Location:
Lomba de São Pedro is located in the calm northeastern part of the island, where the main livelihood is agriculture.
There, at the steep coast between Maia and Nordeste, you will find various hiking trails, which fortunately are mostly spared from hordes of tourists.
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 waterfall of Lomba de São Pedro. This is just a 15-20 minutes hike 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. Some airlines offer hired cars for a reasonable price when booked in combination with the flight. Otherwise you will find it on websites like e.g. 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 needed, the streets are well elaborated. A satnav is useless, because most street names are not regsitered correctly. Google Maps, for example, doesn`t even know Lomba de São Pedro, yet. We recommend to take along the road map of São Miguel at the airport. Just ask for it at the rental car counter.
Hiking:
There are several coastal hiking trails in close proximity to Lomba de São Pedro. One of them starts directly at the Casa Sillanova. A lot of new trails have been created lately, especially in the northeastern region. Those are not yet listed in pertinent hiking guides. See more at visitazores.com
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. Sun milk with high sun protection factor is obligatory, as well as thongs (hot!).
Especially in August (school vacation), all beaches are well-attended. On a cloudless summer day you will hardly find a parking lot 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 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 indoor and outdoor 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) und 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 greencrocery, 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 use 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 Cantinhas, which serve dinner. These are usually more expensive. With increasing frequency you can find buffet restaurants, in which you can try typical »micelense« food 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.

Some 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, in-season also 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. Very good restaurant for a resonable price. 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.

Maia (10 min): O Sagitário. Good restaurant for grilled fish, lunch and dinner. A little bit expensive, but worth it and a nice seaview-terrace to sit.

São Brás (10 min):
Cantinho do Cais. Designated fish restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, reservation strictly recommended. Apparently, it`s meanwhile listed in guidebooks, so that some dishes have become disproportionately expensive.

Furnas (15 min): There are
several restaurants, open for lunch and dinner.

Lomba da Fazenda (15 min):
Casa de Pasto O Cardoso. Very good budget local dishes, lunch only. 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):
Faría. 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.
O Ildeberto - Residencial Ribeira Grande is some minutes by foot from the center - opposite to a school - and offers a very good daily lunch (and dessert) buffet (12 am - 3 pm) an. A snack bar with excellent value for money, which almost could be a restaurant, is named Carlos Feire. Connoisseurs of cakes and desserts should plan to visit A Merenda and try Pão de Deus (god`s bread). Very good fish at a slightly higher price level is served for lunch and dinner at the restaurant Monte Verde.
Moreover, there are some more restaurants, which are open in the evening (e.g. Alabote, O Silva, Monte Verde). 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.

Lagoa (40 min):
Restaurante Borda d'Agua. Designated fish restaurant, lunch and dinner, highly priced. Reservation in-season necessary.

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 portions, good taste and low prices.

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