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  • Writer's pictureRita Cardoso

S. Miguel, Açores | Lagoa do Fogo - Trilho Praia da Lagoa do Fogo

Lagoa do Fogo, Fire Lagoon. The beautiful Lagoa do Fogo, to me one of the most beautiful if not the most beautiful of São Miguel and perhaps the Azores and the whole of Portugal. I know, I'm raising your expectations a lot, but it's just my opinion.

This is the highest lagoon on the island of S. Miguel and the second largest, with 1360 acres. It is integrated in the volcanic massif of Serra de Água de Pau, located in the central area of ​​the island. The lagoon, and its fauna and flora are protected inside the collapsed volcanic caldera of the Fogo Volcano, or also known as the Água de Pau Volcano. This volcano is the most recent of all its neighbors, about 15,000 years old, the last collapse, which gave the current shape to the caldera was about 5,000 years ago. The last eruption was in 1563, and is asleep today. Because it is in a caldera on top of a mountain, some of its walls have a maximum height of 300 meters and the lagoon is 30 meters deep in its maximum depth.

For all these reasons of scientific importance, it was classified as a Nature Reserve in 1974 and is integrated as a protected landscape by the Rede Natura 2000 and its beautiful blue waters helped it being elected one of the 7 Wonders – Beaches of Portugal®, in the Wild Beaches category.

There are two main viewpoints to enjoy the beauty of Lagoa do Fogo, Miradouro da Barrosa and the other I don't know if it has a name, but let's call it Lagoa do Fogo Viewpoint, I guess some people also call it Miradouro da Barrosa, like the higher one. The viewpoints have beautiful views, but for me, the true beauty of Lagoa do Fogo, was on the trail to see it closer.

To access this trail, you will have to park at the Lagoa do Fogo viewpoint, and from there, next to the wall, you will find the trail. This route is all arranged and prepared for those who want to go. It has wooden planks making steps in steeper areas and it has stairs in areas where it would be almost necessary to climb. I would not say that it is an easy or accessible route, it depends a lot on the level of physical preparation and mobility of each one, it is narrow and has high steps, but each one of them is worth it. It took me about 15, 20 minutes to go down, more, if we count the stops for photos. And to come up, it took me about 25, 30 minutes, because I had to catch my breath a few times and I had to stop to recover, or take some pictures.

So, the trail starts at the viewpoint, it descends to the first beach, then turns to the left to the second beach. We walked a little further and stopped to observe the nature quietly, only a family of three farther away fishing in the lagoon kept us company, as we went very early. We replenished our energies, ate a snack and drank the water we brought. When we started to see more and more people arriving at the beach, we saw that it was time to go back. To return, in the impossibility of going around the lagoon, you always have to do the same way in reverse. It is a little narrow, so if you are very tired and slow like me, give way to those who are behind, and in times of Covid, wear a mask on the area of ​​caldera’s wall.

I have a thousand adjectives to describe this lagoon and its landscape, and I really don't know which ones are better. So, I leave you with some pictures and you will know better.


  • Check the weather before going, Spotazores with live cameras, this lagoon, being higher, tends to accumulate more fog and / or low clouds, making it difficult to see. I advise you to check the site early in the morning and have everything ready to go on the trail if the weather is good. We went around 8 am and it was worth it as we were able to enjoy the place without people around.

  • Footwear suitable for walking, with good grip on damp ground.

  • Clothing suitable for walking, top part by layers, clouds can suddenly appear and it can get cold or even rain.

  • Bring food and water, there is nothing around the lagoon.

  • Protect the environment, leave no garbage or marks from your presence there and do not bring anything with you, the lagoon needs its vegetation and its stones.

  • Respect the trail markings, do not take shortcuts to avoid damaging protected species.

Click here to see my list of suggestions of places to visit in S. Miguel.


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