Catherine tips from her amazing 7-day trip to Sao Miguel island in the Azores in July with her husband. Our goal for the trip was relaxation, hiking, food and wine, and to get off the beaten path.

Who took this trip?

I traveled with my husband, we live in Rhode Island and are in our 30s/40s and travel often.

Any hotels, restaurants or activities especially awesome?

We stayed 4 nights in Ponta Delgada and 2 nights in Furnas.

  • I absolutely LOVED Casa das Palmeiras.  The staff there was so wonderful and I loved the whole aesthetic and location.
  • We had one of my favorite meals at Rotas do Vinho, with awesome streetside live music next door.
  • Casa da Rosa was one of our favorites for a late night dinner
  • We loved Bar Colegio, where the owner plays the guitar most nights and on Friday nights they have jazz. The food is phenomenal, wine list is excellent – US prices, but worth it, we loved it.
  • I could have spent half a day in the Carlos Machado museum but we rushed through right before our flight, such a bummer, it was amazing!
  • One of my favorite days of all was going to the quaint town of Povocao, then having a fresh seafood lunch at Ponta do Garajau Restaurant and swimming at Fogo Beach.
  • I also loved hiking Sete Cidades and the thermal pools at Ferreria!
  • We had a great long lunch at Bar Caloura then went swimming down on the beach with the local kids
View-From-Casas-Das-Palmeiras-Sao-Miguel-Azores - 1
View from Casas das Palmeiras in Ponta Delgada

Dislikes/things you would have done differently?

  • We would have booked hotels earlier, we decided last minute to go, and there wasn’t as much availability a few weeks out.
  • Casa Hintze was fine but not wow
  • Didn’t love Vila Franca Islet, but it may have been because of the lousy weather and peak number of people there.

If you had one more day?  If you had one less day? If I had one more day, I would book a sport fishing trip. If I had one less day, I’d base at Casa das Palmeiras for 5 nights, enjoy their amazing breakfasts and head out for long day trips – it’s so nice to be on a small island where you can fit in so much!

Any other tips?

  • Definitely book your rental car far in advance.
  • Heed the warnings about bringing an old or inexpensive swimsuit, you’ll likely toss it when you get home!
  • I wish I’d packed — granola bars for a quick breakfast or snack for hiking.
  • Swing by the liquor factory ‘Mulher de Capote’, taste “Queen of the Island”, their amazing version of Bailey’s, and pick up a bottle to stick in your suitcase.
  • Seek out Pico’s Atlantis white wine. Try, immediately, tremocos, the white lupini bean starter that is offered at most restaurants.
  • We had the best meals when we let the staff order for us.