Other Sights on Sao Miguel
Cauldron of the Seven Cities
About 17km/11mi northwest of Ponta Delgada is the Caldeira des Sete Cidades in which, according to legend, seven towns founded by expelled Spanish bishops were sunk. This is a volcanic crater which collapsed during some mighty eruption in prehistoric times and was given its present form with a diameter of some 7km/4.5mi and a circumference of 17km/10.5mi, by another violent eruption in 1445. The caldera is occupied by three small and two large crater lakes, the latter two - the Lagoa Grande or Lagoa Verde, with clear green water, and the Lagoa Azul, with deep blue water - being separated only by a narrow strip of land. The walls of the crater, faling steeply down for some 300m/1,000ft, are surrounded by a fringe of woods, ferns and laurels.
Sao Miguel, Ribeira Grande, Portugal
18km/11mi notheast of Ponta Delgada, on a lava plateau above the north coast of Sao Miguel, is the town of Ribeira Grande (pop. 9,000), with a town hall of the 16th-18th C. and a 17th C. parish church.
Lake of Fire
From Ribeira Grande a road climbs to the southeast via Caldeira da Ribeira (6km/4mi), a small spa with hot mineral springs containing carbonic acid and hydrogen sulfide, and Lombadas (11km/7mi), which produces a mineral water esteemed throughout Portugal, to the Lagoa do Fogo, a crater lake 2km/1.25mi long by 1km/0.75mi wide, surrounded by high hills, which was formed during an eruption in 1563.It is worth climbing the Pico da Barrosa (949m/3,114ft) to enjoy the panoramic view it affords over the whole island.
Vila Franca do Campo, Sao Miguel, Portugal
About 25km/15mi east of Ponta Delgada, on the south coast, is the former capital of the Azores, Vila Franca do Campo, birthplace of the navigator Bento de Góis, which was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1522 (several 16th C. churches; potteries).
Sao Miguel, Furnas, Portugal
From Vila Franca do Campo a road runs inland, passing the Lagoa das Furnas, a crater lake 2km/1.25mi long, to Furnas, a popular summer resort (fine gardens, villas, golf course) in a beautiful forest-fringed valley basin (alt. 200-275m/650-900ft). Here after a violent volcanic eruption in 1630 there emerged a whole series of springs of various kinds (hot springs, mud springs, sulfur and mineral springs), some of which are used for medicinal purposes, either internally or in baths. There is magnificent luxuriant vegetation.
Sao Miguel, Povaocao, Portugal
12km/7.5mi southeast of Furnas on a beautiful road is Povoaçao (pop. 4,000), one of the oldest settlements in the Azores, situated in a wide bay on the south coast. Above the little town stands the Ermida de Santa Bárbara, the first church to be built in the archipelago.