The county of Nordeste in English translates to North-East. This is the location of this charming little town on the island of Sao Miguel. Here is one of the more quiet parts of the island. Extensive forested areas surrounding the city limits make this a private oasis on the island. Due to the county’s unique location, it is often considered the 10th island in the Azores. That is due to the distance from the island’s capital Ponta Delgada. The beautiful sunrises and sunsets here are something to admire and enjoy. This special location has been considered to have some of Europe’s most beautiful sunsets. Nordeste is a favorite spot with islanders and sightseers for its amazing morning sunrise hikes. Waking up in paradise is one thing, but to experience a Nordeste sunrise is something else. The colors seem to dance off this reflection of the ocean creating a special ring-like effect. Nordeste comprises of a handful of small towns and hamlets that surround the vast Nature reserves and hiking trails that traverse the county. This is a hidden ecological gem in the region. It is here that the largest protected laurisilva forest exists in the Azores. Both native and endemic birds flock to this forested area of the island. This is an outdoor lovers’ part of the island and it is not an area with large hotels. However, it does provide some of the best hiking trails on the island, which offer a unique look into the impressive volcanic being of these 9 Azorean islands.
This is a highly photogenic part of the island, and everything seems to fit perfectly in this quiet countryside. Some of the most outstanding viewpoints on the island can be observed from here. It is here that the highest point on the island exists which is in the Pica do Vara forest. This is an ancient, endemic forest and is one of the last laurisilva forests in Europe. The island was once covered in this dense forest, but settling and land cultivation have eroded most of this rare forest from the island.
This is a protected region and has a hiking trail that takes you through the forest, up to the mountain’s summit. It is here where the rare Priolo bird lives, endemic to the region, the Priolo is endangered. The local government has taken numerous measures to ensure its survival by preserving their natural habitat. An information center is open from Tuesday-Sunday from April to September. Here you can see the efforts being put forward by numerous groups to preserve this bird’s existence. The lookout point of Farol do Arnel has a large lighthouse at the tip of the island and is accessible by car or foot. Inside the lighthouse is a museum of sorts, with information about lighthouses in 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. Sightseers are welcome to come and explore the lighthouse and enjoy its panoramic ocean views.
Open for guided tours once a week. The free tours take place every Wednesday in the Summer from 2 pm until 5 pm. In the winter the free tours are on Wednesdays from 1:30 pm until 4:30 pm.