If you’ve never been to Azores (Açores in Portuguese), then I highly recommend you start planning your trip. I often describe the Azores as Portugal’s version of Hawaii – an archipelago of 9 volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic, each with its own charm and unique characteristics. The main island, São Miguel, is also the most developed. Nevertheless, the island is fairly uninhabited, with pockets of towns and villages scattered here and there. Its vegetation and topography provide ample opportunities for hiking and you can find trails all over the island.
I picked a trail called Salto do Prego, a 4.5 km (2.8 mile), medium-difficulty hike on the southeast part of the island. Your reward is a beautiful waterfall and some serious views. An added bonus is that you work up an appetite, so you won’t feel guilty about the delectable Azorean food you’ll binge on that night. Trust me, you’ll eat too much.
I loved this little trail because it’s so diverse. One minute you’re on a flat surface following a stream, the next you’re climbing up a series of boulders (ok, so that one was a little off-trail); before you know it, you’re dipping your feet in the crisp, clear water in a secret pond, before watching your step as you descend steep, dirt and log pathways to reach the bottom of the waterfall.
A little tip for anyone who decides to embark on this trail: make sure you go up to the top of the waterfall. You’ll pass a little lookout point on your right, so you can see the waterfall top-down. Continue on that path and you’ll actually reach the serene water before the drop. Bring a snack and take a little break up there, inhaling the unpolluted air – after all, how often do you find yourself in a natural sanctuary like this one? Don’t rush it. What you should rush is booking your trip to the beautiful Açores. Go!