Europe, Inspiration, Portugal

How to Seek Out the Best Photo Spots on São Miguel, The Azores

August 13, 2018

Find out how I used Trover to help me plan a road trip itinerary and seek out all the best photo spots on São Miguel, The Azores.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. All this means is that if you make a purchase through one of the links I have provided, I will earn a small commission as a result but the cost to you will remain exactly the same.

When we’re planning an itinerary for a new destination, we want a good mix of sights and activities, and an opportunity to taste the local food and experience the local culture.  But at the base of it all, we want to capture some kick-ass photos of the place we’re visiting.  We want a way of documenting the memories we make there; a way of bringing those memories home with us in a quality visual format that we can share with friends and family, post on Instagram, make into a digital photo album or into a picture we can hang on our wall at home.

But – aside from serendipitous incidents, where we stumble upon an incredible viewpoint entirely by accident – how can we search out the best photo spots in any given destination?

Sure, guidebooks and travel magazines showcase some incredible photographs, but they don’t necessarily offer particularly helpful tips about where exactly you can find such scenes or landmarks, and that’s where Trover comes in.

I’ve been using Trover for a few years now, and whilst I regularly forget to post my own discoveries (although I have been attempting to remedy that lately), I find the site an invaluable resource for planning itineraries and seeking out the best photo spots in any given destination.

For those of you who’ve never used (or heard of; where have you been all this time??) Trover, the site is, in their own words:

“part gallery and part guidebook; a location-tagging and social-photo sharing experience that connects people and fuels their passion for exploration.”

Users can post photographs of their discoveries, geo-tag them, and give the reader some inside information or tips about the discovery.  For the adventurer who is looking for inspiration, there are options to explore using a number of pre-determined categories and destinations or to free-type into a search box.

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]You can download the Trover app for Android here or for iPhone here.[/box]

And if you’re someone who loves to explore castles and ancient ruins, is passionate about off-the-beaten path travel, or gets a buzz out of extreme adventures then Trover is right up your street too.  Because Trover’s users are keen travellers and explorers themselves, the discoveries you’ll find on here aren’t limited to the more well known destinations and greater travelled paths, nor are they concentrated around the most popular landmarks and activities.

I realised this when I started researching my road trip around São Miguel, the largest of nine islands that make up the Azorean archipelago.  The Azores lie 1500 kilometres off the coast of Lisbon, part the way between Portugal and Canada, and barely anyone I spoke to had even heard of them, let alone thought about visiting.

Yet Trover was packed with discoveries found there.

How to Seek Out the Best Photo Spots on São Miguel, The Azores

I started off by typing “Azores” into the search box in the top right hand corner of the page before quickly realising that Trover’s adventurers had explored the Portuguese archipelago beyond its largest island.  So I narrowed my search down to “São Miguel Island.”   If you need to narrow your search down even further (for example if you’re building an itinerary for a particular city; I used Trover to research my recent city break in Vilnius), then you can also search by city – “Ponta Delgada” – or area – “Sete Cidades” or “Ribiera Grande.”

The returned results will not be limited to that particular city or area, but they will be filtered to show you the ones closest to your search criteria first.

You then have the option of thanking users for their discoveries and/or adding them to a list that you create.

To give you some examples of what you may find, here’s a link to all the discoveries I’ve saved to my ‘São Miguel, The Azores’ list.

São Miguel, The Azores - Trover list

As users are required to geo-tag their photos, your discoveries will be arranged into a lovely little map (top left), which you can use to help you to plan your itinerary of kick-ass photo spots.

I found many of the miradouros (viewpoints) detailed in this post by using Trover.

Miradouro da Vista de los Barcos turned out to be one of my favourite photo spots on the wild, rugged, lesser-visited eastern edge of the island.  My Trover discovery is on the left, and my own photograph (which I took as a result of discovering the viewpoint on Trover) is on the right.

Miradouro da Vista de los Barcos, São Miguel

It’s possible to drive down that steep switchback you see in the photo above, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re an exceptionally competent driver!  Do go down and visit the lighthouse though, and if you rock up on a Wednesday afternoon, you’ll be treated to a guided tour – by the lighthouse keeper himself.

I added this tip when I posted my own discovery of this lighthouse.

Farol de Arnel, São Miguel

Another Trover discovery (also recommended to us by our host at the hostel we stayed at in Ponta Delgada) was the wonderful Castelo Branco.  Like the previous viewpoint, this landmark was not mentioned anywhere in my guidebook, yet not only does the watchtower present a wonderful photo opportunity in itself, but it also offers stunning views of Lake Furnas from the top of the tower.

Castelo Branco

Feeling on top of the world at Castelo Branco

View of Lake Furnas from Castelo Branco

And while we’re on the subject of lakes, it was this photo that convinced me that I had to seek out the Lagoa do Canario viewpoint in Sete Cidades:

Lagoa do Canario, São Miguel

But my next discovery is proof that the best photo spots on the island don’t necessarily have to be spectacular mountain peaks, vast lakes and rugged coastlines.

Among the 10 fun facts that I learned about São Miguel was the fact that it is home to the only tea plantation in Europe – Chá Gorreana; a tea plantation I initially discovered on Trover:

Cha Gorreana, São Miguel

Having recently hiked through the tea plantations of Munnar in Kerala, I was well aware of just how damn photogenic tea plantations are.  And so it was that I’d discovered yet another wonderful photo spot on São Miguel.

Whilst the tea plantations here are not built on the same scale as those in India, visiting them is fascinating nonetheless, and you’ll leave with a photograph of a totally unique sight in the Azores.

Chá Gorreana Tea Estate, São Miguel

Because Trover had given me so much inspiration for my trip to São Miguel, I returned and immediately began to add all of my own discoveries to the site, in order to help travellers plan their own trips and seek out all the best photo spots on the island, in the same way they had helped me.

So if you’re thinking about visiting the island (I’m guessing that may be the reason you’re reading this post) and you want to seek out the best photo spots on São Miguel, make sure you check out my discoveries in order to help you do so.

Similarly, when you’re planning your next adventure, you can browse through all of my discoveries by country, by clicking on the widget below.

If I haven’t been where you’re headed, there’s likely another Trover user who has.

View Gallop Around The Globe’s photos on Trover

If you like this article, please share it on social media using the share buttons at the top of the post.  And if you’d like to save it for reading later, why not pin to one of your Pinterest boards? Alternatively you can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ or you can look me up on Instagram or Pinterest too!

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Trover.  However I would never recommend a product or service that I do not personally use and love.  All the opinions I have expressed here are my own and are without bias.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply Kath August 13, 2018 at 9:27 PM

    Always wanted to visit there. Am so much more inspired now.

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 14, 2018 at 8:41 PM

      You absolutely should! It’s a beautiful part of the world and perfect for roadtripping 😀

  • Reply Depreston August 14, 2018 at 5:57 AM

    Thanks I will be testing out Trover soon
    Interesting read.

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 14, 2018 at 8:47 PM

      Where are you headed next? You should set up a list on Trover and start adding some discoveries to it 🙂

  • Reply Dina August 18, 2018 at 11:03 AM

    The Azores look spectacular – I have always been intrigued by Portugal’s distant islands, like Madeira and Azores. What did you think cost-wise? Is it more expensive/same/cheaper from mainland Portugal? Your photos are amazing! Thanks for the inspo! I’m right next door in Spain, so I am adding this to the bucket list.

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 18, 2018 at 5:50 PM

      Cost-wise, especially considering that a) it’s Western Europe and b) it’s an island so lots of things have to be imported, I found it really reasonable. Dining out was especially good value – I got a tuna steak in one of Ponta Delgada’s top-rated restaurants for just €10 🙂

  • Reply Stephanie August 18, 2018 at 1:49 PM

    First of all the Azores are HIGH on my list! And I’m totally bookmarking this post for that trip! Secondly, I’ve totally forgotten about Trover. I haven’t used it in years, but you’re so right, it’s a great source for planning your trip.

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 18, 2018 at 5:46 PM

      I know, I totally forget about posting to Trover a lot of the time but then remember the site all over again when I come to planning a trip 🙂

  • Reply Ameeta August 18, 2018 at 2:51 PM

    Trover sounds like an interesting app! I am glad you updated it with all the photo spots you found in the stunning São Miguel 🙂 You know what… I didn’t go all the way down to Arnel Lighthouse. Was it a long walk from the viewpoint?

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 18, 2018 at 5:44 PM

      We actually drove down! Well, my boyfriend did, I just sat there hoping the brakes worked ok! On the way back up we had to stop for some pedestrians walking in the middle of the road and almost rolled back down again when my boyfriend attempted to do a hill start! Walking down probably would’ve been a better idea 🙂

  • Reply georgie watts August 19, 2018 at 12:11 AM

    I grew up in Brazil, so am always super curious about other Portuguese speaking destinations…I’d love to make it here one day.

  • Reply Kelsey August 19, 2018 at 3:45 AM

    All these photos are fabulous! Great work!

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.