Located very close to the Furnas boilers, Parque Grená is a recent attraction that only opened to the public in 2019. All the visitors will undoubtedly be enchanted by incredible places to explore such as waterfalls, extraordinary views, wild vegetation,… it looks like an enchanted forest .
Parque Grená is located on the island of São Miguel in Azores. It is right next to the boilers of the Furnas Lagoon, a place that is known by the pots with the stew placed under the ground for cooking. However, to enter this area it’s necessary to pay 3€ per person (it’s only free for residents in Azores). Unfortunately, Parque Grená has no agreement to prevent its visitors from paying this amount, but then, they discount it on the ticket price (it turns out to be fair). There is an enormous free car park near the boilers where you can leave your car. After that, the entrance to Parque Grená is a 5-minute walk.
The history of the Grená property dates back to 1832 when Vines, an English consul in Ponta Delgada, acquired the land around the Furnas lagoon. In 1858 he decided to build a summer house on the property to which he gave the name Grená to honor his wife who had spent several summers in her childhood in a family home in Ireland with that same name. After Vines’ death in 1874, the estate passed to an English surgeon from London named Hinton who died just a year later. In the following years, the property was explored as a renowned hotel on the island, but later became a private property used as a residence by the portuguese José do Canto. The name of José do Canto stands out to everyone who visits the island of São Miguel for giving the Botanical Garden its name and for being buried in the Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Vitórias in Furnas. He was an Azorean owner and intellectual who distinguished himself as a bibliophile and as an innovator of new agricultural technologies.
Several years later, in June 1987, President Mário Soares and Prime Minister Cavaco Silva were advised to buy the property to accommodate members of the government during trips to Azores. The property then passed into the hands of the government but the main purpose of the purchase wasn’t successful condemning the residence to abandonment and degradation. Several claims were made by representatives of the Azorean region regarding the abandonment of the Grená property, but it was only in 2015 and after much internal bureaucracy that the Portuguese government transferred the property to the Autonomous Region of the Azores giving it complete freedom to explore it any way they want.
In 2018, the Azorean government decided to put the land up for sale by public auction and it was acquired by a Russian businessmen who already had business in the Municipality of Povoação. The property was sold for 500 thousand euros. After the purchase, the work of cleaning, preserving nature and revitalizing the park started immediately, with more than three tons of garbage removed from the place and infrastructures built to receive visitors trying to maintaining the essence and splendor.
More than a year later, in December 2019, and with a gigantic effort to recover the beauty of the Grená property, the park was reborn and opened to the public.
Price and timetable
According to the Parque Grená website, entry for non-resident tourists in Azores costs 10€ per person , but ends up costing at 7€ since they return the 3€ that were paid to enter the Furnas boilers area. If you live in Azores, you can enter 5 times with just one ticket. In addition, children up to 5 years old do not pay.
In terms of schedules, Parque Grená is open every day from 9.30h to 18.00h, except in the months between October and March, that closes at 17.00h.
Park Map and visit duration
If you are going to visit Parque Grená go with plenty of time to get the most out of the space. There are several points of attraction that the park has to offer and I highlight two that can’t be missed: Poço do Salto da Inglesa and Vale do Grená. To reach these places, especially the first one, you must have the courage to climb more than 600 stairs. Do my legs throb? They throb and a lot. Does breathing become labored? It also checks. But is it worth all the effort? Without a doubt, yes. To see and explore the park calmly, I would say that it takes at least two hours, but if you want to enjoy and rest for a while at the various stops, you need at least three hours.
We arrived at Parque Grená at around 14.00h right after we had lunch at the Tony’s restaurant (we were almost rolling(our bellies were pleased!). We were received in a very attentive way and the employee explained the entrance fees and how the visit proceeded. In fact, we ended up not paying the entrance fee since Parque Grená was super affectionate when I contacted them because of a partnership with the blog.
The walk through the park is unreal. The entire route is made through nature with tree trunks adapted to serve as stairs and a place of passage. As we were advised at the entrance, we chose to start at point 6 (Salto da Inglesa well viewpoint) and then go to point 7 (Salto da Inglesa well). To reach point 7, it’s necessary to climb more than 600 stairs (super easy! ) But then the view to the well is surreal and makes the pain in the legs disappear. After visiting these points, we continued the route in the way we think it was the best and we pass through the Vale do Grená, Avenida dos Plátanos, the Furnas lagoon viewpoint and the Grená residence. When we arrived at the exit of the park it was 16.00h, so it took us two hours to visit the whole park.
It was an experience that we all found very funny and it was really worth it. The places you pass through are really stunning and the space is very well maintained which gives visitors a feeling of tranquility and security.
If making the route on Parque Grená is hard? Maybe a little bit, but the beauty of the places you pass through makes this a secondary issue. If you have a little extra time when visiting the island of São Miguel be sure to include this park in your itinerary. It’s an opportunity to breathe fresh air, to have contact with nature but also to burn some calories .
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