ROL Cruises recommends…
Witness the Green Island’s volcanic beauty
One of São Miguel’s most enduring attractions has got to be the Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a staggeringly beautiful pair of lakes set in a dormant volcanic crater. These twin bodies of water are connected by a strait with a bridge above, offering breath-taking views which will definitely be something to write home about. Around 15 minutes’ drive to the west of the lakes is Ponta da Ferraria, another perennial favourite with tourists and locals alike. This natural phenomenon is an organic swimming pool heated by two springs of volcanic thermal water; these are said to have therapeutic benefits. Be careful before you take a dip, though, as it does get rather hot at certain times of the day!
Watch majestic whales and lively dolphins
Whale watching is simply a must when you visit São Miguel, and is sure to be an Azorean experience you’ll never forget. On half- or full-day tours, you will learn all about these colossal creatures, as well as the other marine life to be found close to the island including dolphins, turtles and seabirds. You’ll then head out on a boat or catamaran to spot them for yourselves – there are no guarantees, of course, given the unpredictability of nature!
Explore the vibrancy of Ponta Delgada
São Miguel’s bustling capital, Ponta Delgada, boasts plenty of fascinating attractions. Take a look at some of its fine churches, including the sixteenth century Igreja de São Sebastião, famous for its exquisite architecture, ornate décor and imposing tower. Elsewhere, the António Borges Park is a verdant and welcoming botanical garden, creating an oasis of calm in this lively municipality. Of course, a trip to São Miguel wouldn’t be complete without trying out some mouth-watering Azorean delicacies. You’ll find a host of restaurants specialising in tasty petiscos, or tapas, dotted around the charming streets of Ponta Delgada.