Azores Adventures – Futurismo

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Sao Miguel island

This is a place where you can breathe the pure salty air of unique black-sand beaches, with magnificent waves calling you for an unforgettable surf session.

An island almost suspended in time with volcanic lagoons, boiling iron-rich thermal waters, dramatic cliffs, calm pastures and idyllic forests.

About Sao Miguel island

Sao Miguel is a pristine island located in the Azores, Portugal. It is the biggest island of the archipelago with about 140,000 inhabitants. Sao Miguel has two faces: the modern and largest city of Ponta Delgada where you can find all the necessary goods and services, and the richness in untouched nature where you can recharge your batteries surrounded by unique landscapes. 

Discover nature like you have never seen it, between wild volcanoes, breathtaking views, the deep blue ocean and magical forests with endemic fauna and flora. The ‘Green Island’ is one of Europe’s most beautiful hidden gems and the perfect place for your next holidays. 

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Geography

Located about 2 hours away by plane from mainland Portugal and 5 hours away from the East Coast of the United States, Sao Miguel is the biggest island or the Azores in size and in population. Indeed, more than half of the entire Azorean population lives on this island. It is about 62km long and 16km wide.

Along with its neighbour Santa Maria (only 80 km away), they form the Oriental Group, as they are the easternmost islands of the archipelago. The highest point of Sao Miguel island is Pico da Vara, which is about 1,105 m high. The shape of Sao Miguel looks strangely like a sperm whale if you get a bit creative, the emblem of our island.

Economy

From the beginning of the settlement, the fertile soil and safe bays made the island the perfect trading spot. First, it was wheat and woad that sustained the economy. Then, in the 18th century, the commercial trade was all about oranges, mostly exported to Great Britain. It was a great source of wealth until the oranges got sick in 1870. Many locals decided to leave the island in search of good conditions of living in the United States. Also in the 18th century began the traditional whaling times. Sperm whales were hunted and all the parts were sold mostly to the United States, England and Germany.

History

It is believed that Sao Miguel was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Gonçalo Velho Cabral sometime between 1426 and 1437. It was then the second island to be found, after Santa Maria. Then, from the year 1439 began the first settlements, mostly by Portuguese and French. Some people say that the accent of Micaelenses is close to French, that migration explains it in parts.

The first town to be populated was Povoação, in the South East coast of the island, and the first main city was Vila Franca do Campo until the damages of a big earthquake in 1522. Then, Ponta Delgada started to play an important role and became the main city only in 1546. In 1582 happened the naval battle of Ponta Delgada, where Sao Miguel was temporarily occupied by the Spanish army. Then, the Portuguese regained the throne in 1640, at the end of the Iberian Union.

Nature & Geology

The Azores in general are volcanic island, made of 26 active volcanoes. Five of them are in Sao Miguel, along with 2 underwater near the island. You can truly see the volcanic activity in many occasions! May it be in the boiling ground of Furnas, in the warm natural oceanic pool of Ferraria or in the many black sand beaches that we have. Actually, there is no white sand beach in Sao Miguel. One of the most amazing volcanic complex that you can see in the Azores is Sete Cidades, with its many crater lakes and the wonderful nature around, it offers breathtaking views.

Why visit São Miguel Island

  • Relax in hot springs

    São Miguel is the only island with so many hot springs. Enjoy naturally warm waters for a relaxing moment.

  • Geological Paradise

    The natural landscape of São Miguel Island is of a unique beauty. Explore infinite strange geothermal phenomena.

  • Perfect balance between nature and civilisation

    From a nice city break in the biggest city of the archipelago to a nature getaway hiking between volcanoes, there are many things to do in Sao Miguel.

  • Tours Sao Miguel island in Azores

    Top Sights in Sao Miguel island

    Things you must see in Sao Miguel island

    Plan your Sao Miguel island

    What airlines fly to Sao Miguel, Azores?

    Flying to São Miguel Island is quite easy and a good deal! There are low-cost companies such as Ryanair offering trips all year round. The easiest way to come, besides direct international flights, is through Lisbon (2h flight) and Porto (2h30 flight). Check the Getting Here page to learn more.

    What to do in Sao Miguel when raining?

    The weather in the Azores isn’t always sunny, as you may already know. But fortunately, there is a lot to be seen other than the incredible volcanos and some other outdoor spots. Only in Ponta Delgada you have a lot of interesting museums, beautiful churches, the Farmer’s Market, the Gruta do Carvão, between many other interesting places to visit.

    Check out our Search Tours to find all the different experiences we offer and get in touch with us via chat, email, or phone if you need some extra help to decide what to do.

    What is the best season for bird watching in São Miguel island?

    It all depends on what you want to see. For resident species, the best season is summertime, even if they are here all year round, this is the time of the year we can easier spot them. For migratory birds, the best time is at the end of winter, during the springtime and also at the beginning of autumn.

    Reviews What people think about

    Our Policies about Sao Miguel island

    01

    Language

    The native language is the Portuguese, although the accent differs from between islands according to the cultural roots of the first settlers on the island.

    The Azoreans easily master the English, French and German.

    02

    Currency

    The currency unit is the EURO (€).

    Only banking institutions exchange money, which are open from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

    The visitor can use credit cards, usually with the establishments that accept them affixed stickers that indicate it.

    03

    Transportation

    Air: All the islands of the Azores are connected by air, through the operator Sata Regional – Air Açores.

    Sea: Maritime connections between all the islands are provided from May to October by the shipping company Atlânticoline, and the islands of Faial, Pico and São Jorge have connections throughout the year by Transmaçor and Expresso do Triângulo.

    Land: On all islands there is a network of bus, taxi and rent-a-car services.

    04

    Clothing

    Summer: Light clothing is suggested.

    Spring and autumn: Clothing suitable for humid and cool days is recommended.

    Winter: the temperatures are mild, however precipitation is frequent, so warm clothing and raincoats are recommended.

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