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Vila Franca do Campo

Count this village of an unequalled beauty in your itinerary of São Miguel. It has something very special, desired in the summertime: its islet. In fact, it is a subaquatic volcano crater, nature reserve unaccessible in the winter and a popular heavenly beach in the summer. In addition to this unique bathing area, Vila Franca has innumerable natural attractions worth visiting.

About Vila Franca do Campo

Vila Franca is a county and a municipality in the south of São Miguel. The town was built in the 15th century, not so long after the discovery of the island. The colonial officials in charge lived there, where sugar cane was the main source of wealth.

In 1582, Vila Franca witnessed one of the biggest naval battles in the Azores between Portuguese and Spanish. Portugal lost its independence for 60 years. During this time, Vila Franca was the place where the defeated Portuguese were executed.

In 1900, Vila Franca was the first place in Portugal to have public illumination by electric energy.

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Nature & Geology

Vila Franca do Campo was the first capital of São Miguel island for many years until a strong earthquake in 1522 destroyed the town. Despite being rebuilt, Ponta Delgada became the new capital of the island.

The islet of Vila Franca is the result of a subaquatic eruption that created a volcanic cone. Then, time and the erosion of the ocean created what is today called The Princess Ring, due to its perfectly round shape. It had many uses like a military fort, harbor, whale lookout, and so on, but now it is a nature reserve for birds nesting on its cliffs. In the summer, the natural pool inside the crater is a magical place to be.

Experiences and Tips

The most awesome thing to do in Vila Franca in the summertime is to spend a day at the islet. It is located about 1km away from the coast and a boat is going there every hour.

Tip: Watch whales and dolphins in the morning with us and we take you there in the afternoon!

Trails are abundant around Vila Franca. Quatro fábricas da Luz for instance is a wonderful track allying nature with history. Indeed, aside from the incredible scenery of waterfalls, rivers, and forests, there are ruins of hydropower plants on the way which were once very important for the electricity distribution on the island.

From the viewpoint of Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz, it is possible to have a panoramic view over the town of Vila Franca as well as a wonderful view over the islet. 

Why Futurismo

  • 100+ Breathtaking experiences

    Venture beyond the extraordinary. Unrivaled adventure

  • Azores Travel Experts

    Largest tour operator in the Azores with 30 years of experience

  • Environmental Education

    At Futurismo, we think that educating and raising awareness among the young ones is very important for the future

  • Free Cancellations

    You’ll receive a full refund if you cancel at least 48 hours in advance

  • Friendly Help

    We’re here to make your experience incredible. Reach us by phone, email, or WhatsApp

  • Helping Social Solidarity Institutions

    Apart from being a responsible tour operator, we also have a social commitment with many local organizations

  • Tours in Whale Watching & Islet Vila Franca do Campo Tour

    Things you must see in Vila Franca do Campo

    Plan your trip to Vila Franca do Campo

    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 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.

    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.

    Frequently asked about Vila Franca do Campo

    Does Futurismo provide the equipment to snorkel in the islet’s natural swimming pool?

    It is better if you bring your own equipment. We do have snorkels and masks but in a limited number.

    How long does it approximately take to reach the islet?

     The boat trip will last no longer than 15 minutes from Vila Franca do Campo harbor.

    Is it possible to swim in the islet’s crater?

    Yes, you will be able to take a dip into the clear waters of the islet, which is one of the most beautiful places to swim around São Miguel.

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