It displays beautiful landscapes and offers a great opportunity for a relaxing walk surrounded by spectacular nature. A wonderful scenery for pictures!
Between big waterfalls and unique vegetation, this is the perfect place to spend a quiet day far away from the city. But there are also options for the most adventurous travelers!
In this post, we will see everything about this magical place in one of the most remote and flowery parts of the island.
What is Ribeira dos Caldeirões
The Natural Park of Ribeira dos Caldeirões is a protected area included in the Special Protected Area of Pico da Vara and Ribeira do Guilherme.
It is a family-friendly park with interesting nature. If you follow the river that passes through the park, you will find beautiful waterfalls. All the paths have fascinating views and elements to see.
There is a great variety of Macaronesian flora at Ribeira dos Caldeirões, in addition to the Laurisilva forest. Among the lush vegetation, tree ferns, cryptomerias, and big bushes of hydrangeas (in the summertime) are the most present.
DID YOU KNOW... All the waterfalls, the river, and the pond are responsible for the water supply of most of the park.
Also, if you look up, you may be lucky and find a Priolo, one of the most endangered bird species in Europe, that only exists in the East of São Miguel island.
What to do at Ribeira dos Caldeirões
The park offers many activities for all ages and tastes. Also, if you wish to spend more time in this beautiful area, there is accommodation available in the typical rocky houses.
The entrance to the park is totally free, and there is a free parking lot. Inside Ribeira dos Caldeirões, there is a cafe, a souvenir shop, a handicraft center, and even a children’s play space.
See the waterfalls
There are several waterfalls at Ribeira dos Caldeirões. When you arrive at the parking lot, there is the biggest and most famous waterfall known as the Bride’s veil across the street. It is the first thing you see when you arrive. This is definitely the main attraction of the park. There is a short path around to take great pictures.
The entrance of the bigger part of the park is on the same side of the road as the parking lot. If you follow the path down to the river, you will find several waterfalls.
Experience Canyoning at Ribeira dos Caldeirões
Canyoning in the Azores is becoming more popular. This outdoor activity is not for the fainthearted! You will jump in ponds, rappel down waterfalls, slide on rocks and climb between canyons.
We can book your perfect canyoning experience at Ribeira dos Caldeirões with a professional guide and all the equipment needed for a day full of adrenaline.
🧭 Recomended Tour Canyoning Experience in Ribeira dos Caldeirões. Know More!
Have a picnic and taste local ice cream
The park has a picnic area for its visitors, so you can enjoy a good time there and take your own food for a unique lunch. There are tables, chairs, grills, a snack bar, and toilets for your comfort.
At the park, it is quite calm, although in the summertime it can get crowded. But if you come early to take a table, then you can enjoy your meal with the sound of the river in the background.
At the cafe, don’t miss the opportunity to buy yourself a local ice cream. They come in many flavors, but Maria biscuits and passionfruit are the most delicious ones!
Visit the open-air museum and the watermills
Inside the park, there are five old watermills, three of them classified as Public Interest Buildings with great historic value in the Azores. They were built in the 16th century and sustained many Azorean families through time.
One of the mills serves as an ethnographic museum, and another one is still working. You can see a miller and the cornflour and learn more about the whole process.
The millers’ houses bring you back to the old times. They are not working anymore but were turned into a handicraft shop, accommodation or also a cafe.
Best time to visit Ribeira dos Caldeirões
When is the best time to visit Ribeira dos Caldeirões? Let’s see together the difference between the seasons and the period of the day to make sure you have a great time in the natural park.
Best season of the year
In the summertime, you have a greater chance to get a sunny and warm day in the Azores. Although, as we like to say, we have the four seasons in a day. Even if the clouds seem to never get away and the wind is rising, don’t lose hope. The sun is just five minutes away!
It is possible to visit Ribeira dos Caldeirões all year round. In the summer, you can see the beautiful hydrangeas blooming all around the park. But the good part of the wintertime is that the waterfalls have more water to flow whereas in the summer they can be dryer.
Best time of the day
If you are coming to the Azores between June and September, then we recommend visiting the most touristic spots early in the morning, or in the late afternoon to avoid too many visitors. The parking lot can get full very quickly as it is not so big.
You can go to the Nordeste area in the early morning to see the sunrise, a wonderful experience! And then go to Ribeira dos Caldeirões for a nice walk.
Plan your visit to Ribeira dos Caldeirões
Now let’s plan your visit to the nature park of Ribeira dos Caldeirões. We will tell you its location and the different ways to get there.
How to get to Ribeira dos Caldeirões
Ribeira dos Caldeirões is located on the Regional Road in Achada, Nordeste – São Miguel island. When you go towards Nordeste along the North coast, you will see some signs to the park after passing by the village of Achadinha.
The park belongs to a protected area inside the mountain range of Tronqueira where is located the Guilherme river.
You can go to this wonder of nature by car, or if you wish for a stress-free experience, let our guide drive you in a comfortable van and tell you everything about the island. During our complete tour to Nordeste, you will see in detail the most remote region of São Miguel and learn so much about the Azores.
🧭 Recomended Tour Van Tour to Nordeste. Know More!
The first tip would be to get there early and have the spot for yourself. It is so much nicer to take a stroll around the park without anyone.
Second, it can happen that someone is offering some local pastries inside the mills. Do not get fooled, those are not for free. You need to pay for it, even though they don’t really tell you before you get one in your hand.
And also, don’t just go to the 2 bigger waterfalls and back to the car. Walk the entire path and get closer to nature. You might see wild birds and brave canyoners!
What to do around Ribeira dos Caldeirões
There are many things to do in the Nordeste region, around Ribeira dos Caldeirões park. It is a place filled with pure nature, wonderful landscapes, and local culture.
Vila do Nordeste is a colorful small town with a great heritage in the North East of São Miguel island. It is one of the most flowery villages in Europe and if you visit during the spring or summertime, you will clearly see why.
When you arrive in Nordeste, you will see the Bridge of the 7 arches, one of the most beautiful bridges in the Azores. It is quite old as it was built between 1882 and 1883. Beautiful scenery to stop by.
Another attraction of Nordeste is the lighthouse of Anel. It is located in Ponta do Arnel and was also built at the end of the 19th century. The lighthouse is still working nowadays to guide boats along the coast.
If you want to relax on the warm sand, Lombo Gordo is a gorgeous black-sand beach where you can swim in the Atlantic. Note that it is better to go in the morning and early afternoon because the sun hides quickly behind the high hills.
For an interesting visit, you can go to Centro Ambiental to Priolo. This little exposition explains the importance of saving the Azores Bullfinch, a small endangered bird that only lives in Nordeste.
Hike to Pico da Vara
Pico da Vara is nothing less than the highest point of São Miguel island. Reaching up to 1,108 meters above sea level, you can find Pico da Vara in the Basaltic Volcanic complex of Nordeste, the natural habitat of the Azores Bullfinch.
The nature reserve of Pico da Vara is as big as 1,980 hectares. It displays a rich flora, as it is covered by Laurisilva forest.
You can visit and hike up to the top of São Miguel island with our guides! Come join us for this beautiful experience! Please note that it is better to do this tour when there are no or few clouds for a very special view of the entire island.
🥾 Recomended Tour Climb to the rooftop of São Miguel (Pico da Vara). Know More!
See the sunrise at Ponta da Madrugada
The viewpoints of Ponta do Sossego and Ponta da Madrugada are the two most famous spots to see the perfect sunrise in São Miguel.
This is a great experience you absolutely must-do if you are staying near Nordeste. Many people decide to sleep near the viewpoints or drive early in the morning to witness the sun rising over the ocean.
DID YOU KNOW... The best sunset spot in São Miguel island is Mosteiros, in the west part.
The two parks offer beautiful landscapes of green cliffs falling in the Atlantic and a great variety of plants and flowers.
Take a walk in the tea plantations
Only 10 minutes away by car from Ribeira dos Caldeirões, the tea plantations of Gorreana create a unique landscape resembling the rice plantations of Asia.
Get lost in the labyrinth of tea leaves and admire the beautiful view over the ocean. It is one of the very few tea plantations in Europe.
You can also visit the exposition inside to see the machinery used for making a tea out of the plant.
🧭 Recomended Tour Van Tour to Furnas. Know More!
Useful Tools & Apps
The weather in the Azores is quite unpredictable. For this reason, there is a very useful tool you can use before going to visit any place on the 9 islands: Spotazores. Thanks to cameras installed in many spots, you can see the real-time weather and decide where to go.
If you want an accurate weather forecast, consult Windguru. From the size of the waves to the air temperatures, this website is very useful.
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So, to sum it up, Ribeira dos Caldeirões should be on your to-go list when traveling to São Miguel island. It is a nice park to take a walk close to nature with your family, friends or lover.
Enjoy a good time chasing waterfalls and have a picnic in the green grass of the nature park. And if you are up to more adventure, book a canyoning trip with us!