Amongst the many destinations to explore on the Açores, the town of Furnas is one of the more wondrous, and relaxing, ones. Furnas is unique in that it is located in the easternmost part of three active trachytic volcanoes on the island of São Miguel. Consequently, there are a lot of geographically interesting places to go see, unlike anything in the world. Poça da Dona Beija is a collection of thermal pools where you can sit and relax in waters averaging at 39 degrees celsius. This is all due to the unique geology of Furnas.
There are several pools you can enter, which range from small, shallow pools, to larger pools with other water features (like waterfalls, or fountains). It is super fun to try out all the different pools because each one has something unique to offer. It is also nice to try and find the least crowded pool!
And all of the pools stay nice and warm, as there is not cold water running through them. The only area that is not 39 degrees, is the river itself which you can enter and enjoy at 29 degrees.
Today you have to pay an admission fee to enter, but this area has been popular with locals even before it was “settled.” The pools formed off the side of a river with warm water. In fact, you can no longer enter the original cavern with warm water because it has been deemed too dangerous (fair enough).
I have been to several warm pools in Furnas, but this one was by far the cleanest and most relaxing. It is one of the main advantages of development. While we have to be careful not to overwhelm a site and take away from its character, modern amenities like cleaning facilities, walkways, and bathrooms, are truly appreciate. Though the pools are popular, there are more secluded areas. Here is where you can just be at peace with your surroundings. The four euro entrance fee is actually a pretty steep price to pay in the Açores. But, fortunately, the money seems to go a long way in providing clean facilities and pools.
If you want a hydrothermal spa experience, I couldn’t recommend a better place than Poça da Dona Beija. Just as a warning though, the orange water stains swimsuits so better invest in a black one! Seriously, don’t ignore this point.
Check out what the town of Furnas has to offer with my complete coverage.