Terceira Virada do Avesso - Azores Lovers

Terceira Turned Inside Out

Describing Terceira island is, in fact, a difficult task... It is so much for the ones who live in it, and so much for the ones who visit it. You will never be able to summarize what the island has to offer without having lived - and felt - just as the outsiders live and feel. The essence of Terceira undoubtedly resides in its traditions, but don't think that the island has fallen asleep on its historical ancestors. On the contrary. Terceira is cosmopolitan without turning its face to its origins. And it is also a platform for the exchange of experiences. Of people who leave. And of people that arrive. Come with us to get to know her better.

Where can you start? For a trip, precisely, to the past. We suggest a guided tour to the Castle of São João Baptista (1), in the city of Angra. Situated on the peninsula of Monte Brasil, the castle and the surrounding walls are part of the Azores largest fortification. Visiting the fort is a free passport to go back in time until the time when its walls protected the city from the pirates and corsairs who saw in the intercontinental port of Angra a strategic treasure. Built by the Spanish empire, and by the Philippine dynasty, the Castle of São Jorge Basptista even came to be, territorially, the only piece of land of the Portugal kingdom. Did you know that it was also here, in this place, that D. Pedro IV organized the reconquest of the throne? It was at this time that Angra won the noun that completes (and defines) it to this day: heroism.

Then take a leisurely stroll down the seafront or through the streets behind the Cathedral to the center of the city, the historical capital of the Azores and UNESCO world heritage. The sidewalk that serves as a ground for the feelings of outsiders is also the scene of the greatest profane parties of the archipelago - the Sanjoaninas (2) (in June). Despite the confusion, the night of São João is one of the highlights of the island calendar. We did not use hammers or leeks, but we jump bonfires and dance in the streets with joy.

There are two places you must visit. The first one involves some physical exercise, but the masterly view of Alto da Memória (3) on the bay of Angra is worth the effort. The entrance is made by two sides, but we advise the greater route from the numerous access stairs that cross the Jardim Duque da Terceira (4). The araucarias, palm trees, eucalyptus, camellias, and magnolias provide good shade at the forced stops (we did not want to miss this, but if the tour is for two, the surrounding natural romanticism can help her to say yes faster!). The second is on Rua Direita ... The store of Basílio Simões (5), the most emblematic store of the city, is the perfect record of the timelessness of retailing. There, it is still possible to buy in bulk. Terceira deserves to be tasted too, and if to awaken the senses you need a clash of azorean colors and tastes, go up the main street and go to the Duque de Bragança market (6). Dare to feel Terceira on the tip of your tongue. Try the little guavas, the figs, the grapes, the olives, the cheeses, the homemade pickles and the honey.

Hummmmyou started getting hungry, did you not? We thought about it. Get away from the city and come taste the regional rump in the "Venda do Ti Manel da Quinta", the Quinta do Martelo (7)restaurant, one of the island's first rural tourism units. This set of typically Azorean houses, accurately portrays the third-generation lifestyle of other times. Did you bring children with you? Do not worry, they do not get lost (and if they get lost, they're in good company). Terceira is a great vacation destination for families. Your children, nephews, godchildren, stepchildren will love it when they discover the Terceira pony, the 4th race of horses in Portugal. Morphologically they are similar to horses, although smaller, and they are ideal for teaching younger classes how to ride.

After the digestion, start the car towards the bathing area of Negrito (8)Are you ready for a dive? Why not a SUP (Stand Up Paddle)class? Go, without fears, the waters are calm and warm. If you do not feel like it, we suggest something quieter: a stroll in the fishing port of São Mateus (9), uma freguesia piscatória onde a magia do mar se funde com o sabor do peixe e do marisco… Ou então uma sesta na mata florestal da Serreta (10). Carry a blanket with you because the abundant shade of the trees usually makes you feel cold. If you did not taste the loquat brandy from "Venda do Ti Manel" while you were there, you will have to drive up until Biscoitos (11)parish, land of wine and brandy.

Knock on the door of an inhabitant house and ask him to visit a winery. Good people, as the outsiders are sure to recommend you the best neighbor there is! If you are not yet accustomed to the protocol of the island, book with the tour operators a tour for the basalt corrals while tasting the (best) wines of the local producers. One thing is certain: you will not feel like a customer.

If you continue your trip, you will pass by Lajes (12)the only village in the Ramo Grande area. (Ramo Grande is the designation by which the flat zone, located in the northeast part of the island, is usually known). It is in the center of a flat land that is the boarding gate of those who visit us (Lajes International Airport), as well as the outstanding evidence of the American and military presence in the Azores (Lajes Base). In Lajes, you will find the Carnival Museum (13). It is totally worth knowing about this tradition where popular theater and social satire connect and are clearly the key elements. Feathers, sequins, swords and tambourines revolve around the more than 60 stages of the island for 4 days in february. Go with time to spend and bring Kleenex. No, it's not because you are going to be sick or sad. On the contrary, you'll cry from laughing so much (if you understand the jokes that are told).

It is also in Ramo Grande where the feasts in honor of the Holy Spirit assume more relevance. Explaining what they are is difficult, especially because social and cultural manifestations of this type differ from island to island, and within the islands, from parish to parish. What you need to know is that the Holy Spirit is the greatest religious cult of the Azores. The feasts in his honor begin shortly after Easter (March/April) and only end after 8 weeks, so do not be surprised if you find organized popular processions. The Empires, the multicolored houses (very multicolored!), usually built next to or in front of the churches, are the strongest architectural symbol of this tradition. This is where the decorative elements used in the respective processions are kept during the days when there are no feasts in honor of the Holy Spirit. The so-called "massa sovada", a kind of uncooked sweet bread, and the "alfenim", a pastry of pure sugar, are two of the flavors connected to this celebration and tradition. You have to prove them!

Quickly you will arrive at Praia da Vitória, the other city of the island next to Angra. Did you know that Vitorino Nemésio, author of "Mau Tempo no Canal" and one of the greatest communicators of Portuguese television in the 70's, was born in here? In Praia da Vitória the queen is really the beach. Extensive kilometers of sand where you can enjoy diving, boat rides, windsurfing or just relaxing. (do not forget the sunscreen, and yes, for now, you do not need to keep an eye on your belongings).
The beach and the sea are also the hosts of the Festas da Praia (14) , in August. The warm summer nights invite you to stroll through the Atlantic Gastronomic Fair where the snacks and dishes from different national regions are given to taste.
Promise that you do not leave the city without visiting the viewpoint of Serra do Cume, the most iconic place (and most photographed) of Terceira. Serra do Cume (15)is called a "patchwork blanket" because on the side, facing Angra, extends a big interior flat land divided by walls of volcanic stone. If you have time let yourself stay until the sun goes down. You pay nothing to watch the show.

Taking a trip along the coast is a good option. More blue than green. More salt than earth. If you have time for a detour to Porto Martins (16), we recommend a small brief stop to taste their famous olives. We could just say that they have their own flavor, but you know how it is, the secret is the soul of the business. And in a blink of an eye, you've reached the end. ohit's true, we forgot to tell you that a Dona Amelia pastry, with a slight taste of Indian spices, goes well with tea. And if you just want more, get involved in the music of AngraJazz , in October, a festival that has been held since 1999, during 4 days and that has brought to the island European and North American sounds like the swing of Christian McBride, the compositions of Charenée Wade, or the 1970s musical spirit of The Cookers. Hopefully you enjoyed it. Hope you come back!

Cátia Carvalho

Discover some products from the Azores

HomeShopFavoritesMy account
To look for