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Praia da Vitória, Terceira

Praia Grande

  • Coordinates: 38.731618, -27.058390

One of the city’s biggest attractions is the welcoming beach that hugs the sea in its wide bay. It is beautiful, with warm and calm waters, space for everyone and various bathing support services. Don’t forget the sun cream. 

Along its length emerges a series of cafés and esplanades. The Marina Hotel is near Praia Grande beach and marina.

A short distance away, you have the deep-water ocean port that welcomes boats – not only goods boats but also cruise ships sailing in the summer. You spot a smaller beach on the other side of the marina – also popular.

It was here, in the bay, that the battle of 11 August 1829 took place. The Duke of Terceira Island, commander of the liberal forces, resoundingly defeats the large Miguelista squadron. The town of Praia receives the title of Vitoria (Victory).

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Battle of Praia Bay

When Dom João VI dies, Dom Pedro is the eldest son. As he proclaimed himself Emperor of Brazil, the Brazilians did not accept that he was King of Portugal! So, the crown passes to his daughter, who marries Dom Miguel.

 However, the big landowners persuaded Miguel to proclaim himself absolute king of Portugal, and the liberals from Porto took refuge in the Azores. A squadron was sent from Lisbon to the Azores.

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  • Coordinates: 38.731111, -27.050556

At this time, the bay was garrisoned by 6 small forts, and the Miguelistas tried to occupy the Espirito Santo Fort. After 4 hours of fighting, they gave up with many deaths. Even today, you can still see a wall – it’s all that remains of the Espírito Santo Fort at the left end of the bay.

Atlântida Mar Hotel

  • Coordinates: 38.721183, -27.062869

The best hotel in town, Atlântida Mar Hotel, is right by the coast. It is 1 km from Praia Grande beach – with excellent value for money. You will have comfortable rooms with a balcony, breakfast (buffet) with regional products, and access to the gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna.

Facho Viewpoint

  • Coordinates: 38.733645, -27.053776

Following Avenida Álvaro Martins Homem, it is a 5-minute drive to the viewpoint on the Santiago mountain range, ideal for a privileged view of the bay and the city – with ample parking space. In the background, there is the mountain ridge that overlooks the city.

To the right, we see the militarized zone where the fuel for the North American military planes was stored.

The base was a critical point in American strategy – significant in the Gulf War of the 1st President Bush against Iraq.

In the past, an enormous bonfire functioned as a lighthouse at the top of the Serra de Santiago. Today, there is a monument to the patron saint of Praia, Imaculado Coração de Maria, erected at the end of the 20th century.

Bela Vista Pasture House

  • Coordinates: 38.730571, -27.075387

If you are looking for a place to try typical Terceiran food, look no further than Casa de Pasto de Bela Vista (rua Vale Farto, 30) with an interesting decor and relaxed service. It’s on the outskirts of town, 5 minutes drive west of Praia Grande.

Try the typical dish of the third, alcatra de carne. The octopus stew is excellent.

Terceira Island Golf Club

  • Coordinates: 38.735833, -27.157584

From the restaurant, you are 10 minutes from the fascinating Ilha Terceira Golf Club, with hydrangeas, Azalea and Estrelícias flowers and 70 000 cryptomeria trees planted along the Terceira Island golf course. The club is one of the most popular in Portugal, and its shop is trendy as it offers golf equipment at excellent prices.

Serra do Cume Viewpoint

  • Coordinates: 38.709441, -27.112123

10 km from Praia to the island’s interior, we see the Miradouro da Serra do Cume, with great views. If you have time, driving along the hill is worth the trip. The highest point is 540 metres, with views of small fields surrounded by stone walls, hydrangeas and the harbour.

Behind, we have a view of the largest flat area in the Azores, between Serra do Cume and Serra da Ribeirinha. From these pastures, about 50% of the milk produced in Terceira comes out. At the end of the day, a tanker truck transports the milk to the factory.

Don’t forget to try the butter (Milhafre) that the locals love. Every island has its own cheese, but the most famous Azorean cheese is from São Jorge.