Help! Azore Islands (aka Azores) or Sao Miguel?

on Nov 16, 2014 @ 07:01 pm

Has anyone been to Sao Miguel which is the big/main island in the Azores? There are no sections on the Azores in the travel guides on travel to Portugal and I'm leaving in 3 days. I'd appreciate any insights about what to do and see - hotel is booked and I've got a rental car for 5 days! The only things I know for sure to do are the volcanic hot spring baths and the tea plantation.

LOL Nothing like leaving things to the last minute!

4 Replies

Ali de Bold
Check TripAdvisor on Nov 19, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

I've never been but my go-to resource for trips is always TripAdvisor. Have you checked this out yet?

After briefly looking I'm extremely jealous. Please tell us all about it when you come back and have a great trip! :)

Thanks Ali! on Nov 27, 2014 @ 11:09 am

Thanks for the suggestion Ali! I did try out TripAdvisor (been using them for 8 years!) but I have to say that the info there is not always right and can be jumbled. In TA, the reviews were mixed up - it's a bit confusing trying to find what to do and where to go. We went to the biggest island (Sao Miguel) and stayed in the 'big' city of Ponta Delgada using that as a base to explore the whole island.

For anyone going, I'd suggest renting a car for a few days so you can explore at your own pace - and go places that the bus tours won't take you. There are some amazing areas - volcano lakes, high cliffs that end in spectacular coastal views, scenic towns with old-world Portuguese charm. You can pick your pace... mountain biking, hiking, and atv'ing on insanely scenic volcanic mountians, visiting tea estates or fruit liquor factories, hanging out in volcanic hot springs, black rock beaches for wading... old towns for exploring.

Many people have some english as their second language - it was a big surprise. And it's very safe - the safest I have ever felt traveling anywhere! In retrospect I should have sourced a good guide on the Azores since there is very little in the way of tourist info - so you speak to other travelers to pick up tips about where to go or what to do.

Spring is best for blooms - the entire island is like a garden of hydrangeas, azeleas and wildflowers... a little insane really. There were some blooming when we were there, but the big time is spring. That is also a better time for whale watching - some of the best whale watching in the world is in Azores.

I'm back today ... broke and with a head-cold but happy! I'd recommend the Azores to anyone! Amazing place to go!!!

Sandra Ribeiro
Azores on Jun 15, 2015 @ 10:33 pm

Definitely Sao Miguel1 I've been there many times. Food is great, people are friendly and the scenery is stunning!

Me on Jul 17, 2015 @ 07:33 pm

I spent an entire month there as fiance's family is from there.
Personally, if you can get to Lisbon, GO.
SM is a nice place to walk around, but it's not good for much else.
The people are friendly, but there's nothing to do except loiter in sweatpants.
The Tea Plantation wasn't even open the entire time I was there... It was just an abandoned building we drove by frequently.
We spent all of our time in Ponta Delgada because the villages were a complete snore.
Personally, I didn't find this place all that appealing!

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