The Furnas Valley is actually a dormant volcanic caldera. There is plenty of geothermal activity, including bubbling, steaming fumaroles alongside Furnas (caldera) Lake.
Fumaroles are like mini volcanos that are dotted around the landscape. These have been adapted so that local restaurants can lower cooking pots into holes. The pots contain a meat-and-vegetable stew called cozido.
We drove from the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel to Furnas Lake in under ten-minutes. The side of the lake that has the fumaroles has an admission charge of just a few Euros – there is a large car park.
Raised walkways allow visitors to view the fumarole landscape, without melting their shoes. Apparently, there is a daily show, where the cooking pots are lowered or raised.
It was great to be able to wander the empty walkways – I’m sure they are busier during the cooking demonstration and in summer.
The lake is beautiful.
Those wanting to climb the hill and see a waterfall must pay an additional fee.
The main attraction in Furnas is the Terra Nostra Garden, but if you are in the area, make some time to visit Furnas Lake and the fumaroles.
Furnas is a small town on the southeast side of São Miguel Island, about 50km (31mi) from the capital city of Ponta Delgada. We flew TAP Air Portugal from Prague, via Lisbon to Ponta Delgada, where we stayed at the Grand Hotel Açores Atlântico. We rented a car from local company Wayzor, drove to Furnas and stayed in the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel.