After firmly making a decision (or perhaps just not deciding) to not island hop, we headed out for the remote east coast of Sao Miguel island. The trip would provide us with views of remote, untouched natural beauty, while keeping us on our toes with some crazy roads.
First we headed north out of Ponta Delgada towards Cha Gorreana, the only tea plantation in Europe. Situated on the edge of the Atlantic, with views Drake would die for, it produces roughly 33 tons of tea per year.
Our tour included the plantation and the manufacturing plant. It seems like a throwback to “olden times,” as its mostly still done by hand. The tour also include free samples of the tea, which as you would guess, were delicious.
From the plantation, we set out eastward, and were quickly in the thick of a series of switchbacks that would last the rest of the day. Small towns dotted the drive, and each one seemed precariously perched on the edge of a cliff.
The drive may have only been about 40km, but it took us more than a few hours… both for the views as much as for the roads. The really neat thing was that each viewpoint had a perfectly manicured garden with covered tables and bbq grills. (Take note of the road map pictures in the gallery below.)