This short 5 km walk takes you around Lagoa Verde – the “green lake” – in just under 2 hours. This is the smaller of the two lakes of Sete Cidades. This hike is much easier than going around both lakes and is also suitable for children and people with moderate physical condition. You can also use the excursion as an excuse to eat the best pizza on the island at the nearby pizzeria “O Sole Mio” in Ginetes. The difference in altitude between the lowest and highest point is just 100 m. Only on the back side of the lake are there a few places where the path has suffered somewhat, and some steps have formed. As always, for safety reasons, avoid paths on slopes after and during heavy rain.
We parked our car on the eastern side of the bridge here. There is another car park at the entrance to the caravan park on the other side of the bridge. Right here you can already enjoy the view of Lagoa Azul. This is much larger and going around it is a real challenge.
Here we go – The path to the back of Lagoa Verde
The first part of the walk, about one kilometre long, takes you along a paved, surfaced path to a picnic area. From here you continue for about a kilometre along the eastern shore to the back of Lagoa Verde. From here the path leads through the forest and is increasingly lined with plants. Fallen trees form natural porticoes over the path, and the strange shapes of the roots show that they must constantly seek new support. And trees that have failed to do so end up as dead wood on the lake shore.
In some places, the path climbs steeply upwards over more or less preserved steps and then descends again shortly afterwards. If there is “oncoming traffic” at these points, it is advisable to wait at a slightly wider spot.
Lagoa Verde and its history
Lagoa Verde is, together with Lagoa Azul, the “blue lake”, the largest lake in the Azores. The two are connected and constitute the deepest lake in São Miguel. Although there is a rational explanation for the colours of the lake, the legend is an attractive and intriguing explanation.
According to the legend, the cause of the colour goes back to the time of the kings. A princess, who loved the nature of the region more than the castle walls, met a shepherd while walking through the fields. Those who have seen the ruins of the hotel above, on the “Vista do Rei”, will certainly understand why. This shepherd was just returning with his herd of sheep The two of them struck up a conversation and, as life is wont to do, they discovered many common tastes and fell in love. They then met several times. But the princess was already promised to a prince, so her father forbade her to continue seeing this shepherd. He only agreed to a final farewell meeting. When the two lovers met for the last time, they cried so much that two lakes formed at their feet. The tears of the princess’ blue eyes gave birth to Lagoa Azul and the green eyes of the shepherd to Lagoa Verde. Thus, the lovers could not stay together, but in their place, the two lakes remained forever linked.
Return to Lagoa Azul
The way back is again very easy to do at the roadside to the picnic area. This one is very quiet despite the road, as the road ends here and so there is no real traffic. From here you have an excellent view of the opposite rim of the crater.
After only 2 km, you will reach the bridge over the junction of the two lakes again, and soon afterwards you will be back to your car.