Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire) is a crater lake within the Água de Pau Massif volcano in the center of the island. It is also the highest lake located on São Miguel and protected nature reserve. The volcano is the youngest on the island, formed approximately 15 million years ago, and its last eruption occurred in 1563.
Paved road goes to the top of the hill overlooking the lake, but there are also many hiking trails around the lake. Between the crater wall and lake is a shallow beach and water in the lake is swimmable. This lake (and the drive there) offers the most beautiful scenery on the island.
This place is located on the highest point on the São Miguel Island and offers superb views to the sea on every side – as does the hiking trails around and into the crater. This fire lagoon really is a true treat for outdoor enthusiasts.
Narrow, uneven and rocky path leads down to the lake and it continues on the beach going round the lake. I would not recommend this for someone with limited mobility or young children. In my opinion, Lagoa do Fogo lake is one of the most beautiful destinations in the São Miguel Island, if not the most beautiful, and should not be missed when visiting the Azores.
Many endemic Azorean plant species grow within the lake and caldera flanks, including the tall Azores juniper. When walking down the path into the crater, you can see also many rare ferns and club mosses, ivy, heather, laurel and Azorean holly – a rich flora of different color and texture.
Unlike the other crater lakes or lagoons in São Miguel, the water in the Lagoa do Fogo is swimmable. Thus, after or in the middle of the sweaty hike, you can take a swim in the cold and refreshing water of the lake and enjoy the staggering landscape from down below.
3 Tips for Lagoa do Fogo
- You need to rent a car to get to the lake
- Remember to bring water bottles with you, there are no kiosks or stores anywhere near
- The path leading down to the beach is quite steep as is the climb back, so you have to be in medium or good shape physically