana hiking trail is one of the best hiking trails in Sao Miguel if you want to enjoy some beautiful vistas.

Chá Gorreana Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Chá Gorreana Tea Plantation

        🏞️ End Point: Chá Gorreana Tea Plantation

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Circular

        🥾 Distance: 4 km

        ⌚ Time: 2 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Easy

Moinhos da Ribeira Funda Hiking Trail

The trail of Ribeira Funda is not the typical hiking experience you might expect in Sao Miguel. The hiking trail starts at Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Aflição in the parish of Lomba Da Maia. Then, following the pathway down to the ocean you will get to enjoy some beautiful views. Along with that, there are many ruins left from past times when the island was main supplier of goodies to Europe.

Eventually, you will pass through a ridge with small waterfalls until you reach a top overlooking the north part of the island. Following the hiking trail you will get to the beach of Viola. Then, you can climb back and follow the old way to get back to the city.

Moinhos da Ribeira Funda Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Aflição

        🏞️ End Point: Lomba Da Maia parish

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Circular

        🥾 Distance: 4 km

        ⌚ Time: 2 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Medium

Salto do Cabrito Hiking Trail

Salto do Cabrito is one of the most famous waterfalls in Sao Miguel. It is for sure a must-see natural landmark. Thus, the hiking trail to it is one of the most hiked on walking trails in Sao Miguel.

The hiking trail to Salto do Cabrito starts at the hot springs of Ribeira Grande and continues to through thick vegetation. There is barely any climbing, so the hiking trail is quite nice for a walk. Make sure to follow the signs and in no time you will be near the Power Plant of Salto do Cabrito. From there you will be able to see the Cabrito waterfall and can take a rest there.

Surely, this is one of the most pleasant and laid-back hiking trails on the island. It does not require lots of effort and the views are definitely worth it.

Salto do Cabrito Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Ribeira Grande Hot Springs

        🏞️ End Point: Ribeira Grande parish

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Circular

        🥾 Distance: 9 km

        ⌚ Time: 3 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Easy

Salto da Farinha Hiking Trail

The Salto da Farinha hiking trail in Sao Miguel is connecting the parishes of Achadinha and Salga. It is one of the best hiking trails in Sao Miguel island’s north part. The hiking trail goes through beautiful nature and important historical monuments.

The hiking trail starts at the historical monument of Alminhas. It is in remembrance of the disembark of the liberal forces from Terceira island during the Portuguese Civil War. Following the hiking trail’s signs you will pass through a couple of waterfalls. One of the highlights of the hiking trail is the Poço Azul, which is a chain of mini waterfalls. The path to it is quite steep and muddy, but it is worth seeing it.

Eventually, follow the signs until you reach your final destination – Salto da Farinha. A beautiful waterfall falling from a huge staggering rocky formation. Definitely worth the effort!

There you will also get the chance enjoy some wonderful views from Miradouro do Salto do Farinha.

Salto do Farinha Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Historical Standard of Alminhas

        🏞️ End Point: Miradouro do Salto da Farinha

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Linear

        🥾 Distance: 5 km

        ⌚ Time: 2 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Medium

Hiking Serra Devassa

Serra Devassa Hiking Trail

Just less than 30 minutes of travelling from Ponta Delgada, this hiking trail in Sao Miguel is known for its jaw-dropping views. The hiking trail is going on the opposite of Sete Cidades and to the smaller lakes on the island. Thus, you will enjoy a nice walk around Lagoa das Empadadas, Lagoa Rassa and some other unnamed volcano lakes. Eventually, you will climb up to Miradouro do Pico do Paul, which overlooks the whole island of Sao Miguel.

This hiking trail is perfect for a laid back day and is for guaranteed to leave you breathless with its beautiful vistas.

Serra Devassa Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Mata do Canário

        🏞️ End Point: Mata do Canário

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Circular

        🥾 Distance: 5 km

        ⌚ Time: 2 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Medium

Ponta da Ferraria

Ponta da Ferraria Hiking Trail

If you want to dip in one of the best natural pools, which is constantly supplied with hot geothermal water, then this hiking trail is your chance. The hiking trail to Ponta da Ferraria is an easy challenge. Most of the time you will be descending to the lower parts of Sao Miguel island.

While descending to Ponta da Ferraria, be careful of the rock slides and walk on the other side of the road – away from the cliffs. That way you will get the chance to enjoy even more the beautiful views that are review to you. The vastness of the ocean and the waves constantly hitting the volcano rocks that created this place.

Ponta da Ferraria Hike Overview

         📍  Starting Point: Viewpoint of Ilha Sabrina

        🏞️ End Point: Spa of Ferraria

        🗺️ Type of hiking trail: Linear

        🥾 Distance: 5 km

        ⌚ Time: 2 hours

        🧗 Difficulty: Easy

Where To Stay in Sao Miguel

There are plenty of options to stay in Sao Miguel. However, if you plan to go during the high season to the island, it is good to book early on. 

Below, I have provided you with countless options for staying in Sao Miguel, depending on your preferences 🤩

Budget Accommodation

Value for Money Accommodation

Luxury Accommodation

Hiking in Sao Miguel

Sao Miguel Outdoor Activities

Hiking in Sao Miguel is for sure a tiring activity. Thus, you might want to do something else instead and rest physically. There are lots of outdoor activities you can take part in without having to break a lot of sweat…

Caldeirões Canyoning Experience:  Caldeirões park offers its visitors canyoning on the waterfalls to rush your adrenaline and have some fun! Caldeirões park is perfect for beginners in canyoning!

Salto do Cabrito Canyoning: If you want to level up in canyoning, then you can try climbing Salto do Cabrito!

São Miguel’s Hidden Gems: Want to see more hidden waterfalls around Sao Miguel? Then, you should definitely check this guided tour!

Sao Miguel Whale Watching Expedition: If you want to learn more about the way of living of whales, dolphins, turtles and eventually spot some… Sign up for this tour with an experienced marine biologist!

Ponta Delgada Food Tour: Fancy trying all of the traditional dishes and pastries of the Azores? Then, opt for this tour for foodies in Ponta Delgada!

I hope that you liked this post about the best hiking trails in Sao Miguel Did you hike any of them?

Which one is your favourite?

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