From Sete Cidades to Ponta da Ferraria (S. Miguel)

A tour through the western end of the island of São Miguel, starting at the best known of the lakes of volcanic origin of the archipelago: the Caldeira das Sete Cidades.

The visit to the Sete Cidades Lagoon represents the primary initiation route to the largest island in the Azores, and somehow, to the landscape of these islands. There are several possible approaches to the Sete Cidades. Anyway, always make sure that forecasts inform you that the weather is clear, as otherwise the views to the wide boiler, from the viewpoint, will not be possible, and that would make the trip pointless. Leaving Ponta Delgada, it can be accessed by several roads: By Relva, via Pico do Carvão; by the costal road, called "das freguesias", in a detour on the right just before Feteiras; and, the most direct option, from Várzea, almost straight to the top of the boiler. Once there, the local viewpoint, situated on the boundary of the mountain, allows you to have a panoramic view of the whole: a large and almost circular crater, 12 km perimeter, at the bottom of which there are two lagoons, like twin lakes, the Lagoa Verde and the Lagoa Azul - this is the place of Sete Cidades giving rise to many mythological stories about the ancient Atlanta, primordial continent, supposedly sunk and disappeared in the ocean, from which the Azores would be a last trace...



Descending inside the boiler, we visit the quiet village, implanted within the central plane, with its folk houses of gabled roofs, one or two manors and the Romantic church. The steep slopes surrounding the whole area give you a sense of calm, almost motionlessness, and the feeling of isolation from the world touches the visitor. Returning to the outside and down the hillside to the west coast, one reaches the Ponta do Escalvado, a viewpoint with extensive views both to the North (with the isles of Mosteiros, near the homonymous village, located in a curious cliff of São Miguel) or to the South (with the lighthouse of Ponta da Ferraria), at the western end of São Miguel. Down from Várzea to the coast, one reaches the mentioned Ponta, where it was erected, over a century ago, one of the first, if not the very first, and monumental beacon of the Azores. With a design of the nineteenth century (opened 1901), it towers, in a symmetrical and almost elegant composition, over the west and the unknown sea.

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