There is no shortage of stunning natural beauty on São Miguel, the largest island of the Azores. But no view on the island feels quite as spectacularly overwhelming as that of the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno.
Located at the end of a hiking trail, the Miradouro da Boca do Inferno vista point offer perhaps the most magnificent view on the island. At the end of a dirt trail that seems to soar off into the sky as the land falls away to either side, you are rewarded with a panoramic view primarily overlooking the massive volcanic caldera of Sete Cidades and the eponymous village nestled alongside the crater lake.
Although there are hiking trails leading to the vista, the easiest way to get there is to drive to a parking lot at the base of the view and then hike the last quarter of a mile. The hike itself is relatively easy, and there are steps provided up the side of the mountain.
To reach the lot, drive along EN1-1A west out of Ponta Delgada until you see signs for a turn off on your right for EN9-1A. Stay on EN9-1A and you will pass an abandoned hotel before having Sete Cidades appear below you on your left. You will see signs pointing EN9-1A towards a left for Sete Cidades; instead, keep straight for about 1.5 miles until you reach your first left. Take that along the earthen track through the trees, and you will eventually find a lot where you can park. The trail for the vista starts here.
The lake outside of Sete Cidades is definitely the main attraction here; bisected by a bridge, and in the right light, the one lake appears to actually be two lakes mixing their blue and green waters together. For this reason Lagoa das Sete Cidades is also known as Lagoa Verde (Green Lake) and Lagoa Azul (Blue Lake).
Aside from Sete Cidades, this viewpoint also allows you to see the smaller crater lakes of Lagoa Rasa, Lagoa Santiago, and glimpses of the Atlantic beyond the cliffs ringing the calderas on the opposite sides.
What is perhaps most amazing about this view is that, due to the constant shifting of perspectives, the glimpses of the Atlantic beyond almost appear as if they are floating upwards to meet the sky. For me, at least, the vista gave me a sense of anti-vertigo, as if everything in the view was weightless and able to float peacefully.
If you have limited time in the Azores, this is a definite must see.