The island of Sao Miguel in the Azores is full of hot springs throughout. While most of these hot spring thermal baths are located inland, there is one that is located in the ocean itself.
Ponta da Ferraria is located off the western shore of Sao Miguel. Here you will find a natural hot spring that feels like a hot tub during low tide.
It is quite the unique experience to take part of, and should definitely be added to any Azores itinerary.
Read on to learn more about Ponta da Ferraria and how to go about a visit during your time on the island.
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1) Ponta da Ferraria Details
To start, I wanted to list out just a few helpful details regarding the hot springs and what to expect once you are there.
Location: Ponta da Ferraria is located on the west coast of Sao Miguel, Azores just outside the civil parish of Ginetas. The GPS coordinates of the thermal baths are 37°51’29.9″N 25°51’08.1″W.
Parking: There is plenty of parking within walking distance to the thermal springs at the Termas da Ferraria resort. From the parking lot, it is around a 5 minute walk to the ocean.
Entrance Fee: Free! There is no cost to go to Ponta da Ferraria. Simply drive yourself to the parking lot, make the walk over, and jump into the ocean. If you would like to enjoy parts of the resort, then you will need to pay a fee.
Hours: 24/7 – there is also no closing or opening times. Simply show up whenever you would like and head in. Just be careful if you decide to head there later in the day once it starts to get dark out.
Temperature: the temperature of the water varies depending on the tide (more on that soon). During low tide, you can expect the water to reach 28 Celsius (82 F), while in high tide 18 Celsius (64 F).
The spring itself is 61.8 Celsius (144 F), but since the hot spring water mixes with the cold ocean water, you won’t feel that sort of temperature in the water.
What To Bring: since this is mineral rich water, I would recommend bringing a bathing suit and towel that you don’t mind getting a bit ruined. This also holds true for the rest of the thermal springs throughout the island.
In addition, be sure to bring comfortable shoes to walk the path from the parking lot to the water. Some of the path can get a bit sharp and tricky on the volcanic rock.
Restrooms: there is a restrooms and changing area along the path between the parking lot and the hot springs. However, there are no lockers available, so feel free to leave most of your valuables behind.
2) Directions & Location
Ponta da Ferraria is located around 25 km west of the main hub city of Ponta Delgada.
It is essentially one main road (EN1-1A) that takes you 90% of the way there. Once you reach the town of Ginetas, it is then a couple additional turns that will take you down to the Termas da Ferraria parking lot.
As you make the final approach, there will be 5 hairpin turns that take you down the mountainside. Be sure to take it slow here as these are very sharp turns to make.
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Also to note – before you make those turns, there is a lookout spot (called Miraoduro da Ilha Sabrina) that gives you some great views of Ponta da Ferraria from above.
3) Ponta da Ferraria Tide
This is one attraction on the island that you should only be visiting at certain times of day. As I mentioned before, the temperature in the water during low tide is not the same during high tide.
While you can go into the water during high tide, just note you probably wont feel much of the heated water.
Instead, try and time your day so you arrive at Ponta da Ferraria within a 2 hour timeframe of low tide.
Tides are different by the day so be sure to check the latest Ponta da Ferraria tide forecast to better plan your visit.
In addition to the tides, you should also pay attention to the weather forecast of the area. Since this is in the ocean itself, you will want to avoid days when the current is too strong. That would just make for an unenjoyable experience.
4) Ponta da Ferraria Hot Springs
After getting yourself down to the parking lot, it is then time to begin your time at the hot springs. Remember, there is a little bit of a walk to get to the ocean area. Be sure to have shoes on as the path can get a bit rocky at times.
I would also recommend to just bring along the necessities and leave the rest in the car. There aren’t lockers at the hot springs, so it is mostly just leaving your stuff out in the open.
That is one reason I don’t have many photos from here. I simply brought my towel and my GoPro and left the rest behind.
While you can make your way into the water by just gently sliding yourself off of the surrounding rocks, it is safer to use the ladder provided off to the side.
All along the edge of the hot spring (during low tide that is), you will find rocks to safely sit on in the water.
These are great spots to enjoy the heated waters without actually needing to swim. Just take a seat in the water and pretend like its just one giant hot tub.
As you make your way closer to the ocean side of the hot spring, the water will begin to get cooler and cooler. Don’t venture too far out here, especially if the water is not calm.
Also, inside the water, you will find several ropes crisscrossing the area for safety reasons. If you are in a spot where the water is too deep, simply grab onto the rope to help keep you afloat.
Feel free to hang out in the water, and along the volcanic rock for as long as you want before calling it a day at Ponta da Ferraria. Either before or after your trip there, be sure to check out some other highlights nearby.
5) What Else to Visit Nearby
During my full day around the western side of Sao Miguel, I ended up taking part of several activities and then ending the day at Ponta da Ferraria. Below are some of the top highlights:
Miradouro da Vista do Rei
One of the most popular of viewpoints on the island is at Miradouro da Vista do Rei. Here you will find the beautiful landscape of Sete Cidades from above including the two multi colored lakes and the greenery filled crater all around.
Read More: Check out the guide to Miradouro da Vista do Rei for more helpful info
Lagoa do Canario
After visiting the first viewpoint of the area at Miradouro Da Vista Do Rei, continue along the road to Lagoa do Canario.
Here you will find a beautiful lagoon surrounded by greenery. If it is calm day, you should get some great reflections of the surrounded nature on the lagoon.
Miradouro Da Boca Do Inferno
Continue down the dirt road past the lagoon and onto the second viewpoint of the day at Miradouro Da Boca Do Inferno.
This is the most famous of viewpoints in the Azores, as you will get an even better panoramic view of the Sete Cidades landscape out in front you.
Read more: Check out the Miradouro Da Boca Do Inferno to learn more
Sete Cidades Hike
After checking out some viewpoints and the lagoon, you can opt for a hike around the crater rim. There are two main crater rim hikes you can choose from.
The first starts just a bit further down the road from Miradouro Da Boca Do Inferno/ Lagoa do Canario, while the second starts from the Miradouro Da Vista Do Rei parking lot.
Mata do Canario – Sete Cidades: 12 KM / 3 Hours
This trail goes counter clockwise around the crater and lakes as you take in some stunning views all throughout. The trail then descends into the town of Sete Cidades, where you can enjoy some time by the lake.
Vista do Rei – Sete Cidades: 8 KM / 2 Hours
On the other hand, you can take a shorter hike that goes clockwise around the crater rim and also ends in Sete Cidades. The lake views from this hike will be a bit more distant than the ones from the first hike.
Note: these are both one way routes so you will need to grab a taxi back to the starting point. You can also combine these two into one longer route if you would like to do a full circle.
Sete Cidades Town
A visit down to Sete Cidades can be a great way to spend some time whether or not you are planning on doing a hike.
You can grab some lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Sao Nicolau church, and spend some time by the lakeside.
6) Where to Stay in Sao Miguel
There are a few main towns around the island but the most popular spot would be Ponta Delgada. There are way more accommodation and restaurant options here than any other location on the island.
Here are some hotel recommendations for each:
Hope you enjoyed the guide to the Ponta da Ferraria hot springs of Sao Miguel. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to add them in below.
Have fun out there and safe travels!