A visit to The Azores is not complete without a visit to the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno viewpoint on Sao Miguel island. When planning my own trip to the islands, it was this view that overlooked Sete Cidades and Lagoa Azul, that got me so excited for a visit. This guide will go over all you need to know about a visit to the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno viewpoint and what to expect along the way.
1) What is Miradouro da Boca do Inferno
The Portuguese word “miradouro” translates to “viewpoint” and Boca do Inferno means “Hell’s Mouth”, which gives us “The Hell’s Mouth Viewpoint”. The area all around the viewpoint was created by volcanic eruptions, which is where the name is thought to be derived from.
From the viewpoint there are several volcanic craters surrounding the area that make the landscape so unique and different than any other place I have ever visited.
These craters include Lagoa do Santiago, Lagoa Rasa, Caldeira do Alferes, Caldeira Seca, and not to mention the main crater that encircles the entire Sete Cidades area.
On top of enjoying the uniquely shaped landscape, you will also have the main lake – Lagoa Azul further out in the distance with the town of Sete Cidades directly next to it on the left hand side.
When it comes to viewpoints, it is tough to beat the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno of Sao Miguel.
2) Directions & Map
If you type in Miradouro da Boca do Inferno into Google Maps, you will see the name Miradouro da Grota do Inferno pop up instead. As of this writing, this will take you to the correct place, so don’t worry too much about the name difference.
Getting to the viewpoint is pretty simple when driving with your own car. Simply follow the directions on Google Maps (Tip: download offline maps in case you don’t have service), and you will be directed to a parking lot just a few minute walk from the viewpoint area.
When making the drive there, you will be doing so on the main paved road. However, as you can see on the map below, there is a turn off point from the main road that will take you to the parking lot area for the viewpoint.
This turn off point is through a set of gates and then down a dirt road the rest of the way. If the gates are open, then this will be your best bet.
Your other option here is to park at the parking lot just outside of the gates/dirt road, and then walk the 20 minute trail to the viewpoint area. Whatever works for you!
3) Sete Cidades Weather
Unfortunately, the weather in The Azores is not always reliable or consistent. On a day to day and hour to hour basis, you can see clouds, rain, and sun come and go throughout. The Sete Cidades area is one of the higher elevated areas of the island and can be affected by low lying clouds.
While it is tough to accurately forecast low lying clouds, you can make your decision to visit the viewpoint by looking at the Azores webcams. This will give you a live shot of what is currently going on around Sete Cidades and whether or not there is a view to be seen.
So, before you go be sure to take a look at the webcams to get a better idea of what to expect. And remember – just because the weather may look one way, doesn’t mean 30 minutes later it will be the same.
» Check out the Azores Weather Guide to learn more about the climate of the island group
4) Miradouro da Boca do Inferno
Once you have made it to the parking lot area, you will just be a few minutes walk away from the best viewpoint that The Azores has to offer. Off to your left hand side you will see a wooden plank / dirt staircase, which you will head on up.
Within the next few minutes, you will reach the top viewing area of the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno viewpoint. The view from around the top area is the more notable spot that you see many of the pictures taken from.
Here is where you will get the angle with the dirt path going up and along the hillside towards the end of the viewpoint area.
After enjoying the view from further away, you can then begin to walk the path towards the end of the viewpoint. From here you will have a better view of the surrounding landscape with the craters, lake and town all coming into view.
You will also see an informative sign board with some geology history about the area.
Be sure to just take your time and enjoy the views from all around as this is one spot during your travels that you will surely not forget.
5) Visit Without the Crowds
There is no doubt that Miradouro da Boca do Inferno is one of the most popular places on Sao Miguel island. As you can imagine, during good weather days (especially in the high season), the viewpoint area and path can get crowded.
When I visited during the morning time, there were probably around 20 or so people scattered around the area which was not too bad at all. However, I really wanted to experience the viewpoint with even fewer people around and thought if I went there late in the day, fewer people (if any) would be there.
So, I ended up making the drive to Sete Cidades once more on the last evening of my time in Sao Miguel and planned to get there around 1 hour before sunset. However, when I arrived at the turn off point, the gate was closed so I had to park in the parking lot just outside the gate and walk the 20 minutes from there.
Once I parked and made my way down the path and up to the viewpoint area, it was all empty and my friends and I had the entire place to ourselves to enjoy. It is still one of my top travel memories to date enjoying Miradouro da Boca do Inferno in the peace and quiet. Check out the video below!
6) Other Nearby Sete Cidades Attractions
Since you are already in the area, you may as well make a day out of Sete Cidades and the other attractions that it has to offer. Be sure to check out the Complete Guide to Sete Cidades to learn more.
Miradouro de Vista do Rei
Right nearby Boca do Inferno is another beautiful viewpoint spot – Miradouro da Vista do Rei. Here you will see the view of the Sete Cidades lakes of Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul. Depending on cloud/sun coverage for the day, you will really be able to see the color differential of the two lakes – one green and one blue in color.
Lagoa do Canario
Just a few minute walk down the dirt path from the main road parking lot, you will find the lagoon of Lagoa do Canario. My recommendation would be to first park your car at the main road parking lot, visit Lagoa do Canario, hop back into your car, and then drive down the dirt road to the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno parking lot.
Mata do Canario Hike
For those hikers out there, Sete Cidades offers one incredible hiking option to take part of. The hike starts in a small parking lot not too far from the Lagoa do Canario / Boca do Inferno dirt road. From this parking lot you will get to walk nearly the entire crater edge of the Sete Cidades lakes and take in some spectacular views from all different angles.
The hike eventually ends in the town of Sete Cidades, where you can relax, eat, and enjoy the lakeside.The hike is on the longer side around 4 hours long. If you do opt for the hike, it could be a good idea to bring lunch with you depending on what time you start the day.
» The Mata do Canario – Sete Cidades Hiking Guide will go into more detail on all you need to know
» The second option here is another one way hike starting at the Vista do Rei viewpoint. Similar to the first option, this is also a one way hike. Instead of going counter clockwise around the lagoons, you will be going clockwise until you reach Sete Cidades. One difference here is that you will be hiking a trail further out from the crater’s edge and not getting as many close up views in.
» The last hiking option is that of Serra Devassa. Whereas the first two options are trails that go along the crater’s circumference, this hike actually takes you further away from Sete Cidades.
Starting in the same parking lot on the main road near Lagoa do Canario, this circular hike takes you through the fields surrounding the area. You are sure to pass by some lush greenery alongside some more craters and lakes along the way.
» Take a look at the Hiking in the Azores Guide to learn more about the trails around the islands
If you did not opt for one of the first two hikes (since they would end in Sete Cidades itself), after you finish up Miradouro do Boca da Inferno, drive down to the small lakeside town.
Grab some lunch at one of the few options you have there and then make your way to lake where you can swim, hang out, or even rent some kayaks to take out on the lake.
7) Where to Stay in Sao Miguel
There are a few main towns around the island but if you are looking for the most happening spot that would be in Ponta Delgada. There are way more accommodation and restaurant options here than any other location on the island.
If you want to get a little further away you can also check out the town of Furnas, which is home to several natural hot springs. Here are some hotel recommendations for each:
That about does it for your guide to Miradouro da Boca do Inferno of Sao Miguel, The Azores. If you have any additional questions or comments, feel free to write them in below.
Have fun out there and safe travels!