Are you looking for a place to get away, relax, and unwind? Are you ready to submerge yourself into natural hot springs located on an idyllic island in the Azores? Welcome to São Miguel, the largest of the nine in Portugal’s Azores islands.
São Miguel, nicknamed the “Green Island,” truly lives up to its name with never-ending vistas of rolling hills blanketed in lush green foliage, and a picturesque coastline dotted with hidden coves and bays. But this stunningly beautiful island has even more surprises – geothermal springs that are perfect for soaking away your stress!
This article explores some of São Miguel, Azores hot springs and best thermal baths where travelers can enjoy a warm soak surrounded by stunning views of nature’s beauty. Whether you’re looking for pure relaxation or a bit of adventure, you’ll find exactly what you need at one of these rejuvenating hot springs!
São Miguel Hot Springs
The island of São Miguel in the Azores is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse landscapes. One of the island’s most popular attractions is its hot springs.
With a wide range of thermal pools and natural springs dotting its landscape, São Miguel is a haven for visitors seeking to relax and rejuvenate within its bubbling warm waters.
These are a few of our favorite hot springs and thermal pools to visit on São Miguel island.
1. Parque Terra Nostra (Furnas)
Parque Terra Nostra in Furnas is undoubtedly one of the top attractions on São Miguel Island in the Azores. The historical garden spans over 12.5 hectares of impeccably maintained naturescapes and exotic vegetation, but what stands out most is the largest thermal pool in the Azores.
The Terra Nostra thermal pool has been around since 1770 and boasts water temperatures that range from 35ºC to 40ºC (95ºF to 140ºF!). The pool has become famous for its brownish-reddish tint. While you might think it just looks dirty, this color is actually because the water is so rich in iron and other minerals.
The pool is not just a gorgeous sight – it has some therapeutic properties too, with iron being an important mineral in our bodies.
To enjoy all that Parque Terra Nostra has to offer, visitors must pay an entrance fee. The park is open all week from 10 am to 4:30 pm and the fee for adults is €10. Children aged 3-10 receive 50% off admission and 2 and under enter free.
Along with the thermal pool, the park also houses a few smaller pools surrounded by dense vegetation with varying temperatures, and visitors are welcome to tour the botanical garden and explore the lush vegetation and beautiful florals.
2. Poça da Dona Beija (Furnas)
Each of Sao Miguel’s hot springs spread over the island is home to its own unique features and amenities. The thermal pools of Poça da Dona Beija, located in the charming town of Furnas, provide a great experience while visiting.
What sets Poça da Dona Beija apart is its mixture of geothermally heated water and water from a nearby stream. This unique blend creates a range of pool temperatures for visitors to enjoy, varying from a refreshing 28ºC (82ºF) stream to the steamy 39ºC (102ºF) hot springs.
This mineral-rich water is also said to have healing properties, making a visit to Poça da Dona Beija both a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Visitors to Poça da Dona Beija will find plenty of amenities to make their visit comfortable. The site has changing rooms and lockers available just past the entrance station before you make your way to the thermal pools. A designated parking area with limited spaces is also available for visitors. Lockers are available for a small additional fee of €2 and towels for €4.
These pools have much longer open hours, from 8:30 am to 11:00 pm Monday through Saturday. They are closed on Sundays and holidays. Entrance is €8 for adults and €6 for children 6 and under. This admission fee covers 1 hour and 30 minutes of exploring and soaking in the pools.
3. Caldeira Velha (Ribeira Grande)
Caldeira Velha is another unique set of thermal pools and hot springs on São Miguel island. The most unique feature of these is that the top thermal pool is fed by a waterfall. The waters here are heated by the Fogo Volcano.
While the grounds are neatly manicured, there is more of a “Jurassic Park” feel with the dense greenery and volcanic rocks surrounding the springs. There are three thermal baths and one waterfall pool at the end of the jungle path.
Changing rooms are available once you pay your entrance fee, and lockers are available for rent, too, before you head to the pools.
In addition to the thermal pools, there is an interpretive center where visitors can learn more about the natural environment as they take a break from soaking in the pools and also a hiking trail to stretch their legs and explore.
Full tickets to explore the grounds and soak in the thermal pools are €10 for adult visitors. Open hours do vary with the seasons, but the springs are open every day except for major holidays.
These tickets are valid for 1 hour and 30 minutes, and there are capacity limits to both the pools and the park itself. If you want to visit on a specific day or during a specific time frame, reserve tickets ahead of time to guarantee entry.
A visit to Caldeira Velha is a must for anyone exploring the hot springs of São Miguel. With its stunning natural beauty, therapeutic properties, and range of activities, Caldeira Velha is a favorite among both locals and tourists.
4. Termas das Caldeiras (Ribeira Grande)
Termas das Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande is one of the most unique hot springs on the beautiful island of São Miguel in the Azores. This hot spring has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s and is located in a 19th-century hotel building, providing a charming and old-world atmosphere.
The small thermal pools in this hot spring each have their own unique character.
Termas das Caldieras is a more intimate hot spring experience you can have near Salto do Cabrito waterfall. This would be a perfect stop after a Ribeira Grande canyoning adventure!
For those who want a more upscale spa experience, you can book services like volcanic mud massages onsite.
Operating hours for the Termas das Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande are from 10 am to 10 pm, seven days a week. Plan to visit after dark for a unique night sky view as you soak in the thermal polls.
The hot spring’s unique setting, charming atmosphere, and therapeutic spa treatments make this an experience you don’t want to miss.
5. Ponta da Ferraria (Varzea)
The island of São Miguel in the Azores is renowned for its abundance of natural hot springs. These geothermal wonders are scattered throughout the island and offer a truly unique experience for visitors seeking to bask in the warm and healing waters. One of the most unique hot springs on the island is the Ponta da Ferraria.
Located on the island’s western coast, the Ponta da Ferraria hot spring is a must-visit for those looking to soak in the warm thermal waters amidst an awe-inspiring natural setting. What makes this hot spring so unique is that it is actually located on the ocean and is fed by underwater hydrothermal vents, making it a natural spa in a volcanic cove.
To get to the hot spring, you must navigate out over jagged lava rocks and descend a short metal pool ladder. The experience can be a little more challenging than other hot springs on the island, but its rewards are certainly worth it.
As the tide changes, the hot spring gets mixed with the saltwater, creating an unforgettable experience.
Visitors should swim during low tide when the water is calm, avoiding high tide when the waters become rough and swimming conditions become dangerous. Low tide is also when the waters will be the warmest, and you will have the best “hot spring” experience.
The spring is also free to visit, unlike the other hot springs on the island of São Miguel.
Visitors to the Ponta da Ferraria hot spring are advised to heed caution and follow any instructions given while on site. This is especially important given the challenging access and the unpredictable nature of ocean swimming. A lifeguard often staffs the area and will restrict access to the pool if conditions are too dangerous.
6. Octant Furnas Boutique Hotel (Furnas)
If you’re looking for a luxurious way to experience the hot springs of São Miguel, the Octant Furnas Boutique Hotel is a must-visit. Nestled in the heart of the Furnas Valley, this stunning hotel boasts an array of natural spa facilities that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
One of the hotel’s highlights is its very own thermal spring, which is sourced from the volcanic activity in the area. The warm, mineral-rich water is perfect for soaking in after a day of exploring the island.
In addition to its thermal spring, Furnas Boutique Hotel also features both indoor and outdoor thermal pools for guests to enjoy.
When it comes to spa treatments, Furnas Boutique Hotel really goes above and beyond. They offer a variety of massages and treatments, including a treatment that uses Gorreana green tea, pineapples, and other natural local products. Can you imagine a more soothing way to indulge and pamper yourself?
The Octant Furnas Boutique Hotel boasts a design that is modern and elegant, with an emphasis on comfort and relaxation. The unique architecture blends seamlessly with the green vegetation surrounding it, making it a perfect place to unwind and relax.
Visiting São Miguel, Azores Hot Springs: Our Top Tips
São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores, is home to several hot springs that are popular among both tourists and locals. With their mineral-rich waters and therapeutic properties, they offer a rejuvenating experience like no other. If you’re planning to visit these hot springs, here are some tips to ensure you have the best experience possible.
The temperature of the hot springs in São Miguel can vary depending on the weather and time of year.
The water may be slightly cooler or warmer due to variations in the air temperature, but typically this is only a change of 1-2 degrees.
Additionally, the proximity to the source of the hot springs can also affect the temperature of the pools. Some pools may be hotter than others, so be sure to test the water first before jumping in.
Signage is typically very clear, warning you of the water temperatures before you enter. It is always best to test the waters prior to immersing yourself, though.
When visiting the hot springs, it’s essential to wear appropriate attire. This does not mean your best, brand-new swimsuit!
We recommend bringing old, dark-colored bathing clothes and even water shoes.
The mineral-rich waters in the hot springs often stain lighter clothing, so it’s best to wear darker colors. The iron can turn fabrics into a range of colors in the red and brown families. Bathing suits or covers are required at all of the hot springs.
Water shoes are also recommended, as some of the hot springs are surrounded by rocky terrain, and the shoes can protect your feet from cuts and scrapes.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the hot springs in São Miguel is during the “winter” months and shoulder season just before spring. The crowds are smaller, and the weather is cooler, making it a more comfortable experience.
However, keep in mind that some of the hot springs may be closed during the winter months for maintenance, so it’s always best to check ahead of time.
It’s also often a more enjoyable experience visiting any of the hot springs either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. Again, the cooler air temperatures can make the thermal pools more inviting. Just be prepared with a dry towel handy whenever you exit the water!
Where to Stay on São Miguel Island
São Miguel is a stunning island in the middle of the Atlantic off the coast of mainland Portugal, and it’s the largest in the Azores archipelago. Visitors to the island can explore the various hot springs that are situated in different locations, and choosing the perfect accommodations can ensure a fantastic experience.
Ponta Delgada is a great base for exploring the island and its hot springs.
We had a great experience at the Hotel do Colegio with off-street parking, comfortable rooms, and delicious breakfast.
Ribeira Grande is a charming town located on the north coast of São Miguel, known for its historical sites and natural beauty.
For accommodations, visitors can stay at the Santa Bárbara Eco-Beach Resort, located in Ribeira Grande. The resort offers affordable and comfortable accommodations with options ranging from rooms, suites, and villas.
It is set on the top of the cliff with breathtaking vistas of the ocean and lush vegetation, and it is within walking distance of Santa Barbara surf beach. The hotel’s main luxury features are the outdoor pool, balcony, and bungalows.
Furnas is a picturesque village located in the eastern part of the island, known for its geothermal activity and dense collection of natural hot springs. The village is surrounded by lush vegetation, deep valleys, and winding roads, attracting visitors looking to detox and relax in a precious natural setting.
As we already mentioned, the Octant Furnas Boutique Hotel is an ideal option for those looking to explore the more secluded areas of Furnas. The hotel offers comfortable and spacious rooms with a modern design.
The Octant Furnas Boutique Hotel is close to the Lagoa das Furnas and the Parque Terra Nostra, too. The hotel is also home to its own hot spring natural pools, which are exclusive to guests.
Planning Your Trip to São Miguel
If you’re looking for an adventure-filled getaway with a side of relaxation, then São Miguel is an excellent destination. São Miguel is known for its geothermal activity and natural hot springs, as well as other adventure activities, including whale watching.
You can certainly spend a few days or even a week, exploring everything that São Miguel has to offer. Booking guided tours is a great way to eliminate having to worry about some of the logistics, but the island is easy to navigate on your own.
If you’re planning on visiting the hot springs on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, renting a car is the easiest and most affordable way to get around. Public transportation is not reliable or even available for traveling to some of these more remote areas. Taxis and tours can be costly, making renting a car the best option for travelers.
There are several rent-a-car companies that have physical stands at the Ponta Delgada airport and in town, such as Avis, Hertz, and Europcar.
By renting a car Ponta Delgada, you have the freedom to explore the island at your own pace and visit as many hot springs as you’d like.
Most of the hot springs are located in the Furnas area of São Miguel, about a 45-minute drive from Ponta Delgada. With a rented car, you can easily make the trip and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the island along the way.
In addition to the hot springs, renting a car also allows you to visit other attractions on the island of São Miguel such as the beautiful Nordeste region, the scenic Lagoa das Furnas, and the famous Sete Cidades.
The São Miguel Azores hot springs are a must-visit destination for any traveler looking for a unique and rejuvenating experience. From the stunning natural surroundings to the healing properties of the thermal waters, there’s no doubt that you’ll leave feeling refreshed and revitalized.