Casa Sillanova, Salga and the Pico da Vara
Location:
Lomba de São Pedro is located in the calm northeastern part of São Miguel, where the main livelihood is agriculture.
There, at the steep coast between Porto Formoso and Nordeste, you will find the greater part of the island`s hiking trails, which fortunately are generally spared from hordes of tourists. One of the most spectacular trails was inaugurated by the end of 2018 and passes the house.
The highest peak of São Miguel -
Pico da Vara - is very close, as well as the natural reserve around the raised moor Planalto dos Graminhais, the hot springs of Furnas and many sensational lookouts (Miradouros) , which are not completely listed in the tourist maps - like, for instance, the three accessible waterfalls of the hiking trail in Lomba de São Pedro. You can reach any of them within a 15 minutes walk from the accomodation.
Hired car:
Although the island is rather small (length 65 km / 40.4 mi), a hired car is vital, if you want to enjoy the natural wonders of São Miguel. It is recommended to book it as early as possible, best along with the flight, because it is very expensive to hire a car on arrival. You will find good offers on websites like e.g. kayak.com or rentalcars.com. There are public means of transport available, but those connect villages and cities and not viewpoints and hiking trails.
SUV or 4WD cars are not necessary, the streets are well developed. A navigator is useless, because many street names are not registered correctly. We recommend to take along the road map of São Miguel at the airport. Just ask for it at the rental car counter or the tourist info point.
Hiking
There are several coastal hiking trails in close proximity to Lomba de São Pedro. As already mentioned, one of them starts directly at the Casa Sillanova. In a distance of less than 10 driving minutes, you will find at least five marked hiking trails, which are partly combinable. If you drive for 30 minutes at most, you can walk a different trail on every single day for two weeks. A lot of new trails have been created lately, especially in the northeastern region. Those are not yet listed in pertinent hiking guides. Tour descriptions are on display at the tourist info points in Ribeira Grande,
Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões (Achada) and Nordeste. See more at the index »São Miguel« .
Swimming:
There are various bathing bays around the island. Water temperatures are comfortable from May/June up to November, but low waves will be seen mainly in July and August. Air temperature will be even in summer not over 21-25°C (70-77°F), but direct sunlight and humidity will make you feel a distinctively higher temperature (>30°C / 86°F). UV-light irraditaion is always very high, even when it is a little cloudy.
Sunscreen with high sun protection factor is obligatory, as well as thongs (hot!).
Particularly in August (school vacation), all beaches are well-attended. On a cloudless summer day you will hardly find a parking space at e.g. Porto Formoso beach in the afternoon.
The closest unattended beach is approx. 5 minutes by car
(Praia da Viola in Lomba da Maia). The next one is well protected from surge waves in Maia (<10 min), where you also can find natural rock basins for snorkeling (Piscinas Naturais). The next beach with bar/café is Praia Porto Formoso (15 min). At the south side of the island are various beaches, e.g in Ribeira Quente (30 min) or Água de Alto (40 min). In Nordeste (15 min) is a nice natural water pool, which is independent from surge. Furthermore swimming pools and city beaches in Ribeira Grande (25 min). Furnas (20 min) allows all-year bathing in hot pools (39°C / 102°F), Ferraria (ca. 70 min) even in the sea (low tide only).
Shopping:
Commonly, vacationers are on the road all day long, so it is consequential to buy food and other stuff en route. Big supermarkets outside the capital are situated in Ribeira Grande, distance 25 km (15.5 mi), which takes approx. 25 minutes to drive. There`s a small discounter in Lomba da Fazenda (15 min direction Nordeste), some shops in Maia (10 min), one in Lomba da Maia (7 min) and a little shop in Fenais da Ajuda (4 min), which, by the way, is not more expensive than the big ones. There is also a combined mini-market without self-service and café/bar in Lomba de São Pedro. Mini-markets can be found in almost every village, but those are not widely assorted. Fresh fish and meat will not be available. Moreover, Lomba de São Pedro is approached by delivery trucks for bread, vegetables and fish, which call attention to themselves every day.
Fresh fish and meat is preferably bought in Ribeira Grande. Either at the supermarket »Continente« or even better at the fish shop and the central butcher
(Talho Central). Over the way of those is a well assorted greencrocer`s, offering cheap seasonal/regional products. An overview including maps is »HERE« .
If needed, we have space in our freezer or can take something along when we go shopping.
Eating out:
Azorean cuisine is plain and hearty. Even though inexpensive and always available, fish is not eaten very frequently, except for
Bacalhau (dried cod) stew. Shellfish is not in place, except for Lapas (limpets) and sometimes Lulas (squid) resp. Polvo (octopus). After all, there are no conches to be found at the beach. If fish is only a part of the menu of a standard restaurant, it`s often fried through and dry. Due to that, it`s better to go to a designated fish restaurant, or - which is even better - prepare it on your own, e.g. on the barbecue in the patio of the Casa Sillanova.
Typical snacks are
Bifana (pork chops) and Prego resp. Bitoque (beef), which are served inside a small bread (no pão) or on a plate (no prato) with french fries and rice. The meat is typically marinated with the ubiquitous sweet pepper sauce (ground sweet pepper + salt). Moreover, you will find Torresmo (pork ribs resp.pork belly), Costoleta do Novilho (young bull`s chop - very good!) and Hamburguer (if you order no prato, it`s a patty without bread, but french fries and rice). The culinary art is commonly a matter of price. A low-price Hamburguer in a snack bar will mostly be instant meat from the freezer.
Azoreans prefer to go out for lunch, only, from 12 am till 2 or 3 pm. That is why there are not too many authentic restaurants or
cantinas, which serve dinner. Dinner restaurants are usually more expensive. With increasing frequency you can find buffet restaurants, in which typical »micelense« food can be tried for less than 10 Euro. Lunch only, of course, but it pays, because it`s the same food that people cook at home. Azorean families use to go out for lunch on Sunday, so it`s recommended to do a reservation for that day of the week!
Restaurants nearby
without intending to be exhaustive. Travel times are driving times:
Salga (3 min): Moagem is a pizza parlor (lunch up to dinner), directly at the entrance to the village. Heavy pizza topping »Azorean« style, real good flavor and very cheap as well.
Achadinha (5 min): Os Melos. Buffet lunch (reservation for the weekend recommended!) every day and dinner à la carte. Very reasonably buffet price, hearty and good. The adjacent Poço Azul offers buffet lunch and à la carte dinner as well.
Lomba da Maia (7 min): O Cordeirinho. Excellent restaurant with very reasonable pricing. Reservations for dinner recommended. If you go for lunch, ask for the Prato do Dia (daily dish), which is not listed on the menu. Plain, typical food, but decidedly good cooking. Unfortunately it`s closed on Monday and on Sunday evening.
Maia (10 min): O Sagitário. Good restaurant for grilled fish, lunch and dinner. A little expensive, but worth it and a nice seaview-terrace to sit.
São Brás (10 min): O Emigrante. Plain but good regional food for very reasonable prices. Lunch and dinner. If the restaurant looks closed, try the entrance to the bar on the left side of the building.
Porto Formoso (12 min): O Amaral. Fresh fish, only, for lunch and dinner. Not a bargain, but worth it.
Furnas (15 min): There are several Restaurants, open for lunch and dinner.
Lomba da Fazenda (15 min): Casa de Pasto O Cardoso. Very good and reasonably priced local dishes for lunch. Open for dinner within the summer season as well. Reservation is not necessarily needed, but recommended in summer.
Nordeste (20 min): Restaurante Tronqueira. Quite good buffet restaurant, lunch and dinner.
Ribeira Grande (25 min): Faria. Bar and lunchroom with real authentic home cooking. Loud, cheap, no English menu but damned fine. »Here« you find an excerpt of a menu with translation.
Residencial Ribeira Grande is some minutes to walk from the center - opposite to a school - and offers probably São Miguel`s best daily lunch (and dessert!) buffet, 12 am - 3 pm.
A snack bar with excellent value for money, which almost could be a restaurant, is named
Carlos Feire. Bifana resp. Prego no pão are highly recommended.
Connoisseurs of cakes and desserts should plan to visit
A Merenda and try Pão de Deus (god`s bread).
Moreover, there are some more restaurants, which are open in the evening (e.g. Monte Verde, O Silva). Look up
»here«.
Santana (Rabo de Peixe) (30 min): Restaurante Assoçiação Agricola. The best steakhouse of the island, always open. Reservation for dinner recommended. Not cheap, but worth it. You might also try our favourite dessert: Pudim de Chá.
Rabo de Peixe (35 min): O Pescador. Designated fish restaurant, lunch and dinner, reservation useful.
Botequim Açoriano is a restaurant with good fish, dinner and lunch, reservation recommended.
Ponta Garça (40 min): Scorpion Café. It`s an insider`s tip for lunch and dinner. A bar/café with small dining room in the back and excellent home cooked dishes. Big servings, good taste and low prices.
View to the west
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