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Santa Maria, Portugal

Poço da Pedreira

Rainwater transformed this old quarry into a peaceful pond you won't find in most tourist books. 

Sheer cliffs dip into a tranquil pond, accessible after a pleasant hike through stretches of greenery. It’s a picturesque spot you won’t often see in the tourist books.

This spot was once a quarry. People extracted red stone from the Earth, which was later used in construction projects throughout the island. Because Santa Maria (an island in Portugal’s Azores Islands) is a volcanic island, it has an abundance of the fiery-hued basaltic rock.

After the quarry was closed, nature took control of the site and began transforming the scarred earth into a place of serenity. Rainwater began pooling in a depression beneath the cliffs, creating a small pond backdropped by strikingly steep rock walls topped with tufts of flora.

Picnic benches plopped atop the grass that has sprouted up all around the pond offer relaxing spaces to sit and enjoy a picnic. Hikers can spend the afternoon soaking up the leisurely atmosphere around the pond and taking in the views of the island’s breathtaking scenery. An additional pedestrian route takes explorers behind the site, leading to an endpoint that offers a birds-eye view of the pond.