The county of Nordeste is in English translated to mean North-East; which is the location of this beautiful little town on the island of Sao Miguel. Here is one of the more quiet parts of the island where large forested areas surround that city limits and beyond. It is here that the islands famous sunrise occurs. This area is a favorite amongst islanders and tourists for its amazing morning sunrises. Waking up in paradise is one thing, but to experience the Nordeste sunrise is like nothing else. The colors seem to dance off this reflection of the ocean creating a special awe moment for the early morning enthusiast. The county of Nordeste is made up of a handful of small towns and hamlets that surround the vast Nature reserves and hiking trails that surround the county. This is a hidden gem in the region, being that it is on the other end of the island from the capital of Ponta Delgada and many tourists miss out on a vast ecosystem that exists here. It is here that the largest protected laurisilva forest exists in the Azores, with rare and endemic birds flocking to this forested area of the island. This is really an outdoor lovers’ part of the island as it is not an area filled with museums and tourist attractions, however, it does provide some of the best hiking trails on the island and offers a unique look into the rare volcanic existence of these 9 Azorean islands. This is a highly photogenic part of the island and everything seems to fit perfectly in this quiet countryside part of the island. Here there are some of the most outstanding lookout points of the island and of the majestic blue ocean. It is here that the highest point on the island exists in the Pica do Vara forest. This is an ancient, endemic forest to the region and one of the last laurisilva forests in existence in Europe. The island was once covered in this dense forest but settling and land cultivation has eroded the majority of the rare forest from the island. This is a protected region and has a hiking trail that takes you through this enchanting forest up to the summit of the mountain. Here is where the rare Priolo bird lives, endemic to the region the Priolo is endangered and the local government has taken many measures to ensure its survival by preserving its natural habitat. There is an information center that is open from Tuesday-Sunday from April-September which provides more information and has a small interpretation center and gift shop. Here you can see the efforts being put forward by various groups to preserve this bird and how it has been able to repopulate on the island. The lookout point Farol do Arnel is a large lighthouse at the tip of the island that is a lot of fun to come and see and offers an outstanding view out to the sea. Inside the lighthouse is like a museum of sorts of all the various lighthouses and information about them throughout the Azores. Here you can find out about when they were built, how long they were in use for, and the various influences in their design. This is an area that is free with no charge and tourists are welcome to come to explore through the winding road that leads to this unique spot on the island. Access to Farol do Arnel Lighthouse:
The access path to the lighthouse is steep and there is no parking on site. You must make the journey on foot, leaving the car in the car park of the Regional Road.
Open for guided tours – Every Wednesday! In the Summer: 2 pm until 5 pm. In the Winter: 1:30 pm until 4:30 pm