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Terceira (meaning third) was the third island to be discovered in the archepelago of the Azores in the 1400's. Terceira Island is located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and is one of the nine islands of the Azores (Portuga) having a surface area of 148 sq. miles (382 km2). Its international airport, Lajes, is about 2 miles away from the city of Praia da Vitoria. Terceira is the second most populated Azorean island with approximately 58,000 inhabitants.
Terceira consists of two municipalities: Angra do Heroismo, with its majestic 19th century City Hall (Câmara Municpal) located in Praça Velha in the center of the city and Praia da Vitória located on the Northeastern side of the island.
On January 1, 1980 the island suffered a violent earthquake and has subsequently been reconstructed carefully maintaining the historical aspects of the city of Angra do Heroísmo, and in 1986 it was granted world heritage status. The city of Angra fully deserves this status for maintaining its distinct architecture from the 16th century. With its numerous churches, museums and fortress.
Angra is a charming and relaxing city to visit and enjoy. Once Angra has been fully appreciated, Praia da Vitoria should be their next stop. In Praia (meaning "beach") you will find the best sandy beach on the island and charming outdoor cafés (esplanadas).
Throughout the island, in every village you will find the best masterpieces of popular architecture called the Imperios, built in honor of the Holy Spirit.
Visitors are allured by the breathtaking countyside throughout the island with its patchwork fields, hydrangea lined streets, mountain ranges, an 18 hole golf course to challenge even the most proficient of golfers. For visitors who love water sports Terceira is a water lovers paradise, fishing, swimming, diving, windsurfing, sailing and the list goes on.
Terceira is a continuous festival from May through October of every year. The first street bullfight tourada à corda is on May 1 and from then on there is a street bullfight somewhere on the island almost everyday of the week until October 13.
The Festas do Espirito Santo (Holly Spirit Celebrations) are celebrated in every village during the period of eight weeks starting at Easter. On the eigth and nineth Sunday after Easter each village has its own "Bodo" where free food and drink, in abundance, are enjoyed by everyone.
The festas Sanjoaninas are held in honor of Saint John, these festivities are usually a 10 day festival that always begin on the Friday preceding the 24th of June. During these days the City of Angra do Heroismo is filled with a joy contageous to anyone who passes through. There are parades and inumerous events for all tastes and ages and the traditional ring and street bullfights. The Sanjoaninas are the largest non-religious festivities of the Azores, attracting thousands of people from all over during those days.
In the beginning of August there are the festas the Praia which also include parades, bullfights and inumerous other events for all tastes. These festas boast a marvelous gastronomic fair where you can try different restaurants from all over Portugal, Azores and other countries all under one roof for the entire week. An experience not to be missed.
In Terceira good food is an omnipresence year round but during the festivals the Terceirenses surpass themselves. With an abundance of fresh meat and fish the choices are endless and a true gastronomical delight. One of the most traditional plates of Terceira is the "alcatra" and sweet rice pudding. The desserts are exceptional, from puddings to cakes to conventual sweets they are high in cholestrol, calories and ABSOLUTELY heavenly. Visitors should never leave Terceira without trying the traditional Dona Amélia (the best place for sweets is Banquete at Alto das Covas in Angra).
Places to visit
Monte Brasil, where you can picnic, hike and get a sensational view of the city of Angra.
The Fort at Sao Joao Baptista in Monte Brasil
The Angra do Heroismo Museum located in the old Convent of St. Francis and adjoined to the "Nossa Senhora da Guia" Church (Our Lady of Guidance).
The Imperios (religious monuments) situated in every village and considered interesting due to their unique architecture
The Algar do Carvao, famous for its caverns that reach a depth of approximately 328 feet (100 meters). These caverns contain stalactites, stalagmites and an interior lake. Near the Algar you can visit the Furnas do Enxofre.
Praia da Vitoria, proclaimed city in recent years, offers one the most inviting beaches of the Azores.
Museum of Wine in Biscoitos with some of the finest wines in Terceira. Stop in, look around and taste some of the best wines the Brum family has to offer.