Things to do in
São Miguel Island

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Our most recommended things to do in São Miguel Island

From Ponta Delgada: Whale and Dolphin Watching Trip

1. From Ponta Delgada: Whale and Dolphin Watching Trip

Set off on a 3-hour whale-watching excursion to see some of the most magnificent marine mammals in the Azores. You’ll be on the lookout for mink whales, dolphins, turtles and more. The marine biologist on board will provide historical information and commentary. Begin with a briefing by a biologist, who will explain how local people have converted whale hunting to whale watching in the Azores. You’ll also receive information about safety, rules of observation and respect for the animals and an overview of what may be sighted during the tour. Leaving from the Ponta Delgada harbor, you’ll sail in style out onto the Atlantic. Qualified biologists and nature guides will provide detailed explanations and collect scientific data during the tour. Situated in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and North America, the Azores are a permanent home or point of passage for more than a third of the world’s whale and dolphin species. Sperm whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and Risso’s dolphins are present around the Archipelago of the Azores throughout the year. Other species visit or pass by during specific seasons so that the sightings vary considerably during the year — and often from day to day! Summer months are the best time to see Atlantic spotted dolphins, pilot whales and striped dolphins, whereas the spring months are the time to see migrating baleen whales such as blue whales, fin whales and sei whales. Although nature offers no guarantees, whales and dolphins are regularly seen during the tours, along with turtles, seabirds and other marine life.

Azores Whale Watching Expedition and Islet Boat Tour

2. Azores Whale Watching Expedition and Islet Boat Tour

This 2.5-hour excursion begins with an introduction to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and other marine species, their natural habitat, communication, migration and behavioral patterns. After the briefing, board the designated boat and head out to sea. The boat will approach the whales slowly and carefully as the naturalist guides and marine biologists on board provide commentary. The boat trip also includes a tour around the Princess Ring Islet of Vila Franca do Campo, for an up-close look at the volcano and resident wildlife. Light food is permitted on board, and a camera is essential to capture the wildlife you spot on the tour.

São Miguel: Glass Bottom Boat Tour with Snorkeling

3. São Miguel: Glass Bottom Boat Tour with Snorkeling

Discover the life that lies deep in the Azores Sea from the comfort of this glass-bottom boat, with an expert crew and guide. Your adventure begins at Vila Franca do Campo Marina. A biologist will give you a briefing about the itinerary and then you can set off. Learn about the marine life, nature, and historical curiosities of Vila Franca do Campo. You can spot the unique sea life of the protected area and observe the seabirds and crustaceans that fill the islet landscape. The biologist will help you identify the species, but you can expect to see everything from colorful shoals of fish, to starfish, sea cucumbers, and underwater volcanic activity. When you want to cool off you can go for a swim and snorkel, and get closer to some of the wildlife you've been spotting.

São Miguel West: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

4. São Miguel West: Full-Day Van Tour with Lunch

Explore the highlights of the western half of São Miguel island on this guided tour by van. Discover the famous crater lakes of Sete Cidades and Lagoa do Fogo, picturesque waterfalls, amazing cliffs, and stunning rock formations around the coast of the island. Start with a visit to Ribeira Grande, one of the most picturesque towns of the Azores, followed by a surprising view of some amazingly beautiful cliffs on the North coast. Then travel to the inner areas of the island to see the gorgeous waterfall of Salto do Cabrito, surrounded by wild vegetation. Drive to the top of Fogo Volcano to enjoy views of the most pristine and magical of the crater lakes of São Miguel. From the top of the mountain, enjoy the stunning views over a large portion of the island. After a tasty meal to restore your energy levels, head to Sete Cidades, to understand why this is considered by the postcard of the Azores. Enjoy views from two completely different perspectives over the famous twin lakes.  End the day in Mosteiros, at the western coast of the island, where the lava rocks have formed enchanting small islets and natural pools.

Sao Miguel: Swimming with Dolphins

5. Sao Miguel: Swimming with Dolphins

Join the ultimate swimming experience on an encounter with wild dolphins in the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Head out from the Azores in a Zodiac boat for an unforgettable adventure. This 2-hour activity is carried out in small groups and led by a qualified biologists or nature guides. Each swimming tour is preceded by a briefing in which one of the biologists explains how to swim with wild dolphins while respecting them. You’ll also learn how to enter the water and behave around the dolphins, how to use the mask and snorkel and how to get the most out of your swimming experience. Masks, snorkels and wet-suits are provided.

São Miguel Azores: Half-Day Whale Watching Trip

6. São Miguel Azores: Half-Day Whale Watching Trip

Enjoy a half-day whale watching trip in the Azores, one of the ‘top ten’ whale-watching spots in the world, and get the opportunity to meet the ocean giants in their natural habitat. Meet the boat crew and get a short briefing about safety and code of ethics and then put on your life vest and head out in the ocean. Listen as the crew follows the instructions given by radio from the lookouts placed in strategic points along the coastline using military-grade binoculars to find and communicate the position of the animals. Take comfort that the crew has a 99% success rate of sightings. Once whales have been spotted it´s time to enjoy the company of these magnificent animals, always keeping a safe and respectful distance. It´s usual that more than one group of whales and dolphins are observed per trip. On the way back to the marina, observe the geological formations of the island as the boat sails close to the coastline.

Azores: Vila Franca do Campo Islet Kayaking Experience

7. Azores: Vila Franca do Campo Islet Kayaking Experience

Paddle along the beautiful coastline of Vila Franca de Campo. Choose between the morning or afternoon tour and embark on a kayaking adventure suitable for families with children. The level is appropriate for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. Your professional instructor will make sure that everyone feels safe and comfortable. Get geared with the necessary equipment for your kayak tour. Then, receive a safety briefing from your instructor before heading out onto the waters. This tour takes you on a 4.5 kilometer stretch along the beautiful Vila Franca do Campo Islet. During the excursion, you may take a dip into the refreshing waters and try some snorkeling.

Azores: São Miguel and Lagoa do Fogo Hiking Trip

8. Azores: São Miguel and Lagoa do Fogo Hiking Trip

Explore the impressive landscapes and amazing panoramas on a hiking trip to São Miguel. Bathe in the natural pools in the stunning Lagoon of Lagoa do Fogo. Start your trail on a short dirt road, that will lead you to Lagoa do Fogo. Bathe in the pools of Lagoa, in the thermal baths of Caldeira Velha, or in the grandiose waterfall of Salto do Cabrito. Get stunning panoramic views of Lago do Fogo and the north coast of the island of Sao Miguel while traveling along “Cumeeira Norte”. Pass through several small streams surrounded by incredibly green and untouched forests, before reaching the characteristic pumice-stone beach of the lagoon. Enjoy a pleasant picnic lunch of regional products. Return to the starting point while enjoying another perspective of the south coast and the Atlantic Ocean. Visit the bathing zone of Caloura, or Agua D’Alto Beach, where you can practice snorkeling.

Furnas Hot Springs Night Tour with Dinner

9. Furnas Hot Springs Night Tour with Dinner

Unwind at the hot thermal springs of an active volcano on an evening tour from Ponta Delgada. Head to the volcanic complex of Furnas in Povoação and bathe in the warm waters of Poça da Dona Beija.  Go for a guided nature walk to discover the beautiful surroundings and get plenty of opportunities to take souvenir photos of the dramatic landscapes. End the evening with a traditional stew from the region, cooked beneath the ground using the heat from the surrounding thermal springs.

São Miguel Island: Full-Day West Coast Tour

10. São Miguel Island: Full-Day West Coast Tour

Discover all of São Miguel Island's west coast in one day on this guided tour. Enjoy scenic views as you visit small lakes, exclusive viewpoints, a pineapple plantation, and Sete Cidades. Learn the history behind the landscapes you explore. Start your trip with a pickup from your hotel. Meet your expert guide who will be with you along your adventure. Start learning the history and nature of the Azores archipelago. Then, head straight to Sete Cidades, enjoying amazing views of the island along the ride. Stop at the islet's viewpoints and immerse yourself in nature as you roam and visit the lakeside. The Sete Cidades lagoon will be the main attraction of the tour, but there will be plenty of additional stops and sights that you can enjoy along the way.

Frequently asked questions about São Miguel Island

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Other Sightseeing Options in São Miguel Island

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What people are saying about São Miguel Island

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 2,307 reviews

Vale super a pena fazer este passeio pela cidade de Ponta Delgada :) o João é super informativo e animado deixando nos sempre super à vontade. Aprendemos imenso sobre a cidade, descobrimos pinturas secretas, mais factos históricos e passeámos por um dos jardins mais bonitos de sempre! Top!

This tour was one of the best we have ever experienced! Nuno was an incredibly knowledgeable host who ensured we saw all of the key highlights but also provided amazing insights and experiences that only a local can share. We cannot recommend this tour and Nuno highly enough!

This was an amazing tour. Paulo was an informative and friendly guide. The information he provided was interesting and knowledgeable. The pastry shop, furnas area, tea plantation and all the other stops we made were wonderful.

This was a GREAT way to see Sao Miguel- Yugo was friendly, accommodating and an excellent source of information- I plan to return to the island after this tour

Guide was passionate, humorous and sincere which made all the difference. The weather did not cooperate, but he made the best of it.