Exploring São Miguel (Azores) with a rental car

After we got a nice business class deal for flights from Copenhagen to the Azores, we started planning our journey. To explore São Miguel, the largest and most populous island of the Azores, which is also known as “The Green Island”, we decided to rent a car for 24 hours.

Once we picked up our car in the city centre of Ponta Delgada, we started driving westbound. Our first destination was Sete Cidades, a small village next to the lakes Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde.

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Hydrangea hedges next to a street

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Old house in Sete Cidades with a lot of hydrangea in front

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Our rental car

The landscape is dominated by the famous hydrangea hedges and bushes. They can be found all over the island and are mostly white, yellow or blue coloured.

On our way to the Vista do Rei viewpoint, we stopped at a passenger bay next to the street to enjoy the view and take some pictures of Lagoa Azul.

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Lagoa Azul; Sete Cidades can be seen in the background

We carried on and reached the Vista do Rei viewpoint a few minutes later. The view from there is outstanding! The lake up front is Lagoa Verde; a small bridge separates it from Lagoa Azul, which is located behind.

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Lagoa Verde & Lagoa Azul

The picture was taken from the rooftop of a former five star hotel, which was opened in 1984. It closed a few years later and nowadays it is just an abandoned building. Nevertheless it invites for some creative photography and the views from the rooftop as well as from the balconies are fascinating.

After spending nearly one hour at this interesting place, we drove on and decided to go via a small side road to reach the northern shoreline near a small village called Santo Antonio.

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View to the east including Pico da Vara, São Miguel´s highest mountain

Choosing the side road was a good decision, as there were no other people and the outlooks were brilliant.

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Hydrangea next to the small road

The road became steeper and soon we reached Santo Antonio and were on sea level again.

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Santo Antonio with the deep blue Atlantic Ocean behind

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A lonely red hydrangea next to the street

From Santo Antonio we took a scenic coastal road until we reached Mosteiros. It is a former fishermen´s village, located in the northwest of the island. The view from the elevated access road is extraordinary.

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Mosteiros

We decided to take a short break at the beach and enjoy some sunshine.

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Although it was June, the Atlantic Ocean was really cold

Around 50 minutes later, we left Mosteiros again and headed for Ponta Delgada.

On the way back we stopped at another viewpoint, which is located between Mosteiros and Ginetes. It is called Miradouro do Escalvado and offers nice views of the coastline as well as Mosteiros in the distance.

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Miradouro do Escalvado

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A closer view of Mosteiros

The next morning we had a few hours left before we had to return the car and so we drove eastwards to Lagoa do Fogo. Different from the other lakes, this one is only surrounded by nature as the government doesn´t allow any modern construction around this lake.

On our way to the Pico da Barrosa, which offers the best view of Lagoa do Fogo, we drove via a serpentine mountain road and at some locations the view was incredible.

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Beautiful São Miguel!

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Lagoa do Fogo as seen from Pico da Barrosa

Around noon we returned our car and explored Ponta Delgada´s city centre for the rest of the day.

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Praça Vasco da Gama

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Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião

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