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  São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

I started my Portuguese adventure in Lisbon but ended it on an island out in the middle of the Atlantic. São Miguel is the largest in archipelago of the Azores and is known as the “green island” (for good reason!) .

We were able to hit most of the major sights on the island.

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Sete Cidades

Possibly the most famous sight in the Azores, these two lakes, one green and one blue, formed from the tears of two separated lovers are in the crater of a volcano. I drove from the west (I stayed in Mosteiros) and recommend that direction, visiting the town of Sete Cidades first in the center and then getting the views before getting to the King’s lookout (and avoiding the crowd).

Sunsets

I stayed in Mosteiros on the western edge of the island - famous for its beautiful sunsets! Here are the three I saw.

Coastline

The beach and the water have obvious appeal, especially the jagged lava flows and black sand beaches. In several places hot springs mix with ocean water naturally warming it to a more tolerable temperature.

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Ponta Delgada

This is the main town on the island - home to the airport, harbor, a pineapple farm, and several great restaurants.

Furnas

The town of Furnas is built on top of an active volcano! Steam pours out of the ground from geysers, hot-springs and fumaroles all over town. People in fact use the heat from the ground to make the delicious Cazido das Furnas, a stew cooked from geothermal activity.

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Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire)

I am told this is a hard one to see, it is so high up in the mountains that it is usually cloudy but we lucked out with some super clear skies. The drive down the mountain was a highlight for sure!

Tea Plantation

São Miguel is home to the only tea plantations in Europe. I visited Plantacoes de Cha Gorreana to view the tea, the processing of the leaves, and of course taste testing (its delicious!).

Terra Nostra Gardens

Home to thermal baths, a 5 star hotel, a delicious restaurant and a beautiful sprawling garden complex.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

I spent 4 days, 3 nights in Lisbon in beautiful hot weather. The food was amazing not to mention the vinho verde. I think of Lisbon as a place light on “essential sights” and heavy on atmosphere (and old fashioned street cars!) . I climbed up and down its hills, covering over 30 miles on foot through the neighborhoods of Baixa, Chaido, Bairro Alto, Alfama plus a hike out to Belem to see the Capela de Sao Jeronimo (don't wait in line, go in like your going to church), Belem Tower, and the Discoveries Monument. I also thoroughly enjoyed the top notch Gulbenkian Museum. I also happened to be in town while the beautiful purple flowers of the jacaranda trees were in bloom everywhere - gorgeous!