So, you’ve booked your trip to the Azores, and now one daunting task remains; filling your itinerary. On an island as diverse and plentiful as the ones found in the Azores, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to go. The challenge is narrowing down your options to make room in your agenda. While we’ll leave that decision-making up to you, it would be wrong not to point out one of the Azores’ hottest tourist attractions; the Hot springs.
These natural springs produce thermal waters reaching temperatures of nearly 100° Fahrenheit, making for a perfectly relaxing way to unwind from a fun-filled trip. While the springs can be found across the archipelago, we’ll focus on those on the island of Sao Miguel - a hotspot for these natural phenomena. Take a look at some of the top resorts, spas, and natural pools across the island, some helpful tips, and what makes them so special.
Things to Know About Hot Springs:
Hot springs are the result of underground volcanoes expelling heat to the surface. With 3 large volcanoes spread across the island, these springs can vary in heat and accessibility, so take caution and follow these precautionary measures:
- Don’t drink the water.
- Avoid alcohol consumption and regularly hydrate, as the heat leads to increased rates of dehydration and exhaustion.
- Do not bring pets into the hot spring, as the hot temperatures can cause discomfort, sickness, or injury.
- Test the waters before jumping in to ensure that temperatures are bearable.
Now that we’ve established the ground rules, here are a couple of helpful tips for making the most out of your visit to these natural springs:
- Hot springs are (subjectively) most enjoyable in cooler weather, as the contrast in heat accentuates the relaxing heat of the water. Ideally, you’ll want to choose the coolest or cloudiest day of your trip to venture to the thermal pools.
- Aside from its relaxing qualities, hot springs offer a slew of health benefits; improved sleep, reduced stress, skin repair, and muscle pain relief for example.
Situated on the westernmost point of the island, Ferraria boasts one of the most diverse and relaxing thermal regions in Sao Miguel. Outside, you’ll find a natural thermal pool opening up to the Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by volcanic rock and towering cliffs, this popular pool offers incredible views of the island’s coastline. You will be bathing in natural salt water with waves, and they are naturally heated! The Ferraria resort is found just steps from the pool and boasts a range of spa treatments and activities. With live jazz performances, cultural restaurants and lively bars, Ferraria offers more than just a relaxing dip in the pool.
This next destination is unlike any other thermal park on the island, as these hot springs are surrounded by 24-acres of the luscious forests of Terra Nostra Park. Highlighting the park is the massive brownish orange-water lake pumped with temperate waters and rich minerals from the underlying springs. Surrounding the lake are colorful botanical gardens hiding small and secluded natural tubs. With a luxurious hotel nearby that has full 24/7 access to these geothermal springs, the Terra Nostra Gardens sit atop our list as one of the most scenic geothermal destinations.
Termas das Caldeiras
The smallest hot spring in Sao Miguel is located in the town of Caldeiras, whose name menacingly translates to boiler. This natural spring includes one outdoor pool and two indoor pools. Given its small size, these springs offer a more quaint, relaxed environment with much fewer visitors and are generally only frequented by locals, not tourists. Due to their heavenly spa treatments, the Caldeiras volcanic clay massage stands out as their premier service, and will leave your skin feeling 20 years younger.
Did we mention that these hot springs are located on the rising valley of one of Sao Miguel’s highest volcanoes? Well, just meters above Termas das Caldeiras lies Caldeira Velha; a larger, more scenic stop. This popular tourist destination is situated in the middle of a jungle, with picturesque hot springs surrounded by waterfalls and luscious flowers. While you won’t find luxury hotels nearby, this tropical natural spring is accessible by car, bus, or hike.
Aside from leading the Azores, Sao Miguel is home to more hot springs than nearly any other region in the world. These wondrous natural phenomena serve many purposes. From relaxation to rejuvenation to recovery, the list of benefits provided by these temperate, mineral-packed natural springs goes on and on. As you plan your dream trip to the Azores, make sure to leave room for a day of unforgettable, scenic relaxation. For more information on the Azores, and how else to spend your days, visit www.QuestTravelAdventures.com.