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Sao Miguel is the largest and most highly populated island in the tranquil Azores archipelago in the heart of the North Atlantic.
With a landscape dominated by rolling hills and lush wooded areas, Sao Miguel is referred to locally as ‘the green island’. It is also arguably the most picturesque island in the Azores, boasting a large number of magnificent crater lakes.
It also has one of the oldest and largest parks in the archipelago, Terra Nostra. It dates back to the 18th Century and consists of pretty lakes, vibrantly coloured flowers and centuries-old trees.
Unlike many of the Azores islands, Sao Miguel’s coastline is blessed with lovely sandy beaches, suitable for both a refreshing swim and an afternoon of sunbathing.
Sao Miguel has some great architecture, too. Stroll through the capital, Ponta Delgada to admire its baroque buildings, most notably the Portas da Cidade (City Gates), comprising three large arches built in the 1700s.
Looming over the western shoreline of Lake Furnas is the striking Nosa Senhora das Vitorias Chapel, a gothic-style church built in the late 19th Century and the only one of its kind in the Azores. Also, nearby the lake are some of the best natural hot springs on the island.
One of the most prominent Azorean traditions is the spectacular Holy Ghost Festival held on each Sunday from April until June. It involves a large procession parading a ‘lucky’ person named empress or emperor for the day through the streets and finishing at the local church where they hold mass.
Also not to be missed is the Miracles of Christ Festival in Ponta Delgada on the 5th Sunday after Easter, it involves parading a statue of Christ alongside street booths, fairs and various activities.
You can sail to Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel’s southern coast from the Azores Islands of Faial, Flores, Terceira, Pico, Sao Jorge, Graciosa and Santa Maria.
These routes are operated by Atlanticoline who provides a few crossings each week.
The trip itself went relatively well. However, there were some problems with functioning of the website and for a week we could not buy the tickets because the website was not active (in May). I strongly recommend reminding/explaining foreign tourists the car license issues. While buying the ticket online for some reasons there was no option for "car registration/licence no. is unavailable at the moment" or something like this in the beginning of purchasing process. Then it appeared. When we came in a rented car to get the tickets in Madalena, the staff member at the ticket office did not ask us for the car registration number, so we went to the ferry and got to Horta with no car registration number on the tickets but, going back we experienced a big stress, when almost 5 minutes to the departure of the ferry we were told that our tickets are not valid for this car, though we had come without any problems to Horta already. Your staff at the ticket office should be careful. But generally we found this way of moving to Horta and back to Madalena very good.Read More Read Less
"Booking Atlanticoline with Direct Ferries"
Booking with Direct Ferries resulted in major issues which we have had to rectify while on holiday. The Direct Ferries website failed to include a car on the selected ferry crossing. When I contacted Direct Ferries to request that a car be included, I was informed that they would address this within the next 24 hours. I did not hear from Direct Ferries until one week later, shortly before our departure for the Azores, to inform me, as I was already aware, that a car was not included in the booking 2. When I attempted to rearrange the booking, once on the Azores, it transpired that Direct Ferried, despite confirming the booking for the 7th August, had in fact booked the outgoing journey for the 22nd July. Since this date had now passed I had to forfeit the cost of this booking and rebook for the correct date. I was fortunate to be able to include a vehicle in this booking but had to rearrange to a 7.30am crossing which was far from convenient. I will be raising these issues with Direct Ferries on my return to the UK. My advice to other travellers in the Azores would be to book directly with Atlanticoline who proved to be very efficient and helpful while trying to rectify the problems, and on our first crossing the service was excellentRead More Read Less
departure right on time and quick checkinn. that is something your rarely see when travelling by plane. pleasant and beautifull trip sitting on deck with a Nice sunshine seeing all the islands by. What more can jou wish. Only thing to improve is the lunch and diner. Food is good but it is serves in a short periode so the line up is long. Sometimes to long. Why not a buffet??Read More Read Less
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