Have you ever heard of Lagoa das Sete Cidades? If you did then you know it’s located on Sao Miguel (Azores), the biggest of 9 volcanic Islands in the middle of Atlantic Ocean. Of course this island is part of stunning Portuguese Archipelago of Azores.
When you Google Azores, probably most common photo you get is photo of Lagoa das Sete Cidades or translated to English “Lagoon of the Seven Cities“.
What is Lagoa das Sete Cidades?
Lagoa das Sete Cidades actually consists of a twin lake situated in the crater of a dormant volcano. People usually think that they are not even connected, but they are! They are connected by a narrow strait, there is a bridge over the strait so you can cross from one side of crater to the other! They are ecologically different which you can already tell because of big colour difference.
Of course there is also a legend about formation of this beautiful Lagoa. Long story shot, there was a King that had a beautiful daughter and she wasn’t allowed to go outside of the castle. But with a help of the nurse that raised her she escaped everyday when the King had his nap. In the forest she heard someone playing a nice song, and there it was, a Shepard. They fell in love with each other and when they asked the King if they can get married he said no! That afternoon they saw each other for the last time and they cried so much that they formed two lakes, one coloured green as Princesse’s eyes, and one blue as the Shepard’s.
Make sure you you take time for Lagoa das Sete Cidades! Preferably whole day! Before you do that, check the weather, cause if it’s cloudy it’s not even nearly as nice as it could be on a sunny day. Your best bet is to check webcams on this page for weather conditions before you head anywhere! Weather tends to change a lot in Azores, but at least check it out. It might help you, if not for Lagoa das Sete Cidades then maybe for another place!
Best walks and viewpoints
So now you probably wonder what else is there to do then just to take a photo or two.
Well I would like to recommend you to walk one of the many trails around there. You can either walk on top of the crater around the lakes, or inside the crater around the lakes, or maybe just from the Vista da Rai Viewpoint to the parish of Sete Cidades!
I did the one from Vista da Rai Viewpoint to the Lagoa das Sete Cidades and I gotta tell you it’s totally worth it. Views on the way are breathtaking and all those Hydrangeas make it even better! This hike takes you around 2 hours and it’s 7,7kms long. There might be one problem tho. If you drive up to Vista da Rai with your car and then walk down to the village, you will have to either walk back up to the Vista da Rai or find a taxi which is almost impossible. Since that’s what happened to us I asked locals to give us a lift and they did. They were so nice! So just think about options how would you like to do this!
When I go back to Sao Miguel, hopefully in near future, I really want to do a longer hike Mata do Canário around the Lagoa das Sete Cidades, which takes you about 3-4 hours and it’s 11.8kms long. I’m 100% sure the views here wouldn’t disappoint either!
One of the best views of the volcanic crater and the lagoas inside is from Miradouro da Lagoa do Canario! You get to it by stopping at the parking lot at Lagoa do Canario or drive through the cedar forest that’s surrounding Lagoa do Canario and once you reach the end of the road, you park the car, head up the stairs and then walk for about 15minutes to the Miradouro da Lagoa do Canario! Views from here are incredible!
You can find trails for every island on this page here!
One other place for great views of Lagoa das Sete Cidades is also from abandoned Monte Palace Hotel which is situated right on Vista da Rai viewpoint. Once a majestic hotel, now it’s just a sad image of what it was before. Lady that drove us from the village of Sete Cidades to the viewpoint was here even on honeymoon and she said it was very beautiful and luxurious before. Very sad outcome for this hotel.
Be careful while exploring this abandoned hotel, there are lots of holes where lifts were before and there is no railing on the stairs! In general be careful, but take a chance and go to the roof! You are going to get best view from there!
If you are not a type of person that would walk that much, maybe bikes are a solution for you, or perhaps a horseback riding? But if nothing sounds tempting to you just go with a car then, but you will miss a lot!
I think I covered most of the things about Lagoa das Sete Cidades, but if you have any questions feel free to ask!
+ Check out my blog post about the complete 5-day itinerary for Sao Miguel!
Oh wow! This island is so cool. I add Azores in to my bucket list now. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you! Hope you’re going to make it there! 🙂
Oh wow, This island is so cool. I add Azores in to my bucket list now. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you! Hope you’re going to make it there! 🙂
Amazing photos. I love the blues, greens and turquoises you captured in the shots. It didn’t even look like that sunny of a day. That hotel was a little creepy looking though. Still, I’d love to hike at Lagoa das Sete Cidades — should I make it to the Azores one day! 🙂
Yes it wasn’t nice and clear day, but i tried my best. You should definitely visit Azores!
I love hearing about new places! This is stunning!
Thank you! Azores are just amazing!
It sounds so cliché, but the Azores been on my wish list for years. Seriously! Somehow, due to the fact that they are a part of Portugal, I always run into issues with Schengen visa time limitations. 90 days seems a lot, but there is so much to see and do in Europe that, in reality, it’s never enough. Last time in, I was soooo close going to the Azores for a short vacation. Sadly, I run out of time again. Fingers crossed, 2018, when I am going to Europe again, would be a year when I finally visit the Azores. I’ll make sure to include Lagoa das Sete Cidades to my list of places to visit there. Thank you for sharing!
Azores most definitely deserve a place on everyones bucket list. Hopefully you’re gonna make it next time! I will write many more articles about Azores so keep checking! 😀
WOW!!, these are some awesome Photos, I never knew about Azores.I am putting Azores on my Bucket List now !!!
They should be yes! They are amazing!
I am Portuguese and I have never been in the Azores can you believe in it? Shame on me. Love your colorful images from there. Thanks for share Portugal with the world 😀
You should most definitely make it there soon! I love Portugal and I loved Azores! Can’t wait to be back in Portugal!
I love visiting places associated with folklores, it brushes that magical dust to that place. Definitely a marvelous sight. Would love to visit this place someday. Any idea what happened to the princess and shepherd later?
Yes it’s really beautiful! Unfortunately i have no idea. I guess they parted and she was probably locked in the castle again. Just my guess.
Wow nature at its best. All the colours are so vibrant I cannot believe it.
Yes i agree! It’s just so beautiful!