Overview

Terceira is Portuguese for ‘third’ – as in ‘the third largest island’ and ‘the third island to be populated’ during the Portuguese Age of Discovery. The island’s home to the Azores’ oldest city: UNESCO protected Angra do Heroismo whose cobbled streets, historic architecture and friendly population help give the city a wonderfully relaxing, quiet charm. If you’re looking for Azorean culture and cuisine but without the hustle and bustle of Sao Miguel, Angra’s the place to stay.

Inland, Terceira’s sparsely populated, rugged interior provides a glimpse of how the Azores looked when the first settlers arrived in 1450. Just over 20% of the island is classified as a protected Natural Park – with the aim of conserving what remains of the Terceira’s Laurisilva and Juniper forests. It’s also a very volcanic landscape, formed by criss-crossing eruptions and lava flows which thankfully now leave us with spectacular cave systems and natural seawater swimming pools to enjoy.

Highlights

The Azorean calendar is chock-full with festivities, particularly in the Summer months - and Terceirans certainly know how to celebrate a festival. The highlight for many is Sanjoaninas: the festival dedicated to Saint John, the island’s patron saint. The streets of Angra are closed to normal life for ten days (from 22nd June to 1st July in 2018); instead they’re filled with colourful parades and concerts celebrating the island’s rich history, and theatrical shows that revisit and reinterpret the island’s folklore for visitors and residents alike. There's usually an amazing variety of street food on offer, with stalls crammed full of exciting seasonal produce. The island's signature dish, slow-cooked beef 'Alcatra' is a big favourite in our office.
The island's capital Angra do Heroísmo is a UNESCO world heritage site – testament to the many members of Portuguese nobility who've contributed to the landscape of the town through its long history, resulting in some wonderful 17th and 18th century architecture. The city suffered considerable damage during a major earthquake on New Year’s Day in 1980. Building repairs were completed by the end of 1983 and the centre of the city was awarded its historic UNESCO protected status.
Algar do Carvao is a must-see when you visit Terceira: a unique 3000 year old volcanic chimney formed by two major eruptions 1000 years apart. Its width varies from around 27m at its widest point to 17m, and the chimney drops down from the surface to a low point of around 80m. The damp climate and stable year-round temperature provides the ideal home for almost 50 species of mosses and vascular plants, many of which are endemic to the Azores.

Activities

Terceira's rugged interior landscape is ideal for exploring on foot or by bike, while the nutrient rich sea means whales and dolphins are never far away.

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