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Azores

Food and leisure

São Miguel is the largest and the most populous island of the archipelago of the Azores. It represents 53% of the total population and has a surface of 760km2 with a maximum length of 65km and a width of 14km.

São Miguel is famous for its beautiful landscape and exceptional volcanic lakes. Depending on the surrounding countryside, some appear peaceful and relaxing, whilst other are more dramatic.

One of the most awe-inspiring geological features on the island is Vale das Furnas, a lush valley at the bottom of a huge volcanic crater, with "caldeiras" where warm water bubbles in brooks. It is here you’ll find the idyllic garden Parque Terra Nostra, where exotic tropical plants live side by side with those from colder climates. The constant rising steam within such "caldeiras" is a reminder of the Azores volcanic origins. 

São Miguel also has Europe’s only pineapple and tea plantations, set among cow pastures, dense copses and stunning Azorean flora.

The island provides activities such as: golf on courses bordered by flowers; walking routes perfect for bird watching or viewing local plants and volcanic geology; watching whales and dolphins ; deep-sea diving among fish and underwater lava formations; swimming with dolphins in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream; ride the waves on surfboards; sailing and deep-sea fishing.

The local gastronomy of superb seafood dishes includes a splendid array of freshly-caught fish specialities.The delicious flavour of the "cozido das Furnas" – a stew of meats and vegetables slowly backed in a volcanic crater or "caldeiras" – is unforgettable. Tender grilled meat dishes are also delicious. Local wines, sweet aromatic pineapples and passion-fruit liqueurs are very popular.