Travel advice about trav­el­ing to Ter­ceira island from a fel­low trav­el­er (guest post by Kitti)

It was on the Face­book travel page called “Utazo­ma­jom” where I first read Kitti’s exper­i­ence about her vis­it to Ter­ceira island. I liked her storytelling so much, I asked her to write a guest post for Eden Azores about her adven­tures. I am delighted to say that she accep­ted the chal­lenge, and wrote the fol­low­ing very inform­a­tion­al post for you.

Per­son­al travel jour­ney, hints & tips

I am writ­ing this guest post with lots of joy and enthu­si­asm based on my memor­ies and the best of my know­ledge in the hopes that it will prove to be use­ful. We have been to Ter­ceira in 2017, so some things might have changed ever since, so the inform­a­tion I am provid­ing might not be 100% accur­ate, but please bear with us, hobby trav­el­ers.

Why Ter­ceira?

Our first time ever in Por­tugal was in 2016, when we vis­ited Lis­bon and Madeira. We were taken by the beauty of the coun­try, the kind­ness of its inhab­it­ants, and its indes­crib­able mood. You could say we are back­pack­ers, so Por­tugal is a supreme choice if you are con­sid­er­ing the price / value ratio: you get beau­ti­ful land­scape and won­der­ful cit­ies, in secure and com­fort­able con­di­tions.  

We have con­te­plated long about wheth­er to go to Ter­ceira or Sao Miguel, and I have to con­fess we decided on Ter­ceira because of bet­ter flight con­nec­tions, and a some­what cheap­er air­fare. Of course I have looked at sev­er­al pho­tos from Sao Miguel, the main island of the Azores, and based on these pho­tos I think there is more to see, and is prob­ably even more beau­ti­ful, than Ter­ceira. How­ever, we have nev­er regret­ted our decision: we had a won­der­ful time there, enchanted by the loc­a­tion and the tran­quil­ity.

How to get to Ter­ceira?

The cheapest option to get from Bud­apest to Ter­ceira is to fly to Lis­bon or Porto with Wizz Air, and then catch­ing a Ryanair flight to the island from either Lis­bon or Porto. Ter­ceira is also served by both TAP Air Por­tugal and by SATA Azores Air­lines from Lis­bon dir­ectly.

There have been 2 art­icles on the Eden Azores blog about trav­el­ing to the Azores: one about the flight and stop­over options, and anoth­er one about how to get a free flight from SATA.

From the nearby Azores islands (for example Pico) you could take the ferry to Ter­ceira, but the ferry is slow and the sched­ule is pretty bad.

Ter­ceira

Our first main source of inform­a­tion about the island has been good old Wiki­pe­dia. The island which is smal­ler than Bud­apest is inhab­ited by approx­im­ately 56 000 people. Loc­als say they have at least this many cows on the island – which maybe is an over­state­ment – but you really do see cows every­where. There­fore, the island is full with beau­ti­ful green pas­tures fenced off with an incred­ible amount of vol­can­ic black rock. (For those who are sens­it­ive about flies and smells: don’t worry, we have not exper­i­enced that at all.)

The main city of the island is Angra do Her­oísmo, where most of the island’s pop­u­la­tion is loc­ated. The second biggest town is Praia da Vit­or­ia – which is closer to the air­port, but you barely notice the air traffic.

In terms of the weath­er, the sum­mer is pleas­antly mild, and we had a great time at the begin­ning in July, with only one rainy morn­ing on our last day. The tem­per­at­ure was between 20 – 25 degrees Celsi­us, but it feels of course very hot in the sun, and you can quickly get sun­burnt.

The ocean tem­per­at­ure is rel­at­ively fresh in the sum­mer, but since there is not that much dif­fer­ence between air and water tem­per­at­ure, it doesn’t take much time to get used to the water. In winter tem­per­at­ures drop to as low as 10 degrees Celsi­us, and there is much more rain. Pub­lic safety is flaw­less, there are no bad neigh­bor­hoods, and almost no theft. You can get by with Eng­lish, even the eld­erly under­stand a few words.

Use­ful inform­a­tion

Once the travel arrange­ments have been made, comes the next ques­tion: acco­mod­a­tion. There aren’t too many hotels or hos­tels on Ter­ceira, there­fore it is recom­men­ded that you book very much in advance. We wanted to book acco­mod­a­tion 4 months pri­or to our jour­ney, and found way less options com­pared to book­ing 6 months in advance.

Luck­ily, Airb­nb did not let us down and we have found a great, 3 room, fully equipped apart­ment in the cen­ter of Praia da Vit­or­ia for a very reas­on­able price.

In case you would like to dis­cov­er the island without rent­ing a car, I def­in­itely recom­mend you use the two biggest cit­ies (Angra and Praia) as a base, because they have a pretty good con­nec­tion to the pub­lic trans­port sys­tem. But how­ever decent the pub­lic trans­port sys­tem is, it doesn’t get you to every sight, espe­cially not if you only have a few days at your dis­pos­al.

Driv­ing a rent­al car doesn’t mean too much stress, the traffic is very mild, the only place you might spend a few minutes in a traffic jam is Angra, and at times you will see cows cross­ing the road. The roads are in excel­lent con­di­tion, and not busy at all. There aren’t too many car rent­al com­pan­ies, so just like in case of acco­mod­a­tion it is recom­men­ded that you book early. What we have also real­ized when check­ing out car rent­al options, is that it can be quite expens­ive. How­ever, at least the com­pan­ies we check out offer air­port pickup & drop off.

Anoth­er thing that makes rent­ing a car a less desir­able option is that in both Angra and Praia you need to pay for park­ing.

In this Eden Azores post you can find out all about how to use the meters on the Azores.

Instead of rent­ing a car, you can take the bus – there are hourly bus rides between the two big­ger cit­ies, and the buses are clean and the fare is cheap (you can check out the bus fares here). Use­ful tip: wave to the driver to make sure he stops. By the way the bus drivers have been more than help­ful, for example open­ing the doors not only in the des­ig­nated bus stops, but wherever we asked them to. There are buses to most of the main sights depart­ing from Praia in every 2 – 4 hours. You can check out the bus sched­ule here.

We dis­covered the West­ern half and the insides of the island with a tour com­pany. I can highly recom­mend them! The com­pany con­sists of a won­der­fully kind and friendly mar­ried couple. It is the hus­band doing the tours for a small num­ber of people (a couple or a fam­ily). They know everything about the island, and tail­or all trips to the needs of their cus­tom­ers. They also take great pho­tos dur­ing these trips.

Gro­cer­ies cost almost the same as in Hun­gary, maybe just a tiny bit more expens­ive. Like every­where else, also in Ter­ceira the super­mar­kets are much cheap­er than the little stores. The dairy products and the wine is par­tic­u­larly nice.

Must eats include fish and sea­food, steak (from loc­ally sourced meat), and bur­gers since those are also made from the loc­ally sourced beef.

There is a recent post on the Eden Azores blog titled Gast­ro­nom­ic­al Buck­et List which fea­tures the Azorean steak (Bife a Region­al) and the most deli­cious Azorean sea­food (Lapas).

What to do

Apart from hik­ing and walk­ing (Angra and Praia are charm­ing cit­ies) there are a lot of sights, and events on the island.

Ter­ceira has a beau­ti­fulcave, which is a must see.

There are sev­er­al com­pan­ies offer­ing whale watch­ing and / or swim­ming with the dol­phins. We have opted for the lat­ter, and had a won­der­ful exper­i­ence. Unfor­tu­nately, the dol­phins did not stick around for long, but it was still unfor­get­table. We went with a com­pany called Ocean Emo­tion and were abso­lutely sat­is­fied. Our group of 8 has been led by a few young mar­ine bio­lo­gists. Use­ful tip: for those of you with a sens­it­ive stom­ach make sure to take a med­ic­a­tion to pre­vent sea­sick­ness (e.g. Ben­adryl).

Praia has a nice, long, and sandy beach, but also Angra is ideal for a nice beach day – and of course there are sev­er­al smal­ler coves, shorelines where you can take a dip. For us the high­lights were the “lava pools” of Biscoitos.

There is only one thing that can turn a beach day from good to bad: the Por­tuguese man of war (Physalia Physal­is) which is like a dan­ger­ous  jelly­fish (only that it is a colo­ni­al organ­ism, which con­sists of 4 dif­fer­ent kinds of polyps). We have seen them once dur­ing our hol­i­day (in Angra), where they drif­ted near shore due to the strong winds dur­ing the night before. Loc­als warned us to stay away, their sting is rather dan­ger­ous!

It is a sens­it­ive and divis­ive top­ic, and at first we felt bad to acknow­ledge that we found the run­ning of the bulls – Toura­das a Corda – inter­est­ing (and much less fright­en­ing and cruel than the bull­fight­ing we know from for example Spain).

Of course there is much more to see and do, these were only our high­lights. As a start­ing point I recom­mend you check out this page.

We can highly recom­mend Ter­ceira to every­one who likes tran­qu­lity, beau­ti­ful sights, and lovely loc­als.

Thank you so much Kitti for this exhaust­ive post about Ter­ceira, just by read­ing it I can ima­gine being there in per­son. I will be attend­ing the Wine in Azores in Ter­ceira and will be doing by utmost to provide you with even more inform­a­tion.

You can read about the best fest­ivals on the Azores – includ­ing Wine in Azores – in this Eden Azores post.

If you enjoyed Kitti’s post as much as I did, please write a review on Face­book or leave a com­ment here on the blog. We would love to hear what you think.

All pho­tos in the post were taken by Kitti. Thank you.

Leave a Reply