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The Perfect 5-Day Itinerary With Kids In São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal

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Last Updated on July 15, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

Given the flood of questions about our relocation to Portugal and being American expats, I’ve taken the plunge and launched a second blog titled ‘American Family in Portugal’. Join us as we share our journey and insights into expat life in this beautiful country!

Are you seeking rolling green hills, stunning lakes, sea cliff views, iron-rich hot springs, and more? The Azores reminded our family of a cold Maui (granted, we went in winter!) filled with beautiful cows (and yes, they are beautiful).

The main island of São Miguel has a lot to offer to families looking to explore, relax and enjoy the beauty of nature outdoors. Just driving around is magical! I love immersing in everything we see out of the window, making it hard for me to put my camera down.

We recently moved to Portugal as a family and are trying to get out and explore the island of Portugal. The Azores is an autonomous region claimed in the name of Portugal since the 1400s. Everyone kept telling us the Azores and Madeira are Portugal’s “Hawaii”. We fell in love instantly!

Following is an ideal 5-day São Miguel Island, Azores itinerary with kids. Feel free to modify it as it fits your family’s needs, and check out my Top 30 Things To Do In São Miguel With Kids Ultimate Guide.

The Azores offers a lot of beautiful lakes and beaches, which are perfect for families!

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The Ideal 5-Day São Miguel Itinerary With Kids

Below are some of the top attractions to see in São Miguel with the kids. Feel free to pick and choose what interests you and modify this itinerary!

  • Gruta do Carvao- go cave exploring
  • Whale Watching- in the right season
  • Hot springs
  • Black sand beaches
  • Lookouts over the ocean
  • Farm tour to milk cows
  • Visit the island Ilhéu de Vila Franca and snorkel
  • Hiking
  • Canyoning
  • Pineapple and Tea plantations
  • Try the traditional food cozido
  • And more!
Church S Pedro de Nordestinho Nordeste Ponta Delgada
Source: Unsplash

Where to Stay In São Miguel With Kids

  • Nordeste
  • Furnas
  • Ribeira Granda
  • Ponta Delgada

Note: Where you stay on the island doesn’t matter as it’s only about an hour to drive anywhere.  We stayed in Nordeste and never had to go more than an hour to each destination.

We loved our Airbnb experience in Sao Miguel. We had a lovely 5-bedroom home surrounded by cow pastures and stunning views. You can find other Airbnb options here:

However, hotels can be fantastic. Check out some of these hotels:

Interestingly, Praia dos Mosteiros has black volcanic sand
Source: Unsplash

Arriving In São Miguel, Azores With Kids

Museu Carlos Machado
Source: Tripadvisor

Day One: Exploring Ponta Delgada With Kids

  • Whale watching in Ponta Delgada for the half-day option with Picos de Adventura.
  • Visit Ilhéu de Vila Franca do Campo for snorkeling in the afternoon.  Boat rides depart hourly from the wharf of Vila Franca do Campo.
  • Visit the São Sebastião church or any of the amazing churches around the city.
  • Enjoy a picnic dinner at the beach or in your Airbnb, or visit any of the amazing restaurants nearby.

Day Two: Driving Around São Miguel With Kids

Dip in Poca da Dona Beija thermal bath with kids before it gets dark
  • Visit some lookouts or miradouros, and take a little tour around the east side of the island.
    • Start at Miradouro do Cintrão, visit the lighthouse, and simply head east.
    • Look for brown signs that alert you to a hike, viewpoint, or other points of interest.  
  • Drive to the Joao de Cantos Parque to explore with the kids. My kids loved playing by the lake while the adults admired the romantic and beautiful cathedral.
  • Go to the other side of the lake and rent a canoe on the lake or watch the volcanic activity in Fumarolas Lagoa das Furnas.
  • Head into Furnas.
    • Go for a hot swim under the stars at Poça da Dona Beija Hot Springs.  It’s open until late, but I’d recommend going before it gets dark.
    • Hit Tony’s for dinner.  Call ahead and reserve Cozido for dinner to try a meal cooked in the heat of the volcano. It’s an experience!

Day Three: Enjoying São Miguel With Kids

Tasteful Cozido being cooked at Caldeiras de Lagoa das Furnas. You should try it!!
  • Head up the middle of the island to see Lagoa do Fogo.  View from one of the miradouros first, then go down to the lake (park in the Parque de estacionamento), and be sure to check the live webcams first. You might not be able to see anything because of the clouds and fog, that’s what happened to us!
  • Hike on the Janela do inferno Hike.  Walkthrough the old aqueduct tunnels (bring a flashlight or a charged phone with a flashlight) and experience incredible views!
  • Book a farm tour in advance and head to the Âmago Wellness Farm in the afternoon (around 4 pm) for a farm tour and milking the cows.  Enjoy the fresh milk with a small picnic at sunset. The kiddos will love it!

Day Four: Exploring Sete Cidades With Kids

Sete Cidades
Source: Unsplash
  • Head to Sete Cidades for a family hike.
    • Choose your own route on All Trails or hire a hiking tour guide for the day.
    • A visit to the Blue and Green Lake (Lagao Azul and Lagao Verde) inside an ancient crater is a must.
    • Miradouro da Vista do Rei is a great viewpoint (literally the king’s lookout).
  • Have lunch or dinner in Sete Cidades. Lagoa Azul serves Mediterranean flavors and looks great!
  • Visit Igreja de São Nicolau. The picturesque main church in the area with lovely gardens.
  • Rent a kayak at Sete Cidades or stop by a playground. I’ve found a stop like this is sometimes needed to get those wiggles out for the littlest travelers.
  • Go for a swim in the nearby Ponta da Ferraria natural hot springs.
  • Choose a guided tour in the area and learn more background and history from the locals! Here are some guided tours to Sete Cidades.

Day Five: Hidden Gems of São Miguel with Kids

Learn more about pineapples with kids by visiting the Arruda Pineapple Plantation
  • Visit a pineapple or tea plantation.
    • Arruda pineapple plantation, located near Ponta Delgada, offers self-guided tours.
    • The Goreanna tea plantation is currently the only tea plantation in Europe and has been around since 1883. Tour is free, and the parties are self-guided as well (donations welcome). Can be very popular and difficult to find parking.
    • Visit a fortress.
  • Enjoy your last dinner at a local restaurant.  Check out this blog for some suggestions for your last night.

Head home and dream of your next trip back…..

Enjoy!

Leslie

Download My Printable PDF Itinerary Here

Perfect-5-Day-Itinerary-in-Sao-Miguel

Book your flight to Azores on Booking.com, Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, or Expedia

Find a nice hotel in Sao Miguel on Booking.com, Expedia, or Vrbo, (we also love Tripadvisor and Hotels.com)

Discover other fun activities in Portugal from GetYourGuide, Airbnb Experiences, or Viator

Rent a Car on Expedia Rental Cars

Capture your best family memories in the Azores as we do with a GroPro, Sony camera, or our favorite drones: DJI FPV, Air, and Mini

Check out your travel necessities from a comprehensive list of all the 7Wayfinders Travel Must-Haves. Click Here!

Get insured while traveling with World Nomads

Additional Reading

30 Amazing Things To Do In The Azores With Kids: Ultimate Family Guide To São Miguel Island

Visiting Poça da Dona Beija Hot Springs With Kids: All You Need To Know

Discovering Madeira as a Family

5 Comments

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  4. Colleen Van Valen

    Thank you! We are only stopping there for a day….
    Fly in at 8am and leave the next day at 5pm.

    Do you have any recommendations?

    Thanks

    • Leslie Stroud

      For a one-day adventure in São Miguel Island, start with a visit to the stunning Sete Cidades, where you can marvel at the twin lakes and enjoy hiking trails with breathtaking views. Then, head to the Furnas area to experience the geothermal wonders, including hot springs and bubbling mud pots. If you still have time don’t miss a stop at Terra Nostra Park for a relaxing soak in the thermal pools and a stroll through the lush botanical gardens. Finally, end your day with a visit to the charming town of Ponta Delgada, where you can explore historic landmarks, enjoy local cuisine and have a nice dinner.
      Enjoy your day in Portugal! Safe travels!

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