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The municipalities of Lagoa, Vila Franca do Campo, Povoação, Nordeste and Ribeira Grande make up the Intervention Area of the Association for Development and Rural Promotion. Although they all share many common characteristics, there are also differences among them – such as the countless numbers of memorable places to visit. Here on the Island of São Miguel, it is possible to visit the tea plantations of Ribeira Grande, the only ones in all of Europe, or visit neighbouring Povoação and enjoy a delicious “stew” in Furnas, which is left to simmer for four hours in the hot volcanic soil. Or, if you prefer, you can visit Vila Franca do Campo, the Island’s first capital, and taste the incomparable pineapple from São Miguel, whose hothouse production process is unique the world over. The Nordeste (North-East) holds the title of “the municipality with the most flowers in Europe”, and allows for outings of unusual beauty, in a landscape where land and sea embrace in settings that take your breath away. In Lagoa you must visit the small fishing port of Caloura and watch the traditional toil of fishermen from yesteryear, and enjoy the delicious shellfish of our unpolluted sea.
 
 
Lagoa
Caloura
Situated in Água de Pau, it is considered the ex libris of the municipality with its vineyards, fishermen’s port and convent, as well as the recently inaugurated Cultural Centre.
 
The Municipal Pool Complex
Situated in Vila da Lagoa, this complex is very popular, especially in the summer. It has both natural and manmade pools, with all the necessary infrastructures.
 
The Vieira Ceramic Factory
Producing Lagoa china, this factory is situated in Vila da Lagoa, and although it also has electrical machines, it still uses craft processes like moulding, painting and drying in the sun. It produces various pieces such as ashtrays, bowls, pots, vases, tea and coffee sets, among others, painted in blue on a white glaze.
 
The Museum Centres “Oficina de Tanoaria” (The Cooper’s Workshop) and “Tenda do Ferreiro” (The Smithy)
Situated in Vila da Lagoa, here we can find many different tools used by coopers and blacksmiths.
 
Museum of the Azorean Nativity Scene
This museum is found in the Town Hall of Lagoa, and encompasses the diversity and specificity of the “Lagoa dolls” production, developed by local artisans. In the nativity scene we can find signs of ancestral practices and customs, as well as those currently used by Azoreans.
 
Ethnographic Garden, Agricultural Museum and Botanical Garden
Found in the Ribeira Chã parish, these gardens and museum include settings and equipment characteristic of rural society in the early and mid 20th century. In addition to the small shops of the cobbler, the cabinet-maker and the barber, there is also a cavern (to dry corn), a pen, a poultry yard and a cellar.
The Museum has a collection of agricultural tools used throughout the ages, and an original “fulling-mill” used to “grind” the pastel dye-plant.
In the Botanical Garden, you can find examples of flora endemic to the Region, aromatic herbs and medicinal plants, as well as the different historical cycles of crops (wheat, pastel, flax, oranges, etc.)  
 
Museum of Sacred Art and Ethnography
Found in the parish of Ribeira Chã, it includes works of great historical and artistic value.
 
The Mother Church of Santa Cruz
Situated in the parish of the same name, it is the Mother Church of Lagoa.
We draw your attention to the Manueline vaults of the chancel and the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as the pulpit with its remarkable baroque baldachin.
 
The Franciscan Convent
This is situated in Vila da Lagoa. Saint Anthony’s Church is a good example of Azorean baroque with its ornately-decorated façade, the fine carving of its main altar and a priceless image of Our Lady of the Conception.
 
The Town Hall
This is an austere building, without a tower or external stairway, and has recently been extended. It houses an auditorium, a documentation centre and the Museum of the Azorean Nativity scene.
 
The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
It is found in the centre of Vila da Lagoa. Of special note is the remarkable sculptural set by Machado de Castro and an exquisite incense boat made of engraved silver.
 
 
Our Lady of Guidance Chapel
It has beautiful polychromatic glazed tiles and symbolic elements in stone, in addition to an image of St Joseph.
 
 
Vila Franca do Campo
Our Lady of Peace Chapel
This is an authentic Marian sanctuary built on a hill overlooking Vila Franca, where we can take in awesome views of the town and its islet. 
 
Nature Reserve on the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo
This reserve is around 1 km from the town, covering 6.2 hectares, with a maximum altitude of 62 metres.
This is the ideal spot for underwater observation and an important nesting area and “stopover” for migrating birds.
It has a natural pool, which can be reached by boat from the Vila Franca quay in the summer months.
 
Cerrado dos Bezerros Forest Park
This park is situated on the road that links Vila Franca to Furnas.
There are good infrastructures for picnics and barbecues, as well as playground equipment for children, making it an ideal and popular leisure spot in the summer months.
 
The Municipal Museum
Here we can find various pieces of local ethnography. Special mention must be made of pottery, the great tradition in Vila Franca.
 
Potteries
At the entrance to Vila Franca we can find three potteries (or small shops), where you can buy earthenware, and two museum centres: the Pottery of Master António Batata and the collective ceramic oven. 
 
Mother Church of the Archangel St Michael
Gothic-styled church built in the 16th century after the original Mother Church was destroyed in 1522. Its bell tower houses a large decorated bell, the oldest on the Island, dating back to 1555.
 
Church and Hospital of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia (Welfare Institution)
The Church of the Holy Ghost has a chapel in honour of Good Jesus of the Stone, a century-old image of veneration.
There is a vast collection of embroidered mantles with the image of the Lord of the Stone.  
 
The Town Hall
Dating back to 1777, it has an external stairway and a bell tower with a clock.
 
St Andrew’s Convent
It has a very simple façade with a gothic portico.
The famous Queijadas da Vila (cupcakes made with cheese) originated here as a speciality of convent confectionery. For centuries their recipe has been passed down in families from generation to generation.
 
The Church and Convent of St. Francis
For those coming from Lagoa, it is found at the entrance to Vila Franca do Campo.
The Convent has been converted into a Pousada (usually former castles or convents converted into up-market hotels), and there is also a museum centre with sacred art and ancient maps.  
 
St. Peter’s Church
This is a baroque church with an octagonal interior, and its façade has a 16th-century image of St Peter in Ançã stone.   
 
St Catherine’s Chapel
Situated on the seaside, this is oldest chapel in the town, dating back to before 1522.
Its façade bears witness to the magnificent art of stonecutting. Nearby there is a statue of Infante Dom Henrique (Henry the Navigator).
 
 
Povoação
Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lake)
This is one of the Azores’ most beautiful hot springs, and one of its biggest tourist draw cards.
Near Lagoa das Furnas, you can visit the area of Caldeiras, “nature’s kitchen” where the famous “caldeiras stew” is made using the earth’s heat.
 
The José do Canto Chapel
On the banks of Lagoa das Furnas, you can find the gothic-styled José do Canto Chapel with beautiful stained glass windows, woodcarving in oak and a bell.  
 
Caldeiras (Hot springs)
Caldeiras is an area of volcanic activity, with bubbling geysers shooting out boiling water and medicinal muds. Furthermore, there is also a great diversity of springs with medicinal mineral waters in different flavours and at various temperatures.
 
Thermal Spa
It takes advantage of the medicinal qualities of the mud and thermal waters.
It has appropriate facilities and equipment, as well as permanent in-house assistance from a specialist doctor.
 
The Terra Nostra Park
Adjoining the Hotel of the same name, it is one of the most beautiful gardens on the Island. It has pathways, channels and lakes, exotic flora from both tropical and colder countries, and century-old trees of great botanical value.
There is also a pool where you can enjoy a relaxing dip in warm, ferrous waters.
 
The Furnas Forest Park
A nursery of ornamental plants, this Park also has an aquicolous post for breeding trout, which will go on to populate many of the lakes and rivers of São Miguel. There are also deer, peacocks and pheasants. 
 
The Pico do Ferro Belvedere
Here you can take in the mesmerising beauty of Vale das Furnas and its Lake.
 
The Pico Longo Belvedere
As you leave Povoação, heading towards the Nordeste (North-East), you have a pretty view of Povoação and its seven hills.
 
Ribeira Quente
Around 6 km from the parish of Furnas, lies the fishing parish of Ribeira Quente, with its Praia do Fogo (Fire Beach), where the water is hot in places due to underwater volcanic activity.
 
St Barbara’s Chapel
Situated in Lomba do Carro, it is considered the oldest place of worship on the Island. Its initial construction dates back to the 15th century but it was rebuilt in 1894.   
 
The Old Mother Church
It was built on the seaside near the beach where the first settlers in São Miguel disembarked. The façade and side portico are of interest, as well as the wood carving and the image of its patron saint. 
 
The Town Hall
This building is classified as having heritage value of collective interest.
 
 
 
Nordeste (The North-East)
The Vila de Nordeste Forest Park
Situated in Poceirão, there are deer and exotic animals, as well as a children’s park and picnic area.  
 
The Cancela do Cinzeiro Forest Park
This is found in the Pedreira parish. There are nurseries near the leisure spots and children’s park.
 
The Ponta do Sossego Belvedere
Well looked-after and flower-filled area overlooking the sea and the ideal spot for a picnic, as you leave the Nordeste Municipality en route to Povoação.
 
Ponta da Madrugada Belvedere
Situated a little further ahead of Ponta do Sossego. This belvedere is at the top of a densely vegetated cliff from where you can see the Lombo Gordo Beach below. It is the ideal spot to watch the sunrise.
 
Lombo Gordo Beach
In order to get there, we need to make our way down a winding road lined with hydrangeas, palm trees and sugarcane, and then cross two rivers to get to the car park. From there, we set off on foot, coming across cascading waters and even a bridge over the river before arriving at the beach.
 
Vista dos Barcos Belvedere
This was the first place from where boats from the East used to be sighted. Travelling south, it is situated after Vila de Nordeste.
 
Arnel Belvedere and Lighthouse
Situated near Vila de Nordeste. From the belvedere we have a beautiful view of the coast and the lighthouse, the first and the biggest on the Azores.
 
Salto da Farinha Belvedere
Situated close to the parish of Salga. From this belvedere you can see an impressive waterfall of ferrous water.
 
Pedra dos Estorninhos Belvedere
After Salto de Farinha, further ahead, we make our way down towards the sea on foot. There is a vast and beautiful view of the sea and the picnic area.
 
Bartolomeu Peak
On the climb up, we can take in the majestic landscape.
 
Tronqueira Sierra
From its belvedere, we can look out onto the grandeur of the hydrological basin of Ribeira do Guilherme, as well as the purest and most well preserved areas of laurissilva, the endemic laurel vegetation in the Region. This is the last refuge of the Azorean Bullfinch.
 
Ribeira do Guilherme
This river is situated in a valley, and on one of its banks you can see the Botanical Garden of Ribeira do Guilherme, which is surrounded by yet another garden that boasts waterfalls, a swan pond and a windmill that has been restored. Along the last part of the river, at Boca da Ribeira, there is a Camping Site and a saltwater pool, which can be reached by a steep road.
 
The Achada Waterfall
Two waterfalls come together, forming a single one, whose waters then flow under the road. On the other side of the road, there is a small leisure area, with restored windmills and spots for picnicking.
 
The Nordeste Bridge
It was built in 1882, in the very heart of the Town. With its seven arches and an iron balustrade, it is one of the biggest and most beautiful on the Island
 
The St George Mother Church
Destroyed in 1522, it was rebuilt in the 18th century. Inside, the alternating colour of the basalt square pillars along the three naves is suggestive. Images of the former Franciscan convent have been kept, among which there is a 16th-century image of its patron saint.
 
The Town Hall
A fine example of 19th-century civil architecture.
 
The Nordeste Museum
An ethnographic museum with traditional agricultural objects, a traditional kitchen, pottery from Vila Franca, china from Lagoa, traditional costumes, a weaver’s loom and handicrafts in linen, ancient roof tiles and a section of Sacred Art.
 
Casa de Trabalho de Nordeste (The Nordeste Handicraft Centre)
This is the biggest and most representative such centre on the Island of São Miguel. Here people are taught traditional handicrafts such as, embroidery and how to weave rugs, bedspreads and blankets – from wool and linen, as well as from cut offs.
 
 
Ribeira Grande
Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire)
From the Pico do Fogo Belvedere, we can enjoy a magnificent view over the Lagoa do Fogo, one of the most beautiful lakes on the Island.
 
Caldeira Velha (Old Hot Spring)
A spring of thermal water cascading into a natural pool, where you can enjoy a dip in warm, ferrous waters.
 
Caldeiras da Ribeira Grande (The Ribeira Grande Hot Springs)
Not far from the city of Ribeira Grande lies Caldeiras, a place with clear signs of volcanic activity, where a stew similar to that of Furnas is made.
 
Salto do Cabrito
A lovely waterfall of 38 metres.
 
Vale das Lombadas
On the road to Caldeiras, we can take a detour to Lombadas and its thermal water springs, where we are struck by the sheer lush vegetation.
 
The Santa Iria Belvedere
From this belvedere, we can take in the spectacular view over the Island’s north coast.
 
Ladeira Velha
Ladeira Velha is on the way to Porto Formoso, along the regional road. In the past it was a very fashionable place to spend the summer, and was known for its medicinal spas.
 
Praia dos Moinhos (Windmill Beach)
Situated in the parish of Porto Formoso and very popular during the swimming season, it is one of the few beaches along the north coast.
 
Lagoa de São Brás (São Brás Lake)
After passing by the parish of São Brás, there is a detour to the right that leads us to this Lake at an altitude of 700 metres, nestled between pastures and woods. It’s a small and little-known lake, but it makes for a lovely walk.
 
The Gorreana Tea Factory
This factory dates back to 1883 and is the only one which never stopped running. It produces green tea and three types of black tea, which are much appreciated for their aroma and taste.
During a visit to the tea factory, we can see how the different types of tea are manufactured, and at the end appreciate their aroma.
 
The Porto Formoso Tea Factory
Recently restored, this factory’s premises are very pleasant. At the end of our visit, we can enjoy a nice cup of tea in the tea room or – weather permitting – on the porch, from where there is a beautiful view of the parish of Porto Formoso.
 
The Town Hall
A typical example of Azorean civil architecture.
 
Children’s Paradise Park
This park boasts a small bridge dating back to 1520, and to the west there is the 19th-century bridge with its eight arches, the ex-libris of the city. We can also find the former dungeons, which have now been turned into a Tourism Post and the Windmill Museum.
 
The Mother Church of Our Lady of the Star
Originally Manueline in design, this church was rebuilt in the baroque style, and is classified as a place of public interest. The vestry houses a small museum of sacred art, and the church also has an Arcanum (hundreds of figurines representing 71 scenes of the Old and New Testaments, made between 1836 and 1856 in poly-chromatic rice flour and gum Arabic).
 
The Church of the Holy Spirit
Unparalleled on the island, in the region – and in fact in the country – it is a fine example of the playful nature of baroque and the pleasure of breaking conventional rules. It has a convex façade and no main door – instead there are two portals crowned by two windows. In contrast, the church is very simple inside with its separate twin naves.
 
The St Francis Church and Convent
It was converted into the Hospital da Misericórdia (Welfare Hospital), and currently houses the Health Centre. A serene baroque cloister alone was spared.
 
Church of Our Lady of the Conception
It has a magnificent main altar and extremely rare dossals in the pulpits, in jacaranda imitating lacework.
 
Casa Municipal da Cultura (The Municipal House of Culture)
It has an ethnographic section with art and traditional crafts, as well as a moving nativity scene dating back to 1915. There is also a museum centre with glazed tiles and ceramics, as well as sacred art exhibits in the chapel. Furthermore, the Casa da Cultura also offers documentation services and help with all collections.
 
Fábrica de Cerâmica Micaelense (The São Miguel Ceramic Factory)
It has a wide variety of regional craft work, such as pieces made from fish scales, blankets and rugs, lace and embroidery, sieves, clay pans and wickerwork, in addition to the various ceramic pieces produced in the factory.
 
Teatro Ribeiragrandense (The Ribeira Grande Theatre)
Situated in the city centre, this building was inaugurated in 1919 and has been recently restored.