Exploring the west of São Miguel

With a rental car, we can explore the western part of the island at our own pace, which proves to be nice. First thing, we head towards the Sete Cidades, and stop a few times at viewpoints along the way as we ascend the largest volcano crater on the Azores.

We have picked a cloudy morning — which results in fog, fog and more fog the higher we ascend.

Our first stop is Lagoa do Canário. The lake is an inland lake towards the top of the volcanic crater, hidden away amongst trees and bushes. The fogginess creates a mystic atmosphere — and the temperature is refreshingly cool on an otherwise hot day. (NB! Please stay on the path!)

However, with these clouds it really isn’t easy to actually see much of the lake in the first place. And so, we move on.

Sete Cidades. Sete Cidades is a small village with two lakes at the bottom of the volcano crater on the west side of the island of São Miguel. The two lakes join at the middle, but one is blue and the other green. Myth has it that the lakes are tears of two lovers torn apart — one with blue eyes and the other, green. Towards the top of the crater is a viewpoint of the village and the lakes, but with so much fog we descend down to the village instead, and explore the place up close.


Sete Cidades is small — it has two restaurants. We end up eating at Lagoa Azul (named after the blue lake), where there is a buffet lunch with dessert included. We picked this restaurant as it seemed cleaner than the other one — and we were not disappointed with the all-you-can-eat buffet, desserts and drinks included for €11 per person.

Later in the day the clouds thankfully lift. We get another chance at viewing Sete Cidades on the way home, this time without the fog!

Mosteiros. Originally the plan was to walk a 7km trail from Sete Cidades, but the heat, coupled with a pregnant traveller, puts this out of the question. Instead we return to the car and drive on to Mosteiros. (As we have the GPS on walking mode the journey takes us through an unsurfaced and bumpy road — but we learn that walking down the crater wall is perfectly doable, as there are plenty of hikers along the trail!). For us, the attraction at Mosteiros is the natural baths and the beach: we have travelled from Norway to the Azores and haven’t adjusted to the warmer temperature yet! The so-called are indeed natural- however we disagree with our guide book that they should be advertised as a natural bathing spot as there is noone in the water. The ground simply isn’t very inviting for that. We end up settling for a walk along the waterside, before we start ascending the crater yet again.

Return to Lagoa do Canário. As the fog is lifting, we return to Lagoa do Canário. It looks different when you are actually able to see the lake in question (but I do think I preferred it in the fog).

On the way back to the car, we decide to follow the mud road by foot for a while. Not marked in any way, we come across a staircase to the right of the path — and as curiosity killed the cat, curiosity also brings us down those steps. We find ourselves on a quiet, quiet path where only our own footsteps and the singing of birds can be heard. We follow it for a while, through a colourful and fertile terrain. It is a actually a really enjoyable walk, and it is cool enough here for the heat not to be problem.

Back in Ponta Delgada, we later finish the evening with a meal and a stroll along the marina where we find some live jazz and ice cream before we escape back to the hotel as the rain sets in over the town.

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