The beautiful Portuguese Azores Islands are full of
character, outstanding natural scenery and maritime history. Their remote
location, far out in the Atlantic Ocean, puts them off the regular tourist
track and allows them to retain their character and traditional way of life.
WHERE ARE THE AZORES ISLANDS?
The Azores archipelago of nine islands is about 930 miles west of mainland Portugal. Their sheer cliffs, deep calderas (craters) and steep mountains give a clue to their volcanic origin. This also provides other volcanic phenomena such as hot springs in the Azores, along with caldera lakes and black volcanic sand on some of the beaches.
Marking the extreme westerly point of Europe, the Azores archipelago stretches 400 miles from the largest island, São Miguel in the east to tiny Corvo and Flores island in west, which are both UNESCO recognized Biosphere Reserves. Largely self-sufficient, the islands have thriving farming, dairy and fishing industries as well as sustainable tourism.
As a leading expert in travel to the Azores, we offer in-depth information about the Azores, where to find the islands’ natural hot springs and the best hotels in Sao Miguel, Azores’ capital city.
Read on to discover more about the Azores hot springs, where
to find them and what they have to offer.
WHAT ARE THE AZORES HOT SPRINGS?
Azores hot springs are thermal springs that allow geothermally heated water to rise up from the center of the earth. As their name suggests, the water is usually above human body temperature making it pleasant to bathe and relax in the steaming pools.
The water in São Miguel hot springs often has a high mineral content and may occasionally have a distinctive smell, depending on what minerals are present. For example, the iron-rich hot springs are orange in color.
Hot springs have been used for centuries as treatments for rheumatism and arthritis as well as for skin conditions including eczema. Bathing in the Azores hot springs can be physically and mentally restorative, creating a harmony of body, mind and nature.
A dip in the Azores hot springs is therapeutic after a day of sightseeing or hiking. It’s a relaxing and sociable experience as you enjoy the warm mineral-laden waters surrounded by lush vegetation, far-reaching views and stunning natural scenery.
SAO MIGUEL HOT SPRINGS
All the major hot springs in the Azores are on Sao Miguel, the largest and most populated island in the archipelago. Some of these thermal pools are located in peaceful natural surroundings while others have been developed into manicured spa pools with full amenities.
Below, you will find information about the most well-known Azores hot springs with an overview of what each natural thermal pool has to offer.
Poça da Dona Beija Hot Springs
If you only have time to visit one hot spring in the Azores, make it Poça da Dona Beija! With five beautiful thermal pools surrounded by lush tropical plantings, Poça da Dona Beija hot springs offers a truly natural experience surrounded by exotic plants. Wooden boardwalks provide easy access to the steaming pools.
The hot springs are part of the Ribeira dos Lameiros stream
and were developed in 1988. The pools vary in depth, which makes them
particularly suitable for families with children, or those who are nervous
about their first Azores hot springs experience.
Most pools at Poça da Dona Beija maintain a temperature of
102°F (36°C) with one pool
that is slightly cooler. The high iron and mineral content of these hot spring
waters makes the local mud ideal for cleansing mud baths and peloid
Lomba das Barracas, Furnas, São Miguel
Open daily from 7am to 11pm, there is limited parking and it can be crowded on weekends.
Admission 6 EUR (about US$6.70) for adults and 4 EUR for children.
Amenities include showers, toilets, towel rentals and drinks
but no food.
Piscina Natural da Ponta da Ferraria
The natural ocean-front Sao Miguel hot springs at Piscina Natural da Ponta da Ferraria are very unique. Free to visit, the hot spring waters flow into a small inlet before flowing into the ocean through a lava delta of black volcanic rocks.
The water temperature is regulated by the incoming waves. The hot spring waters are only accessible for two hours either side of low tide, so you need to check the local tide times when planning your visit. You should avoid days when the water is choppy and wear flip-flops or beach shoes as the volcanic rocks can be sharp.
It requires a bit of a scramble to reach these scenic Azores
hot springs so it is not recommended for children or those with limited
mobility. However, there is a child-friendly spa nearby (see Termas da Ferraria
Spa below) where you can park and visit the hot springs regardless of the
The southwest end of São Miguel island.
There are lifeguards, showers and toilets which are open all
year round. Food and drinks are available from the nearby restaurant.
Caldeira Velha Hot Springs
If you prefer lush greenery to the rocky setting of Piscina Natural da Ponta da Ferraria, the Caldeira Velha Hot Springs could be perfect for you. Blending into their natural environment, the three pretty pools are fed by a cascading waterfall in a ferny glen. It has cooler waters at around 80°F (26℃). There’s a shallow pool for youngsters and an informative exhibit about volcanoes in the Visitor Center.
These hot springs are open 9am to 8.30pm from April to
September with shorter opening times in the off-season.
Ribeira Grande, São Miguel on the EN5-2A.
Admission to the park is 3 EUR or 8 EUR to bathe in the
Park on the roadside near the entrance. There are showers,
changing rooms and a food truck serving hot drinks and snacks outside the hot
Terra Nostra Garden & Hot Springs
Part of a hotel complex, the Terra Nostra Garden & Hot Springs has a huge 200-foot (60m) outdoor pool along with two smaller pools all about 5 feet (1.5m) deep. Fed by iron-rich spring water, the pool water is pale orange and pleasantly hot at 35-40°C (95-104°F).
You can easily spend a day at Terra Nostra, visiting the 31-acre gardens with ponds and trails, having lunch, and finishing in the hot springs. Try the “Cozida das Furnas” stew for lunch or dinner at the hotel restaurant. This stew is cooked in thermal steam.
Terra Nostra Hotel Gardens, Furnas, São Miguel.
8 EUR including access to the botanical gardens (well worth
Open 10am to 6pm, the hot springs have showers, changing
rooms, toilets and food at the hotel restaurant.
Furnas Boutique Hotel Hot Springs
Only open for hotel and spa guests, these private Furnas hot springs are in a hip and stylish environment. Combine your dip in the hot spring water filled indoor or outdoor pools with a massage, scrub or beauty treatment in the luxurious spa. Both the indoor and an outdoor thermal pool are surrounded by lounge chairs making either place great for reading or napping.
Furnas Boutique Hotel, Avenida Dr Manuel de Arriaga, Furnas.
Free to hotel and spa guests.
Showers, changing room, toilet and food are available.
Termas das Caldeiras Spa
Less dramatic than other Sao Miguel hot springs, but also less crowded, the Termas das Caldeiras Spa has a natural spring-fed thermal pool about 5 feet (1.5 m) deep. It is open 10am to 10pm daily. Easy to reach from Ponta Delgada, it is close to the Salto do Cabrito hike. There is a restaurant on-site and you can see traditional cozidas nearby where food is cooked in the ground using thermal heat.
Largo das Caldeiras, Ribeira Grande.
Parking, food, showers and toilets are available.
Termas da Ferraria Spa
Close to the Piscina Natural da Ponta da Ferraria, Termas da Ferraria Spa has spring-fed thermal pools at various depths. Open from 11am to 7pm, it has an on-site restaurant which is perfect for sunset-watching after a dip in the Azores hot springs.
The southwest end of São Miguel island.
6 EUR for adults; 3 EUR for children.
Parking, showers and toilets are available. Food and drinks are available from the restaurant overlooking the pool.
OTHER ISLANDS WITH AZORES HOT SPRINGS
Graciosa Island Hot Springs
Almost all Azores hot springs are on Sao Miguel island. However, the Carapacho Hot Spring Baths on Graciosa island offer medicinal waters rich in minerals. They are popular for treating skin and rheumatic problems in an indoor pool or thermal outdoor station fed by hot springs at a temperature of 37°C (98°F).
Rua Dr Manual de Maenezes, Graciosa.
1 EUR for adults.
Flores Island Hot Springs
Flores island has several small hot springs that are unsuitable for bathing. They produce boiling sulphurous water, so swimming isn’t advised, but they make for great photos.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of Azores hot springs and have found our maps and guides a useful resource for planning your trip.
And if you’re keen to visit the Azores and enjoy the beauty of the islands, the cuisine, culture, hiking and hot springs, Travel Honey can make it happen. Start by checking out our detailed 7-day itinerary that includes many of the hot springs on Sao Miguel. We can also plan the trip for you with our trip-planning service or lend a hand to find you the best hotel here, Sao Miguel hotels and accommodations!