São Miguel is the biggest of the nine Azores Archipelago Islands, considered to be the most diversified one, occupying an area of about 759km2 with 65 km long and 16km maximum width, often referred to as “Green Island” for its natural beauty, the extension of pasture lands and the gorgeous natural panoramas it provides.
The Azores Archipelago is divided into three groups: the Eastern Group with, Santa Maria and São Miguel and the Formigas Islets; the Central Group with, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial; the Western group with, Flores and Corvo. With the exception of the Santa Maria Island, all the others have volcanic origin, as it is perfectly visible in the famous Furnas valley, in this greenish São Miguel Island.
The discovery dates of the Azores Archipelago are unknown, with several historical researches affirming that some of the island were already referred in Genovese maps since 1351, yet it was only from 1431 onwards that the colonization started in these Islands.
Known for its wide and astonishing lagoons and for other natural features, one can find in São Miguel panoramas of unique beauty, such as the Furnas Valley with its steam from the volcanic boilers and its wonderful lagoon, or the great craters of Sete Cidades and Fogo that now present astonishing lagoons of crystalline waters.
The highest point in the Island is situated on the East, in Pico da Vara, at about 1103 meters high, from where one has a wonderful panorama, and the capital of the Island is the amazing Ponta Delgada. The majority of the population reside in the rugged Southern coast, surviving mainly of agriculture, and also cattle, fishing, commerce and the crescent Tourism industry, the most developed of the nine islands, yet still far from mass tourism.
With volcanic origins, in São Miguel can still be found nowadays several hot water springs and fumaroles, quite evident in the Furnas and in the Ribeira Norte, allowing such a warm temperature that is possible to cook the very typical “Cozido” (boiled meat or cod fish with vegetables), on a vessel underneath the soil and during long hours - certainly a delicacy not to be missed!
The São Miguel Island is accessible through the main European airports, via Lisbon, United States and Canadé, or through the connecting flights with the other Islands of the archipelago. During summer months it is also accessible by boat, linking to the other Islands of the Central Group of the Archipelago.