On the island of Faial, the remains of a lighthouse mark the site of a massive volcanic eruption that took place in 1957, gutting the lighthouse, burying a small village and adding more than one mile of new shoreline to the island over the course of a year. Today the area is a nature park, with a hiking trail to the rim of the dormant volcano.
Meanwhile, the island of Pico (which means “peak” in English) is the highest point in Portugal at 7,700 feet and also sits atop volcanic terrain. The peak can be seen from surrounding islands on clear days, with its lava cone rising above the massive volcano. The climb up to the summit takes about 3 hours, and the views are well worth the effort. The peak is taller than New Hampshire's Mt. Washington.
Lava caves run for miles under the islands of Pico, Terceira, Graciosa and São Miguel. The cooling lava of past eruptions created these tube-like caves, and today those caves provide great adventure for a spelunker.
Geysers spout in nature parks on several of the islands. At the shore of Furnas Lake on the island of São Miguel, steam hisses out of a dozen geysers, offering a natural “oven” to cook food inside the caldeiras.