Hi everyone! This post in continuation of my full coverage of my trip to the Açores, the group of Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic. Check out my other posts about the Açores here.
Most people who come to the Açores have at least heard of Furnas. If you have not, let me give you a quick overview. Furnas is about 45 minutes east of Ponta Delgada. Located around three active trachytic volcanoes, Furnas has two large calderas, which date back to tens of thousands of years ago. Consequently, many geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles exist throughout the village of Furnas. Impossible to miss, the fuming hot springs fill up the air. It is safe to walk around, and you can discover the thirty springs that casually exist amongst the roads.
Furnas has several taps which allow you to taste the water from different water sources, a unique experience for sure. I was a little nervous at first, but my uncle who hails from the island swore on its safety. The water tastes like seltzer water with a strong, sour taste—definitely not for everyone!
A neat thing to do in Furnas is prepare cozido, a meat and vegetable stew cooked underground. After about 6 hours in the volcanic underground, our food is finally ready to eat! Though I couldn’t enjoy the cozido myself as it contains a heck of a lot of meat, I had it several years ago and yes, it is quite delicious! Just as a warning, you may have leftover cozido for days and perhaps will never need to eat it again.
With so many places to explore in Furnas, it is difficult to pick and choose sites to see. One of the highlights is visiting the hot, orange waters. While there are quite a few options, I advise picking one to enjoy. The two main attractions are Poça da Dona Beija and Parque Terra Nostra.
After some swimming and relaxation, you must be hungry! Every town in the Açores has some specialty that they’re known for, and Furnas is no different. In one of the little streets downtown there is a tiny bakery called Rosa Quental selling Bolos Lêvedos, Portuguese muffins. Reminiscent of English muffins, these masterpieces are much larger, fluffier, and sweeter. While other bakeries may sell Bolos Lêvedos, this one in Furnas is famous for their particular recipe.
You can have these muffins for breakfast, but a traditional Azorean way is to make a sandwich with butter, cheese, and ham. The little sweetness in the bread blends nicely with the other salty ingredients.
Found these two images via google to give you a good sense of what Bolos Lêvedos look like (and also how people feel about them)
All in all, Furnas is an absolutely wondrous place and you can’t miss it when visiting the Açores. It can fill up an entire day, so put on your walking shoes and swimsuit and go!
Speaking of hot water, check out my post on Azorean tea!