When Is the Best Time
Boca do Inferno is the most breathtaking viewpoint on the northwestern tip of São 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, 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 aren’t any predictions 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 there is no guarantee for the weather. But this makes the Azores even more exciting.
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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 it gives you an idea of each hour for today and tomorrow. We had an excellent prediction; we got up early and arrived at 9 am before the crowds. When we left at 11 am, it was terribly crazy.
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How to Get to Boca do Inferno
You see tons of pictures but rarely the exact location. Also, lots of the descriptions are no longer correct. 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. After another five minutes, you get to the “Stairway to Heaven” and 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 deep. It was formed more than 36 thousand years ago 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, which is full of big fish.
Weather – Azores, Sao Miguel
We often speak about the Azores High or the North Atlantic Subtropical High in Europe. 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 three seasons in one day. The weather is changeable, but it rarely rains for days. Due to the high 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 range from 14°C-16 °C/ 57-61°F, and nights are colder at around 10°C/50°F. During the 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, at 10°C/50°F. Snow occurs in high elevations like Mount Pico only.
My Personal Hotel Tips for 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 to get to the other side of the island, whether from the east or west.
We always went swimming after a wonderful day in Sao Miguel. Piscina naturals are safe for swimming. These are my recommendations with a pool nearby or even in front.
Pedras do Mar Resort & Spa has a fantastic location with spectacular mountains and Atlantic views. I highly recommend a room with a sea view. There is an indoor and outdoor pool, which is fantastic for swimming. In front of the hotel is a huge parking for rental cars. A bike rental is offered. A rich breakfast is included to start the day.
Before we left the Azores, we spent two nights in the Comercial Azores Boutique Hostel. Although in the centre of PDL, it is very quiet at night. The owner of this beautiful hostel walked an extra mile for us.
Don't miss out on my 9 Azores Guides; hikes, waterfalls, things to see and do, the best time, and my personal tips.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
If you haven't been to Miradouro da Boca do Inferno - Sete Cidades, in Sao Miguel you haven't been to the Azores. However, it took us two attempts to find this spot. I'll provide you with the exact location, where to park your car and how to experience this magical place on a sunny day.
Sao Miguel is the central hub of the 9 Azores Islands. It is a two-hour 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 excellently with SATA Azores Airlines.
You can easily change your flight without additional cost, just by telephone. Sport and diving equipment is free of charge; it only has to be added to your booking.
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 and not comparable to Madeira or the Canary Islands. These islands are hidden beauties at a second glance.