A breath of pure air, green everywhere, the blue Atlantic Ocean as far as the horizon. This is the Azores, the paradise for those who love green holidays in contact with nature. Let’s discover the 10 must-see waterfalls!
Waterfalls represent the sublime power of nature, the ability to carve out space in a mountain valley. They have the power to seduce and enchant any traveller. Set in an environment where rock, water, and forest come together, you can discover a magical world as you move between slides, waterfalls, and jumps. The Azores offer torrents, cliffs, and steep walls surrounding deep volcanic lakes. Let’s discover the 10 must-see waterfalls in the Azores!
“I am alive, as long as I hear waterfalls, birds and winds singing” (John Muir).
Did you know that in the Azores you can bathe all year round in the hot springs below the waterfalls and there are optimal conditions for canyoning? For lovers of this sport, the three main islands that offer the greatest number of waterfalls are São Miguel, São Jorge and Flores.
1. Poço do Bacalhau Waterfall on Flores Island. A small corner of paradise that will leave you speechless
The first of the 10 must-see waterfalls in the Azores is the Poço do Bacalhau waterfall that is located in Faja Grande. It is very easy to reach by foot in 10 minutes via a path of about 250 metres surrounded by hydrangeas and old mills along the stream. At the end of the path, you can see this 90-metre waterfall that falls creating a small lake where you can dive. A sublime experience, this is an enchanting place that releases powerful energy. On one side you see the water coming down from the green mountains and on the other the water flowing towards the Atlantic. A great place for a picnic or a relaxing break during a walk. We recommend going in the late afternoon when the setting sun shines directly on the waterfall.
2. Salto do Cabrito Waterfall on the São Miguel island. A wonder where time stands still
On your way down from Lagos do Fogo towards the thermal baths of Ribeira Grande you can stop at this waterfall surrounded by subtropical flowers near the hydroelectric power station. A walk of about 20 minutes takes you to this wonderland of dense vegetation. The path continues through the agricultural landscape where there are cows grazing. The view is very beautiful because the waterfall is embedded in the rocks and forms a small lake from which a mountain stream flows. From here it is possible to walk up a footbridge to the source of the waterfall itself, passing through a narrow and impressive canyon. Bring your swimming costume and enjoy a cool swim!
3. Aveiro Waterfall on Santa Maria Island. A picturesque spectacle
The Aveiro Waterfall is an enchanting spot at the water’s edge where you can enjoy a picnic in the company of ducks. It is located at a height of 110 m on the southeast side of the island. The small stream runs right down to the ocean. On a hot day, it is ideal for taking a break as it is in the shade. It is located near the small village of Maia, a short 10-minute walk via a rocky path and a wooden bridge. The view is simply wonderful.
4. Furnas Waterfall, on the São Miguel island. Landscape with a fairy-tale atmosphere
Furnas waterfall is located near Lagoa das Furnas in a beautifully manicured garden with many tropical plants and flowers. Near the waterfall, there is also an aquarium with fish. It is an ideal place for families where children can play. You feel like you are in Jurassic Park!
5. Caldeira Velha Waterfall, on the São Miguel island. Bathing under waterfall
The Caldeira Velha waterfall forms thermal pools surrounded by tropical vegetation. Well organised, they have changing rooms and showers. It is located on the northern slope of the Fogo volcano. You can soak in these pools of hot sulfurous water amidst the lush forest to relax between treks. You can easily reach your destination by descending the road to Lagoa do Fogo. Surrounded by lush nature there are two thermal pools, a small one with hot water and a larger one with two waterfalls. Ferns with wide leaves that look like trees, the sound of water in the background and fresh, clean air. Take a bath under a tropical waterfall, then go into the hot water in a rock pool, a wonder!
6. Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Waterfall, on the São Miguel Island. A jewel surrounded by flowers and mills
Ribeira dos Caldeirões waterfall is located in the Natural Park of Ribeira dos Caldeirões, near Achada, northeast of São Miguel Island. It is a beautiful park, very flowery and well-kept. It is easily accessible by foot. Surrounded by large vegetation, trees, bushes and flowers, it is a place with a spectacular landscape, a panacea for walking in nature and relaxing. Near the waterfall, there is a botanical garden with many hydrangeas, lichens and five restored mills. As you walk through the park you can see several small waterfalls. On the south side, there is a beautiful waterfall where you can swim. Some groups organize excursions/canyoning. There are also gazebos where you can take a break and cook. The streets are paved and there are many protective barriers on the cliffs that make the park safe for families.
7. Ribeira da Salga Waterfall, on the São Miguel Island. Ideal place for a canyoning adventure
In the north-east of São Miguel Island, between the village of Lomba de São Pedro and Salga lies this natural beauty in an unspoilt landscape, near the Miradouro da Rocha. It is easily accessible in 40 minutes by car from Ponta Delgada. After a 30-minute hike to the canyon, your fun begins as you explore magnificent streams and waterfalls using different techniques such as jumps, rappels and slides. The highest abseil can reach up to 16 m and the highest jump up to 8 m. Ideal for lovers of adventure and adrenaline in the company of family and friends!
8. Salto do Cagarrão Waterfall, on the São Miguel Island. An ideal stop for hiking enthusiasts
The Salto do Cagarrão waterfall is located on the Prego river, along a 7.6 km loop trail near Faial da Terra and Salto do Prego, on the south-eastern side of the island. It is the perfect destination for a break for hiking enthusiasts. The trail is very interesting for hiking and bird watching. It is a rather steep but pleasant hike near the Ribeira do Faial da Terra stream. The view on the trail is breathtaking and the panorama is fantastic when you reach the waterfall. After walking 10-15 min you’ll reach the waterfall and it’s possible to bathe in its cool water.
9. Salto da Farinha Waterfall, on the São Miguel Island. A waterfall that opens up to the infinity of the Atlantic Ocean
On the northern coast of the island of Saõ Miguel, between Achadinha and Salga, you can take a trekking route of about 5 km with a 198-metre difference in altitude that runs along two mountain ridges furrowed by the Farinha stream and takes you to the Miradouro do Salto da Farinha. Passing by the beach of Foz das Coelhase and the Parque do Frojo, you’ll reach the Salto da Farinha waterfalls, about 40m long. The name Salto da Farinha comes from the cereal milling that used to take place there. A path leads through the lush vegetation and once you reach a small wooden bridge, you have access to the Salto da Farinha, reaching the base of the waterfall. Passing a couple of boulders, you can take a bath in the cool waters of the torrent.
10. Ribeira Quente Waterfall, on the São Miguel Island. Waterfall of thermal origin featuring drinking water
The last of the 10 must-see waterfalls in the Azores is Ribeira Quente waterfall. It is a beautiful waterfall near the village and tunnel of Ribeira Quente. The waterfall is visible from the centre of the tunnel. Walk in the direction of the waterfall’s thermal spring. This is a waterfall of thermal origin that originates from springs located in the interior of the island, giving its waters special characteristics in terms of chemical composition, such as being drinkable water despite its thermal characteristics. Discover its lush endemic vegetation.