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10 Best São Miguel Waterfalls you have to see

10 Best São Miguel Waterfalls you have to see

Looking for the best São Miguel waterfalls? We have you covered. In this article we share 10 of the most beautiful waterfalls in São Miguel.

São Miguel, the largest of the nine islands in the Portuguese Azores archipelago, is known for lush greenery, rich wildlife, and incredible and stunning waterfalls.

São Miguel is an ideal destination for nature lovers, and if you’d enjoy hiking or experiencing the natural beauty of this beautiful tropical island, you’ll need this list of the ten best waterfalls to see on your next visit!

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Overview of the best waterfalls on São Miguel

Here’s a comparison table of all waterfalls that we cover in this post. Read on for a short description of all the waterfalls

Best Waterfalls in São Miguel

Where Height Highlights Price
Cascata de Moinhos Azores, Portugal Cascata de Moinhos

Moinhos

Unknown

The peace and quiet of an unmarked waterfall that is not yet popular amongst tourists

Free
Salto do Prego Sao Miguel Azores, Portugal Salto do Prego

Faial da Terra, Povoação

9 meters

The beautiful trail that leads to the waterfall

Free
Salto do Cabrito Sao Miguel Azores, Portugal Salto do Cabrito

Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande, in Conceição, Ribeira Grande

20 meters

The catwalk portion of the trail that takes you over the top of the waterfall

Free
Caldeira Velha, the waterfall in the hot springs on São Miguel island Caldeira Velha

Ribeira Grande

Unknown

The waterfall flows into one of the thermal pools, so you can experience it up close!

€8 per person for 2 hours. If you want to visit this site without bathing you pay €3. Children aged 7-14 pay half the price, Children younger than 7 are free.
Salto do Rosal

Mata-Jardim Jose do Canto in Lagoa das Furnas

Unknown

The surrounding area is full of other things to do and see – you’ll be able to spend a whole day in the area

The entry fee is €3 and it costs €.50 / hour to park
Salto do Cagarrão Salto do Cagarrão

Faial da Terra, Agua Retorta, Povoação

6 meters

The lush coastal rainforest environment surrounding the waterfall!

Free
Cascata Ribeira dos Caldeiroes on the Azores Ribeira dos Caldeirões

Achada

3-20 meters

The chance to see not one, but three waterfalls in one park!

Free
Cascata Ribeira Quente Hot waterfall of Ribeira, or Cascata da Ribeira Quente

Ribeira Quente

20-25 m

This waterfall may not be as hot as the name suggests, but it’s still a great place to swim!

Free
Salto da Farinha in Nordeste on São Miguel Island (Azores) Salto da Farinha Waterfall

Salga, Achadinha

40 meters

The grand views of one of the tallest waterfalls in São Miguel!

Free
Poco azul Falls on the Azores Poço Azul waterfalls

Salga, Achadinha

Unknown

The beautiful blue pools at the bottom of the waterfalls – you can even swim in them!

Free

Best Waterfalls in São Miguel

Cascata de Moinhos Azores, Portugal
Cascata de Moinhos

Cascata de Moinhos

  • Where: Moinhos
  • Height: Unknown
  • Highlights: The peace and quiet of an unmarked waterfall that is not yet popular amongst tourists
  • Best time for pictures: Anytime! Because this waterfall is relatively unknown, you’ll likely have it to yourself when you visit.
  • Price: Free

Short description of the waterfall

Cascata de Moinhos is a hidden gem on São Miguel, and is a quiet and peaceful waterfall.

It’s not officially named – we named it after the nearby village of Moinhos and the Moinhos beach – and there are no signposts so you have a good chance to experience it without the crowds.

You can even swim in the natural pool at the bottom of the falls!

Read more about the waterfalls of São Miguel and our experience visiting them.

How to get to there

From Ponta Delgada, head east on EN1-1A. Take Exit 4 towards Ribeira Grande. Stay on this road until the first roundabout where make a right toward Er 3-1. Follow this road until you reach M518 where you make a left. Praia dos Moinhos will be on your left – drive past the beach until you see signs that point to parking. Make a right and park your car in the large car park.

Behind the parking, you will find a campsite. Walk through the campsite until you find a set of stairs – these will lead down to the waterfall.

Conclusion

Cascata de Moinhos is a perfect waterfall if you’re craving a more solitary experience. Enjoy a waterfall in São Miguel that is not yet discovered by tourists and enjoy a serene experience.

Salto do Prego Sao Miguel Azores, Portugal
Salto de Prego

Salto do Prego

  • Where: Faial da Terra, Povoação
  • Height: 9 meters
  • Highlights: The beautiful trail that leads to the waterfall
  • Best time for pictures: Early in the morning or towards the end of the day to avoid crowds.
  • Price: Free

Short description of the waterfall

To see this beautiful waterfall you’ll have to take a 2 kilometer long hiking loop.

The trail is interesting and dynamic, with a combination of paved and dirt roads, and there is a small bridge over a stream as you approach the waterfall.

This incredible waterfall spills into a lush turquoise pool – you can take a break during your hike and splash around or swim.

Just be sure to bring a swimsuit and water shoes if you want to get in!

A unique feature of this hike are the wild chickens and goats you might see as you walk!

After the waterfall, take the same path back for a short distance until you arrive at a junction. Follow the trail to the right and you’ll be able to see the lost village of Sanguinho. This village was inhabited for more than a century until it was abandoned in the 70’s

How to get to there

Drive east along EN1-1A to R. do Burguete in Faial da Terra. The trailhead is located by the bus stop, and you will have to hike to see the waterfall.

Conclusion

The Salto do Prego waterfall is part of an incredible trail where you’ll get to experience the remarkable nature and the fascinating history of the area.

Salto do Cabrito Sao Miguel Azores, Portugal
Salto do Cabrito

Salto do Cabrito

  • Where: Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande, in Conceição, Ribeira Grande
  • Height: 20 meters
  • Highlights: The catwalk portion of the trail that takes you over the top of the waterfall
  • Best time for pictures: Early in the day – it’s beautiful throughout the day but if you come early you’ll have the best chance of seeing the waterfall without other people around
  • Price: Free

Short description of the waterfall

This beautiful waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery and tall rock walls.

The parking lot is at the bottom of the cascade. From here you already have a beautiful view of the tall waterfall.

This is however just the start. You can see the Salto do Cabrito waterfall from different angles by following a part of the eponymous trail.

To hike over to the top of a waterfall you need to follow several flights of stairs that start behind the electricity cabin. This path leads to towards a manmade metal catwalk that runs along the top of the waterfall.

You can look down while you’re on top of it to see the rushing water of the powerful falls below.

How to get to there

From Ponta Delgada, continue onto EN1-1A. Take Exit 4 and Er 3-1 to EN5-2A. Continue on EN5-2A before driving to Ac. Salto do Cabrito. Turn right onto EN5-2A, then take a slight left onto Ac. Salto do Cabrito.

The parking area for Salto do Cabrito is at the end of the dirt road.

Conclusion

The Salto do Cabrito waterfall is unique because you have the opportunity to see it in front and from a unique angle – from over the top of the falls, looking straight down from the metal catwalk!

If you’re looking for a more adventurous hike, this is one you won’t want to miss.

The complete hike starts at the Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande, is 8.5 km long and takes about 2h30 to complete.

Caldeira Velha, the waterfall in the hot springs on São Miguel island

Caldeira Velha

  • Where: Ribeira Grande
  • Height: Unknown
  • Highlights: The waterfall flows into one of the thermal pools, so you can experience it up close!
  • Best time for pictures: The evening – you will be more likely to avoid crowds if you visit later in the day
  • Price: €8 per person for 2 hours. If you want to visit this site without bathing you pay €3. Children aged 7-14 pay half the price, Children younger than 7 are free.

Short description of the waterfall

The Caldeira Velha is a series of hot springs and thermal pools where you can relax and unwind.

The waterfall is part of the farthest pool from the entrance – it flows into the thermal pool so you can enjoy the views while you soak in the hot water.

Be aware that the hot springs are very popular and may be busy. Try to plan your trip very early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid crowds

How to get to there

From Ponta Delgado, drive east on EN1-1A. Take Exit 4 and Er 3-1 and then turn right onto EN5-2A. Continue straight and the entrance to the parking lot will be on the right.

If you continue following the road you will come by two smaller parking lots along the street.

Conclusion

The waterfall at Caldeira Velha flows directly into one of the thermal pools that you can soak in while enjoying the lush nature that surrounds the area!

Salto do Rosal

  • Where: Mata-Jardim Jose do Canto in Lagoa das Furnas
  • Height: Unknown
  • Highlights: The surrounding area is full of other things to do and see – you’ll be able to spend a whole day in the area
  • Best time for pictures: Early in the morning or towards the end of the day to avoid crowds. The soft golden light of the rising or setting sun makes for a great picture as well!
  • Price: The entry fee is €3 and it costs €.50 / hour to park

Short description of the waterfall

The Salto do Rosal waterfall can be seen by following the trail of the same name. This out&back trail starts near the research center at the Lagoa das Furnas lakeshore and winds through a forest to arrive at the falls.

There’s a €3 entry fee and parking costs €0.5/hour.

The narrow waterfall cascades straight down a mossy rock face into a small pool, providing a great opportunity for swimming.

The path down to Salto do Rosal is beautiful and a well-known location, but it’s not guaranteed to be overcrowded.

However if you’d like to get an experience without too many others around, your best bet is to arrive early or very late.

How to get to there

From Ponta Delgada, head southeast on EN1-1A to the town of Furnas. The parking is located just before you reach Lagoa das Furnas.

Conclusion

The Salto do Rosal waterfall is smaller than other waterfalls on São Miguel, but it’s still a beautiful sight, and when compared to other waterfalls on this list, it’s a lot easier to get to.

Salto do Cagarrão
Salto do Cagarrão (photo by: Dirk Goldhan)

Salto do Cagarrão

  • Where: Faial da Terra, Agua Retorta, Povoação
  • Height: 6 meters
  • Highlights: The lush coastal rainforest environment surrounding the waterfall!
  • Best time for pictures: The best time to visit Salto do Cagarrão is right after it rains – the water level will be at a higher point than it may normally be at and you’ll get a better view
  • Price: Free

Short description of the waterfall

There is no designated parking area – so if you are hoping to get out of your car and look around, you must find safe parking on the side of the road.

Once you park, you can walk north for about 15 minutes until you come to the cascade.

You can also swim in the pool that forms at the base of the waterfall.

It’s possible to combine this waterfall with the nearby Salto do Prego on a lovely and rewarding 7,6 km hike. This alternative trail starts from the Salto do Prego trailhead.

How to get to there

From Ponta Delgada head east on EN1-1A and follow signs for Ribeira Grande. Stay on EN1-1A as it hugs the coastline. Along the eastern coast, there are some particularly nice viewpoints that are worth a stop.

Turn left when you see a sign for Faial da Terra. The hike starts from this road. It may be hard to find the exact place where it starts. If you have a GPS you can use these coordinates: 37.761797, -25.188464.

This beautiful drive will give you an appreciation of the bright and lush greenery and flora of the island.

Conclusion

Salto do Cagarrão is a beautiful waterfall with stunning views and the added benefit of being a relatively less busy attraction.

Cascata Ribeira dos Caldeiroes on the Azores
Cascata Ribeira dos Caldeiroes

Ribeira dos Caldeirões

  • Where: Achada
  • Height: 3-20 meters
  • Highlights: The chance to see not one, but three waterfalls in one park!
  • Best time for pictures: The early morning or later in the evening – the soft glow of the sunrise or the sunset lends itself well to a great photograph
  • Price: Free

Short description of the waterfalls

The Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões is a beautiful park with three beautiful waterfalls for you to see.

The first is located near the park entrance. The other cascading waterfalls are located inside the park and you’ll have to hike to see them.

It’s well worth the time it will take to hike in – you’ll want to capture the sight of the water flowing down a rough rock wall surrounded by ferns and other lush greenery so you can remember it forever!

Although there is a botanical garden and other attractions to see, there is no entrance fee to visit.

How to get to there

The falls are located inside Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões. It is located in Achada.

From Ponta Delgada head east on EN1-1A and follow signs for Ribeira Grande. Stay on EN1-1A until your reach Achada.

Take the first right and then take the first exit at the roundabout. The park is located about 750 meters down the road.

Conclusion

The Ribeira dos Caldeirões waterfalls are a great option if you don’t have much time to spend looking for waterfalls in São Miguel.

With three beautiful cascading falls in one place, this is a destination you won’t want to miss.

Cascata Ribeira Quente
This waterfall is coming from a thermal source (photo by: Luis Silveira)

Hot waterfall of Ribeira, or Cascata da Ribeira Quente

  • Where: Ribeira Quente
  • Height: 20-25 m
  • Highlights: This waterfall may not be as hot as the name suggests, but it’s still a great place to swim!
  • Best time for pictures: After a rainfall
  • Price: Free

Short description of the waterfall

This waterfall is visible from the road that connects Furnas with Ribeira Quenta (EN2-2A). You won’t necessarily have to hike to get a glimpse at it but we do recommend walking to the bottom of the fall to truly enjoy it.

It’s called the hot waterfall because the water is coming from a thermal source. We will however have to disappoint shivery types because the water isn’t warmer compared to the other falls.

It’s hard to spot from the road so you will have to be looking for it. Slow down when you approach the Ribeira Quente tunnel. This tunnel is split in two and coming from Furnas you can see the waterfall on your right the moment you exit the first tunnel.

The waterfall itself is beautiful, but may not look the same constantly: depending on the changing flow of the river, there may be a waterfall to see at this location – or there may be two!

How to get to there

From Ponta Delgada, head east on EN1-1A, and follow the road to EN2-2A. Turn right onto EN2-2A and the waterfall will be visible on your right the moment you exit the first tunnel.

It’s possible to park you car after the second tunnel. Several others have done so before you and the roadside has turned into a dirt area.

To get to the trailhead you will need to walk back through the tunnel. The tunnel is quite dark so pay close attention to oncoming traffic when doing this.

Conclusion

Cascata da Ribeira Quente may be hard to locate but is worth the effort.

It’s an especially great waterfall to find if you want to avoid the crowds. Not many tourists make the hike to the base of the fall.

Salto da Farinha in Nordeste on São Miguel Island (Azores)

Salto da Farinha Waterfall

  • Where: Salga, Achadinha
  • Height: 40 meters
  • Highlights: The grand views of one of the tallest waterfalls in São Miguel!
  • Best time for pictures: Anytime during the spring – if you come in the summer months, the waterfall may not exist as it dries up when it’s extra hot.
  • Price: Free

Short description of the waterfall

The name of this waterfall comes from the way it was used in the past: it used to be the site of a watermill. The word “farinha” actually translates to flour!

To get to the waterfall, you’ll have to spend roughly 15 minutes hiking down to the base of the falls. The trail is short and sweet and you get a huge reward at the end: gorgeous views of the Salto da Farinha waterfall.

The narrow waterfall is long (nearly 40 meters!) making it one of the tallest waterfalls in São Miguel.

How to get to there

From Ponta Delgada, drive east on EN1-1A. Take Exit 4, Er 3-1 and EN1-1A to Achadinha. Exit EN1-1A at Achadinha. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and drive back underneath EN1-1A. At the next roundabout continue straight (1st exit).

Follow this road until you see a sign for the miradouro do Salto da Farinha. There’s a small parking lot at the end of the road.

The trail starts at the parking lot. Start by following the paved road downhill. Once at the bottom of the hill the road turns into a path. Follow this for about 10 more minutes and you will find yourself at the base of the waterfall.

Conclusion

The Salto da Farinha waterfall is a beautiful and extraordinary tall waterfall in São Miguel!

Poco azul Falls on the Azores
The deep blue pools at the bottom of the Poço Azul falls (Photo credits: Vitor 1234)

Poço Azul waterfalls

  • Where: Salga, Achadinha
  • Height: Unknown
  • Highlights: The beautiful blue pools at the bottom of the waterfalls – you can even swim in them!
  • Best time for pictures: Although it may be harder to get to after a rainfall, that’s the best time for pictures!
  • Price: Free

Short description of the waterfall

Located near the village of Achadinha, the Poço Azul falls are a series of small waterfalls that you can explore after a short hike.

As with most of the hikes in São Miguel, be sure to wear shoes with great traction that are water-resistant or waterproof.

If you are looking for more tips about Azores hiking trails, click here.

The water falls into beautiful blue pools, and the image of these pools surrounded with lush greenery and the colorful flora of the island is one you’ll want to remember forever.

How to get to there

From Ponta Delgada, drive east on EN1-1A. Take Exit 4, Er 3-1 and EN1-1A to Achadinha. Exit EN1-1A at Achadinha. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and drive back underneath EN1-1A. At the next roundabout continue straight (1st exit).

Follow this road for about 400 meters where you will see a small square with a small obelisk to honor the liberating troops.

Park your car here. The loop starts in the Rua Do Canto, next to the historical Alminhas monument, and takes you along 3 beautiful falls/pools.

Conclusion

The Poço Azul waterfalls are an idyllic sight on an idyllic island – you won’t want to miss the sight of the turquoise blue pools at the bottom of the falls!

Conclusion

There are many beautiful waterfalls in São Miguel, and after reading this list, you likely want to see as many of them as you can!

Most of these waterfalls can be paired with an incredible hike for a day-trip or half-day experience.

No matter what your time constraints are, you’ll want to make time to see at least a few of these picturesque São Miguel waterfalls!

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