#carryuswithyou: Terceira, Azores

As a kid, I knew there was something incredible about the tiny volcanic island of Terceira, Acores. Even at a young age, I could tell it was one of the most authentic places I would ever travel, and to this day it truly still is.

Home to about 56,000 people, it is one of the 9 Azorian islands that lay about halfway between the eastern coast of Canada and the coast of Portugal. Pull up a google map and search for it and you'll be super surprised about the size and location of this amazing little gem.

Both of my parents were born here, and although they immigrated to Canada at very young ages, Terceira was never left behind, playing an integral role in my upbringing.

Some call the Azores "Hawaii of the Atlantic," but I've never been to Hawaii, so to me it's just a second home. Here are some insider tips on everything you need to see and do when visiting this amazing oasis in the middle of the Atlantic.

 

As a kid, I knew there was something incredible about the tiny volcanic island of Terceira, Acores. Even at a young age, I could tell it was one of the most authentic places I would ever travel, and to this day it truly still is.

Home to about 56,000 people, it is one of the 9 Azorian islands that lay about halfway between the eastern coast of Canada and the coast of Portugal. Pull up a google map and search for it and you'll be super surprised about the size and location of this amazing little gem.

Both of my parents were born here, and although they immigrated to Canada at very young ages, Terceira was never left behind, playing an integral role in my upbringing.

Some call the Azores "Hawaii of the Atlantic," but I've never been to Hawaii, so to me it's just a second home. Here are some insider tips on everything you need to see and do when visiting this amazing oasis in the middle of the Atlantic.

Hiking & Site-Seeing

When you first land at Lajes International Airport in Terceira you'll instantly notice the lush greenery, rolling hills and volcanic landscape. All of the above make for magnificent view-filled hiking adventures, which you can explore on your own or with a guide like Azores Photo Tours.

Renting a car is the easiest way to get around as some viewpoints are only accessible by vehicle. Make sure to visit popular sites like Serra do Cume (photo shown at the end of this post) and Monte Brasil for some incredible photo-ops, as well as Algar do Carvao, a volcanic vent located in the central part of the island.

Swimming

If you're looking for white sand beaches you've come to the wrong place. Terceira- like the other islands in the Azores- are volcanic islands characterized by shorelines of rigid volcanic rocks. Instead of white sand beaches you'll find natural lava pools, like the one you see above, located in the northern town of Biscoitos. Spend your days hopping from town to town as each one has their unique swimming area, or head to Praia da Vitoria, one of the island's few sand beaches.

Swimming

If you're looking for white sand beaches you've come to the wrong place. Terceira - like the other islands in the Acores- are volcanic islands characterized by shorelines of rigid volcanic rocks. Instead of white sand beaches you'll find natural lava pools, like the one you see above, located in the northern town of Biscoitos. Spend your time hopping from town to town as each one has their unique swimming area, or head to Praia da Vitoria, one of the island's few sand beach.

Bullfights

If you're visiting Terceira between May and October, there is a very high probability you will hear about "Tourada a Corda" which is the islands version of the running of the bulls. This traditional event is native to Terceira and is hosted at least once by every town respective of their annual "festa" or celebration.

For the best bull fighting experience, be sure to visit the Festa do Sao Sebasatio which takes place in the last week of July. The islands most popular party, "Festas da Praia", which is a 10 day celebration beginning the first weekend of August, is where you can catch the bull run on the beach, which happens only once a year.

Bullfighting

If you're visiting Terceira in the summer months, there is a very high probability you will hear about "Tourada a Corda" which is the islands version of the running of the bulls. This traditional event is native to Terceira, held in every town across the island, coinciding with each towns annual "festa."

For the best experiences be sure to visit Festa do Sao Sebasatio which takes place in the last week of July, or the islands most popular celebration, "Festas da Praia" which is a 10 day celebration of the islands culture, beginning the first weekend of August. During this time you can catch the once a year bull run on the beach.

Where and What to eat:

In my opinion, there are three places that are a 100% must visit in Terceira, each with their own speciality:

Ti Choa- When people travel to Portugal they and are under the impression that ordering fish or seafood is the automatic decision. In most cases I wouldn't disagree, but this is Terceira and the go-to here is Alcatara, a traditonal beef pot roast made in a clay pot, slow-cooked to perfection. The people at Ti Choa are masters of this dish, among many other traditional foods.

Beira Mar- If you love fish, then this place has your name written all over it. Located in the fishing port of Sao Mateus, this quaint little establishment offers a beautiful view of Monte Brasil while serving up the best seafood on the island with a local wine list as its supporting cast. Make sure to try the fish soup (my personal favorite) as well as local delicacies lapas and caracas which are served fresh from the days catch.

Quinta Dos Acores: I remember the days when getting a good burger in Terceira was impossible, but that problem was solved by Quinta dos Acores and their farm to table snack bar. Visit their retail space for lunch and treat yourself to a farm-fresh burger and one of 30 ice cream flavors for dessert.  

Where to drink:

In Terceira, it's easier and more cost effective to find ice cold beer than it is to find water. As you explore the island, you'll notice that every town has a local watering hole that serves a perfectly made espresso, cold beer, and local wine.

At night, Blues Bar is the perfect destination to rest your feet and enjoy some live music. With locations in both commercial hubs- Praia da Vitoria and Angra do Heroismo- it's one of the best bars in Terceira to meet locals and other travellers.

For a more quaint alternative, visit Birou, a restaurant/ bar located in Angra. While most people visit here for lunch or dinner, their assortment of cocktails is worth popping in for.

With so many outdoor activities to choose from, what are your favorites?

Photography is always at the top of the list. Aside from that, skiing and working at Lake Louise has been awesome. Working with kids is a riot, they keep me on my toes. I've been skating and playing shinny quite a bit too. I usually end my day chilling by the fire with a good live album on Spotify.

Where to stay:

Depending what your interests are will truly determine where you rest your head. If you want to be amid a livelier crowd then staying at the Atlantida Mar Hotel near Praia da Vitoria is right up your alley. It has a beautiful view from the pool deck out to the Atlantic and sits a short boardwalk to the beach of Praia Grande. This modern 4-star hotel is steps away from local restaurants, bars, and shops and is a 10-minute drive from the airport.

If you want a quieter option then rent a small little house in the town of Biscoitos, like the one you see above. Home to one of the islands more popular swimming destinations and the islands infamous wine museum, it's a preferred destination for those wanting a more authentic experience. If you have a car, it's a quick 20-minute drive over to either Praia da Vitoria or Angra, or anywhere on the island for that matter.

Climate:

Given it's remote location in the middle of the Atlantic, predicting the weather in Terceira can sometimes be difficult. In the summer months it's totally normal to be hot and sunny on one end of the island and raining on the other. Once the sun goes down, the sea breeze tends to cool things off.

When packing for vacation here it's best to be versatile so make sure your summer threads have some long pants, a light sweater and a spring jacket as the supporting cast.

Thinking of planning a trip to Terceira? Follow: @brunoazera and book a photo tour to capture all the moments!


Have a journey you want to share? Tell us your monte & coe story by tagging us on Instagram with #carryuswithyou or send us an email to info@monteandcoe.com!

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