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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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 São Miguel (I’m guessing that may be the reason you’re reading this post) and you want to seek out the best photo spots on the island, 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.
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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.