Azores - São Miguel

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Nordeste and the Farol Ponta do Arnel

The lighthouse “Farol Ponta do Arnel” in Nordeste is one of those locations on São Miguel where you will find everything you need to enjoy a calm sunrise. Especially sunrises are very beautiful on the “10th island”. While we were staying on São Miguel this winter I took the initiative. Thanks to the sun rising later in winter, I was able to leave after a good night’s sleep and a cup of coffee. I actually arrived at the parking lot above a little late, while the blue hour was already in full swing.


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The way to Farol Ponta do Arnel

I recommend leaving your car here. Not only because the road leading down tot he Farol Ponta do Arnel is very steep and narrow, but also because, especially in the morning or after rainfall, it can be very slippery. The good news, however, is that the way to the lighthouse, the waterfall and the small port is quite short, and at least on the way there you will be able to walk downhill. Please take the sign seriously, though, and decide whether your car, the weather and your nerves are suited to driving.

This sign on the way to the "Farol Ponta do Arnel" should definitely be taken seriously.
This sign on the way to the “Farol Ponta do Arnel” should definitely be taken seriously.

Farol Ponta do Arnel

The sunrise began shortly after I reached the lighthouse. What’s special here is that you will pass the lighthouse on the west on your way down to the small port. This way, you can enjoy the sunrise directly in the background of the picturesque lighthouse.
The cruciform windows along the eight sides of the lighthouse create an especially pretty picture. When the sun shines into the windows at the back shortly after sunrise, the windows opposite begin to shine in an orange light.

The small port

After the sunrise, I was planning on heading back to the house to complete the morning with a nice breakfast. Fortunately, however, curiosity led me to continue down the street a little further. At the bottom of the lighthouse, where the road takes a right turn, I was surprised by the next great view. Drowned out by the sound of the Atlantic, a waterfall appeared behind the bend of the road. Especially during the off-season, when São Miguel is a little more humid, the waterfalls are larger and much more impressive.

Waterfall by Farol Ponta do Arnell illuminated by the rising sun.
Waterfall by Farol Ponta do Arnell illuminated by the rising sun.

Especially due to the lighting shortly after the sunrise, the waterfall looked incredibly impressive. A way below the waterfall, its water flows across some rocks into the Atlantic.

If you follow the path it will lead you to the small port where I found a couple of fishing boats and from where you can see the west coast very well. If the sea is a little rough, this is a good spot to watch the surf against the coast and the port. Every now and then, some birds pass by that search for food on the rocks amidst the surf.

On the way back, you can also catch a glimpse of the east coast, where there is another waterfall that actually runs directly into the Atlantic.

If you ever get the chance to come here during dusk, you will be able to hear the special “song” of the cagarros. They often gather by the coast and then fly off to their nests by the cliff coasts of the Azores. Here’s a small sample.

Call of the cagarros

You will also be rewarded with the brightly illuminated lighthouse and the port in contrast with the slowly darkening horizon, which will probably leave a pretty big impression.

Farol Ponta do Arnel and the port by night
Farol Ponta do Arnel and the port by night

If you like the Azores, and would like to spend some time on São Miguel yourself, then we would be more than happy to receive you in our holiday home. Find out more here. 
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