Hidden in the center of São Miguel island, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, rests a shimmering blue crater lake known simply as Lagoa de Fogo or “Lake of Fire.”
At 3 km long and 2.5 km wide, the Lagoa de Fogo is one of the largest bodies of water in Portugal’s Azores region. The lake rests in the central caldera of the Água de Pau Massif, which is the youngest volcano on the island. Formed more than 15,000 years ago, the last recorded eruption of Água de Pau Massif occurred back in the 1500s.
Today, the stunning lake is protected by the Portuguese government, which bans construction from unfolding around the lake in an effort to keep this historical volcano lake untouched and pristine.
Know Before You Go
Before heading to the lake, make sure to check the weather! Visibility of the Lagoa de Fogo changes dramatically with the shifting weather. Travelers should also wear layers, solid footwear, and bring snacks and water when heading to the lake.
There are three main ways to enjoy the lake. The first is to drive up to the Miradouro da Barrosa and Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo main viewpoints. The second is to hike around the lake, which takes an average of four hours and 11 km. The third way to enjoy the like is a shorter hike from the Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo viewpoint, you can walk down a steep trail that will get you to the lake, which takes about an hour.