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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrNestled in the mid-Atlantic, some 1,500 kilometers to the west of Lisbon, is located an ideal holiday destination known as the Azores archipelago. It’s a collection of nine islands, the biggest of which is the São Miguel Island. Nicknamed as ‘The Green Island’, this island offers a number of activities and sightseeing opportunities, thus making it an excellent holiday destination with a difference. During your trip to São Miguel, you will discover its unique history, lovely climate, and geography for yourself. There are magnificent volcanic-crater lakes that are located in the west of the island at Sete Cidades, with vivid waters and wavered walking trails.
The Famous Hot Springs and Thermal LakesThe main highlight of this island is its thermal lakes and hot springs such as Caldeira Velha, located in the island’s center. It offers the most exclusive bathing opportunity to its visitors. There is also a village nestled in the volcanic crater in Furnas , where you can enjoy swimming in a thermal pool, cycle on the side of a volcanic lake, and kayak across to explore the beautiful hot springs and botanical gardens. You can even watch your lunch being cooked below the ground due to the heat of volcano.
The coast of the island has plenty to offer to its travelling enthusiasts. From the excellent scenery to diving to great Atlantic surf, you can enjoy it all. The Populo and Praia’s sandy beaches are also superb places to relax. The best feature of the island is the interaction with the dolphins and whales. In fact, The Azore Islands are simply one of the best locations, where you can not only see dolphins and whales, but can also swim alongside the wild dolphins.
Things to DoCaldeira Velha in São Miguel is a little spot that you can easily pass on your way up to the Fire Lake from Ribeira Grand. When visiting the Fire Lake, also known as ‘Lagoa do Fogo’, it is suggested that you head down the mountain that goes towards Ribeira Grande. This is due to two reasons: the first reason is that the Ribeira Grande is a magnificent city to visit. There are a number of landmarks which you must see such as the liqueur factory. Secondly, Caldeira Velha is a fantastic place to visit, stop, and relax.
When driving down the mountain, you will go through a lot of twists and turns, in and out of the forested areas, including some of the great views, finally stopping at the Caldera Velha. A few years ago, you could drive right into Caldeira, however, today you have to park out on the road. This is perhaps, a much better option. You can walk the path through the trees on what used to be a driveway. There are a lot of flowers and plants to appreciate along with a nice little creek.
After you have traveled the short distance of the pathway, you will finally get a chance to turn off the path of seeing Caldeira.
Moving further up the path, you will see a pool of mineral water located under the waterfall. The water of the waterfall is warm and just waist-high. There is also a minute wall to make it look larger. You can experience the sight of water cascading over the wall, down the creek by the side of the path that you can enter and exit from the road. You can take some pictures while standing in front of the waterfall to capture it in the background. There are rocks which have turned rusty due to the mineral water that pours over them. You can also explore the wall that holds back the water to make the pool larger, thus the pouring water over the wall forms the creek.
The warm, magical water makes Caldeira Velha a nice spot for a picnic. This is the reason why it’s also one of the most popular places to visit on the entire island. It’s a perfect place to end your busy day as it makes for an excellent spot for relaxation. Dive into the pool and spend as much time as you can, otherwise you will only return with sorrow if you don’t get to spend enough time around it.
Best Time to VisitDuring summers, there are a few vendors and loads of cars so you must visit it. During the other seasons, there is not much activity, but it is still recommended that you stop there all the same.
Getting to Caldeira VelhaYou can reach Caldeira Velha easily by driving down the road from the Fire Lake at Ribeira Grande. There you will have to walk for some time along a wooden walkway. Between Quaternary aspect and thick vegetation, you will find a medium-sized pool in which falls the cold water cascade.
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Author: Khadija. Last updated: Sep 19, 2014