Terceira Island is a lush, volcanic island located in the Azores archipelago of Portugal. It may be one of the most spectacular places on the planet. I never thought of this tiny island in the Azores as a potential hidden gem but it proved me wrong.
Before I tell you all about my incredible adventure to Terceira Island let me introduce myself. My name’s Jonny Rogers and I come from Chessington on the outskirts of London. I’m a full time student at the University of Westminster and a freelance photographer.
My love of photography was passed down to me from my Dad who used to take photos on our family holidays. He always took beautiful pictures and I wanted to learn how I could too. At the age of 14 I picked up my very first camera and took things from there.
I took a brand new DSLR Sony Alpha 350 camera with me on that trip. This camera allowed me to take amazing photos and it encouraged me to post on Instagram and social media too.
I love taking photos of London and its surroundings but I’ve always been a keen traveller. In 2018, I started to self fund my travels. I visited some of the most beautiful destinations in the world such as Scotland, Hong Kong, Budapest, and (most recently) the stunning Terceira Island in the Azores.
Terceira Island Itinerary: 4 Beautiful Days in Paradise
We were lucky in the sense that our itinerary was decided by Visit Azores which meant all activities were covered. We spent 4 special days here.
The first day consisted of a volcano tour which took us on a guided adventure around the island. We visited the lava tubes that once fuelled the mighty active volcano of Terceira Island.
James and I also visited the incredible Algar do Carvão. You can freely enter this extinct volcano and explore it to a degree. The second day was meant to be a boat trip to the nearby island of Ilhéus das Cabras.
However, our trip was cancelled due to high winds and choppy seas. This cancellation certainly gives me a reason to come back to Terceira Island.
The third and fourth days were free days where we explored the island and captured all of its beauty through photography. We also had the pleasure of sampling the local cuisine of Terceira Island with the tourism board providing some amazing food experiences for us.
5 Best Things To Do in Terceira Island
1. Explore the Incredible Algar do Carvão
The ancient lava tube/volcanic vent called Algar do Carvão was one of my favourite places on Terceira Island. It was truly spectacular. I mean how often is it that you get to travel down into the funnel of an extinct volcano with a rainforest growing inside of it and a lake at the bottom?
I don’t need to describe this place in any more detail because I believe it’s the type of place you have to see to believe. Words do it no justice.
2. Hike through the Enchanting Black Forest
The Black Forest is located up on the slopes of the main volcano on the island. It’s often shrouded in low clouds and fog, and it’s lined with huge Japanese Eucalyptus trees.
3. Go on a Volcano Tour of the Island
Terceira Island is an active volcanic island that is composed of several extinct volcanoes. Many companies offer volcano tours all over the island and they are well worth the money.
4. Watch Sunrise at Miradouro da Serra do Cume
From the Miradouro da Serra do Cume lookout you can enjoy a majestic view over the majority of the island. I recommend going just before sunrise or sunset for the best lighting, colours and views.
Look out across the city of Praia da Vitória and the green pastures of the island divided by volcanic stone patchwork. I’d say it’s one of the most spectacular places in the world to watch sunrise/sunset.
5. Sample the Delicious Cuisine of Terceira
The local cuisine of Terceira Island is phenomenal. Admittedly I am not much of a food connoisseur but to me it was all spot on. There are plenty of fine-dining restaurants that serve high quality local cuisine. The best place we went to was Restaurante o Pescador which served amazing food!
One of the most popular dishes is Alcatra made with fish or beef. It’s a hearty traditional clay pot dish cooked with meat, thick sauces, bacon, onions, garlic, bay leaf, pepper and wine. Enjoy this traditional meal accompanied with Mass Sovada (sweet bread). Yum!
Best Photography Spots on Terceira Island
Terceira Island is an amazing place for photographers. I can’t repeat it enough but Algar do Carvão has to be one of the best photography locations on earth. You simply have to visit! The previously mentioned Black Forest and Miradouro da Serra do Cume are also fantastic spots.
If you have a drone then I recommend a couple of distinct volcanic cones that sit outside the small town of Feteira. They are stunning from a bird’s eye view and are well worth a visit.
Meeting the Local People of Terceira Island
The locals of Terceira Island were all super friendly and willing to help us out when we needed it. For instance, when James lost his wallet we were surprised to see that someone handed it in at the shop he lost it at.
I feel like that wouldn’t always be the case back home in the United Kingdom. We never felt unwelcome on our trip to Terceira Island.
Where to Stay on Terceira Island
We stayed at the Terceira Mar Hotel for our four day trip. It’s a four star hotel that sits right next to the Monte Brasil peninsula. The hotel has an indoor and outdoor pool, a well equipped gym, as well as an onsite restaurant with a games room, pool table, chess set and dart board.
Terceira Mar Hotel also has a bar and a communal stage with occasional live acts. I highly recommend this hotel if you’re undecided about where to stay on Terceira Island.
My Number One Piece of Travel Advice
Hire a car for your entire stay on Terceira Island. The island is tiny and you’re guaranteed to see most of it if you hire a car and just drive around exploring. In my mind it’s the best way to experience and explore this incredible hidden gem in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this brief guide on the best things to do on Terceira Island. Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like more travel tips on this unique destination.