The small chapel “Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz” is beautifully situated on a mountain overlooking Vila Franca do Campo. It’s definitely worth a short visit for the view over Vila Franca do Campo. We would recommend coming here during the evening. (During the summer, it’s more peaceful around here in the mornings or evenings.) In the winter months, the sun sets on the south side of the island – allowing you to enjoy a breath-taking sunset from this very spot. In the summer, the sun sets and rises north of São Miguel.
The drive consists of a few winding roads, so we recommend that you allow the navigation system to guide you along. The last steep section up to the Ermida de Nossa Senhora de Paz is really narrow so please do drive carefully. Parking is available directly opposite at the viewpoint located below the chapel.
View over Vila Franca do Campo
From here, you have an outstanding view over Vila Franca do Campo and the harbour.
Vila Franca do Campo is certainly one of the biggest places in the Azores, as you can see in the picture, but with roughly 11000 inhabitants “big” is somewhat a relative concept.
The history and legends of the Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz
Opposite the viewing point, the blue-tiled steps decorated with Christian images (azulejos) ascend several sections towards the chapel. The path is framed with hydrangeas as well as other shrubs and plants.
The Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz was constructed in 1764, presumably in the same place where a 16th-century temple was already standing.
According to legend, a shepherd searching for shelter from bad weather had found an image of the Virgin Mary. This image was taken to the priest in the parish church. The very next day, the confused shepherds found the same image at the exact same spot, so they once again brought the image back to the parish church. This happened a few more times, so, the community decided to build a shrine for the image at a better-protected location. They needed building materials to do this. Just as the builders were due to start the following day, they found the materials stacked up in the same exact same place where the image was originally found, and subsequently built the Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz on that very spot.
Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz at sunset
We would just like to share a few photos to show why the journey here to watch the sunset is definitely worthwhile.
It’s not just the chapel but also Vila Franca do Campo with the Ilhéu de Vila Franca (Vila Franca island) located just in front of the coast that also radiate tranquillity.