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An ancient volcanic zone that has been active for more than 100,000 years, Furnas is a hotbed of thermal activity. The lush area has been attracting spa visitors seeking the water’s healing properties since the 19th century. Close to three active volcanos, citizens of the Portuguese parish use the hot springs, geysers, and other hotspots for a variety of activities—including the cooking of a traditional meal of vegetables and stew underground, called cozido. Heated by the volcanic steam, the dish can take up to seven hours to prepare. Towns sit scenically in and beside large calderas or volcanic craters. There are more than 30 different hot springs, each with their own varying temperature and level of volcanic activity. The heated thermal mineral waters and mud baths are thought to still have therapeutic properties. Furnas makes up one of several small towns on the largest and most populated island of the Azores. There is also a beautiful lake in Furnas that is worth seeing.

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