Azores - São Miguel

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Hike Around the Pico da Mafra

Mosteiros and its well-known rocks jutting out of the water are locate in the far west of São Miguel. Pretty much everyone visiting the island will pass by here at least once. However, you can get a much nicer view of Mosteiros and particularly the windmill if you do the short 5km hike around the Pico da Mafra. It took us around an hour and 45 minutes and the 250m elevation gain are not too strenuous either.

The starting point to the Pico da Mafra

We would recommend setting off from João Bom. The marked spot is a little steep, but there is enough space to park and to turn the car around. Seeing as the path is a circular track, you can theoretically walk it both ways. However, seeing as the path is a little worn down in places, we would recommend walking it clockwise.

slightly worn-down path around the Pico da Mafra
slightly worn-down path around the Pico da Mafra

Especially when it is wet we found that the path is nicer to walk uphill rather than downhill in these places.


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The way to the coast

If you are starting in João Bom, begin by following a narrow road towards the Pico da Mafra. Right at the beginning, some bindweeds have grown all the way up into the treetops.

Bindweeds on the way to the Pico da Mafra
Bindweeds on the way to the Pico da Mafra

The bright blue blossoms create an interesting contrast to the green of the trees. The whole path in general is hemmed by blossoms in bright colours.

The narrow street winds its way through the valley and you continue to catch glimpses of the Pico da Mafra. Don’t worry, the path won’t take you across the hill, which, at 320m isn’t even that tall. Instead, it leads you around it.

View of the Pico da Mafra
View of the Pico da Mafra

After around 1.5km, you will reach some buildings and will now have to follow the road leading down towards Mosteiros for 700m until you come across the hiking path leading off to the right. You will be able to spot this easily.

Along the coast

Immediately after turning onto the hiking path, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful view of Mosteiros.

Windmill in Mosteiros
Windmill in Mosteiros

This is where the truly beautiful part of the hike starts. Over and over you will get a view of the cliffs and the white spray of the waves coming in from the west.

At various points along the path you will see the integrated springs where the water is directed into the pipes.

Integrated drinking water springs by the Pico da Mafra
Integrated drinking water springs by the Pico da Mafra

Here along the coast you will notice the paths becoming a little more worn-down and slightly harder to walk on. When the path turns right and away from the coast, it runs a short distance along a small river bed. This has a completely different atmosphere than walking along the coast.

A dangerous place for these two pigeons to stop
A dangerous place for these two pigeons to stop

The way back to João Bom will lead you back along a narrow road ending just above the marked car park.

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