Sete Cidades Travel Guide | Wandering Portugal

Sete Cidades is a volcanic lake on the island of São Miguel in the Azores. It’s one of the Earth’s beauty spots, and like most, volcanic in origin.

Wandering Portugal  >  articles

sete cidades picture
Sete Cidades looking down into the caldera.

Sete Cidades refers to seven cities (or tribes). It’s one of the Earth’s beauty spots, and like most, volcanic in origin. It’s in the Azores Island chain.

This beautiful hunk of volcanic goodness is located about 16 miles away from Ponta Delgada on the western end of São Miguel Island. Expect the drive to be 30–40 minutes long by car. If you don’t have a car, there are said to be rather unreliable buses from Ponte Delgada. You may wish to consider a Sete Cidades Tour.

milk truck, sete cidades
Sete Cidades Milk Delivery System

Is the area rural? Well, cows graze the slopes—and you might be surprised to find out that milk is one of the top export products of the Azores, centered on the island of São Miguel. Folks transport raw milk, which is immediately tested by scientists, to small stations in the country, often by horse-drawn cart, as you see in the picture. It’s made into cheese, butter, and powdered milk for export. Of course, you can just pour yourself a glass—it’s excellent stuff.

azores sete cidades picture
Sete Cidades shopping picture

Although I toured Sete Cidades by car, I can imagine it would make a fine place to hike, so peppered with picture points you’d never stop clicking that shutter—and the weather patterns help change the backdrop at a moment’s notice, according to Jacob Odencrantz:

The effects of the combination of high altitudes and the powerful weather patterns of the mid-Atlantic are as much something to experience as are the spectacular heights, gorgeous shores and green valleys of the Azores.


To stay on the island of São Miguel: São Miguel Lodging

Sete Cidades top picks for lodging: Sete Cidades Lodging

The top-rated Sete Cidades Lake Lodge offers just what I like, a rustic, lakeside retreat, spitting distance to the lake, kayaks offered to skim its glistening surface. Just the thing for that “get away from it all” island vacation.

Sete Cidades Lake Lodge

Location of the town of Sete Cidades and the Lakes:

View Larger Map

More Articles on the Azores Islands

Azores Islands Weather & Historic Climate

Azores Islands Map & Guide

Ancient Rock Art found on Terceira Island

Categories Azores, Regions of Portugal

Sete Cidades Travel Guide originally appeared on , updated: May 23, 2024 © .