In Angra there are at least two places where you can go for a swim at sea. The first is the small black sand beach in the centre of the city. The other option is Cais da Silveira a small concrete pear with some stairs to the sea and a small concrete beach. Both are protected places from waves.
Terceira is like most azorean islands a place full of lagoons. However in here they are smaller and less interesting then, for instance, São Miguel. The most interesting lagoons are probably lagoa do Negro and Lagoa das Patas.
There isn't an island with a lagoon without a legend beyind. Legend says that long, long time when the settlement in the island begun a lady, from the best families, fell in love with one slave. Feeling that their love was impossible and that his presence was causing suffering to her beloved one, the slave ran and after many miles wept making the Lagoa do Negro that can be seen today, other versions say that he decided to suicide himself in the lagoon. Well, after seing the size of it I guess it could only have been tears.
Other nice lagoon is the Lagoa das Patas with some nice trees involving it. However the lagoon is also quite small and the place looks a bit made up so I kinda felt like I was in Hyde Park or something similar and not in the middle of the mountain and the woods.
Other lagoons are lagoa negra, lagoinha or lagoa do ginjal.
Caves are one of the main attractions of the island. There are many caves around the island. The most importants are:
- Algar do Carvão a sleeping volcano with a lagoon inside and very interesting and unique stalactites;
- Natal - It is called this way because it is a tradition to make the christmas (Natal) day mass in this cave;
- Furna de Água - From this caves comes most of the water of the island.
These caves are normally closed between October and April so I didn't had the chance to visit them.
People in Terceira really like bullfights. You can see it in the roads of the interior where once in the while you see a bull, you can see it in the windows of the stores of Angra where videos of the bullfights are passing and also in many arenas spread throughout the islands.
The main event is called Touradas à Corda, and almost everyday from May to October there are bullfights taking place. The bull has a rope over his neck and 80 meters of wire away there are 6 men holding it and making the bull stop when necessary. Then ordinary people run in front of the bull and with umbrellas, capes and all sorts of objects fight with the bull. After a while it is recovered and another one goes out. All this happens in the streets of the villages.
When I went to terceira this events weren't taking place. But since it was carnival there was a students' garraiada where in the middle of the plaza the students faced, with masks, the powerful bulls.
Due to all these bullfights and parties some people say that: "There are 8 islands of work and one of party: Terceira."
Praia da Victoria is as the name states a beach where a victory took place. In the beginning of the XIX century the place was called simply beach (Praia) since it was the only beach with a reasonable size in the island. A big battle took place between two factions of the portuguese monarchy: the Absolutists and the Liberals. The liberals got a decisive victory in here and the place become the beach of the Victory: Praia da Vitória.
The city is not as interesting as Angra. Buildings aren't that old and besides the main square and one or two churches the place is pretty uninteresting.
Don't forget to climb to the belvedere of Serra do Facho with wonderful views over the city. And when I mean climb you don't need to go up the hundreds of steps that take you there. If you are lazy like me you can always take your car. The name facho (something close to torch), came from the first usage that this mountain had, being the lighthouse of the northern part of the island.
Today Praia da Vitória is the main harbour of the island and is the closest city to the airport.
The place is popular amongst windsurfers
Angra is a 20.000 habitants town that is world heritage. It is full of charming churches, fortresses and some nice houses. But it's heart is the small bay that throughout the centuries constituted a safe harbour for boats that travelled between the Americas, Africa, India and Europe and it was this harbour and this trips that brought the wealth that can be today seen throughout the city.
Angra has also an important role in the history of Portugal. Refuge place for some (for instance the Queen Maria II), place of resistance against the Spanish domain, heart of the liberal movement, ...
Monte Brasil is an old volcano that wasn't particular sucessful and only created a small peninsula at the doors of the city of Angra.
Today it is extinct and is an impressive view giving an extra charm to the city of Angra.
Throughout the history it has protected the city. Today it is a nice natural park with wonderful views, deers, the relvado (a big grassy area with playgrounds) and the fortress of São João Baptista (with reduced opening hours).
It is not difficult to imagine the difficulty it was to take this city with such powerful fortresses sorrounding the city and protected bays. You can always sit somewhere in the mountain and imagine the treasures that lay beneath the blue ocean waves.
Terceira, as all the Azorean Archipelago is a vulcanic island. This one in particular is exactly in the middle of some important tectonic plaques: euroasian, african and american. Therefore there are many vulcanic phenomenoms: furnas, an old crater of a vulcano (Guilherme Moniz), an active vulcano (Serra de Santa Bárbara) and the typical vulcanic black rocks.
In 1980 a major earthquake of 7,2 in the richter scale hit the islands of the central group with a epicentrum 35 kms Southwest of Angra. The city was severely hit and 80% of the buildings of the city colapsed, 51 people died in the Terceira Island and more than 400 hundred were injured. More than 15.000 people became homeless in these islands. The hard work and sweat of the people of Azores made them rebuilt everything with such a passion and care that Angra is today more beautiful than ever and a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Serra de Santa Bárbara is the highest point in the island with more than 1.022 m high. How to get there. Well there is a narrow road that goes up, and up, and up, and up the mountain and that takes you there. The views are very nice however the climate in Azores can be a bit unstable and many times the peak is covered with fog. If that is the case don't go up. You won't see anything and it will be a trouble coming down again.
Oh yes and I was almost forgetting, in the top there are plenty of grass, fluffy grass!!!
This museum shows an interesting collection of old photos, instruments and other documents related to the wine production. Visitors can also try the wines produced there (my favourite one: Chico Maria, a sweet wine).
Its the 2nd town of the island and its translation would be "Victory Beach" because in the first half of XIX century the Liberal Monarchy movement defeated the invasion attempt of the Absolutists. Later on, the Liberals spread through the Azores and finally to the mainland.
It will always be part of my routine in the Island. Buy a newspaper, have breakfast and relax at the beach. The local fests are great and the first time I experienced them, I couldnt believe those people would go to work the next day. The fact is, it lasts one week and they barely sleep.
Also a great place for you to buy fresh fish and veggies at the local market
I terribly regret not having more pictures, but something I would advise doing is asking a local how to get to Biscoitos (natural swimming pool by the ocean), go to Pico island by boat (you will most likely have dolphins following) and scuba diving (I regret not doing this)
Every village hosts their own fests for one or two days, sometimes more. They usually consist of a traditional catholic parade, street bull fight, and loads of dancing, eating and drinking. If youre lucky enough to be in a family circle as I am, you will get to experience a fest in every village as the families are spread through the island and take turns in hosting the other relatives......this will be everyday during most of the summer.
If youre alone, I would advise the fests of the two biggest towns Praia da Vitória and Angra do Heroismo.
Some people do not enjoy bull fighting, I dont either. This type of bull fighting is much nicer since people arent violent towards the bull, they just set him free in the street, it is fun to watch and who knows....go for a run? hehe
Negrito has a small pool ideal for summer days. Besides that there is an old fortress and the youth hostel of the island.
The place isn't just a huge grassland. In some places you can find more exotic and dense vegetation especially in the west part of the Island.
Some parts look like a lust and huge botanic garden.