The Best of Terceira

Patchwork landscape of Terceira

The beautiful, historic island of Terceira is part of the Portuguese Azores Islands archipelago, situated in the Atlantic Ocean about 850 miles west of the tip of southern Portugal. Filled with incredible hiking, quaint towns, and delicious cuisine, the mild climate of the Azores make the islands a must-visit. Each island in the group has unique traditions and customs, and the island of Terceira is your perfect start - and we'll list why you should book your tickets today.

 

The Cuisine

The island of Terceira is known for its dairy products, and you will quickly discover why! The island has more cows than its residents, and the only traffic on the street is when cows are crossing. We recommend you visit the Queijo Vaquinha, the local cheese factory, to enjoy a cheese tasting. From mild, soft cheese to aged cheese, the factory will not disappoint and will allow you to buy some to take home. 

 

Along with the cheese, you can taste the difference in quality of local beef at any restaurant. From steak tartare to a filet, your taste buds will sing when you take a bite, seasoned with local ingredients to highlight the meat. Finally, visit the Museu do Vinho for a wine tasting. The climate in the Azores is perfect for growing grapes, and that first sip of white wine will not disappoint. It has a bright, mineral flavor enhanced by the vines growing out of the local lava rock. Red lovers, don't worry; they have plenty of that too! At the Museu do Vinho, you will be taken aback by the views, stories, traditional machinery, and Azorian hospitality.

 

Should be on your list if: you enjoy trying new things, especially cheese!

 

Hike around Monte Brazil

Have a guide or start from the UNESCO city of Angra do Heroísmo - the choice is up to you! The circular route will take you around a geosite formed in an ancient extinct volcano with views of the sea in all directions. Continue to climb the path until you reach the mountain's tallest point, Pico do Facho. Take in the sights of the ocean as it collides with the traditional architecture of the city of Angra do Heroísmo. As you descend, you will be greeted by wildlife, a whale lookout point, and an old station of World War II. 

 

Should be on your list if: you're looking for a moderate hike with excellent views. 

 

Visit the Piscinas Naturais Biscoitos

A must-visit in Terceira! Located on the north end of the island, the natural bathing pools in Biscoitos consist of small pools of ocean water outlined among black volcanic rock. Considered a hidden gem, the volcanic rock, clear water, and cove-like conditions are something to behold regardless of your swimming ability. If you prefer to swim, the crystal, natural water invites you to dive in. Once you are finished in the natural pools, view the basalt rock against the various hues of blue ocean water. You'll learn why the locals and tourists alike cannot stop visiting.

 

Should be on your list if: you love swimming in the ocean.

 

Experience the Running of the Bulls Azorean style

For a casual visitor, the running of the bulls seems like a whirlwind experience. The running of the bulls on Terceira Island begins mid- to late-May and spans through August. The experience goes from town to town in Terceira, so rarely in the same place twice. The event starts in the early evening with everyone coming into town to gather in one another's homes. Parties take place in every house that lines the street, so be ready to make some friends! 

 

Find your place in the small town to watch the show. Once the fireworks go off, the bull is released! From around the corner, you will see the bull charging the streets. People dive out of the way to avoid its path while five people follow behind the bull with its "leash." Men step in to taunt the bull to run at them. The bull is not harmed during the evening affairs and the event ends once the bull has either had enough or finished the course. Afterwards the community gathers for a large meal and a party. It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

 

The island of Terceira celebrates bulls as heroes because they defended the Portuguese island from a Spanish invasion during the 16th century. When King Philip sent Pedro Valdes to Terceira for a diplomatic takeover, his crew was met by 600 angry bulls and retreated. To commemorate this event, there is a 33-foot-tall monument in honor of the bulls at the entrance to the historical city of Angra do Heroísmo.


 

Should be on your list if: you enjoy an adrenaline rush and a sense of community.

 

Enjoy the Viewpoint of the Vale da Achada

Known as a "patchwork quilt" of agriculture, the Serra do Cume viewpoint of the Vale da Achada gives you the perfect look at how the farmland is divided and then melts into the sea. Unique to Terceira, the patchwork quilt consists of manmade lava rock fences for growing crops, and herding the cows and other farm animals of Terceira. You can access the viewpoint with a hike or quick car ride up, so it's available to all and a must-see before leaving the island, only about a 20-minute drive up from the Terceira airport.

 

Should be on your list if: you enjoy once-in-a-lifetime views.


 

Terceira has fantastic food and history and offers activities for everyone. With so much to do in the Azores, book with the Atlantic Island Specialists: Quest Travel Adventures. Quest Travel Adventures has over 11-years of experience in customized travel to these destinations. Some of our most popular trips include our 5 Day Taste of the Azores, 6 Day Two Island Azores Winter Getaway, and 8 Day Best of the Azores.  

 

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