Portugal is a land of natural wonders, and one of its hidden gems is the stunning Lagoa das Sete Cidades. This enchanting destination, located on the Azores archipelago, is known for its breathtaking landscapes, clear blue waters, and a rich tapestry of activities for travelers. In this guide, we will take you on a journey to explore Lagoa das Sete Cidades, covering everything you need to know to plan your visit.
Getting to Lagoa das Sete Cidades
Before embarking on your adventure to Lagoa das Sete Cidades, you’ll need to know how to get there. The Azores archipelago is accessible by air, with most international travelers flying into São Miguel Island, specifically João Paulo II Airport in Ponta Delgada. From there, it’s just a scenic one-hour drive to Lagoa das Sete Cidades. Alternatively, if you’re already on the Azores, you can reach the lagoon by car or public transportation.
Lagoa das Sete Cidades enjoys a mild maritime climate. Summers are pleasantly warm, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). Winters are cool, but rarely cold, with temperatures between 12°C and 16°C (53°F to 61°F). Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, but you’ll encounter more frequent showers in the winter months. Given this climate, it’s possible to visit year-round, although the summer months are the most popular among tourists.
Where to Stay?
When it comes to accommodation, you’ll find a variety of options in the vicinity of Lagoa das Sete Cidades. Whether you prefer luxury hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts, or charming guesthouses, there’s something for every traveler.
Sete Cidades Lake Lodge: If you want to wake up to the breathtaking views of the lagoon right from your window, this lodge is an ideal choice. The cozy rooms and serene surroundings make it perfect for a tranquil escape.
Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa: For a touch of luxury, this resort offers comfortable rooms, a spa, and excellent dining options. It’s a fantastic place to relax after a day of exploring the region.
Local Guesthouses: There are numerous charming guesthouses and bed and breakfasts in the nearby villages, offering a more intimate and authentic experience. Casa das Ilhas, Solar da Graça, and Quinta da Queiró are worth considering.
What to Do?
Lagoa das Sete Cidades offers a wealth of activities and attractions to suit various interests. Here’s a list of things to do during your visit:
Hiking: The area is renowned for its stunning hiking trails. Don’t miss the circular route around the lagoon, which offers breathtaking panoramic views. For the more adventurous, the Sete Cidades Massif is a must.
Kayaking and Canoeing: Explore the dual lakes by renting a kayak or canoe. Paddle on the peaceful waters while surrounded by lush greenery and the charming village of Sete Cidades.
Cycling: The region boasts excellent biking trails. You can rent a bike to explore the scenic landscapes at your own pace.
Horseback Riding: Enjoy a unique perspective of the lagoon by taking a horseback ride along the trails. It’s a fantastic way to appreciate the natural beauty of this area.
Photography: Lagoa das Sete Cidades is a photographer’s paradise. The changing light conditions throughout the day create incredible photo opportunities.
Sunset Watching: The sunsets here are legendary. Head to the Vista do Rei viewpoint for an unobstructed view of the sun sinking into the lagoon. It’s an unforgettable experience.
Village Exploration: Spend some time in the charming village of Sete Cidades. Visit the historic church, stroll through cobblestone streets, and savor local cuisine in quaint restaurants.
Hot Springs: Nearby, you’ll find Ferraria, a place with natural thermal pools. Relax in the warm, soothing waters as you take in the ocean view.
What to Eat?
Portuguese cuisine is renowned for its flavors and variety, and the Azores are no exception. When you’re in this place, you must sample some of the local dishes. Seafood is a staple, with fresh catches from the Atlantic Ocean served daily. Don’t miss out on these culinary delights of Lagoa das Sete Cidades:
Lapas: Grilled limpets are a local delicacy. They’re often seasoned with garlic and butter, resulting in a savory treat.
Cozido das Furnas: This is a traditional Azorean stew that’s slow-cooked using the natural heat of volcanic vents. It features an assortment of meats, vegetables, and spices.
Octopus: You’ll find octopus prepared in various ways, such as grilled, marinated, or in rice dishes. It’s a true delight for seafood lovers.
Queijadas da Vila: Satisfy your sweet tooth with these traditional Azorean pastries made with cheese, sugar, and cinnamon. They’re utterly delicious.
1. Is Lagoa das Sete Cidades suitable for families with children?
Yes, it’s a family-friendly destination with various activities suitable for all ages. Just be cautious near cliffs and open water with young children.
2. How much time should I plan for a visit to Lagoa das Sete Cidades?
A day is typically sufficient to explore the lagoon and its surroundings, but if you’re an avid hiker or nature lover, you might want to spend a few days in the area.
3. What’s the best time to visit Lagoa das Sete Cidades?
The summer months, from June to September, offer the best weather in this region. However, if you prefer fewer crowds and can tolerate cooler temperatures, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons.
4. Is it necessary to rent a car to explore the area?
Having a car is convenient, but it’s not mandatory. You can also explore the region by public transportation, on foot, or by bike.
5. Can I swim in the lagoon?
While swimming in the lagoon is possible, it’s advisable to do so in designated areas and take into account the water’s temperature and currents.
Lagoa das Sete Cidades is a hidden paradise within Portugal, waiting to be explored by avid travelers and nature enthusiasts. Its stunning landscapes, outdoor activities, and delicious cuisine make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Whether you’re a hiker, photographer, foodie, or simply a traveler in search of natural beauty, Lagoa das Sete Cidades will capture your heart and leave you with cherished memories of this enchanting corner of the Azores.