Lagoa do Fogo – Viewpoints and Hikes at Fogo Lake in Sao Miguel - Azores

Lagoa do Fogo – Viewpoints and Hikes at Fogo Lake in Sao Miguel - Azores

Portugal
Portugal

When Is the Best Time

Fogo Lake is located in the centre of Sao Miguel, half an hour's drive east of Ponta Delgada. This crater lake is one of the Must-Visit-Sights with its emerald colour and part of an active volcano not extinct as usually mentioned. The magma chamber is located a few kilometres below Lagoa do Fogo.

Hikers on the trail at the bottom of Fogo Lake
The beautiful Lagoa do Fogo.

The summit caldera of the active Volcano Fogo has an average diameter of 2.8 km and is a maximum of 400 m deep. Inside the caldera is Fogo Lake, with a depth of 30 meters. More details about how the lake was created in my volcanic history part.

View from the descent to the right side of the lake
The view after more than half of the descent down to Fogo Lake.

Already the drive up to Fogo Lake in roughly 950 m/ 3.120 feet elevations is spectacular. If you plan to drive to Lagoa do Fogo, which means “Fire Lake”, you probably like to hike down to the lake but check the weather forecast and the webcam first. More below

How to Get to Lagoa do Fogo?

Fogo Lake from a viewpoint in higher elevation
To the left is Miradouro do Fogo, the road, and the parking.

You can reach Lagoa do Fago either by rental car, taxi or book a guided tour. The public transport is insufficient to get to the Must-See places in the Azores. I highly recommend stopping here or even climbing down to the magnificent Fogo Lake.

Two men standing in Lagoa do Fogo
The crystal clear water of Fogo Lake

The hike down to Fogo Lake was one of our highlights, offering breathtaking views. Even if the descent is too steep for you, I recommend hiking the first part along the caldera rim for more stunning views. You will find a detailed hiking trail description plus a hiking map below.

 

 

When To Go?

View from Miradouro do Fogo to the right side of the lake
Clouds may roll in at midday.

The centre of Sao Miguel is notorious for clouds and rain. The coast is frequently sunny, but you may end up in clouds or even fog when you get to higher elevations. The best time to visit Lagoa do Fogo and the Azores is the drier time of the year, from April until October. However, check out the weather forecast and webcam first; the viewpoint is frequently covered in clouds.

Weather Forecast Tip

Lagoa do Fogo covered in clouds
A foggy day at Fogo Lake

You can trust these forecasts just for two days. Rain and clouds frequently spoil these terrific views. I recommend this forecast because they give you an idea for each hour for today and tomorrow. We checked the forecast daily and experienced all sights in perfect weather.

View down to the sea at sunset
The Azores' landscape is just jaw-dropping.

The Azores are located in the Atlantic Ocean, more than 1.800 km from the Portuguese mainland therefore, the weather is influenced by the sea. If you wish to know more about the typical climate and weather in the Azores, check out my additional article Miradouro Boca do Inferno.

Can You Swim in Fogo Lake?

A sign indicating that swimming is prohibited

The water of the lagoon is lukewarm because of volcanic activity. It looks awesome for swimming, and there are famous pumice beaches, called one of the "Seven Wonders of Wild Beaches", but it is prohibited because it is a nature-protected area; Reserva da Lagoa do Fogo was developed in 1982.

Caldeira Velha hot pools
Caldeira Velha shortly before Fogo Lake - Permit required!

However, Caldeira Velha nearby is fed by the thermal waters of Fogo Volcano, and here you can take a bath in hot pools. Check out my additional article and combine Fogo Lake with Caldeira Velha in one day.

2 Viewpoints and Parking

The parking next to toad EN5 2A
Parking to the left - visitors walk to the top of the rim to the right 

You first reach the “Miradouro do Pico da Barrosa” with a small parking area if coming from the south. The next viewpoint with plenty of parking; one smaller next to the road EN5 2A at the “Miradouro do Fogo” and a bigger one on the right curve Google Maps Location.

Tourists taking pictures at Miradouro do Fogo on a sunny day
The Fogo Lake viewpoint is busy during the day

It is busy here during the day but there was always parking available and we passed by multiple times. Most people stop for a closer look only and continue their journey. Of course, it is busier during weekends when locals and tourists alike make a picture stop. 

 

These are my recommended tours via GetYourGuide with 24 hours in the advance cancellation policy. Thx for booking via my website! With your support, I am able to provide all information first-hand. Tour prices are at no extra cost!

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Related Topics

Location and Tips

Acores, Sao Miguel
Portugal
Portugal

Fogo lake is a magical place during all weather patterns. The weather can change quickly; just now it is sunny and the sky blue, and five minutes later, the clouds roll in. We passed by several times and always stopped to soak in the beauty of this picturesque lagoon.

2 Lookouts and Hiking Trails plus Maps

1 Miradouro Lagoa do Fogo

Hikers on the narrow trail down to Lagoa do Fogo
This is the steep walking path to Fogo Lagoon.

We did not plan to hike down to the lake, but we couldn’t resist getting more magnificent views of this emerald, green lake and its pristine nature. Not many people hike down; they just stop for a look from the viewpoints. Cete Cidades and Boca do Inferno are definitely busier. We walked along the rim to the left for ten minutes until we saw a walking path to the right leading down.

One of the white pumice beaches of Fogo Lake
Pumice beaches are declared as one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal 

It is roughly an elevation loss of 375 m/ 1.230 feet and took us half an hour. The crater rim and track down are covered with bushes and scrubs, leaving only a narrow hiking trail. Lots of these plants are endemic to the Azores. The trail is a bit slippery due to the frequent rain showers.

Hiker along the trail at the bottom of Fogo Lake
The trail along the crystal clear lake.

You can either continue hiking along the lake or just a short part like we did before the trail ascends back to the Miradouro do Fogo. We spent 1 ½ hours on this trail with many photo stops and a break at the lake. Our Trail Map by Locus Pro

2 Miradouro do Pico da Barrosa

Lagoa do Fogo view from Pico da Barrosa

The second great viewpoint is “Miradouro do Pico da Barrosa” - Barrosa Mountain. There is one lookout next to the road and another is a 500 meters stroll in higher elevations. Location and Walk

What To Bring

The Miradouro Lagoa do Fogo in clouds
Markus is shooting a short video with our DJI.
  • Plenty of water – it is hot on a sunny day.
  • A picnic for one of the beautiful spots at the bottom of the lake.
  • Hiking Poles are helpful on this steep, narrow, and slippery trail.
  • Sun protection is essential to avoid sunburn.
  • Always carry a rain jacket and a waterproof bag for your valuables.

Volcanic History – How Fogo Lake was Developed

A map of Sao Miguel with the three active volcanoes.
The Sao Miguel Volcanoes

The Azores Islands originated from volcanic eruptions. Sao Miguel – Nordeste emerged roughly 4 million years ago. Fogo is one of three active volcanos in Sao Miguel. A part of this complex is Fogo Lake in the caldera. Mostly it is mentioned that Fogo is extinct, but a volcano is categorised as extinct after one thousand years without eruptions. The eruptive history started already 300 thousand years ago. The Fogo caldera was formed by heavy eruptions and by the collapse of one vent of volcano Pico do Fogo or Agua de Pau.

Fumarolas Lagoa das Furnas
Volcanic activity at Fumarolas Lagoa das Furnas in Sao Miguel.

The first heavy eruptions occurred estimated 15 thousand and again 5 thousand years ago. Fogo Lake is a crater lake and the youngest caldera in Sao Miguel formed by the last eruptions in 1563 and 1564. When the magma chambers emptied, this part collapsed and filled up with rainfall. It is the first documented event where ash clouds appeared, and the sky became dark. You can still witness the activity of Fogo on the northern flank at the thermal pools of Caldeira Velha. 

Where Does My Knowledge Come From?

A hole in the ground the path to a lava tube
Me in a lava tube in Lanzarote.

Volcanoes are fascinating, and I got addicted when I stood at the rim of the lava spitting Mount Yasur in Vanuatu. Recently we travelled to Lanzarote, and I met the incredible guide, Mash, who taught me a lot about volcanoes.

Photos

Nearby Places
Caldeira Velha Hot Springs in Sao Miguel Azores – Time Slot Entry Tickets
2 km
Caldeira Velha Hot Springs in Sao Miguel Azores – Time Slot Entry Tickets
Caldeira Velha in the centre of Sao Miguel is a Must-Visit place but needs a…
Miradouro da Boca do Inferno - Sete Cidades Azores
25 km
Miradouro da Boca do Inferno - Sete Cidades Azores
Sao Miguel is the central hub of the 9 Azores Islands. It is a two hours flight…
Algar do Carvão and 7 Things to Do in Terceira - Azores
184 km
Algar do Carvão and 7 Things to Do in Terceira - Azores
Terceira is the third largest island of the Azores, with 403 km². You can…
Climbing Mount Pico Azores – Hiking Guide and 13 Tips
268 km
Climbing Mount Pico Azores – Hiking Guide and 13 Tips
Pico Island is the second-largest island located in the central group of the…
Gruta das Torres on Pico Island – The Longest Lava Tube of the Azores
274 km
Gruta das Torres on Pico Island – The Longest Lava Tube of the Azores
Already the descent down the stairs to the lava tube leaves the visitor in awe…
7 Best Beaches and Natural Pools in Madeira - Portugal
942 km
7 Best Beaches and Natural Pools in Madeira - Portugal
Madeira is like a little continent having all types of landscapes from beaches…
Madeira Guide for Levadas - Waterfalls and Mountain Hikes
953 km
Madeira Guide for Levadas - Waterfalls and Mountain Hikes
Madeira is a volcanic island, the top of a shield volcano located northwest of…
Levada do Caldeirao Verde and Inferno - Best Levada and Waterfall Hike in Madeira
954 km
Levada do Caldeirao Verde and Inferno - Best Levada and Waterfall Hike in Madeira
This is one of the most spectacular and scenic Levada hikes in Madeira. Getting…
3 Best Hiking Trails in the Anaga Rural Park in Tenerife
1,336 km
3 Best Hiking Trails in the Anaga Rural Park in Tenerife
You can easily hike in the Anaga Park for weeks, but usually, the vacation…
Tenerife Best Time and Most Breathtaking Sunsets
1,337 km
Tenerife Best Time and Most Breathtaking Sunsets
Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Tenerife I have to confess that usually, I…
Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…