Located in the central group of the Azores and has a population of 56.000 people. The highest point is Serra de Santa Barbara (1,022 m). The view from this point is breathtaking. The natural landscape has beautiful scenery and great varieties.
The historical centre of Angra do Heroísmo, is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the oldest city in the Azores dating back to 1534. The town was struck in 1980 by a huge earthquake, but many beautiful buildings are still preserved, such as a very large cathedral and a bullfighter arena. The second most important town on Terceira is Praia da Vitoria. It is located close to the American airbase in Lajes, which is the civil airport of Terceira. From here you can fly to all the islands.
Sights of interest:
Biscoitos Wine Museum
Located conveniently in the town of Biscoitos, is a family-run wine cellar and museum that has been open since the early 90s. One of the many interesting things that you will learn about during your visit is that the vines grow from the rich porous lava rock, as opposed to growing in fertile soil. Inside the museum is an interesting collection of decades-old wine-making tools. The brief, yet informative tour ends with a delicious sampling of locally produced wines, all of which are reasonably priced if you’re looking to take home a memento from your visit.
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Algar do Carvão
Algar do Carvão is an ancient lava tube located in the geographic centre of the island. It is one of a few places in the world where you can walk inside an extinct volcano. While its name loosely translates to cave of coal, Algar do Carvão is not a producer of coal and is most likely named after the dark composition of the interior rocks. Get ready to climb a few hundred stairs as you explore the depths of this mesmerizing geological wonder.
Above you, you will see a fern grotto leading up to the outside world along with stalactites hanging from the interior ceilings. At its deepest point, you will come upon a shimmering lagoon (though lack of rainfall in the summer months may cause the lagoon to temporarily dry up). Please note that the cave has varied opening hours with limited access in the off-season.
Miradouro do Facho
If the weather is right, this should be your very first stop upon leaving the Terceira Airport. Located just 5 minutes away, Miradouro do Facho offers incredible views over the town of Praia da Vitória and its harbour below. There’s a good chance you will have already seen this wonderful viewpoint from above during your descent onto the island.
Serra do Cume
For iconic shots of the most notable landscapes on the island of Terceira, head up to Serra do Cume. Though it is situated on relatively flat terrain, the Serra do Cume overlook sits high at 1,800 ft (545 m). Two different stops upon the hilltop provide endless panoramic views of the island’s beautiful countryside, nearby small towns, and the surrounding vast Atlantic ocean.
Along the shorelines of Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira’s capital city, are the remnants of a now-extinct volcano. The naturally-formed peninsula, known as Monte Brasil, is another great spot on the island for outstanding scenic views. Follow the designated hiking trail or drive your car to the summit. São João Baptista Fort, located on Monte Brasil is the oldest fortress that has been continuously occupied by the Portuguese army. You will find old out-of-commission artillery pieces near the summit, in addition to a cross indicating the discovery of the island in 1432.
Hiking is one of many active things to do in Terceira, and the lookout point in Aqualva has one of the most spectacular views.
You will find in this region an inactive volcano that is the highest point on the entire island at 3,350 feet (1,021 m). At the base of the ascent to the Serra, you will find the Santa Bárbara Interpretation Centre which strives to educate visitors on the natural heritage of Terceira Natural Park.
Ponta das Contendas
On the complete opposite side of the island, in the southeast corner, is the Ponta das Contendas Lighthouse, built in 1934. The drive along the southern coast offers numerous places to pull over and admire the views, including the beautiful bay, Baía da Mina. How lucky are these cows to have oceanfront pastures to graze?
Towns to Visit in Terceira
Praia da Vitória
Just a 5-minute drive from the airport, so it can easily be your first stop during your visit to Terceira Island. The town boasts cobbled streets, colourful churches, an impressive town hall, modern marina, and beautiful beach (Prainha da Praia da Vitória, meaning Beach of the Victory.)
Angra do Heroísmo
The capital city of Angra do Heroísmo takes vibrancy to a whole new level. There’s not a dull block in the whole city. The entire town centre was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for its unique architecture and cultural significance. With plenty of museums, cathedrals, gardens, and restaurants to visit, there is plenty to do in the bustling capital city of Angra.
Located just a short drive from Angra is the tiny town of Porto Judeu (Jewish Port). You can wander through the quaint town centre consisting of just a few colourful buildings, including a church and post office, then make your way to the coastline where you will find natural swimming pools and a trail leading to a few geothermal vents. Also, while near Porto Judeu, don’t miss a stop at the Cruz do Canario Viewpoint where you will have wonderful views of Terceira’s southern coast and the nearby Ilhéus das Cabras (dual islet.)
Vila de São Sebastião, commonly shortened to São Sebastião, has a beautifully preserved city centre, including a handful of 16th-century buildings. In addition to admiring the bell tower of Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião (church), take a step inside where you’ll find the walls adorned with late medieval frescoes.
Cais D’Angra – Angra do Heroísmo
Cais D’Angra, located near the harbour in Angra do Heroísmo, has an extensive menu with plenty of starters, tapas, and main entrees to choose from. The menu also boasts a substantial wine and beer list, in addition to a delicious selection of desserts. Prices are very reasonable.
Hotel Beira Mar – Angra do Heroísmo
Just around the corner from Cais D’Angra is the restaurant at Hotel Beria Mar. The food is wholesome, fresh, and savoury. Behind the bar, a large window into the kitchen allows you to see the chefs in action. You can choose to sit on the open-air terrace for views over the harbour.
QB Restaurant – Angra do Heroísmo
Located on the outskirts of the capital city is QB Restaurant. There are two components to this popular Terceira restaurant – a casual food court downstairs and a more formal restaurant upstairs serving a pre-fixed 4-course menu.
O Pescador – Praia da Vitória
The staff at O Pescador in Praia da Vitória treats you like family from the moment you walk in the door. With a plethora of menu options, there’s something for everyone. The restaurant specializes in seafood, and O Pescador comes highly recommended and has pretty much nothing but outstanding ratings online, so it’s definitely a restaurant you want to check out during your time on Terceira.
Restaurante Caneta – Altares
On the north side of the island in the small village of Altares, you’ll find the outstanding Restaurante Caneta. Feel as if you’ve stepped into the home of your Portuguese grandma and dine on some of the most authentic and fresh Azorean cuisines on the island.
Quinta do Martelo – São Mateus
Quinta do Martelo isn’t just a restaurant, they also offer unique lodging opportunities on their expansive estate. In the restaurant, they use only the freshest ingredients and still cook with a wood-burning oven.