There are so many incredible places to visit on the island of São Miguel, and the natural pools of Ponta da Ferraria should not be missed. Ponta da Ferraria reveals incredible beauty as it is the meeting point of the thermal waters of the Atlantic Ocean with the unique volcanic landscapes of the region, a true force of Azorean nature. It’s a unique experience, as thanks to the thermal springs, you can feel the ocean water quite warm, almost like an open-air spa.
About the pools
Located on the west coast of São Miguel Island, specifically in the parish of Ginetes, municipality of Ponta Delgada, Ponta da Ferraria is a protected geosite with a fascinating history deeply tied to the unique geological features of the region. It was formed a long time ago when the hot lava from a volcano descended into the sea, causing steam explosions. These natural pools are primarily famous for their natural thermal waters located on the coastline, directly next to the Atlantic Ocean. The atmosphere at this site boasts pure harmony, with a contrast between the blue of the sea and the dark tones of the basaltic rocks. In other words, it’s a place where the warm water, heated by volcanic steam, mixes with the cold seawater in a small cove, forming a natural pool.
The origin of the thermal waters at Ponta da Ferraria dates back to subaquatic volcanic activities in the region. Seawater infiltrates the fissures in the Earth’s crust and comes into contact with the very hot volcanic rocks, warming up in the process. The natural thermal pools are formed as this heated water emerges to the surface and mixes with the cold ocean waters. The water can reach temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, providing a place of relaxation and serenity while enjoying a soothing bath and feeling the ocean waves crashing against the rocks.
What it’s like to visit these pools
Visiting the natural pools of Ponta da Ferraria is simply one of the highlights of any trip to São Miguel, as it’s a unique experience. When the tide is high, the water is comfortably warm, but when the tide is low, the water can become excessively hot. The best time to visit is when the tide is rising or falling. Even on rainy or cold days, these natural pools maintain their temperature and continue to provide a pleasant experience for visitors.
Midway between the parking lot and the pool area, there are free changing rooms and bathrooms. Additionally, there is a restaurant where you can have lunch/dinner or buy small snacks. Near the pools, you will find the Ferraria Thermal Baths, which are perfect for visitors who prefer a calmer and controlled experience. Please note that this is a paid service (you can check the prices here).
✅ Points to consider when visiting the pools:
- There is a spacious parking lot about a 5-minute walk from the natural pools, and the path to reach the pools involves stairs.
- Pay close attention to the ground, as the rocks can be slippery when wet.
- While there is a lifeguard on site, it’s important to be aware that the currents can be strong. If you don’t know how to swim, it’s best not to take unnecessary risks. During the winter or on days when the sea is rough, the waves can be quite strong and dangerous.
- Free access! One of the most positive aspects of this attraction is that, besides being a unique experience, it’s completely free.
⏰ Opening times:
- Open 24 hours (however, it’s not recommended to visit these pools at night as there is no visibility).
The natural pools of Ponta da Ferraria are truly a magical place that offers visitors a unique relaxation experience in the thermal waters on a seaside location by the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re looking for a different experience on the island of São Miguel, don’t miss the chance to visit the Terra Nostra Park and take a dip in the thermal water pool, which is rich in iron and other highly beneficial minerals for the skin.