If you are planning a visit to the Azores islands, visiting one of the many hot springs is an absolute must. These pools of warm water are heated naturally by the Earth’s core and have special minerals. These minerals are said the be good for your skin. You are sure to relax in one of the Azores hot springs. You find an Azores hot spring pretty much all over the island, but which one is the best? I recently had the pleasure of spending an entire month on the largest island in the Azores, São Miguel. In this guide, I’ll be going over the best Sao Miguel Azores hot springs. All of these hot springs have an entrance fee but are worth the price. Also, keep in mind this guide is based on my personal opinions. So let’s get into this guide!
The Best Sao Miguel Azores Hot Springs
Without a doubt, my favorite Azores hot spring has to be Parque Terra Nostra. And there are multiple reasons. This Sao Miguel hot spring is the largest on the island and one of the most popular. Parque Terra Nostra is not just a thermal hot spring though. There is also a beautiful garden that you get access to with your admission. One of the reasons this is my favorite Azores hot spring is because of how large it is. All of the others on this list are small, bath-like structures. But this giant pool allows for plenty of space to spread out and swim without being bothered by other bathers. The water here does not seem as hot as some of the others, but that may be because of the larger surface area. But it certainly is hot enough to make you super relaxed.
There are two smaller thermal baths around this beautiful park with the large pool. These have some falling water features and are a bit more similar to the other Azores hot springs on this list. There are changing facilities here as well as an outdoor shower to rinse off the minerals. In addition to the beautiful thermal hot springs, Parque Terra Nostra is a lovely park. It is probably my favorite park on the entire island. While the cost of admission is slightly higher here than the others on this list, I feel you get more for your money because you get hot springs and the park.
The Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
There is a beautiful hotel in the park, Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, as well as a restaurant that is open to the public. The restaurant and bar are both fantastic, with great food and fine dining service. They also serve a more casual lunch overlooking the park. It is absolutely beautiful. If you stay at the hotel, you get private access to the hot springs in the evening after it has closed to the public. I can imagine it is simply magical underneath the stars. If you are looking for a hotel stay in Furnas, this may be a good option. The prices are actually pretty reasonable and you can’t beat the exclusive access to the hot spring. Day guests have to leave by 4:30 pm but hotel guests can enjoy the hot spring until midnight! This is definitely one of my favorite Sao Miguel Azores hot springs.
My second favorite Azores hot spring has to be Poça da Dona Beija. This is a much smaller hot spring but still fabulous. These hot springs consist of multiple pools, each offering different temperatures and features. My favorite was this pool pictured above which has a falling water feature. The water in this pool is very hot and very relaxing. The smell of sulfur fills the air so be ready for that. This is one of the most popular hot springs on the entire island, so be sure to come early. I came one day in the afternoon and the line was wrapped around the block so I left. I came back at 10 AM the next day and it was much quieter.
These Azores hot springs seem to be very popular with both tourists and locals alike. I think in the winter months, it is common for locals to come here in family groups to warm up since there is typically no central heating on the island. I’m sure it is fun in large groups as well, but I prefer to relax with a little more solitude. Keep in mind that at this hot spring, there is a time limit. You are only allowed to stay for one and a half hours, to ensure that there is room enough for everybody. You will be given a color-coded wristband that aligns with your time limit.
The facilities here are actually quite nice. There are lockers for you to rent as well as changing rooms. I think typically they have showers available but during my visit, they appeared to be under renovation. There is even a nice gift shop for you to get some souvenirs to take home. This is one of the Sao Miguel Azores hot springs that my Airbnb host recommended the most and it certainly did not disappoint. But like I said, be sure to come early or be prepared to wait. This one is open very late, I think until 11 pm. I can imagine it is beautiful at night under the stars.
For a super cool and unique Azores hot spring, you have to come to Termas da Ferraris. This hot spring is located on the west coast of the island. It is literally IN the ocean. This is one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever seen. The hot spring is a small, protected area that is heated but is open to the ocean. It is really wild to see. This one also gets incredibly busy due to how cool it is.
Along with the hot spring in the ocean, there are facilities here as well. I came during the winter and everything was closed. But from the looks of it, during the warmer months, there is a pool and bars/restaurants. It’s a gorgeous area of the island, being made entirely of volcanic rock. This is definitely one of the most unique of the Sao Miguel Azores hot springs. Be sure to visit this one and brave the ocean.
I’m sad to say that this is the only Azores hot spring that I didn’t have time to visit on my trip. But, I have driven past it and it definitely looks worth a visit. Honestly, from the pictures I’ve seen online this looks like it would maybe have taken the top spot if I had the time. Located within another park, this hot spring is in a lush forest with gorgeous shades of green surrounding you. It looks to be one of the most relaxing settings I can imagine.
This one also has an attached park/garden area so you get more than just the thermal hot spring. I enjoyed my visit to the Azores so much that I’m sure I will make a trip back in the future. When I do, this will be the first place I visit. I just had to include it in this Sao Miguel Azores hot springs guide.
While you are visiting Furnas, you have to come checkout this Azores hot spring Fumarolas Lagoa das Furnas. This hot spring is not like the rest on this list because there are no baths. Instead, there are bubbling pools of super hot water and geysers. These hot springs are probably more familiar to people that have visited places like Yellowstone National Park in the USA. This hot spring is located at the foot of the Grenas national park, which is a fantastic hike. Just as a note, you have to pay to get into the hot spring area, and then pay an additional fee to enter the park to hike. I highly recommend paying for both and visiting the hot springs first before going on this amazing hike.
If you come to Furnas to enjoy a traditional volcano cooked meal, this is where they place the food into the ground. As you walk through, you’ll see giant holes in the ground with covers. This is where the locals place their food in the volcano and the food is naturally slow-cooked over several hours. It is a very traditional way to cook food here in the Azores and you absolutely have to try it while you are here. This dish, called cozido das Furnas, is typically made with beef but you can find fish and vegetarian options at many places. There are even locations on the island where you can be a part of the cooking process and retrieve your meal out of the volcano. It’s a really fun thing to do if you find the time.
Azores Hot Spring Tips
Visiting an Azores hot spring is an absolute must when visiting these islands. As someone who has visited them multiple times, I have a few tips to better enhance your experience. Hopefully, you will enjoy your time at these Sao Miguel Azores hot springs just as much as I did.
Hot Springs Tips
- Sao Miguel Azores Hot Springs Tips
- Wear Dark Clothing– Due to the minerals in the water, such as iron, sulfate, and calcium, your skin and/or clothing may turn orange. This is only temporary and can be washed off easily with soap and water. The longer you spend in the Azores hot spring, the more orange you will get. For this reason, I highly suggest wearing either dark clothing or clothing that you don’t mind getting ruined. I went out and bought a throwaway pair of swim trunks so as to not ruin my favorite swimsuit that I had packed with me.
- Arrive Early or Plan to Wait– Even in the off-season, these Sao Miguel Azores hot springs were one of the most popular things to do on the island. For this reason, I highly suggest coming as early as you can if you want to avoid the crowds and long wait times. On my first visit in the evening, the line literally wrapped around the block. So I left and came back another morning and it was much more enjoyable. If you don’t mind the crowds, then by all means go whenever suits you best.
- Relax and Enjoy Yourself-Visiting an Azores hot spring is one of the most relaxing things to do on the island. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time when planning to come here, as you’ll want to stay all day. Some of the hot springs have time restrictions but if not, I promise you’ll want to stay all day long. The sounds of the wind in the trees, birds chirping, and rushing water provides the ultimate natural relaxation time.
In conclusion, you really can’t go wrong visiting any of these Sao Miguel Azores hot springs. They each have something unique to offer and are a fun island activity. Like I’ve mentioned before, I visited during the winter so the warm waters were extra lovely compared to the outside cold air. I can imagine during the summer months that this may not be as popular of an activity. But either way, it’s something not to be missed. Visiting an Azores hot spring is probably my favorite thing to do on these islands. I have read about them for years so it was super exciting to spend time here.
I genuinely hope that you found this Azores hot spring guide to be useful and informative. If you did, please consider sharing it with your friends and fellow travelers. Also, be sure to follow me on social media to stay up to date with all of my travels. You can also sign up for my e-mail list to be notified every time I post new content. For more information on things to do in the Azores, check out the rest of my Azores content here! I really appreciate you visiting my blog. I hope you have a fantastic time at these Sao Miguel Azores hot springs and enjoy the islands! Thanks again!