While the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago may be a new discovery to many, the rolling peaks on these islands have been known to avid hikers for a long time. Hiking trails of all difficulties crisscross São Miguel island, and they all offer trekkers an Instagram-worthy view worth a lifetime of likes.
In partnership with Delta Air Lines
São Miguel’s geological beauty is derived from its volcanic past – and present (the volcanoes on this island are dormant). It makes the island a hiker’s paradise with its abundant flora and footpaths carved there through the centuries by locals transporting livestock, crops and trade goods across the islands.
Delta Air Lines now offers direct flights from JFK to Ponta Delgada on São Miguel. With a flight time of less than six hours, its never been easier for nature-lovers to explore this beautiful island.
While some paths lead to jaw-dropping destinations like the multicolored Sete Cidades lake, some wind leisurely along the coastline, occasionally offering glimpses of breaching whales or neighboring islands. You’ll want to take in as much of the unspoiled nature of the Azores as you can during your visit.
The trails are divided into easy, medium, and hard difficulties, providing something for all ages and fitness levels. Safety and security are ensured by the Regional Government of The Azores on the vast network of trails.
Here are a few of São Miguel’s most photogenic hikes:
Lake Sete Cidades
You can picnic on the shore of the lake, kayak across it, or simply dawdle at the viewpoint above to gape in awe at the landscape.
The trail to this Portuguese wonder, Sete Cidades, is a must for everyone visiting São Miguel. It’s an easy, linear, 11.8 km hike taking approximately three hours. The view of the green and blue lakes will make it worth every step (and so will the pictures).
Lagoa do Fogo
A medium-difficulty, circular route, the four hours of this hike will curve trekkers through Saõ Miguel’s lushness. The Instagram-worthiness of this hike lies in the calm blue crater lake of the volcano, but the vibrant vegetation that you’ll pass along the way is worth a camera click too. If you’re lucky, the infamous Azores fog may roll in for a photo op.
This tea trail is an easy, circular, 3.4km walk and will take about 1.5 hours. The centuries-old tea plantation was first planted after two Chinese tea experts introduced tea to the islands in 1874.
Parts of the walking trail follow the same path used during harvest season and after you’re done, you can enjoy a fresh (free!) cup of black or green tea at the still-running factory. Watch a documentary on the tea making process, check out the historical machines, and buy some tea to take home with you.
Rocha da Relva
A trip to Rocha da Relva, a remote trail with cliffside paths and breathtaking vistas overlooking the ocean, will guide you past the vineyards and wine cellars of São Miguel. Medium difficulty, circular, and 5.5km (approx. 3 hours), this trail is perfect for snagging epic shots of the Atlantic (and some photogenic donkeys along the way).
Book your Delta flight from JFK to Ponta Delgada and get to exploring the photogenic island of São Miguel.
This website allows you to search all hiking trails by difficulty, distance, and/or time required. You can also download detailed versions of trail maps for individual hikes.