Itinerary for Two Weeks in the Azores Islands20/06/2023
2 weeks winter itinerary in Iceland06/07/2023
Best things to do in Terceira island
Terceira is a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and is part of the Azores archipelago, which has about nine islands.
The island belongs to Portugal and can be easily reached by flight from Lisbon/Porto. Or alternatively if you are already in Sao Miguel then there is a short flight from there as well.
The island of Terceira is different from Sao Miguel (for those who wondered if visiting one island in the Azores is like visiting them all - then no).
In Terceira you will find many more fields of crops, cows gathering grass on green hills, and surprisingly - a lot of roosters and hens who just live quite happily there in the wild.
You can have fun spending 3-5 days on the island, and experience it even down to its small points (if the rain doesn't interfere with the plans).
I visited Terceira together with my partner at the beginning of June 2023, where we also celebrated his birthday and really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the island.
Our trip included the islands of Sao Miguel and Terceira and lasted about two weeks. Click here for our trip itinerary for the two islands >>
One of the beautiful things about the island is that most of what is worth doing is actually free (or for a very nominal fee), so at the end of the day the cost of a trip there is not expensive at all.
And now I'm here to tell you about all the most worthwhile things you can do in Terceira and what, of course, you mustn't miss :)
1. The capital city of Angra do Heroísmo
Angra do Heroísmo is the capital city of the island of Terceira and also the largest city on the island.
The city itself is really beautiful, colorful and cute, especially the old city area.
There are a lot of shops and cafes, and the truth is that it's also really nice for shopping enthusiasts (which I'm not, so don't take my word for it), but I saw some really cute shops there in my wanderings.
The spot that is by far the most worth visiting in the city is the Duke of Terceira Garden.
It's really nice to walk around there, but the most worthwhile point in the park is undoubtedly the climb to the observation point and the memorial structure Memória a D. Pedro IV, from which you can observe a beautiful view of the entire city.
We also walked around the marina area a bit, and there is also a small beach in the area called Praia de Angra do Heroísmo.
2. Monte Brasil cat colony
In the small peninsula that comes out of Angra do Heroísmo , you can find something that will make you really fall in love.
If you are a cat lover, you absolutely must not miss this little gem.
Although getting there requires navigating the narrowest roads you'll ever drive on, it's still worth it.
Almost at the end of the ascent towards the Miradouro do Pico do Facho viewpoint, you will find the cat colony - small buildings for cats who simply live there in their own environment, receiving regular care and lots of love from tourists who come.
In addition, there are also deer that roam the area, and they are really fearless and there is a situation where they will walk right next to you without any fear.
I really liked the cats, but the ones that caught my attention the most were the roosters, who are also quite sociable.
We found ourselves sitting with the roosters for many minutes, and it was really fun to see how, slowly they came closer and closer and trusted us not to turn them into schnitzels.
There are several other observation points in the area where you can stop such as Miradouro do Pico da Quebrada - Vigia da Baleia and more.
There is also a cat colony on the island of Sao Miguel, and this is one of the recommended things to do there as well, but it's a really different vibe than what you'll see in Terceira, so it's definitely worth it to visit both.
3. Visiting the lava caves
One of the most prominent attractions on the island of Terceira is absolutely the cool lava caves it has.
The first of them is Algar do Carvão which is simply amazing in its beauty.
The entrance to it is simply magical, and reminded me a lot of the cenotes of Mexico if anyone here has walked in them.
The visit is at most about half an hour, and it is also nice to walk around here.
Not far from it you will also find Gruta do Natal , another lava cave that is built a little differently and allows for a slightly different experience than the previous one.
Both caves are well worth a visit, and you can even buy a combined ticket for both for about 15 euros (as of 2023).
It's very difficult to take good pictures in the caves, so forgive me if they don't reflect the beauty - but this is definitely an opportunity to go and experience them directly :)
4. Stopping at observation points
Continuing a trend among the Azores, Terceira is also an island full of beautiful and special observation points.
Apart from those I have already mentioned throughout the post such as Miradouro do Pico do Facho in the cat colony or Memória a D. Pedro IV overlooking the city of Angra do Heroísmo , there are several viewpoints that are worth a special trip.
The classic one is Miradouro da Serra do Cume , the most popular viewpoint on the island and the best place to watch the sunset.
We went there on our last day on the island, and we got a somewhat average sunset and it was also a bit windy and chilly, but still it was worth the trip.
Another nice vantage point is the Miradouro da Serra de Santa Bárbara, which overlooks the fields of the island.
Of course, there are many more observation points that I probably haven't visited, so it's worth sitting a bit on the map and finding some interesting ones, or simply discovering a new place yourself :)
5. The ocean pools
So there is something really cool in the Azores that I also found in Terceira and these are pools that are in the ocean and are only accessible at low tide.
When I say pools I really mean with handrails, stairs and so on, which makes access to them much easier and safer.
You can find such pools in the town of Biscoitos, where you can also find showers, changing rooms and so on.
If you are near Angra do Heroísmo there are the Silveira Natural Pools.
Where we rented an apartment, right outside the house there were amazing pools that are worth a visit called Zona balnear das Cinco Ribeiras.
You should always bring a towel, flip-flops (also for water), sunscreen and watermelon.
Here, too, I messed up a bit and didn't take pictures of any of the pools, because that's how it is when I don't know yet what I'll write for my blog during the trip. Instead, you get a picture of our house that sits right next to those pools :)
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6. Passagem das Bestas hiking trail
There are several hiking trails that really impressed me in Terceira, and as a nature hiking enthusiast I have to recommend them.
The first is absolutely Passagem das Bestas.
A circular route about 4 km long, very diverse in its views.
It starts in the forest with a short but intense ascent (yes, I would say that it can also be suitable for those who are less fit - definitely possible).
In the middle you will discover a meadow, from there you will return to a completely different forest - in short, a beautiful piece of trail that is really worth spending the two hours walking.
Please note that in part of the route you have to pass through fences for cows - this is common and normal and indeed part of the route.
7. Lagoa das Patas
One of the iconic places of the island that I think we passed through 200 thousand times, is the lake Lagoa das Patas.
A super cute place to sit for lunch or just stroll around the little lake.
There are lots of picnic tables and places for a barbeque (some are even covered and suitable for rainy days like we had).
The cutest part about this lake, in my opinion, is all the birds, ducks and roosters that hang around you.
They are completely fearless and will do pretty much anything to like you and get some of your food crumbs.
Because the lake is right in the vicinity of the lava caves, worthwhile hiking trails, as well as observation points, it is accessible from almost any other attraction you decide to do on the island.
The parking lot is located right in front of the lake so even if you're tired and don't want to walk too far, it's definitely an accessible and easy place to walk a bit.
8. Pico Gaspar hiking trail
The truth is, this route is not mandatory. But it is so short that it is worth the half hour dedicated to it.
In my opinion, it is quite amazing. The trail takes you along a sharp ridge around a very tiny volcano, so at times it is very exposed, and the surrounding landscape gives you a much more powerful feeling.
The ascent is indeed short (about ten to fifteen minutes), but quite steep, and sometimes requires a bit of acrobatics between the branches of the trees (depending on how far you go).
Malcolm was complaining that because he is bigger, it was harder to navigate the branches. With the small trees on the small volcano on the small island, it really makes you feel, for a short moment, like a giant walking up a regular sized volcano :)
The view around is pretty crazy and really not something we expected after a 10 minute climb.
Many wrote that the route is not recommended for people who suffer from vertigo, and we didn't really understand this comment until we got to the exposed parts of the route.
It is very worthwhile to do the route on good weather days, or after the sun has already come out a bit and dried the roads - because if it is slippery it is definitely not an ideal situation to walk on.
But again, since it's short and accessible, I'm sure you'll find a suitable window of time to travel it :)
9. Wandering through the small and colorful towns
Here I have to admit that I messed up a bit.
There were a few towns that I really wanted to visit, but I was already quite tired from walking around, so we took a car tour.
So those who are lazy like me can definitely wander through them by car too :)
There are many colorful and beautiful chapels in many towns, which are really nice to look at from the outside.
In general, this is one of the things that speaks most to the character of the island.
I really enjoyed looking at the different houses, the regional design that repeats itself in many of the towns and all the small alleys that make driving difficult :)
Cute towns I met along the way that are worth a visit could be Fonte do Bastardo on the east side of the island, Biscoitos in the north of the island, São Sebastião and more.
Try to discover new places and tell me about them in the comments..!
10. Rocha de Chambre walking route
As always I save the best for last, so I really hope you made it this far.
This route has definitely become my favorite walking route on the island, and the truth is, even among all the walking routes in the Azores.
Rocha de Chambre is a circular route about 8 km long, not very difficult in my opinion and without such crazy climbs.
The scenery on the route is really varied, a bit reminiscent of Passagem das Bestas, only that on this route you also reach simply crazy observation points.
I really liked every part of the route - the scenery was constantly changing, from exposed panoramic views, to small streams and just endless green all around.
Although the route is a bit long and takes about 3 hours to complete at a moderate pace, it is still, in my opinion, the thing that is most worth a visit to Terceira.
If you are planning to go to Terceira Island in the Azores, keep this post and bookmark it :)
If it will help you to understand in more depth how I arranged the transitions between all the places I mentioned here, you are welcome to read the itinerary we did in the islands.
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Thank you very much for the support and I wish you an amazing trip to Terceira in particular and the Azores in general :)
All photos were taken by me, and may not be used without permission.
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