The best places to stay in São Miguel
The Nook is a modern, functional and well-decorated hostel – we wanted to use the word “lovely”, but we thought it was too much. It’s located at the bluest of buildings at the centre of Ponta Delgada, it has double rooms with a shared bathroom and economic dormitories where you can listen people from all over the world snore. It also includes the essential common areas – kitchen and living room – for you to strike the usual small talk “Where are you from? In which part of the island have you been?”. A bed in a shared room costs 18€ per night and a double room costs 45€.
This farm, north of São Miguel, has been many things over the years: a military fort, an orange tree farm and a tea factory, but at the end of the day it’s mainly remembered as Luísa Constantina’s house. In these country houses there are artistic dwellings and famous people, such as Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, have stayed there. The farm is one of the ex libris of Azorean tourism and it offers two different types of accommodation: apartments or lofts. The apartment (for two) is 118€ per night with breakfast; and the loft (for two) is 128€.
This country house is located at the west part of São Miguel Island, next to Ferraria thermals and halfway to the Lake of the Seven Cities (Lagoa das Sete Cidadades), in a quiet village and far from the conventional touristic itinerary. You’ll sure have your dose of peace in this mansion surrounded by palm trees that almost looks as an epoch movie house. It has four rooms and takes in at least eight people. The kitchen and the living room are common areas. Price under consultation.
There are lots of beautiful and mysterious places near the Furnas Lake (Lagoa das Furnas), but the west coast is one of the most intriguing. There lies the Chapel of Senhora das Virtues (Ermida da Senhora das Virtudes), the José do Canto woods (Mata José do Canto) and this Casa dos Barcos, a 19th century Nordic building, an ancient boat pavilion that belongs to the aristocratic family of José do Canto. Prices range from 300€ per night (for six people) to 120€.
To stay in the loveliest house of the Seven Cities (Sete Cidades), next to one of the prettiest lakes in the Azores is priceless. Or is it? Casa Grande, built in 1853, has five rooms, four bathrooms and it takes in ten guests. This is a palace that can be yours for 300€ per night but there’s one singularity to it: the house can only be rented for a minimum of seven nights. Gather friends and family and be the king for a week. Search “Casa Grande” at Airbnb.
You’re standing on the edge of one of the best sand beaches on the island and you also have a pool that faces the sea with underwater loungers (that’s right!). Santa Bárbara Eco-Beach Resort is one of the most recent luxury hotels in the Azores (four stars) with 14 villas: seven T1 and seven T2. The price per night depends on the typology and on the time of the year you book it, but it ranges from 280€ (T1) to 370€ for the deluxe villa.
More things to do in the Azores
Let yourself get carried away by the views and the tracks, but when you are hungry, do not be fooled. Trust us and try some of these, we promise they are the absolute best restaurants in the Azores.
There are nine islands and we have 21 suggestions. Sleeping in one of these hotels is in itself an Azores experience not to be missed. Have you already decided where you’re going to sleep after all this walking and swimming?
It’s the island of trails and extreme sports, of tinned tuna and island cheese (the real queijo da Ilha). But it’s also, and perhaps more importantly, a paradise of fajãs, these stretches of land formed by lava on the coasts of the Azores Islands. You don’t have a fear of height, we hope?