Lagoa Das Furnas

Nestled in the heart of São Miguel Island in the Azores, the Lagoa Das Furnas Trail offers an enchanting blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and geological wonder. This captivating trail is perfect for adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs alike. Here, we embark on a journey through this remarkable path, revealing its many treasures and offering a guide to making the most of your visit.

A Journey Through Nature’s Bounty

The Lagoa Das Furnas Trail is a moderate hike that encircles the picturesque Furnas Lake. The trail stretches approximately 9 kilometers and can be comfortably completed in three to four hours, making it an ideal day hike. As you set out on the path, you're immediately embraced by the lush greenery typical of the Azorean landscape. Towering cedars, vibrant hydrangeas, and diverse endemic flora create a verdant corridor that invites you to explore further.

The trail's starting point is located near the iconic Furnas village, renowned for its geothermal activity and traditional cozido das Furnas, a stew cooked underground using volcanic heat. The scent of sulphur fills the air, hinting at the geothermal activity bubbling beneath your feet. As you hike, you’ll encounter several fumaroles and hot springs, where the Earth’s energy is on full display. Highlights Along the Trail

1. The Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Vitórias: Early in your hike, you’ll come across the striking Neo-Gothic chapel of Nossa Senhora das Vitórias, built in the 19th century. This chapel, reflected in the serene waters of Furnas Lake, provides a perfect spot for photography and a moment of reflection.

2. Monitoring the Wildlife: The trail is a haven for birdwatchers. Furnas Lake and its surrounding wetlands are home to various bird species, including the elegant grey heron and the charismatic Azorean wood pigeon. Keep your binoculars handy to spot these and other avian residents.

3. Hot Springs and Fumaroles: Midway through the trail, you’ll find yourself near the famous hot springs and fumaroles area. Here, the geothermal activity is most prominent, with steam rising from the ground and the smell of sulphur permeating the air. It’s a fascinating reminder of the volcanic forces that shaped the Azores.

4. Botanical Gardens: Further along, the trail leads you through the stunning José do Canto Botanical Garden. This garden showcases a variety of exotic plants and trees from around the world, meticulously curated and beautifully maintained. It’s an excellent spot for a leisurely stroll and a picnic.

Tips for Hikers

Wear Comfortable Footwear: The trail varies in terrain, with some sections being more rugged than others. Sturdy hiking boots are recommended. Weather Preparation: The weather in the Azores can be unpredictable. Bring a waterproof jacket and layers to adapt to changing conditions. Stay Hydrated and Pack Snacks: Although the hike isn’t overly strenuous, it’s always wise to carry water and some snacks to keep your energy levels up. Respect Nature: The Azores are committed to conservation. Stick to marked paths, carry out all trash, and avoid disturbing the wildlife.

Immersing in the Local Culture

After completing the trail, take time to explore the charming village of Furnas. Visit the Terra Nostra Park, a botanical garden featuring thermal pools where you can soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters. Don’t miss trying the traditional cozido das Furnas, a unique culinary experience where meat and vegetables are slow-cooked underground by volcanic steam.

The Lagoa Das Furnas Trail is more than just a hike; it's a journey through the natural and cultural tapestry of São Miguel. With every step, you’ll uncover the island’s volcanic origins, diverse ecosystems, and rich history. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking for a scenic escape, this trail promises an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the Azores.