We have a habit of creating quite busy holidays, with plenty of things to see and do. It is also possible to visit the Azores to just do nothing – to relax with your family and friends, in peaceful rural isolation. If that fits with your idea of ​​a summer holiday, our family holiday on the little island of Graciosa is the one for you.

Graciosa’s connection to the outside world is via the neighboring island of Terceira , so we begin and end your stay in the seaside town of Praia da Vitoria. It’s Terceira’s second city, with a small beach (great for sea-kayaking, which we’ve included) and a friendly laid-back atmosphere. After a couple of days in Praia, you’ll make the short hop by plane to Graciosa, to spend four-and-a-days relaxing at Quinta do Bairro : a newly-built two-bedroom cottage on the outskirts of Santa Cruz .

We’ll include a car to help you get around so you can visit our favorite swimming spots – the island’s rocky coast is dotted with natural sea-water pools and BBQ / picnic areas. Graciosa’s home to one of the Azores’s most spectacular volcanic sites: the vast lava basin at Furna do Sulx, whose aquifers feed the geothermally-heated pools at Termas .

If you are thinking of a two week visit to the Azores, this holiday is designed to easily combine with our Terceira Family Retreat , or our family activity holidays on Sao Miguel at Quinta da Santana.

See a film of the spectacular landscape of this secluded island in our ‘Beauty of the Azores’ episode 4.


Fly from Heathrow, via Lisbon, to the island of Terceira. You’ll be met on arrival by our driver, for your transfer to your accommodation in nearby Praia da Vitoria (a ten-minute drive).
We’ll usually leave your first morning on the island free, so you can relax and explore Praia da Vitoria – Terceira’s ‘second city’ and the site of the very first settlement on the island (in the early 1450s). The nearby beach is a lovely spot for a morning swim; the harbour next door is home to the island’s fishing fleet and Praia’s restaurants serve some of the best fresh fish on the island.
You’ll take to the waters of Praia da Vitoria bay this morning, for a kayaking session with our instructor. The calm waters of this protected bay are perfect for beginners and younger children to get to grips with a kayak. In the afternoon, you’ll leave Terceira – flying to the neighbouring island of Graciosa. You’ll be met at the airport by the owner of your accommodation, and after collecting your hire car, he’ll guide you to the house on the outskirts of Santa Cruz. A welcome pack will be waiting at the house, with some essential supplies and a few Azorean treats.
It’s nice to spend your first full day exploring the island’s main town: Santa Cruz. The island was first colonised in the late 1450s (records are a bit shaky on the exact date) – initially Praia was the first settlement, before Santa Cruz quickly took over as the island’s capital. At the height of Graciosa’s agricultural output, the population of the island peaked at almost 14,000 - hard to believe as you wander around the peaceful main square. The Graciosa Museu is a good place to learn more about the island’s history. Overlooking the town is Mount Nossa Senhora da Ajuda – it’s well-worth the short walk to the summit for a panoramic view over Santa Cruz and out to sea. From the summit, it’s also much easier to see the mount as it really is: a now-extinct volcano.
Today you’ll exploring the island’s volcanic past and present. The island was formed around 600,000 years ago - the more interesting eruptions (in terms of what we can see today), occurred 50,000 years ago and created the large caldera at the south-eastern end of the island. It's just under 2km across and 1km wide, and was once filled with a lava lake 240m deep (fed from the Furna do Enxofre cave, which you can visit later today). There’s a nice circular walk which takes you around the outside of the crater rim: the Volta a Caldeira trail - one of the very few places in the Azores where you can see five islands from the same spot. Following your walk, a short drive will take you down the visitors centre at Furna do Enxofre – the vast volcanic cavern 200m long and 50m high, that once fed the lava lake above.
Sometimes it’s just nice to spend the day relaxing by the sea, and there are some great swimming spots on the island; the beach at Praia de Sao Mateus is one of the most popular. Closer to home, there’s an excellent swimming spot at Barro Vermelho (a five-minute drive from your Quinta), with changing facilities, showers and a nice picnic area.
We're normally leave your final day on the island free. Late-afternoon, you’ll return your hire car to the airport before flying back to Terceira. Our driver will collect you once again, for your transfer into Praia and your overnight stay.
You'll be transferred to the airport for your flight home (via Lisbon once again).


We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

INCLUDED : Accommodation for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) in a junior suite (with extra sofa beds) at Atlantida Mar, and on self catering basis in a 2 bedroom cottage at Quinta do Bairro, airport transfers on Terceira, 4 days Model D car hire, 1 x half-day guided sea-kayaking session, and International and Inter-island flights (as a guide price only).

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