When Is the Best Time
Boca do Inferno is the most breathtaking viewpoint on the northwestern tip of Sao Miguel and probably the most picturesque one of the entire Azores. The “Miradouro da Boca do Inferno” to the Sete Cidades crater lakes; Lagoa Azul, Lagoa Verde, and in front Lagoa de Santiago and Lagoa Rasa is a Must-Do.
Even pictures cannot convey the beauty of this unique place. If you only stay for one day in Sao Miguel, take a rental car or taxi to get here. Your visit is not complete, and you miss the best spot if you skip it.
The Azores, at its best, the reason this place is overrun during the day. Getting a parking space is almost impossible. Nevertheless, you can easily enjoy this magnificent outlook with very view other visitors. Continue reading for a detailed trail description plus a hiking map and where to check out the weather forecast.
Avoiding Crowds and Parking
The best time for Boca do Inferno is early morning until 10 am and again in the evening. It is also, the only time of the day for nearby parking. However, check out the weather forecast first the viewpoint is frequently covered in clouds.
It is one of the most popular places in Sao Miguel, the biggest Azores Island. Rental cars, taxis, guided tour vans, and even huge buses stop here. It is quiet in the morning and evening; the sunset is spectacular. We passed by the parking and trailhead several times.
Midday is crazy onside road parking far away is the only option. We ended up in a traffic jam of desperate drivers trying to find a gap for their cars. Luck is needed that a car is leaving at your arrival. Google Maps Parking and Trailhead
Regarding the weather, there isn’t any prediction possible. It is frequently cloudy and misty in this higher elevation, 800 m above sea level. The sky can clear up quickly and vice versa. Usually, the sunrise and sunset are beautiful, but no guarantee for the weather. But this makes the Azores even more exciting.
My Weather Forecast Tip
Monitor the weather forecast and the western part of Sao Miguel during your stay. You can trust these forecasts just for two days. Mother nature can frequently spoil this terrific scene with rain and mist. I prefer this website because they give you an idea for each hour for today and tomorrow. Twice we had an excellent prediction; we got up early and arrived already at 9 am before the crowds. When we left at 11 am, it was terrible crazy.
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Weather – Azores, Sao Miguel
In Europe, we often speak about the Azores High or the North Atlantic Subtropical High. The Azores, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is the most westerly point of Europe. Much of the European weather develops here. We frequently experienced four seasons in one day. The weather is changeable, but it rarely rains for days. Due to the high amount of rainfall, the Azores are lush green the whole year. These weather patterns create the Azores' unique landscape. Like in Madeira or the Canary Islands, the southern part of each island is drier than the north.
The temperatures are pleasant throughout the year, the winter is mild, and the summer is not too hot. The sea temperature ranges between 20°C/68°F in June and 24°C/75°F in August and September. Usually, you can take a bath until November.
From March until May, day temps are ranging from 14°C-16°C/ 57-61°F nights are colder at around 10°C/50°F. During sunshine, you can easily wear a t-shirt. In late April the hydrangea starts blooming. This colourful flower is almost everywhere along the roads in the mountains. May and June are excellent months for hiking not too hot and crowded.
Mid-June to mid-September is the peak season in the Azores. The weather is lovely; average temps in the shade in summer are around 22°C/72°F only but in the sun, it feels like 26°C/79°F and higher. It also depends on the wind. You can wear summer clothes during the day and long trousers in the evening. June to September are the driest months. The sea temperatures are fabulous reaching 24°C/75°F.
The crowds thin out and it is less busy in Sao Miguel and at the Boca do Inferno lookout. Day temps reach almost 20°C/68°F in October and on average 16°C/61°F in November. Already increasing precipitation in October and November.
The wintertime is the wettest time of the year. Nevertheless, you never know how the weather will be. Beautiful sunny days also occur at this time of the year. Mild day temps around 14°C/57°F are common and nights are bearable on average 10°C/50°F. Snow occurs in high elevations like mount Pico only.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
Sao Miguel is the central hub of the 9 Azores Islands. It is a two hours flight from Portugal's mainland to Ponta Delgada. Most airlines offer direct flights to the Azores to PDL – Ponta Delgada. Continuing to the other islands works excellent with SATA Azores Airlines.
You easily can change your flight without any additional cost, just with a telephone call. Sport and diving equipment is free of charge; it only has to be added to your booking.
How to Get to Boca do Inferno
You see tons of pictures but rarely the exact location. Also, lots of the descriptions are not correct any longer. Google Maps trailhead and entrance gate. Watch for Miradouro da Lagoa do Canario, only this lagoon is marked. Locus Pro Hiking Map
The trail starts at a closed gate. It was open in former times, but the path is too narrow for two-lane traffic plus buses. It takes roughly 15 -20 minutes to get to the outlook. You walk along a cypress trees forest.
Ignore the sign to the left to the lagoon. Continue straight until you reach a short staircase; after the climb, turn left. Another five minutes and you already get to the “Stairway to Heaven” to the outlook with drone-like views.
We were in awe of this mind-blowing scenery. When our nephew visited us for a long weekend, we had to show him this jaw-dropping outlook. If you hadn’t been to Boca do Inferno to see the Sete Cidades crater lakes, you hadn’t been to the Azores.
The length of the Caldera das Sete Cidades is more than 5 km, 2 km wide and the cliffs drop to a maximum of 630 meters dep. It was formed for more than 36 thousand years by several volcanic explosions. The village Sete Cidades which means "lake of seven cities" is situated on the crater floor easy to reach by taking the road and bridge that divides both lakes.
We didn’t walk the same way back; instead, after the stairs, we turned right, making a circular trail out of it. Again, you get majestic views of the crater lakes and the outlook itself. The track is 3 km long and takes roughly an hour. Wear proper shoes; the trail is muddy and slippery in sections.
You can also walk the same way back. Make a little detour to Lagoa do Canario, full of big fish.
Length of Stay in Sao Miguel
We spent eight days in Sao Miguel which was the perfect duration of stay for this beautiful island and with all its attractions. It was our first time in the Azores, and we had already planned our next trip to the missing islands. The Azores are different, not comparable to Madeira or the Canary Islands. These islands are hidden beauties at a second glance.
Where to Stay in Sao Miguel
There are plenty of hotels and rental houses. I recommend staying in the north or south. This island is round about 64 km long. It is a long drive if coming from the east or west getting to the other side of the island.
We always went swimming after a wonderful day in Sao Miguel. Only piscina naturals are safe for swimming. These are my recommendations with a pool nearby or even in front.
Before we left the Azores we spent two nights in the Comercial Azores Boutique Hostel. Although in the centre of PDL very quiet in the night. The owner of this wonderful hostel walked an extra mile for us.