Hot Springs and Waterfalls in Sao Miguel Azores
The Azores Islands have some of the most outstanding waterfalls and thermal hot springs in Western Europe. In remote locations throughout the island of Sao Miguel, in gardens and forests that resemble a scene out of Jurassic Park with rare Laurasilva trees are surrounded by exotic flowers. I have chosen to focus on a couple of the most beautiful waterfalls and hot springs that you can enjoy by hiking or walking the trails to the location and also where you can go and swim in the mineral-rich waters. In the county of Ribeira Grande in the north part of the island of Sao Miguel, you can explore some of the most beautiful spots untouched by mass tourism and surround by outstanding restaurants with fresh-caught local seafood and AAA beef all from the region. This is the part of the island that you can explore for days and always see something new. There are so many parts to the county from freshwater lakes, hot springs, volcanic geysers, and much more. The Caldeira Velha is one spot you should check out if you want to enjoy a swim in a natural hot spring, surrounded by sweeping views of an ancient forest filled with singing Atlantic birds. As you can see above, the crystal clear water and majestic surroundings make this a great place to getaway. Parking is found just outside the marked trail and will lead you right to the waterfall. Many tourists when they visit want to hike the trails surrounding the hot springs first, so if that is the case, you can bring your backpack with you, where there they have small wooden sheds to change if you want to use the hot springs either before or after and need a place to change. It can get busy in the summer months, so the best time to explore if you want to avoid a possible crowd is early in the mornings or after dinner. Always remember to leave wherever you visit just as you found it. The Azores has been able to preserve its natural environmental habitat due to the lack of mass tourism that has exploited so many other precious locations. This natural bio-reserve is one of those places that should be enjoyed for generations to come. It is not common to make a trip to Sao Miguel without visiting a few of the island’s prominent landmark locations. Terra Nostra Park is one of those places. The Terra Nostra Park is one of the most popular areas not only in Sao Miguel but in all of the Azores. Shown above and located in the Furnas Valley, a region that became popular towards the end of the 18th century, due to the growing interest in mineral water used to treat health problems, such as rheumatism and obesity. The Furnas Valley has hundreds of small springs and streams, all with different properties. The Terra Nostra Garden is located during this magnificent water system, making it a visitor favorite for decades. It truly is one of the most beautiful gardens in the Azores filled with thousands of rare flowers, plants, and orchids surrounded by giant trees in all varieties. The center of the garden just outside of the hotel “Terra Nostra” is the famous large volcanic thermal pool. The cost of admission is 5 euros, which gives you access to use the pool all day. There are change rooms with showers at the entrance with a trail leading directly to and from the thermal pool.