Janela do Inferno is basically a trail leading you through the wonderful biodiversity of the Azores. Literally translated, it means the Window to Hell, but we can assure you, this is nothing but paradise.
This is not one of the most famous trails on São Miguel island, but definitely, a good one to see a variety of landscapes. Indeed, from cow pastures to a lush forest, passing by ancient aqueducts and tunnels, everyone will be happy with this hike.
The tourism council is responsible for this official trail, which means it is well maintained and indicated all along the way, in Portuguese and English.
So if you love wandering surrounded by nature while discovering the true face of our paradise islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, then let’s discover more about this epic walk on the Green Island.
What is Janela do Inferno
Geology & Volcanology
Janela do Inferno is located right at the base of Água de Pau volcano, on the central part of São Miguel island. If you go up the road by car you will arrive at Lagoa do Fogo – a lake inside the crater of the volcano.
The shape of this volcano surrounding Janela do Inferno is due to several eruptions but the stronger one was about 15.000 years ago. Nowadays we don’t see eruptions anymore, the last one happened in 1564.
The volcanic activity is still present in the region of Janela do Inferno. In fact, there are hot springs, fumaroles, and many other natural phenomena to see around.
Janela do Inferno in itself is a waterfall flowing down from a cave (the ‘window’), creating a little pond of clear water right at its base.
History & Geography
This is quite a recently officialized trail. However, it was used for a long time by locals. Indeed, the old aqueduct system you will see on the trail was originally designed to bring water from mountain springs down to the Alcohol Factory in the town of Lagoa. This factory does not produce any alcohol since the second half of the 20th century.
Janela do Inferno is on the south side of São Miguel island – Azores. It belongs to Lagoa, one of the 6 counties of the island. From east to west, the location of Janela do Inferno is quite central. Being only around 15 minutes by car from the main city of Ponta Delgada.
Fauna & Flora
While walking the trail of Janela do Inferno, you might see some birds and lizards, but the stars of the show are undoubtedly our beautiful cows. You will pass by many farmlands where milk cows graze on the greenest grass.
Once at the waterfall, it is possible to spot Newts (Triturus cristatus) in several phases of their life cycle (adults, juveniles, and larvae). So be patient and look for them around the pond.
Culture & Festivities
Once a year, a famous art festival called ‘Walk and talk’ organizes concerts and exhibitions in nature. It normally takes place around July. Janela do Inferno being a gorgeous space, they already included this trail in their festival for a cellist live.
What to do at Janela do Inferno
Hike along pastures
Janela do Inferno is a relatively easy trail, without big ascents or descents. It is a circular trail, which means departure and arrival points are the same. In total, it is about 7.6 kilometers, for around 2.5 hours of walking.
Begin the hike by Casa da Água (the ‘water house’, which actually is a former milk station and now is an information point for hikers). Then, you will need to go down the path, passing by the picnic area and turning left. Always follow the red and yellow signs until you find a dirt path going up on your left. While you climb up, don’t forget to turn back to have a beautiful view over the counties of Lagoa and Ponta Delgada bordered by the ocean.
You will pass by different pastures where cows are gently staring at travelers passing by. Don’t forget to take some pictures of our famous cows.
Cross the tunnels
Now you will go from typical bright green farmlands to a lush jungle with darker shades of green. You will encounter the first of 4 tunnels, which are old aqueducts. The last tunnel you will see is about 50 meters long.
As some tunnels are longer than others, it is recommended to have a flashlight with you to avoid putting your feet where you shouldn’t.
While they were formerly used for the Alcohol Factory, nowadays some of them still transport water to Lagoa county.
Admire the waterfall
Finally, the biggest highlight of the hike is this beautiful waterfall that you will find at the end of the hike (before returning to the departure point). This is Janela do Inferno: a tall vertical wall with springs inside flowing from the small cave – which was created by water erosion.
Look out for the newts at the little pond. Take some time to admire this unique place before returning via the other side of the river, and inhale pure air surrounded by the lush forest of Serra de Água de Pau.
Best time to visit Janela do Inferno
The Azores Archipelago is known for its mild temperatures throughout the year. However, the rain and cloudy skies are constant in the Spring, Autumn, and Winter months.
The island of São Miguel is situated in the Eastern Group of the Archipelago. Here you will be able to notice the atypical characteristics of this climate resulting from several factors, which contribute to its plant exuberance and landscape value.
On average, temperatures vary between:
- 16 degrees in spring
21 degrees in summer
18 degrees in autumn
and 14 degrees in winter.
Thus, if you want to enjoy all the splendor of this island (São Miguel) and this specific place, the best time to visit it will be between May and September when the probability of rain is lower.
On the other hand, if you want to make your trip in this time space, we advise you to organize and book your stay and flights as soon as possible – prices tend to go up a lot.
☁️ Might Interest You The Weather in the Azores in January The Weather in the Azores in February The Weather in the Azores in March The Weather in the Azores in April The Weather in the Azores in May
Best time of the day for Janela do Inferno
The trail is open at all times and is a real delight to visit at any time. You can enjoy the place almost to yourself if you go early in the morning, or during lunchtime.
Going in the afternoon is also a good idea as long as you are aware of the sunset time to avoid walking in the dark, and see the magnificent sunset on Fogo volcano.
Plan your visit to Janela do Inferno
How to get to Janela do Inferno
You can get to the starting point of Janela do Inferno’s hike by car, guided tour, or taxi. There is currently no public transportation that goes up the mountain. It is only a few minutes away by car from the town of Lagoa and 15 to 20 minutes from Ponta Delgada.
Once you park the car at the picnic area, you will see an information point with all the details about the trail. The trail is well-marked with official red and yellow signs. Although if you get lost you can always use a GPS for dirt roads like Maps.me.
What to bring to Janela do Inferno
Before starting the trail, make sure you have got all the equipment you need to stay warm, safe, and comfortable.
First, check if you have enough water and snacks for the walk. Be careful with the sun also, as we are in the middle of the ocean, it can hit you stronger than you are used to. Using sunscreen is always a good idea. Also, remember that a headlight or flashlight for the tunnels is recommended.
As for clothes, depending on the time of the year you are coming to our islands, it is variable. However, it is strongly advised to dress in layers. A waterproof jacket is a must-have, and a sweater or warm top is also good to have for the moments when you will be stopping and not walking. Pants are always better than shorts for hiking in the forest and avoiding leg scratches. Hiking shoes or boots are also the safest options to not slip in the mud on rainy days.
Where to eat near Janela do Inferno
If you need a place to eat near Janela do Inferno, click here. In this link, you will find the Top 10 restaurants on Tripadvisor.
Ferramentas e Aplicações Úteis
O tempo nos Açores é bastante imprevisível. Portanto, existe uma ferramenta muito útil que você deve usar antes de ir visitar qualquer lugar nas 9 ilhas: Spotazores. Graças a câmeras instaladas em vários pontos, você poderá ver as condições do tempo em tempo real antes de decidir para onde ir.
Where to Stay near Janela do Inferno
You can take pictures of cows, but do not try to enter private fields to take a closer look at them. First of all, they might not like it, but also there might be guard dogs inside to protect their cows.
One tip that applies to everywhere you go in nature: Do not take anything but pictures, and do not leave anything but footprints. Leave the place as you found it for the pleasure of future visitors and respect for our mother nature.
What to do around Janela do Inferno
Venture to Lagoa do Fogo
This awe-inspiring turquoise lake is a pure testimony of nature’s pace. Many stories can be told and yours might just start here. This least humanized and preserved area, even had its pumice beach, on the lagoon margins, awarded the best wild beach in Portugal, within 7 wonders – Beaches of Portugal Contest.
Due to its untouched landscape, Lagoa do Fogo is a great place to be one with nature. The green peninsulas diving into the pristine waters are great photo subjects. Enjoy many trails around to discover this unique lake in a volcano crater.
Get warm at Caldeira Velha
When visiting Caldeira Velha is like entering Jurassic World, full of exuberant nature. It is an authentic spa in the open air, surrounded by lush vegetation.
The iron-rich water of this spa in the open air is naturally warm at any time. This green jungle classified as Natural Regional Monument will transport you to another planet.
Deep inside the forest with many plants dating from the Cretaceous period, hold your breath and dive into the warm thermal iron-rich waters.
It has to be on your to-do list! Enjoy the unique scenery straight out of a Jurassic Park movie.
🧭 Recomended Tour Jeep Tour to Lagoa do Fogo (full-day). Know More!
Go see the waterfall Salto do Cabrito
Hidden inside a lush forest and set in a scenery straight out of a fairy tale, Salto do Cabrito is an impressive waterfall about 40 meters high.
In the crystal clear waters at the bottom, a swim close to the waterfall will make you feel totally connected to nature. Harmony is in the air at this natural masterpiece.
Wander in the picturesque streets of Lagoa city
Lagoa is where nature meets urban life and creates the perfect balance. Some minutes away from the town there are hidden trails full of waterfalls, mystic volcanic lakes, and idyllic beaches.
Culture and history seekers will also be satisfied thanks to various museums and traditional events.
Useful Tools and Apps
The weather in the Azores is quite unpredictable. For this reason, there is a very useful App that you can install on your mobile phone before visiting any of the 9 islands: Spotazores. Thanks to the cameras installed in many of the biggest points of tourist interest, you can see the weather in real time and decide where to go.
Cultural Agenda on The Island of São Miguel
The island of São Miguel has many cultural events to offer all year round. You can see the full list of events at the following link. Look at the Agenda!
How to Get to São Miguel Island
There are many routes to get to the island of São Miguel by plane. The main points of entry are via Lisbon, Porto (on the mainland) and Ponta Delgada (São Miguel island), but there are already many direct routes.
The best way to find a flight that works for you is to use a flight search engine like eDreams or Skyscanner. As you may already know, these sites allow you to compare prices and schedules of various airlines in one place.
Once you find a flight you like, all you need to do is book! And in a few hours, you’ll be on your way to one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world.
If you had to resume the Azores to one trail, Janela do Inferno would have most of the typical characteristics. From our lovely cows to the greenest grass you will ever see, ancient stone infrastructures, and the quiet of our lush nature, Janela do Inferno is everything but Hell.
Enjoy the beautiful nature of the Azores in one nice hike accessible to almost everyone. You can go walk and then relax at the hot springs nearby to relax the muscles.
So, if you are planning to come to São Miguel island and didn’t put Janela do Inferno on your list of things to see, you should reconsider and include this incredible spot.
Mendonça, L. (2017). Perguntas e Respostas sobre a História dos Açores. 2ª Edição, Letras Lavadas. Ponta Delgada
Forjaz, V., Ribeiro, L., Almeida, L., Pereira, N. e Rodrigues, J. (2019). Dos Vulcões dos Açores. 4ª Edição, Letras Lavadas. Ponta Delgada
Rodeia, C. e Rodrigues, J. A. (2013). Açores – ilhas de Sonho. (2013). Açores – ilhas de Sonho. 3ª Edição, Publiçor – Publicações e Publicidade, Lda. Ponta Delgada