Caldeira das Sete Cidades
About 17 km northwest of Ponta Delgada lies one of the major nature attractions of the island of São Miguel, the paradisiacal landscape of Caldeira das Sete Cidades (Caldera of the seven towns), where according to the legend seven towns, founded by expelled Spanish bishops, sank. With a perimeter of 12 km and a diameter of 7 km, this caldera formed from a crater that collapsed during a gigantic prehistoric eruption, its present shape having been created during a tremendous eruption in 1445.
The caldera is filled besides three smaller lakes with two, almost equally sized, large lakes, the Lagoa Verde with crystalline green water and Lagoa Azul with striking blue water, that are separated only by a narrow land bridge. The steep, up to 300 m high crater walls, overgrown with lush vegetation, make a fascinating contrast to the tranquil waters and the soft colours, a most picturesque and truly unforgettable sight!
Also within the crater, you will find the charming little hamlet of Sete Cidades with its curious houses, a small neo-Gothic church at the end of a cedar-lined road, a picturesque park with magnificent old trees and, besides pretty azaleas in abundance (especially in season), attractive specimens of endemic flora.
Starting at the viewpoint ‘Vista do Rei’, which provides superb views over the lakes, the hamlet of Sete Cidades and tranquil green expanses, one of the most scenic walks of the island leads around the lakes along the crater crest, which is bordered by beautiful hydrangeas galore.