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With volcanic mountains, black sand beaches, and endless fields of blue hydrangeas, Azores, Portugal is a must-see destination for any outdoor enthusiast.
When visiting the Azores, make sure to spend time in the Furnas region on the island of Sao Miguel. Furnas is a hotbed for geothermal activity and has powerful, Jurassic-looking landscapes.
If you like relaxing hot springs, hiking around volcanos, and eating food cooked using just the earth’s geothermal energy, Furnas is the place to visit!
In this Furnas, Azores guide, we’ll look at some of the highlights you won’t want to miss.
About Furnas Azores
The Furnas Valley is an active volcanic region located on the eastern side of Sao Miguel Island in the Azores. This region is home to a large lake as well as several hot springs and geothermal sites. There’s also a charming village called Furnas that is located in the crater of a volcano!
Furnas is a nature-lovers paradise and has several natural parks that are rich with biodiversity. There are even places where you can even feel volcanic heat radiating up from the earth, a totally surreal experience.
Visiting Furnas, Sao Miguel, Azores
It takes about 40 minutes to drive to Furnas from Ponta Delgada, the capital city of Sao Miguel. The best way to visit Furnas is with a rental car. Even though it’s a small city, some of the must-see attractions in Furnas, Azores are spread out, and having a car will make it much easier to see everything.
If you aren’t able to rent a car for your trip, I’ll share some organized tours later in this post that will allow you to see the highlights.
I’d recommend planning at least one full day to see Furnas, or two if you’d like to spend extra time hiking and enjoying the hot springs. We spent one day and were able to see all the highlights except for the Grena Park hike, which takes about two hours, and the hot springs.
Those two activities are definitely on the list for next time!
Map Of Things To Do In Furnas, Azores
Fun Things To Do In Furnas, Sao Miguel, Azores
In this section, we’ll look at some of the fun things to do in Furnas, Sao Miguel, Azores. The suggestions below are listed generally in an order that you can follow throughout the day.
Lagoa das Furnas
On the drive from Ponta Delgada, you’ll pass Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lake) before arriving in Furnas town.
Lagoa Furnas is the main lake in Furnas and is a popular area for picnicking and hiking. You can also rent paddle boats explore the lake from the water. At the lakefront kiosk, make sure to try a smoothie made from local pineapples.
You can also hike the Rota Circular da Lagoa das Furnas, which is a long hiking trail that leads you around the lake. On the banks of the lake, there’s an impressive church that dates back to the 1800s called Capela de Nossa Senhora de las Victorias that’s worth a visit.
Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas
Located just beside the lake you’ll find the Caldeiras de Lagoa das Furnas, an area of hot earth where steam and boiling water come to the surface.
Look closely and you might notice mounds with signs bearing the names of local restaurants. This is where they cook Cozido, a local specialty made of of meat, potatoes, and vegetables.
The ingredients are layered in a jar and buried underground to be heated by the geothermal energy. In town, you can try this traditional dish at many restaurants.
Hike Park Grena
Grena Park is a recently revitalized nature area where you can walk among some of the stunning Sao Miguel wildlife. The entrance to Grena Park is right next to the Caldeiras de Lagoa das Furnas and most people spend about two hours walking along the trails.
Tickets cost 10 Euros and you can see waterfalls, trees, and streams. There’s also an exhibit at the entrance of the park that tells the history of the Grena restoration.
Explore Terra Nostra
Speaking of memorable parks, you definitely don’t want to miss Terra Nostra. Terra Nostra is an expansive botanical garden with a hot spring for bathing located in Furnas town, just a few minutes drive from Lagoa Furnace.
We easily spent over an hour wandering around the different areas of the garden and regretted not having bathing suits to take a dip in the natural pool that dates back to 1780.
Try Cozido das Furnas
After a long day exploring the fun things to do in Furnas, Sao Miguel, you’ve probably worked up an appetite. Time to try Cozido, the local specialty which uses a very unique preparation method.
Remember those pots in the ground at Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas? Inside they were making Cozido, a stew made of meats, potatoes, and vegetables. After five hours of cooking in a volcano, the result is a tasty, tender meal straight from the earth.
We ate Cozido for lunch at A Quinta Furnas near Terra Nostra and loved the peaceful outdoor seating area. There are plenty of restaurants serving this special dish in town and many have a sign outside saying that Cozido is available.
Visit Caldeiras Vulcanias
In Furnas Town, there’s another geothermal area called Caldeiras Vulcanias. Walk among several pathways of steaming springs and bubbling mud just steps from the city center.
You can even try another local specialty, corn cooked in the boiling springs and served on a stick. The Calderias Vulcanais are free to visit and offer great lookout points for the mountain surroundings.
Walk Through Jardin das Quenturas
Take a little stroll through Jardin das Quenturas, a river walk park and community garden with playgrounds, picnic areas, and warm pools fed by the geothermal springs.
You can also stop by Cassata e aquaria das furans, a small outdoor aquarium exhibit with several species of fish.
Swim in the Poca da Dona Beija Hot Springs Pools
One of the best things to do in Furnas, Azores is swimming in the natural hot springs. Poca da Dona Beija is a spa and garden where visitors can take a swim in multiple pools heated by geothermal energy.
It costs 6 Euros to visit and the thermal pools are open until 11:00 pm, making this a great evening activity in Furnas Azores.
Best Tours of Furnas Azores
If you’re traveling without a car or would prefer to travel with a group, there are organized tours of Furnas Azores you can join.
Furnas Valley Full-Day Volcano and Tea Plantation Tour: This tour leaves from Ponta Delgada and it includes popular destinations in the Furnas Valley, Cozido, the Pico do Ferro lookout point, and a visit to a tea plantation.
Furnas Hot Springs Night Tour With Dinner: On this tour, you’ll spend the evening in Furnas at the Poça da Dona Beija hot springs for a relaxing spa experience. Local Cozido is served for dinner. This tour leaves from Ponta Delgada.
Where To Stay In Furnas Azores
If you’d like to spend more than one day in Furnas, it makes sense to spend the night in town. This way, you can walk to many Furnas attractions and take advantage of late-night activities like swimming in the Poça da Dona Beija hot springs.
Below are two highly-rated places to stay in Furnas Azores that are centrally located.
Furnas Boutique Hotel Thermal and Spa
Known as one of the most luxurious places to stay in Furnas, Azores, The Furnas Boutique Hotel offers spa and swimming facilities fueled by geothermal activity. It’s also an easy walk to the center of town and the Terra Nostra gardens, so you’ll have plenty of things to do.
Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
The Terra Nostra Garden Hotel offers incredible views of the botanical gardens as well as a spa and a romantic restaurant. Located just steps from the park and the town, the location can’t be beaten.
Final Thoughts: Furnas Sao Miguel Azores
When visiting the Azores, you can’t miss the Furnas Valley on the island of Sao Miguel. I was blown away by the natural beauty and diversity of the landscape, all within one compact area. If you want to feel like you’re stepping into another world, Furnas, Azores is the place to do it.
Read more about Azores, Portugal
- Sao Miguel Azores Travel Guide
- Best Foods and Restaurants to try in Sao Miguel Azores
- Things To Do In Ponta Delgada, Azores
- 21 Best Places To Stay In Sao Miguel