The small island of Graciosa has a peaceful rural charm, perfect for a truly relaxing break.
The island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (together with Corvo and Flores) – acknowledging the ideal balance Graciosa’s struck between the preservation of her landscapes and sustainable human development. For visitors this manifests itself as sparsely populated villages, traditional rural architecture, quiet roads and a gentle pace of life which you can’t help slipping into.
That’s not to say Graciosa is dull; quite the opposite – it’s violent volcanic past is only too evident when you take the plunge down into the caldera at Furna do Enxofre. A unique geological phenomenon, this enormous lava cave is an extraordinary sight: 200m in diameter with a magnificent vaulted ceiling 50m high (made up of perfect cross-sections of volcanic prisms), its own underground sulphurous lake, and it’s only accessible via a vertigo-inducing 80-year-old stone spiral staircase (we counted 183 steps !). The Azores has more than its fair share of impressive geological phenomena, but Furna do Enxofre has to be one of our favourites.
Dedicated birdwatchers will love our Pelagic Week on Graciosa: home to the elusive Monteiro’s Storm Petrel.