Azores - São Miguel

Discover the Azores

Sunrises and Sunsets

Of course it is no secret that you can watch sunrises and sunsets on an island. It is nice, however, if the places from which you can see this spectacle of nature are varied. That is where São Miguel offers you a load of different options. At the beach one day, from more than 1000m high the next, and then again with a glass of wine on your patio – the impressions you will get are going to be entirely different from each other, but still incredibly impressive each time.

One place that we especially enjoyed was by Salto do Cavalo. In general, the small routes leading across São Miguel from the North to the South are very well suited for this purpose, as they will lead you across mountains, which means that you will always be able to get a good look at the sky. The only thing we would not recommend in the dark is the Estrada Regional da Tronqueira. This route is already tricky during the day, since dodging others is only possible with larger gaps between each other for long parts of this route. Additionally, for most of this route you will be bordered by large rocks, so you will not be able to see the sun as well. The Castelo Branco, on the other hand, is very well suited for this.

If you don’t mind getting up early, this will be a great advantage. Even lookouts like the Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo, which are very busy during the day, can be enjoyed in solitude during the early morning. The atmosphere here is simply incredible and changes minute by minute. You could think that the lake’s name is not derived from its volcanic origins, but rather from the sun that seems to be setting the trees on the mountains on fire.

Sun and rising clouds "light up" the trees by the Lagoa do Fogo.
“Fire” by the fire lagoon

Additionally, you can also see the birds waking up and making their rounds around the lake.

Another place where you can see the sunrise well is on the hiking path from Pedreira towards the Praia do Lombo Gorgo. It starts here and then leads along the coast. Currently (as of 2019), part of the path near Praia do Lombo Gordo has slipped off, so that you would have to “climb” the larger rocks by the coast if you wanted to walk this far.

Sunrise between Pedreira and the Praia do Lombo Gordo
Sunrise between Pedreira and the Praia do Lombo Gordo

If you still haven’t had enough you can also observe a beautiful sunrise by the Pico do Ferro. Aside from Furnas, which this early in the morning is still masked by the mist of the Caldeiras, and the Lagoa das Furnas, you also have a great view of the Castelo Branco, which is slowly being illuminated by the rising sun.

Castelo Branco during the sunrise seen from the Pico do Ferro
Castelo Branco during the sunrise seen from the Pico do Ferro

… And the weather

What’s nice as well is that the weather is usually nice enough towards the evening to allow you to see the sunset. Often, clouds will disappear on at least one side of the island in the evening, so that you can see the sky well. However, the sunrises and sunsets are impressive even when it’s cloudy or rainy.

A sunrise can be impressive even if it's cloudy, as seen here by the Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego.
Sunrise behind the clouds by the Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego

My favourite place

One of my favourite places, especially to watch the sunrise, is the Farol Ponto do Arnel and the nearby Miradouro da Vista dos Barcos. The lighthouse, the waterfall right next to it, and the small port have a particularly special atmosphere in the early morning.

The rising sun paints the Farol Ponto do Arnel and the Atlantic ocean orange.
Farol Ponto do Arnel during sunrise by the Miradouro da Vista dos Barcos

Where is the right place?

When choosing the best place to watch the sunrise or sunset you have to be aware that the state of the sun changes considerably throughout the course of the year. During the summer, the sunrise and sunset both take place above the northern coast. For your convenience, we have marked the position of the sun in both summer and winter in the following map using Barrosa as the example location.

Sunset over the west of São Miguel from Pico da Barrosa
Sunset over the west of São Miguel from Pico da Barrosa

The journey to the top boasts a particularly beautiful sunset behind the western craters for a considerable amount of time every year.

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