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Povoação



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The spa resort of Furnas is the main attraction of this county, set on the eastern side of São Miguel's south coast, as it is the perfect place to observe the geothermal activity which takes place under the surface of the Azores.

The Caldeiras das Furnas are scattered around the town and visitors may see the steaming geysers and hot bubbling springs which provide the mud and mineral water used in the spa; their therapeutic properties are used to treat rheumatism, bronchitis, skin diseases, etc.

But it is the natural beauty of the landscape, with its rich and dense vegetation, that attracts most visitors; the wonderful Terra Nostra Park, in the valley of Furnas, exhibits 12 hectares of gardens with a dazzling collection of trees and plants, including the hibiscus and hydrangeas typical of the Azores, as well as a curious swimming-pool with warm and mustard-coloured water.

The richness of the soil makes the county of Povoação prosper in terms of agriculture; in fact, it is called the «island's barn» due to the production of cereals, potatoes and chicory.

The waters are equally fruitful: besides the excitement of big game fishing at sea (sword-fish, tuna and sharks), visitors can find trout, perch, carp and red surmullet at the Furnas lagoon, which also challenge fishermen's expertise.

As for the gastronomy, the choice is wide, but the most famous speciality is undoubtedly cozido das Furnas: the volcanic ground is so hot here that islanders cook a rich meat and vegetable stew in huge pots placed under the ground, where it remains simmering for about five hours.

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