What travel has taught me the most is flexibility, as there are always things that can go wrong. But, if you’re willing to change the plan and adapt, things often turn out better than you planned them. This recently happened to me when I unexpectedly went to Sao Miguel, in Portugal’s Azores Islands. I had set out to go on a volunteer whale watching expedition on the island of Horta, which turned out to be one of the worst trips I’ve ever been on. So, after hearing about how incredible the nearby island of Sao Miguel was, I decided to leave the Horta fiasco early, and go explore the lush island of Sao Miguel. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
Why Sao Miguel Is Absolute Paradise
1. Waterfalls For Days
I am a waterfall lover. And the ones on Sao Miguel are stunning. There are so many, that I didn’t have time to explore them all. My favorite day was exploring the ones in the Natural Park of Ribeira dos Caldeiros. There were so many! Don’t just see the main one though, which has a lot of tourists that come, snap a picture, and leave. Do the hike, and see the hidden ones that are a short walk away. It was a little muddy when I went, but oh so worth it! The photos above are what you will see on the hike.
2. Surreal Nature
The hardest thing about driving around the island on the winding roads was keeping my eyes on the roads and not staring at the scenery. There were stunning views everywhere. Fortunately, there were a lot of places to pull over to fully take them in. I was just astounded by the raw beauty of this island. Vivid blues and greens surrounded me everywhere I went, and I grinned as I took it all in.
3. Charming Places To Stay
If you go to Sao Miguel, you definitely want to rent a car, as you won’t see the sites by staying in the main city of Ponta Delgada. I recommend staying in the middle of the island, so you can see all of it. I stayed at the Casa da Ribeira in Ribeira Grande which is close to the beach. It was the perfect location, and the host even marked places on the map for me to visit. The chalet was roomy with two bedrooms, the most comfortable bed, and even a kitchen. The garden setting made for a lovely getaway, and the design of this place was so beautiful. The pricing was also very reasonable, and I would definitely stay here again.
4. Astonishing Hot Springs