6 Thermal hot springs in São Miguel, Azores

São Miguel is a phenomenal vacation destination. It has attractions and things to do all year round and for all types of travelers. It has wonderful trails, beautiful lagoons, breathtaking viewpoints, and delicious food. Still, in the midst of all this, it is the São Miguel thermal baths that shine the most.

In this guide, we will explore the six thermal baths and volcanic hot springs of São Miguel, Azores, explaining where they are, how to get there, what they offer, and what to expect from each visit. We will also offer some tips and suggestions on making the most of the thermal waters of São Miguel, Azores.

6 Thermal baths in São Miguel

Terra Nostra Park, Furnas

Terra Nostra Park is the best-known thermal bath in the Azores, and it’s easy to see why. In addition to the famous pool of hot water and iron, the park is also a botanical garden where you can stroll among exotic and rare species, such as the remarkable collection of camellias, considered one of the largest in the world.

The gardens of Terra Nostra Park are crossed by pathways that allow us to explore the different areas of the park, allowing you to explore its natural beauty and discover its lakes, waterfalls, and botanical gardens.

In the midst of all this natural beauty, we have its ex-libris – the park’s unique thermal water pool. Originally built in the 18th century and expanded to its current size in 1935, this pool of yellow water is naturally heated by hot springs. It is even said that mineral-rich water provides several benefits for the skin and health.

The water temperature varies between 35º and 40ºC, and the minerals and the entire surroundings of the park provide a feeling of rest and relaxation like few places in the world, especially if visited outside of peak hours.

In our opinion, you should spend a few hours, if possible a full morning or afternoon, just visiting the Terra Nostra Park and the Swimming Pool. It is quite large, and it is worth enjoying everything, in addition to the pool itself.

We loved the magnificent thermal water pool. To better enjoy it, we suggest going early in the morning. Remember that the ticket is for the whole day, so you can enter and leave as many times as you want.

Terra Nostra Park is in the center of Furnas village, where you can find several other main attractions of the island such as Poças Dona Beija (see below), the Lagoa das Furnas, the boilers and fumaroles and of course, the opportunity to taste the famous stew of the Furnas, cooked with the heat of the region’s volcanic activity.

Swimmers enjoy a sunny day in a large pool with yellow waters with tall trees and a classic white house in the background, reminiscent of the picturesque lakes of São Miguel, Azores.
Thermal baths at Parque Terra Nostra, Furnas in S. Miguel Azores
  • Water temperature: 35ºC to 40ºC
  • Open: 10:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • Price: 10 Euros for the whole day. You can enter and leave with the same ticket.
  • It has a changing room and a place to change clothes.
  • Address: Largo Marquês da Praia e Monfort, 9675-061 Furnas, Povoação
  • If you want a unique experience, you can stay at the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, which is located inside the Park.

Poças de Dona Beija, Furnas

Also located in the village of Furnas, the Poças de Dona Beija are equally magnificent but are completely different from the Parque Terra Nostra Swimming Pool.

The Poças de Dona Beija complex has five swimming pools, all much smaller than the huge pool at Parque Terra Nostra. Supposedly, the pools have different water temperatures so that everyone can find their ideal temperature. However, they were all at similar temperatures but extremely pleasant when we visited.

The environment around Poças da Dona Beija is naturally lush, with lush vegetation and volcanic rock formations that create a unique and picturesque atmosphere. A stream of warm water passes through the middle of the pools, as its water comes from the pools and other thermal waters that spring from underground.

This is a mystical place of leisure and relaxation in the hot thermal waters that come from the volcanic underground. It is especially pleasant on cool days and at night. We went on a rainy day, and it was a unique experience. Taking refuge in the natural thermal waters while it is raining and windy outside is truly pleasant and captivating.

A few years ago, the Poças de Dona Beija was completely natural, with no reservations or time limits. It is necessary to buy a ticket, which has a set time for entry and exit. You can only stay in the enclosure for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. It may seem like little, but it is enough and is a way to allow more people to have access to this volcanic wonder of the Azores.

It’s easy to see that this is one of the island’s most popular attractions, so we suggest you book your ticket in advance. During the high season, booking as far in advance as possible is important. This is the official website where you can buy tickets.

A tranquil, wooded hot spring setting in the Azores, with a steaming pool surrounded by lush greenery and a rustic stone path.
Thermal pools at Termas da Poça de D. Beja in Furnas in S. Miguel
  • Water temperature: 30ºC to 40ºC, depending on the pool and ambient temperature
  • Time: 8:30 am to 10:00 pm
  • Price: 8 Euros. Gives access to 1h30 minutes. They do not accept returns/refunds.
  • There is a changing room where you can change clothes.
  • Address: Lomba Das Barracas 1, Furnas, Povoação
  • If you want a unique experience, we suggest you go at night. Everything is more beautiful, and the cooler ambient temperatures improve the experience. It is also spectacular in the rain.

Ferraria Natural Pool, Ferraria

The natural pools of Ferraria are a volcanic attraction that is completely different from the previous ones. Located at Ponta da Ferraria on the island’s west coast, in the parish of Ginetes, this natural sea pool has water naturally heated by underwater thermal springs. It seems impossible, but it’s true.

Despite being heated by underwater boilers and fumaroles, the pool water varies greatly due to its natural conditions. As is easily understood, seawater mixes with heated water and cools the pool water.

Thus, if the tide is not too high, the water will be pleasantly warm, allowing you to enjoy the sea at otherwise impossible temperatures. It’s a unique and relaxing experience, but it’s also extremely popular and tends to get quite crowded.

However, the area’s natural conditions mean that access to the natural pool may be limited at certain times, especially during high tide or adverse weather conditions. As it is completely natural and has direct access to the sea, being in the water with large waves can be dangerous. Therefore, checking conditions well before visiting and entering the water is always advisable.

To make life easier for bathers, a metal ladder allows them to enter the water more easily. Inside the pool, there are several ropes to hold on to and float there relaxed and without danger. If you are not secured to the ropes, be especially careful with the waves, as they can become dangerous due to the rocks.

The natural pool is free to enter and has unlimited access. There is also a free place to change clothes.

Travelers enjoy a natural swimming experience among volcanic rocks by the sea in the Azores.
Thermal and natural marine pool at Ponta da Ferraria in São Miguel
  • Water temperature: It varies a lot, even inside the pool, depending on the proximity to the fumarole and the amount of seawater.
  • Opening hours: Always open, but be aware of the danger if conditions are not good.
  • Price: free and unlimited access
  • There is a changing room where you can change clothes.
  • Address: Rua Ilha Sabrina, Ginetes, 9555-102 Ginetes (There is a parking lot at the end of the street)
  • This is a unique experience as there are not many places like it in the world. In fact, we don’t know any other.

Ferraria Hot Springs, Ferraria

In addition to the fabulous natural pool mentioned above, there is also the Ferraria Hot Springs. Located next to the pool, they offer more conventional facilities, such as thermal baths and a SPA, where visitors can enjoy a variety of wellness and relaxation treatments.

Access to the thermal baths is naturally limited, and you need to buy a ticket, but they are very cheap. It costs only 5 euros to access each of the two hot saltwater pools, one indoor and one outdoor. In addition to the two swimming pools, the complex also offers massage and SPA services.

The spa also has a cafe and restaurant, which can be very useful in certain situations.

The indoor pool looks really good, but we didn’t use it. In fact, it’s much more interesting to be outside, especially if it’s cool outside and you can feel the difference in temperatures. There’s nothing like being in warm water relaxing when it’s raining or cold outside. Even better in a wonderful place like Ponta da Ferraria while you can hear the sea lapping close by,

In addition to enjoying the thermal waters, at Ponta da Ferraria, you can explore the natural surroundings of Termas da Ferraria, which include impressive cliffs, rock formations, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ferraria's outdoor pool with clear blue water with some chairs to sit around the pool and overlooking the sea. It is one of the spas you must go to in São Miguel
Outdoor pools at Termas da Ferraria in S. Miguel Azores
  • Water temperature: When we went, the outdoor pool temperature was around 30ºC.
  • Open: 11:00-18:00
  • Price: 5 Euros for access to the outdoor pool + 5 Euros for the indoor pool. There are also several SPA services, but seeing the official table is better. (2024)
  • There is a changing room where you can change clothes.
  • Address: Rua Ilha Sabrina, Ginetes, 9555-102 Ginetes (There is a parking lot at the end of the street)
  • This is a relaxing experience and great for those who don’t want to take risks in the natural pool or when sea and weather conditions don’t allow it.

Caldeira Velha, Ribeira Grande

Caldeira Velha has a very special place in my memory and my imagination. When I visited it for the first time, it wasn’t even a national monument, nor did it have the current beautiful park. It was “only” a small hot thermal water waterfall where you could bathe surrounded by a dense and leafy forest.

The natural monument of Caldeira Velha has become one of the most visited spots in São Miguel, but you wouldn’t expect anything else… On an island full of unique attractions, this one is really special.

Located on the northern slope of Serra de Água de Pau, close to Fogo Lagoon, this is another area of strong volcanic activity. Therefore, it is possible to enjoy four thermal pools. In these thermal pools, the water is heated by the thermal heat of the Fogo volcano.

The relaxing thermal baths reach temperatures of around 38°C, but what attracts people to the old caldera is undoubtedly its waterfall of hot thermal water located in an area of rugged relief and fed by an iron thermal spring that springs from a fracture at temperatures around 32°C.

After all, how many places in the world will you find a natural hot water waterfall? Very few, and even fewer, will allow you to dive into the small lake formed by a dam, where the water reaches temperatures of 25 °C to 28 °C.

Due to the popularity of the old caldera, buying a ticket in advance is essential as the place is very popular in high season. If you want to book, you must do it at least the day before, but we advise you to book as far in advance as possible during high season. This is the official website where you can do it.

If you don’t want to bathe (either in the waterfall or in the other puddles), the ticket is cheaper, and more tickets are available. This place is worth visiting even without going to the water, but it is undoubtedly much more fun to enjoy it 100%.

Small waterfall with a lake where water accumulates with a person enjoying the view. Everything is surrounded by plants in Caldeira Velha in the Azores
Thermal water waterfall in the Caldeira Velha hot springs in S. Miguel Azores
  • Water temperature: Between 25-28ºC in the waterfall, up to 38ºC in the hottest pools.
  • Opening hours: 09:00-20:30 in summer, shorter in other seasons. Check here.
  • Price: 10 Euros for the full ticket. 3 Euros without baths.
  • There is a changing room where you can change clothes.
  • Address: Estrada Regional da Lagoa do Fogo, 9600-590 Ribeira Grande
  • This is an exotic and unique place, it is worth taking a few hours to enjoy it.

Termas das Caldeiras, Ribeira Grande (temporarily closed)

Termas das Caldeiras are the least known and popular of the thermal waters of São Miguel. In fact, when we tried to visit them, they were closed, without any sign that they could reopen.

However, according to the information we gathered, the Termas das Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande are the oldest on the island, dating back to the 19th century, but it is said that their waters were already used in the 17th century.

They currently have two small pools with hot thermal water whose temperature varies between 32º and 40ºC, depending on the weather and ambient temperature. There is (or was?) also a spa, where massages with volcanic mud, facial masks, and a private indoor pool are available.

The surrounding area is also very cool as it has a lot of volcanic activity, such as several fumaroles, a large hot water spring that forms an effervescent lagoon, and even the possibility of cooking using volcanic heat like in the Furnas. There are nine holes, and they can be used at no cost.

Outdoor swimming pool with hot water from Termas das Calderas with benches to sit on and surrounded by vegetation in São Miguel in the Azores
Outdoor lagoon at Termas das Caldeiras. Not possible to use due to water temperatures
  • Water temperature: Between 32-40ºC, depending on atmospheric conditions.
  • Opening hours: Temporarily closed
  • Price: Temporarily closed
  • There is a changing room where you can change clothes.
  • Address: Caldeiras, Ribeira Grande
  • Great for escaping the confusion that takes place in other, more popular places

Which hot springs in São Miguel should I go to?

This is an impossible question to answer as it depends on what you are looking for and how much time you have, but we can say that:

  • Terra Nostra Park is ideal for those who want to stay long and take incredible photos. The huge yellow pool is really amazing. It is also ideal when the weather is cool or raining. You must be aware that they are very busy during the high season.
  • Poças de Dona Beja are ideal for visiting at night, in the rain, or even in the cold. The water is quite hot, so they are less pleasant during the summer or in very hot weather. Despite this, they are also immensely popular in high season (summer).
  • The Ferraria Natural Pool is great in the summer when the weather is better, and sea conditions are more favorable. If it’s too cold, it’s not pleasant at all.
  • The Ferraria Hot Springs is a good option if it’s high tide, or the weather doesn’t help, and you can’t go to the Ferraria Natural pool.
  • Caldeira Velha is ideal for those who want a more natural experience. However, in high season, it is extremely busy. It is also worth it for its unique hot water waterfall. On the other hand, it sometimes closes when it rains too much and the springs flood. So perhaps it is more suitable for mid-season when it doesn’t rain a lot or is full of people.
  • If they are open, the Termas das Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande are ideal for those who don’t want crowds or already know the others and want another different experience.
Warm ot water stream and thermal orange in the Poça da D. Beja spa. On each bank of the river there is vegetation and flowers. This is one of the best hot springs in S. Miguel
Swimming pools and thermal river in Poças da D. Beja, one of the most popular spas in S. Miguel

Tips for better enjoying hot springs in the Azores

The hot springs in São Miguel are truly a unique, relaxing, and extremely pleasant experience. However, there are some precautions and things to keep in mind to make the most of it. Some general tips for enjoying São Miguel’s hot springs include:

  • The thermal hot waters are great for a colder, rainy day. Although the water temperature varies a few degrees depending on the weather, it is always quite warm and much more pleasant when it is cold.
  • In the thermal pools with iron water (Poças Dona Beja, Caldeira Velha, Parque Terra Nostra), it is preferable to wear dark swimwear so that the stains caused by the water are less noticeable.
  • This swimwear should also be old or something you don’t mind getting ruined. A white piece of clothing will probably never return to its original color.
  • The same goes for the towels you use after leaving the iron baths.
  • If you have dyed hair (especially recently), don’t get it wet in hot water. The iron properties also tend to change the color of dyed hair.
  • Do not wear jewelry in swimming pools. In addition to the fact that they can also be stained if you lose them, it will be impossible to find them again due to the lack of visibility.
  • If you are pregnant, consult your doctor before using the thermal waters.
  • Obviously, do not use shampoos, detergents, or other cleaning products in the water.
  • As always, do not litter in these natural spaces. Leave everything the same or cleaner than you found it.
hot water puddle in the Caldeira Velha, the water is so hot that smoke comes out. There is a sign in front warning of danger as the water is very hot.
Lagoon with thermal waters, prohibited from use due to the high water temperature in Caldeira Velha

When is the best time to go to the São Miguel thermal baths?

São Miguel is a unique place, with a milder climate than mainland Portugal, making the island an excellent destination all year round. Still, winter is much cooler and more humid than summer.

Since the thermal waters of São Miguel are quite hot, visiting them in cool weather is even more pleasant than when it is very hot. However, as explained above, it largely depends on which baths we plan to visit, as they vary greatly.

The Poças de Dona Beja are spectacular on a rainy day or on a cool spring and autumn night. On the other hand, the Ferraria natural pool is impossible to visit if the weather is bad or the tide is very high, as the sea will not allow it.

Finally, we must consider that the natural thermal baths of São Miguel are extremely popular among tourists and are, therefore, very crowded during the high season. In this sense, visiting them in mid-season (Spring or Autumn) or low season (Winter) will undoubtedly be ideal.

Pin for later

Thermal Baths to visit in S. Miguel Azores
Best thermal baths in S. Miguel - Azores

Sharing is caring!

This will close in 45 seconds