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Graciosa

Graciosa (meaning Gracious) belongs to the Central Group of the Archipelago of the Azores (about 30 miles from Terceira). The island has an area of 61 km² in an oval form and is called “the white island”. Graciosa has a length of 10 km and a width of 7 km and is almost flat. The island has about 5000 inhabitants.

mill

Graciosa is also known for the colored old windmills. The most important town on the cosy island is Santa Cruz; it’s a friendly village to visit with building fromm the 18th century and it has two lakes and the huge araucárias (sort of tree). The airport is about 3 km outside the center of the town. If you come to Graciosa by the ferry from Terceira, you will arrive in Praia, (also known as Sao Mateus). This town was in the past the most important town on the island.

The landscape of Graciosa mixes the green of the trees with the white of the villages and isolated houses. It has fertile fields that produce cereals, fruit, wine, and cattle. The underwater life is spectacular. You can easily spend 3-4 days to discover Graciosa.

Graciosa Highlights

Villages and Culture

  • Santa Cruz: island capital with the Igreja Matriz de Santa Cruz , The Igreja Misericordia,  Associacao de Artesaos da Ilha Graciosa, Ermida de N.S. da Ajuda, and the Ethnographic Museum. 
  • Guadalupe: Igreja Nossa Senhora da Guadalupe
  • Vitória:  picturesque village
FurnaExofre viladeluz

Nature

  • Furna do Enxofre (Sulphur Cavern), see left picture above, is a unique geological phenomenon. It is an extinct volcano with a crater, which you can enter all the way to the very bottom. A tower with internal steps lead you rather comfortably to the very bottom. At the bottom there is a beautiful large deep lake filled with cold sulphur water. The diameter of the lake is about 130 meters and its depth about 15 meters. The opening at the top of the crater is fairly small, which makes the visit even more exiting. You can drive by car all the way to the crater entrance. The best time for a visit is between 11.00 AM to 14.00 PM.
  • Furnas da Pombas, a curious volcanic rock formation which is populated by wild pigeons.
  • All the Fajas along the coast offer spectacular views.
  • The lighthouse at the point of Carapacho gives you a wonderful view towards Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial.
  • The Praia Islet, totally covered by vegetation, and the Baleia Islet, naturally formed to appear as if a giant whale were anchored along the coast, are attractive and serve as shelter for the numerous sea birds.
  • The Carapacho Thermal Baths: In Carapacho there is the health spa  TERMAS DO CARAPACHO, which provides treatments with thermal water, and claims to cure some bone and skin diseases. It's open from 1. May to 30. September.

© Azoresweb 2006