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Sao Miguel

Recommendations for 6 adults and 3 toddlers for hotel/resort on Sao Miguel north shore for next June - preferably with a pool and near the beach

Posted by
124 posts

We stayed at the Grand Hotel Acores Atlantico in April 2023. The hotel has an indoor pool, which we made use of. The hotel also has a breakfast buffet, which was decent, and we dined in both the restaurant and the lobby bar/bistro, and both were great. Across the street from the hotel were the ocean and a spot where cruise liners dock, and while we were there, a US Coast Guard boat. The "downtown" of Sao Miguel is basically right where the hotel is, so that we could walk to places. When we wanted to do more exploration, we booked a tour, which turned out to be a private tour for just our family as no one else booked. I'll be honest of our time in Portugal, I was the least impressed with Sao Miguel out of all the places we visited (Lisbon, Porto, & Madeira).

Posted by
6411 posts

...and near the beach

Beach? What beach?

There are surprisingly few actual "beaches" in the Azores. At least, a "beach" that most of us would recognize as such. Much of the coastline in the Azores is volcanic rock (sharp, unforgiving stuff that you probably don't want to be walking on in bare feet), often rising steeply from the sea. Yes, there are some beaches scattered around, but none with sugar-fine, white sand like most of us think of when we dream of a nice beach. The beaches that do exist are mostly coarse volcanic rock, and darker, than the beaches of our dreams. People do swim there.

I spent a week on Sao Miguel in 2021 (and I absolutely loved the place). We drove all around that island (and 5 others), and I think I do remember seeing a beach of sorts (dark gray, coarse, volcanic sand) somewhere on the south coast, east of Ponta Delgada, and while the locals seemed to enjoy it, it's not a beach I'd get excited about.

Honestly, if you're going to the Azores for the beaches, you might want to give your plans some more thought. It's not a beachy place and I would not go there with the expectation of carefree beach swimming. Lots of other good reasons to go, but beach time would not be on my list. We were in the Azores for 3 weeks, went all over 6 of the 9 islands, and I don't think we ever set foot once on anything that most people would recognize as a "beach." We jumped in the ocean more than a few times (it was somewhat colder than I expected, though tolerable - might be on the cool side in June), and we did enjoy several of what the locals call "natural swimming pools" which are hardened lava flows along the shore that get exposed to tidal seawater, forming pools you can swim in. That was interesting - but decidedly not "beachy" (and probably not very suitable for toddlers, if you give that a try, be very careful: sharp rocks, surging ocean waves, 'nuff said).

It's an interesting place, but not for its beaches.