Sao Miguel IV: Vulcanic energy – The West

Life along the coast in the west of São Miguel goes a rather slow way. But a look on the rugged coastline already gives an idea of the forces that lie underneath this surface. At the beach of Ferraria this gets obvious: A sparse moonscape of black lava stone and hot pools in the water right at the coast remind you of the geothermic activity that is so formative for the Azores – in the truest sense of the word! Fascinating and always a bit frightening, too…

The major attraction in São Miguels’s west definitely is the small village Sete Cidades and the huge vulcanic crater it lies in. It’s – similar to Lagoa do Fogo – of rather young age: Only in the 15th century an eruption created this impressive natural landscape with its two major lakes Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. You can’t describe this with other words than: stunning!

The company that build the hotel ‘Monte Palace’ at one of the best miradouros from which you have a view on the crater landscape (Vista do Rei) probably had the same in mind and found this to be a perfect place for a luxurious hotel. But the marketing obviously wasn’t that great. Nowadays it’s a hotel ruin, an abandoned place… although it is not that abandoned: It attracts another kind of tourists these days. People that seek for the morbid charme of decay at this kind of adventure park for adults. Including myself!

In the village of Sete Cidades we made one very special experience. It was again team “in the right place at the right time” when arrived in the village realizing that the local Easter procession had just started. Only a few tourists were there and the devoted honesty in which the whole village, young and old, practiced this tradition was really really touching … at least for me and my hidden catholic heart 😉

Sadly, the Sete Cidades crater was capricious  and it obviously didn’t want to show its top. So, with its edge always hidden in clouds we cancelled our walk along the hiking route around the crater rim. We could at least catch some views from the famous miradouro Grota do Inferno near Lagoa do Canario.

Grota do Inferno Sete Cidades

And the surrounding plains of Serra Devassa – to be honest – developed a truly fascinating atmosphere only in all its fogginess.

A special point on the road to Sete Cidades (coming from Covoada) is the miradouro at Pico do Carvao. If the views are clear you can see – looking from west to east – the island in its total north-south-expansion, both coasts at the same time! And you’ll remember again that you were dropped off at a small green island in the middle of the Atlantic, an island so diverse that it makes you always forget about that fact!

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