Terceira

Photo © danics

Travel Guide Europe Portugal Azores Terceira

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Introduction

Terceira is an island in the Azores archipelago, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, with a population of 56,000 inhabitants in an area of approximately 400 km². It is the location of the historical capital of the archipelago, the Azores' oldest city and UNESCO Heritage Site Angra do Heroísmo.

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Geography

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

  • Algar do Carvão and Gruta do Natal are volcanic caves in the interior of the island. These caves are formed when a volcano's lava supply is suddenly interrupted, leaving an open space (a cave) with a vertical opening.
  • See the fumaroles in pristine condition, a local natural monument in a protected area. You may appreciate it exactly as Charles Darwin saw it in 1830.
  • Angra do Heroísmo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has three castles. One castle is the largest in the world built by Spaniards, with over 3.5 km of perimeter walls, over twice the size of many famous castles.
  • One main beach is at Praia de Vitoria. It is man-made and small, usually a summer hangout for the locals. There are numerous man made "pools" around the island, which are connected to the ocean. There are also many natural rock pools near the beaches in the coastal towns. In Biscoitos, enjoy swimming between lava rocks.
  • In Praia da Vitória is a diving center with a professional PADI and SSI team, and activities like scuba diving courses, scuba experiences, or snorkelling tours. The email address is geral@octopusportugal.com and the contact is +351 965431985.

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Events and Festivals

In the summer time, street bullfights take place in towns. A bull is tethered and held by a group of men to keep it from running off, while bystanders are given the opportunity to participate as rodeo clowns. It is safer to watch from a distance and behind a barrier of at least 6 ft. Bullfighting arenas also exist on the island.

The summer months are when most of the feasts on the island take place. This is a time when families and communities gather to celebrate, dance, and eat in the streets and throughout the island.

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Weather

Like much of the Azores, Terceira has a mild climate with average temperatures during the day mostly between 17 °C in winter and up to 25 °C in summer. Nights are just several degrees cooler and it rarely gets really chilly. The spring and summer months are driest while winters see more rain.

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Getting There

By Plane

Lajes Field (IATA: TER, ICAO: LPLA) offers flights to/from Amsterdam, Stuttgart, Flores, Graciosa, Horta, Pico, Ponta Delgada, Corvo, Santa Maria, São Jorge Boston, Oakland, Toronto-Pearson, Lisbon, Porto and Madrid. The international destinations are only served in the summer (April-October).

By Boat

Transmacor and Anlanticoline both offer services to some of the other islands but mainly in the summer months. The latter offers connections from Faial via Pico and São Jorge to Terceira from where it travels onwards to the island of Graciosa and back towards Faial finally, with the possibility of a weekly nightly ferry onwards to Flores (summer only).

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Getting Around

There are many car rental services and hotels around the very small airport in Praia De Vitoria.

Be very careful when driving. Local drivers are careless. Livestock has right of way, only seen in the interior rural areas of the island. There is one highway (Via Rapida) which connects Praia de Vitoria to Angra De Heroismo, a 15-20 minute drive, with a speed limit of 60mph/100km.

There are numerous taxis on the island, unmistakable with their eggshell white/cream color and two broad blue hashlines behind the passenger door. They are generally very well-maintained vehicles. Most drivers speak English, or one can be requested.

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Eat

There are many restaurants that offer local dishes and other international cuisine. Seafood is the main specialty as is locally cultured cheese and bread, great with local wines.

  • Beira Marin Restaurant in São Mateus, a fishing village. They have the best seafood and fresh fish.
  • Ambientes com Sabores, a gourmet restaurant. Lunch menus for 9€ during the week.
  • Dai Hou, a Chinese restaurant, in Angra do Heroismo.

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Drink

Vinho Verdelho (Green Wine) from Biscoitos and other locally made and very fine wines.

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Sleep

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This is version 5. Last edited at 8:00 on Jul 21, 17 by Utrecht. 10 articles link to this page.

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