Sao Miguel, Azores Islands: The Best Beaches in Sao Miguel Island

Azores or Madeira beaches

São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores, is known for its stunning landscapes and beautiful beaches. From serene sandy stretches to dramatic, rocky shores, the beaches of São Miguel are as varied as they are beautiful. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful spot to unwind, a picturesque place for a swim, or simply a scenic backdrop to enjoy the unique beauty of the Azores, the beaches in São Miguel offer a perfect mix of all these elements.

In this travel blog post, we’ll explore some of the best beaches in São Miguel, each with its own unique charm and allure. So, grab your sunscreen, pack your swimsuit, and let’s dive into the azure waters of Sao Miguel beaches!

Beaches in Sao Miguel Map

The Best Beaches in Sao Miguel Island - North Coast

The north coast of São Miguel is a spectacular showcase of diverse beaches, each with its own allure. Here’s a guide to the best beaches in Sao Miguel Island you can find on this part of the island.

Praia de Santa Barbara

Just a stone’s throw from Ribeira Grande, Praia de Santa Bárbara, also known as Ribeira Grande beach, stands out as a premier black sand beach. Its expansive black sands and superb surf conditions make it a magnet for surf enthusiasts. This beach isn’t just about surfing; it’s a hub of amenities, including showers, restrooms, and a welcoming beach bar.

It’s also the proud host of various exciting surfing competitions and is one of the best public beaches in Sao Miguel Island!

Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara

As an extension of Praia de Santa Bárbara, this beach shares the same golden sands and top-notch surfing conditions but offers a more tranquil vibe. It’s a paradise for beach sports lovers, frequently hosting events and competitions. Plus, the area is dotted with delightful dining options and quaint beachfront cafes – perfect for sampling local flavors while gazing at the ocean.

Praia do Monte Verde

A hidden gem, Praia da Viola is encircled by dramatic cliffs and lush greenery, making it a picturesque sanctuary. Reaching this beach is an adventure in itself, involving a hike through scenic trails. It’s a paradise for nature lovers and those seeking a serene beach experience, complete with birdwatching and opportunities for peaceful meditation or yoga.

Praia da Viola

A hidden gem on the north coast, Praia da Viola is surrounded by cliffs and lush vegetation, making it one of the most picturesque beaches in São Miguel. The journey to get there involves a hike through a scenic trail, which adds to its secluded and untouched appeal. It’s a great spot for those looking to connect with nature and enjoy a peaceful beach experience.

Praia dos Moinhos

Nestled in the charming village of Porto Formoso, Praia dos Moinhos exudes charm with its natural beauty and black sand. Surrounded by cliffs and green hills, it’s perfect for a swim or a relaxed day. The beach is steeped in history, once home to iconic windmills, and today offers an authentic taste of Azorean cuisine in its local cafes, as well as the starting point for scenic hikes.

The Best Beaches in Sao Miguel Island- South Coast

Embark on a journey to the enchanting south coast of São Miguel in the Azores, where you’ll discover some of the most idyllic and accessible beaches the archipelago has to offer. Known for their gentle waters and picturesque settings, these beaches promise a perfect blend of relaxation and scenic beauty. Let’s explore the best beaches in Sao Miguel’s south coast!

Praia do Populo

This stunning black sand beach, a located a stone’s throw from Ponta Delgada, is a favorite for its broad sandy expanse and array of amenities, including lifeguards, showers, and inviting beach bars. Surrounded by lush hills, it offers a postcard-worthy setting.

But Praia do Populo isn’t just about leisure; it’s an activity hub with options like stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. With the capital city nearby, it’s a prime spot for a hassle-free beach day. Watch out for cultural and musical events here that add a vibrant pulse to its already lively atmosphere.

Praia de Água d'Alto

Known for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters, this beach is a serene haven. It’s also one of the best beaches in Sao Miguel for swimming.

It’s nestled in a sheltered spot, ideal for peaceful swimming and sunbathing sessions. The backdrop of towering cliffs not only adds to its secluded feel but also sets the stage for some of the most breathtaking sunsets you’ll ever witness. Perfect for families, the beach also serves as a starting point for cliffside hikes, offering panoramic vistas of the stunning coastline.

Caloura Beach

Tucked away near a quaint fishing village, this smaller beach in Sao Miguel is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, making it a snorkeler’s paradise. The volcanic rocks around it paint a scene of natural splendor.

Caloura Beach is more than just a swimming spot; it’s a window into the Azorean way of life, with its traditional architecture and warm-hearted locals. It’s also a popular fishing spot, adding to the authentic experience.

Praia da Milícias(also known as Praia Grande Beach)

Just a short distance from Ponta Delgada, this beach is celebrated for its golden sands and family-friendly vibe. With lifeguards on duty, it’s a safe swimming haven for all ages. The beach’s proximity to the city means you’re never far from cafes and restaurants. It’s not just a place to relax but a lively social spot, buzzing with activities like beach volleyball and jogging.

During summer, it becomes a hotspot for beach parties, where locals and visitors blend in a festive atmosphere.

Praia de São Roque

Praia de São Roque is considered one of the best beaches in Ponta Delgada. Praia de São Roque, set against the dramatic backdrop of lush hills and rugged cliffs, is an idyllic retreat for families and swimmers. Its tranquil waters and golden sands are perfect for a range of activities, from leisurely swims to exhilarating beach volleyball and paddleboarding.

The beach is well-equipped with facilities, ensuring a comfortable and carefree beach experience. Plus, its proximity to Ponta Delgada means you’re just a hop, skip, and jump away from exploring the city’s rich history and vibrant culinary scene. It’s a true gem that combines natural beauty with convenience.

Praia do Corpo Santo

A lesser-known beach, it offers a quiet and unspoiled setting. The beach is more rocky than sandy, which makes it an interesting spot for exploring tidal pools and the local marine life.

Praia de São Roque, set against the dramatic backdrop of lush hills and rugged cliffs, is an idyllic retreat for families and swimmers. Its tranquil waters and golden sands are perfect for a range of activities, from leisurely swims to exhilarating beach volleyball and paddleboarding.

The beach is well-equipped with facilities, ensuring a comfortable and carefree beach experience. Plus, its proximity to Ponta Delgada means you’re just a hop, skip, and jump away from exploring the city’s rich history and vibrant culinary scene. It’s a true gem that combines natural beauty with convenience.

Praia Baixa d'Areia

This beach is a hidden gem, offering a mix of sand and pebbles, and is surrounded by stunning natural scenery. It’s a perfect spot for those looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy nature.

This hidden treasure, with its blend of sand and pebbles set amidst stunning natural landscapes, is the epitome of tranquility. Praia Baixa d’Areia’s calm and clear waters are perfect for both novice and experienced swimmers.

Its lush surroundings provide a picturesque setting for a relaxing day or a leisurely hike along the nearby trails, revealing breathtaking coastal views and leading to other secluded spots. This beach is an ideal escape for those seeking to immerse themselves in the unspoiled beauty of the Azores.

Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo Beach

Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo Beach, situated on a small islet just off São Miguel’s coast in the Azores, stands out for its extraordinary natural beauty and unique geological formation. Formed by a submerged volcanic crater, the islet boasts a striking circular lagoon, creating a natural swimming pool protected from the ocean’s waves. The beach offers a unique swimming and snorkeling experience in its clear, calm waters. As a protected nature reserve, it’s a paradise for snorkeling aficionados and nature lovers alike. Accessible by a short boat trip, the journey to this beach is an adventure in itself.

Its lush vegetation and dramatic cliffs provide a stunning backdrop, making it not only a place of leisure but also a fascinating spot for geological and ecological exploration. This pristine beach is a must-visit destination in the Azores, offering an unparalleled blend of natural beauty and serene tranquility.

For sure, this can be considered to be one of the best Azores beaches!

The Best Beaches in Sao Miguel Island- West Coast

This less-traveled part of the island is renowned for its rugged charm and stunning beaches, each offering a unique experience that you simply can’t miss. Let’s embark on an exploration of the best beaches of São Miguel’s west coast.

Praia dos Mosteiros

Prepare to be mesmerized by Mosteiros Beach, a natural masterpiece known for its extraordinary volcanic rock formations rising majestically from the sea. This beach in Sao Miguel Island, with its intriguing mix of sand and pebbles, is a paradise for photographers and nature lovers, offering dramatic waves and an almost otherworldly landscape. But there’s more – the sunsets here are nothing short of magical.

As the sun sets at the westernmost point of São Miguel, it bathes the rocks in hues of orange and pink, creating a breathtaking spectacle. The charming fishing village nearby adds to the allure, providing a peek into the authentic Azorean lifestyle.

Ferraria Beach

Step into a unique world at Ferraria Beach, where nature’s wonders blend seamlessly with relaxation. Unlike your typical sandy beach, Ferraria boasts a natural geothermal pool nestled among rocks, with waters heated by nearby hot springs. The experience here is not just about a leisurely swim; it’s a therapeutic journey, as the ocean tide brings variations in the water’s temperature.

Surrounding Ferraria are trails offering majestic views of the cliffs and the vast Atlantic, perfect for those who love to combine their beach time with a bit of adventure. With additional amenities like a spa and a restaurant, Ferraria Beach is more than just a beach – it’s a holistic natural retreat.

The Best Beaches in Sao Miguel Island- East Coast

Set sail for an enchanting journey along the east coast of São Miguel in the Azores, a region celebrated for its breathtaking landscapes and serene beaches. While less traveled than other parts of the island, the east coast is a treasure trove of tranquil and picturesque beach escapes. Let’s discover some of the most splendid beaches in of São Miguel.

Praia do Fogo – Ribeira Quente Beach

This is one of the hidden beaches in Sao Miguel Island offering a more private beach experience. It’s surrounded by cliffs and lush vegetation, creating a feeling of being in a natural oasis.

Step into a hidden paradise at Praia do Fogo, a secluded beach that promises a private and immersive experience in nature. Surrounded by towering cliffs and lush greenery, it feels like a secret oasis, waiting to be explored. The journey to this beach is an adventure in itself, winding through dense vegetation and along cliff paths, adding a thrilling element to your visit. Its pristine charm with clean sands and crystal-clear waters is a haven for those seeking an authentic, unspoiled beach experience.

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Praia do Lombo Gordo

This beach is one of the most secluded on the island, offering a peaceful and unspoiled setting. Known for its soft sand and clear waters, this beach is enveloped by lush greenery and imposing cliffs, creating a sense of peaceful isolation. It’s not just a quiet retreat; it’s a spectacular spot to witness the sunrise, thanks to its east-facing orientation. Perfect for nature enthusiasts and those seeking solitude, its remote location ensures a less crowded atmosphere, offering a more personal beach experience.

Praia do Calhau da Maia

Nestled in a charming bay, Praia do Calhau da Maia is a gem known for its natural pools and stunning rock formations. This beach is a paradise for snorkeling and exploring marine life, offering a crystal-clear underwater world teeming with diverse sea creatures. It’s an ideal spot for families and geology buffs, with easily accessible pools and intriguing formations. The surrounding area is perfect for leisurely walks, where you can soak in the rugged beauty of the Azorean coastline and find idyllic spots for a scenic picnic.

Zona Balnear da Foz das Coelhas

Experience a unique coastal adventure at Zona Balnear da Foz das Coelhas. More than just a beach, it offers natural rock pools and breathtaking coastal views, perfect for those looking for a tranquil retreat. Whether you’re into coastal hiking, exploring, or just enjoying a refreshing swim in the clear waters, this area has it all. The varying depths of the natural pools cater to both relaxed wading and more adventurous swimming, making it an excellent spot for all ages.

Praia Calhau Boca da Ribeira

For a truly serene and secluded beach experience, head to Praia Calhau boca da Ribeira. This small, pebbly beach might be off the beaten path, but its enchanting setting and rich marine life make it a worthy destination. Ideal for snorkeling enthusiasts and those who appreciate a rustic, natural beach environment, it offers a chance for discovery and adventure amidst its unique landscape.

Beach Flags in Sao Miguel Island

Understanding the beach flag system is not just about safety; it’s about making your beach experience as enjoyable and worry-free as possible. Let’s enthusiastically unpack the colorful flags you’ll encounter on the beaches here and what they mean for your swimming adventures.


Green Flag

When you see this flag fluttering in the breeze, it’s all systems go! The green flag signifies that the conditions are perfect for a swim. The sea is calm, and there are no significant hazards. It’s the ideal time to grab your swimsuit and jump into the refreshing waters of São Miguel.

Yellow Flag

Caution is the word! The yellow flag indicates that while swimming is still permitted, the conditions might be a bit challenging. Maybe the currents are stronger, or the waves are a bit higher. It’s a signal to swim with care, especially for those who are not strong swimmers or little ones paddling in the water.

Red Flag

Stop and admire the view from the shore! The red flag means that swimming is prohibited. This could be due to rough seas, dangerous currents, or other hazardous conditions. It’s crucial to respect this flag for your safety, even if you’re an experienced swimmer.

Blue Flag

This is a special one! The Blue Flag isn’t about immediate safety conditions but is an eco-label awarded to beaches that meet high standards in water quality, environmental management, safety services, and environmental education. If you’re on a Blue Flag beach in São Miguel, you’re enjoying one of the best, most sustainably managed beaches in the world!

Checkered Flag  

This one’s for the surfers! A checkered flag indicates areas designated for surfers and other non-swimming activities. It helps in keeping swimmers and surfers safely apart, ensuring everyone has a great time without getting in each other’s way.

Surf Schools in Sao Miguel Azores

Are you ready to ride the waves in São Miguel, Azores? This stunning island isn’t just about breathtaking landscapes; it’s a surfer’s paradise too! With an array of fantastic surf schools dotted along its shores, São Miguel offers the perfect setting for beginners and experienced surfers alike. Let’s enthusiastically dive into the world of surf schools in São Miguel, where the Atlantic Ocean is your playground!

Praia de Santa Bárbara Surf School

Positioned on one of the most famous surfing beaches in the Azores, this school is a hotspot for surf enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to polish your skills, the experienced instructors here will guide you through the waves with ease and fun. Santa Bárbara’s consistent waves make it an ideal classroom for surfers of all levels.

Nomadik Surf Academy

Nestled on the north coast at Praia do Monte Verde, this school offers a fantastic surfing experience with a backdrop of stunning scenery. The passionate and skilled instructors are ready to introduce you to the thrilling world of surfing, ensuring safety and excitement in every lesson.

Azores Surf Center 

Located on the south coast, Populo Beach is perfect for those who prefer gentler waves. The Azores Surf Center caters to all ages and skill levels, making it ideal for families and beginners. The friendly instructors focus on providing a comprehensive surfing experience, from basics to advanced techniques.

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Beach Parking Areas

Let’s talk parking! In busy areas like Ponta Delgada, you’ll find convenient parking near the beaches. These spots fill up fast during peak season, so consider arriving early or using local buses or taxis for ease.

Heading to more secluded beaches? The parking there is part of the adventure, with smaller, rustic spots nestled in nature. Spaces might be limited, so having a backup plan is wise. São Miguel also offers eco-friendly parking options to help preserve its natural beauty.

Remember to respect the environment by using designated parking areas and be mindful of any fees or restrictions. Many beaches are close to hiking trails and local eateries, so your parking spot is also a gateway to further exploration.

Finding the right parking spot can seamlessly start your beach experience in São Miguel. Plan ahead, respect the local guidelines, and you’re all set for a memorable beach day in the Azores!

Where to Stay Near the Beaches in Sao Miguel?

Get ready to discover the perfect stay for your dream beach vacation on São Miguel Island in the Azores! Whether you’re seeking luxury, budget-friendly options, eco-conscious accommodations, or simply the most popular choices, I’ve got you covered. And guess what? is your go-to platform for snagging the best deals on these fantastic hotels. Let’s dive into the categories and find your ideal beachside retreat!

Luxury Hotels


Azor Beach Hotel – Indulge in opulence at the Azor Hotel, located in Ponta Delgada with stunning ocean views. This hotel offers a rooftop pool, luxurious spa services, and exquisite dining experiences.

Terra Nostra Garden Hotel – Nestled in Furnas, this hotel is famous for its thermal baths and lush gardens. Its rooms offer breathtaking views, and the onsite dining is top-notch.

Budget-Friendly Hotels


Hotel Arcanjo – Located in Lagoa, this charming hotel offers comfort at an affordable price, with easy access to nearby beaches.

Neat Hotel Avenida – In the heart of Ponta Delgada, this hotel provides budget-conscious travelers with cozy accommodations close to urban beaches and vibrant city life.

Eco-Friendly Hotels


Furnas Forest Living – This eco-friendly hotel in Furnas is a haven for wellness and nature lovers, with thermal pools and a focus on sustainable living.

Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa – Situated in Fenais da Luz, this resort takes pride in its eco-friendly practices, offering stunning sea views and luxurious amenities with an environmental conscience.

Most Visited Hotels


White Exclusive Suites & Villas – A favorite among travelers, located in Lagoa, this hotel boasts stylish suites and villas with panoramic ocean views, making it a top choice for visitors.

Hotel Verde Mar & Spa – In Ribeira Grande, this hotel is highly sought-after for its beachfront location, modern facilities, and exceptional spa services.

Recommended Hotels


Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort – This resort in Ribeira Seca is a gem for its eco-friendly approach and stunning beachfront villas.

Hotel Ponta Delgada – Located in Ponta Delgada this hotel offers privacy, comfort, and direct beach access, perfect for a relaxed stay. is your ultimate resource for exploring these options and more, offering the best deals and a user-friendly experience.

The Best Tours on the Beaches of Sao Miguel

Ready for an adventure of a lifetime on the stunning shores of São Miguel in the Azores? Well, you’re in for a treat! With GetYourGuide’s incredible selection of beach-based tours, every moment on this beautiful island promises to be an unforgettable experience. Let’s dive into some of the best tours that will transform your stay into an exhilarating journey of discovery!

Whale Watching and Islet Boat Tour – Embark on a thrilling whale-watching expedition from the shores of São Miguel!

Vila Franca do Campo Islet Kayaking Experience – Explore the beautiful coastline of São Miguel in style!

Wild Swimming with Dolphins – Dive into the crystal-clear waters of São Miguel with some nice friends!

Private Sunset Cruise with Drinks – Experience the magic of a sunset on a boat along the picturesque beaches of São Miguel.

Glass Bottom Boat Tour with Snorkeling – For those seeking a more tranquil experience, join a boat tour with snorkeling!

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