Once again, when I was trying to plan out Dan and my Azores trip, I read about “the thermal springs of Ferraria,” but really could find nothing else to direct me to these “thermal springs.” This is really trend; there is nothing written about the Azores! Our tour guide to Sete Cidades also pointed them out, so I was pretty pumped about my decision to visit, even though I did not really know anything about them!
WHAT ARE THE THERMAL SPRINGS
The thermal springs of Ferraria are natural thermal springs right on the Atlantic Ocean in the western part of São Miguel Island in the Azores. The thermal springs are located at the bottom of a verrrrry steep hill, and there are two “thermal springs” – the natural (and free) springs in the ocean and the commercial spa that houses springs in a bit of a fancier setting (the cover photo!).
The scenery totally changes from São Miguel’s beautiful greenery to a barren spot with steep hills and a lot of black volcanic rock. It reminded me a little of Santorini. Great for pictures!
The free springs are by far the most touristic of the two, as Ferraria is one of the only places in the world with oceanic thermal springs! There is a small pool made into the side of the ocean for purposes of people entering the oceanic thermal springs. The springs are totally free. I recommend bringing a towel and water shoes for the oceanic springs. Also, the springs are only warm for certain hours during the day – be sure to check before visiting! You can access the free pools via walkway just past the building housing the proper spa.
In contrast to the free oceanic springs, Termas da Ferraria is the proper spa right next to the oceanic thermal springs. Dan and I love spas (especially Bota Bota in Montreal!) so I had to check this one out on our minimoon. I emailed the spa before I left to try to make a reservation but they just told me that I can come whenever, so we just showed up…
Termas da Ferraria consists of an indoor and outdoor portion, and I actually preferred the outdoor portion! Upon arrival, we went inside and finally found someone to take our money… The cost was €30 for 4 hours, which included access to the outdoor area, the indoor spa, and a buffet lunch (apparently it was “Happy Hour” but this seemed to be the deal all of the time)!
To enter the proper “spa,” you go down some stairs, and it begins to look like a real, relaxing spa! We checked in with the employee downstairs and were provided robes and shoes. We also rented towels because we did not bring one – definitely a tourist move.
After changing into our bathing suits, we met up in the indoor spa area! The indoor portion of the spa consists of a hot tub, a hot pool (no jets, but there are funoodles!), a cold pool, a sauna, and a steam room. We started our day with the hot pool, which is the centerpiece of the spa and looked pretty cool! The water was warm and the funoodles were fun to float around with. Since the water is really a thermal spring, the water is a brown color and murky. Its just the Sulpher, but it will turn your bathing a brownish/yellow…an old dark suit is recommended. That being said, these waters (or maybe the Sulpher) definitely have healing properties! My skin was SO soft after spending the afternoon here!!
We next tried the hot tub and the cold pool, which both were relaxing. However, the sauna and steam room left A LOT to be desired. Both were old and seemed a bit dirty. At this point, we cut our losses and went to the outdoor pool.
The outdoor pool was pretty great! It was big and surrounded by lots of lounge chairs. Like the indoor pool, the water was hot, brown, and murky, but it was very nice! We spent about an our outside just relaxing!
THE RESTAURANT AT THE SPA
There are several restaurants near the thermal springs – a casual snack bar near the ocean, a sit down snack bar in the spa, and a formal restaurant in the spa. We did not plan to have lunch at the sit down restaurant in the spa, but when we were told it was only 1 euro extra with entrance to the spa, we decided to do lunch at the spa! The restaurant was nice and lunch was set up as a buffet. There were a lot of choices and all of it was pretty good.
Our lunch came with a glass of wine and a dessert bar was put out part way through our meal.
At the end, our time at the thermal springs was nice, especially the outdoor pool, but I do not think that I would recommend anything other than the oceanic pool, especially to those short on time. The spa in Furnas (stay turned for my next post) was MUCH nicer! And we have been to much nicer spas before, including Bota Bota in Montreal!
STEAL OUR TRIP
Termas da Ferraria: Rua Sabrina Island, Ginetes, 9555-102 Ginetes, Portugal. T:+351 296 295 669. E: email@example.com (they responded to my email). Reservations not required. Open Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 – 19:00.
Azores: Information from the Azores regarding Termas da Ferraria.
Sete Cidades: My post on the nearby attraction.
ON A BUDGET
The oceanic thermal springs are completely free, so definitely a good budget option. I would probably skip the proper spa if you are on a budget; Furnas is a much better deal!