The Ribeira dos Caldeirões is a park in the beautiful settings of old water mills, waterfalls and local vegetation. The scenery is dominated by the steep canyon as well as the exotic flora. Walking trails go up and down next to the waterfalls, streams and historical water mills.
Located in the beautiful region of Nordeste, the Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park (Parque Natural dos Caldeirões) shows the natural beauty of the northeast side of the astonishing São Miguel Island on its best. With its gurgling Caldeirões stream, cascading waterfalls and bursts of colorful hydrangeas, it is an idyllic spot for adventurous hikers and a charming place for stroll or picnic with plenty of photo opportunities.
The park is known for its historical water mills. There used to be at least hundred water mills in the São Miguel Island. Now there are only seven left that are brought into this valley from several places. Five of them are traditional water mills and two are miller houses. However, old as they are – one of the mills continues to work, and can be observed by visitors. One of them is transformed into an ethnographical museum.
The park is heaven for photography enthusiasts since has endless amount of picturesque spots along the way of rock-cut paths that wind through the mountains. For more adventurous people there are also beautiful but not-so-easy-to-walk rainforest trails to explore. Additionally, the looming cliffs and lush rainforest offer the ideal terrain for canyoning and rappelling activities.
The valley where the park lies reflects the great natural beauty of this territory that charms the visitors in a minute. The gorge has abundant and quite diversified vegetation along with the crystalline fresh waters of the stream. Many endemic plant species, such as rockrose, holly, juniper and shrub, can be seen here.
3 Tips for The Ribeira dos Caldeirões
- Due to the humidity and rainfall in the valley, the walking paths can be very slippery
- One miller house has the reception where you can buy some drinks and food
- During the high tourist season, the park can be crowded and the parking place full