Lush, wild, and stunning; the Azores islands are a dream for photographers and lovers of the great outdoors and jaw-dropping scenery.
That’s why, being just back from there, we have decided to put together this comprehensive guide to the best photography locations in Sao Miguel Azores. For you all to explore this gem and decide whether it is worth your time (spoiler alert: IT PROBABLY IS!) before mass tourism devours it as it happened with other stunning destinations around the world.
Sao Miguel, the gateway to the Azores
Closer than New Zealand for many and showcasing natural and geological phenomena comparable to Iceland, the ever-green Azores islands are slowly but surely starting to get noticed by the admirers of the great outdoors, warm climates, great food, affordable price tags, and overall, all-things-Portugal.
Today we are proud to showcase Sao Miguel (please note the correct spelling is São Miguel, not Saõ Miguel), the largest and most populated island within the Azores archipelago.
When to visit the Azores
The short answer is always. However, let us explain:
The Azores archipelago is composed of nine islands and offers a pleasantly warm climate all year round with winter temperatures around 20 °C (68°F) and a few showers, and summer temperatures around 25-30 °C (77-86 °F).
What’s even better, as we have already mentioned before, the Azores islands are still not flooded with tourists during the low and shoulder seasons (from early-Autumn to mid-Spring) so if we had to pick the best time to visit the Azores, that would be between October and April should you are like us and prefer to visit them without the crowds. However, if that wasn’t an issue for you, head there from May to September. You could catch the best time to spot whales (May) and the chance of rains will be significantly smaller.
What to see in Sao Miguel
Sao Miguel island features breathtaking views such as the one from Lagoa das Furnas, volcanic peaks and lakes as Lagoa do Congro, waterfalls like Salto do Prego, picturesque towns like Ribeira Grande, Nordeste and the capital Ponta Delgada, tea plantations, black sand beaches like Mosteiros, and a rugged coast that surfers and those looking forward to getting close and personal with marine life particularly enjoy.
To get us started, here’s a short video that showcases some of the stunning landscapes you will find in this road trip guide to the best photography spots in Sao Miguel Island, Azores:
Interactive map of the best photography locations in Sao Miguel
And without further ado, to save you time below is a map highlighting the top locations for photography in Sao Miguel. We have carefully picked 25 spots that will delight every visual person visiting this island.
They are a great starting point if visiting the island of Sao Miguel is on your plans, as they will make you go back home with great images of your time there.
From cities and villages to cliffs, volcanic peaks and lakes, beaches, waterfalls, awe-inspiring viewpoints, and rolling hills; there is a bit of everything and lots of interesting things to see in Sao Miguel Azores to suit all kinds of people – and photography styles!
Some Pictures that will make you visit Sao Miguel
1. Ponta Delgada
2. Vila Franca do Campo
3. Lagoa do Congro
4. Lagoa das Furnas
5. Terra Nostra Garden
6. Lagoa do Peixe
7. Pico do Carvao
8. Lagoa Empadadas
9. Lagoa de Eguas
10. Lagoa do Canario
11. Miradouro do Cerrado das Freiras
12. Sete Cidades
13. Caldeira Seca
14. Farol da Ponta da Ferraria
15. Ponta da Ferraria
17. Lagoa do Fogo
18. Caldeira Velha
19. Salto do Cabrito
20. Ribeira Grande
21. The viewpoint of Ponta do Cintrão
22. Ribeira dos Caldeirões waterfall
23. Arnel Lighthouse
24. Viewpoint near Nordeste
25. The viewpoint of Ponta do Sossego
How to get to the Azores Islands
Indeed, the most convenient way to get to the Azores is flying. These are all the companies that fly to the Azores today: Azores Airlines – SATA, Tap Portugal, Primera Air, Tui fly, Ryanair, Germania, and Delta.
For the adventurous souls out there, you can also arrive by boat. We know that the Azores are a common stop on Atlantic Ocean crossings. The best part is that traveling doesn’t get much more sustainable than sailing!
How to move around the island of Sao Miguel
The best way to explore all the fantastic places Sao Miguel offers is by renting a car. We did see a few tour companies driving around small groups of tourists on Jeeps and 4-wheelers as well as a couple of public buses; but if traveling independently means anything to you, there’s no other way.
Azores Easy Rent
2º Circular Posto de Abastecimento Galp Laranjeira 9500-353 Ponta Delgada São Miguel – Açores
A small vehicle was all we needed to drive around Sao Miguel Azores roads without spending a ton of gas. And this recently opened company provided us with the perfect vehicle for that: a Mitsubishi Space Star. But not only that, but they also answered all our questions about the island and gave us lots of great tips on places to see, restaurants to try, and spots we could not miss. Highly recommended!
Where to stay in Sao Miguel Azores
Due to its small size, your best option is to choose a base and do day trips from there. All the three routes recommended in this guide of Sao Miguel started and ended in Ponta Delgada, our base during our time in Sao Miguel, the closest city to the airport and the largest hub on the island.
Hotel Marina Atlântico
Av. João Bosco Mota Amaral 1, 767, 9500-767 Ponta Delgada, Portugal
This luxury hotel is just a short walk away from the historic S.Pedro district. And its spacious and refined rooms have all the amenities you might need, and lots of them enjoy ocean views and a balcony overlooking Ponta Delgada’s port.
The hotel highlight for us was indeed its spa area with an indoor pool, whirlpool, gym, and sauna; which we used almost every day after returning from our island explorations. Because who would say no to a few minutes chilling in the jacuzzi before dinner?
Do you have somewhere beautiful to add to this Sao Miguel Azores photography list? Are you planning to visit Sao Miguel island of the Azores archipelago soon? Get in touch via email: aworldtotravel @ gmail . com
Disclaimer: We were invited to 4 nights at Hotel Marina Atlantico and an Azores Easy Rent car for the length of our stay.