Azores Holiday Destination Guide

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São Miguel - North coast to Northeast

Back on the north coast and continuing northeast, you will come past the Miradouro de Santa Iria, one of the most remarkable viewpoints on this coast, offering splendid views across over idyllic breaches at the foot of steep cliffs and wide pastures, neatly separated by reed hedges to protect the cattle from the wind. Next point of interest is Porto Formoso, the site of the ‘Praia dos Moinhos’ (Beach of the Mills), which, because of its pleasant location at a wide sandy beach with calm waters and an old mill that has been transformed in a bar with a nice terrace projecting over the beach and ocean is a very popular venue during summertime. Not to be missed, a visit to Porto Formoso’s tea plantation, only recently opened to the public, which is, together with the factory of Gorreana further along the main road, the only of its kind in Europe.

The road continues past the village of São Brás to the small and tranquil fishing village of Maia. Its viewpoint at the Ponta da Mai provides a beautiful view along the coast and, especially in winter, you might be able to see a waterfall plunging directly into the ocean.

After having passed a number of smaller coastal villages, such as Lomba da Maia, Fenais da Ajuda, Lomba de São Pedro, Salga, Achadinha, you will reach Achada, which has an appealing parish church, originally built in the 16th century and rebuilt at the end of the 18th century, offering a splendid view across the cliffs of the north coast from its square behind the church.

Having left Achada behind you, there are several tracks climbing up to the Planalto dos Graminhais, a high plain and nature reserve, and the - with its 1105 m - highest peak of the island, the Pico da Vara, surrounded by dense forest cedar forests. Once you have made the effort of an approx. two-hour climb to the top, you will – in good weather conditions – be rewarded with breathtaking views embracing almost the whole of the island.

Back on the main road along the north coast and past a couple of nice viewpoints, we reach the village of Nordestinho, which is actually divided in two distinct parts since June 2002: Santo António de Nordestinho and São Pedro de Nordestinho, each of the villages having their own church and there is also a small ethnographical museum in São Pedro.

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