Last Updated on July 7, 2024

Earlier this week I talked about the beauty of Terceira Island in the Azores and some of the things you could do there. I actually had so much to talk about that I didn’t even know where to start! Because Terceira is such a small island, I found so many hidden gems on the island in just three days. Considering everything I missed in my list of things to do in Terceira, I wanted to go over my complete 3-day Terceira Island itinerary for you to try out!

Thanks to TAP Air Portugal for sponsoring this trip!

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3-Day Terceira Island Itinerary

How to get there

The main way to get to Terceira is by plane. The island has a dedicated airport in Aerogare Civil des Lajes, so you can book a flight from places like Canada and the USA. There are also daily flights to and from Portugal’s capital, Lisbon.

If you’re considering visiting Terceira on your trip to Europe, I really recommend TAP Air Portugal Stopover program. I was on the way to Marseille, France when I found out about this deal to stop in Portugal for free on the way. Later as I was returning home from Marseille, they also offered a 25% discount to stop by Terceira Island. I shared more about the whole experience in this Instagram reel.

As for in-land travel, most tourists will book a car rental or take a bus to get around. The local tour agencies often also provide their own transportation services along with guides, so it’s worth booking a tour while you’re ahead. Our Terceira Tours guide, Ivo, was a great help in navigating the island. He was there for all 3 days of our visit and showed us all the corners of the area. Shout out to him for all the help!

Day 1

We landed in Terceira late morning, and were excited to start exploring the island right away. Here’s everything we did on Day 1!


Porto Judeu

From the airport, we headed to the island’s south-eastern coasts to get a brunch and start exploring our first city, Porto Judeu. Driving here will take around thirty minutes depending on your transportation.

Porto Judeu is a historic port town with a lot of classic old-world charm and deep roots in religion. The whole town was built from a parish, so many of its historical sites are related to the church.

The Império do Divino Espírito Santo do Porto Judeu building in Terceira Island, the Azores, Portugal.
Império do Divino Espírito Santo do Porto Judeu

The Império do Divino Espírito Santo do Porto Judeu is unique because it isn’t a traditional church. The mix of local beliefs and Franciscan spirituality led to the development of a ‘house’ for the Holy Spirit by the people of Porto Judeu in the 19th century. You can find this colorful building within the parish of Porto Judeu! It’s very reminiscent of old Portuguese architecture you might still find in Brazil, but with a lovely, poppy palette.

Brunch at Restaurante Rocha

Then we got brunch at a local gem Restaurante Rocha. From delicious Mediterranean cuisine to gorgeous views of the sea, this restaurant gives a wonderful first taste of what you can expect from Terceira Island as a whole. There are wide window-paned doors looking out into the ocean, and from the corner of the restaurant, you can actually see the famous Cabras Isles in the distance. 

Restaurante Rocha

The restaurant mainly serves seafood and Portuguese cuisine, with a variety of vegetarian options as well. It opens after 12 PM and closes at 10 PM, which was perfect for our afternoon schedule, though it also has a snack bar that opens in the morning.

After the brunch, we took a quick 5-minute drive to the Cabra Islets viewpoint Miradouro da Laginha. This spot has stunning views of the twin islets, known for their unique geological formations and rich marine life.

Woman looking out towards Ilheus das Cabras or the Cabras Islets from the beaches of Porto Judeu.

Cabras Islets


Gruta do Natal

Our next stop is a bit further inland, needing a roughly 40 minute drive to get there. It’s one of the best ways to introduce one of the most notable features of Terceira: its volcanic caves.

Terceira’s people hold a great respect for the volcanic structures that make up the land. Gruta da Natal is a great showcase of this, as you’ll see displays of the different ceremonies, weddings, and rituals that took place in the cave’s walls. Even now, the cave is named after the island’s tradition of holding Christmas mass in the grotto.

While all of Terceira’s caves are beautiful, Gruta da Natal is one of the easier caves to explore for tourists. It’s around 700 meters long with easily navigable passages, all with diverse geological patterns from lava that once flowed to create the cave. Whether you’re a fan of history, geology or exploration, it’s a fantastic place to start your journey with Terceira.

Gruta do Natal

Tickets to enter the cave are around 9 euros for individuals. You can also get a 15-euro combo ticket to visit Gruta do Natal and Algar do Carvao (more on that later.) Note that the cave usually opens at 2:30 PM and closes at 5 PM.

Before or after you head in, I recommend visiting the Information Center at the entrance of the cave as well. It’s a quaint building styled with a church-like interior, and it features all of the historical artifacts from the cave’s past. Overall, I spent around thirty minutes just exploring the cave and its history.

Algar do Carvão
The inside of the Algar do Carvao cave, looking up at the chute with sunlight streaming down.

Algar do Carvão

If you arrive earlier in the afternoon, you’ll be able to visit Algar do Carvão just before it closes at 5 PM. It’s only 10 minutes away from Gruta da Natal and it’s one of the must-see spots in all of Terceira.

I’ve talked about the cave a lot in my things to do in Terceira list, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. It has a heart-shaped chute that’s covered in greenery from the inside, and a deep, intricate cave system down below. You can check out more information about it in my Terceira highlights list!

Note that tickets to the cave are around 8-10 euros. If you’re visiting from the nearby Gruta do Natal, I recommend taking the earlier-mentioned combo ticket in that area first!

Lagoa das Patas

Lagoa das Patas

As evening comes down, we took a short 10-minute ride to Lagoa das Patas, the Forest Reserve at the heart of Terceira.

The reserve is a lush grove of various trees surrounding an artificial lake at the center. Waters from the overlooking Serra de Santa Bárbara range trickle down to the round lake at the center, and various wildflowers bloom all over the paths in the spring and summer. 

It’s a great spot to picnic or rest after several hours of cave exploration in our Terceira Island itinerary, especially if you love ducks. The park is open for all hours of the day, so there’s no real rush in visiting the area.


An evening at Restaurante Quinta do Martelo

If you’re anything like me, by now you’ll feel a little peckish for dinner. After finishing our walk through Lagoa das Patas, we took around 10 to 20 minutes to drop by Quinta do Martelo for dinner.

This unique restaurant actually resides in the larger Quinta do Martelo villa area, which has a swimming pool, a public library, wide grassy fields, gardens, and more. 

Quinta do Martelo exterior

While we waited for our food, we had some fun exploring the historical artifacts and old-world tools Terceira residents used.

Museum artifacts

Eating at Quinta do Martelo is like taking a trip to the past. All of Terceira’s traditional food is offered here, and the owners provide an in-depth explanation of the history of the food, how they’re cooked, and their relevance to Terceira’s history as a whole. It’s a grand experience that makes for a nice, cozy conclusion to the first day of our Terceira Island itinerary.

Quinta do Martelo meals

Day 2

The second day of our Terceira Island itinerary is packed with a lot of different things, so prepare to wake up early in the day (around 7 to 8 AM would be most ideal). We’ll start off at our hotel in Angra do Heroismo (which we’ll explore later too!) and head on out into Terceira’s most beautiful viewpoints.


Viewing Miradouro do Pico das Cruzinhas and exploring Angra do Heroismo

Within the center of Angra do Heroismo lies the Cruzinhas Peak, one of the dizziest heights in Terceira raised over 168 meters in altitude. It took our group roughly 30 minutes to drive up to the peak’s viewpoint, and for the little time needed to get there, it was absolutely breathtaking.

Cruzinhas Peak provides a full 360 view of the entire island from coast to coast. Here, you can see all of Porto Judeu in the southeast, the towering volcanic crests on the horizon, and the distant parishes in the countryside. It’s especially lovely in the morning, with the soft light shining over a glittering sea.

The view of the city from Miradouro do Pico das Cruzinhas in Monte Brasil.

Angra do Heroismo from Cruzinhas Peak

There are also a lot of grand crosses and monuments built around this viewpoint. They hold great historical significance to the city and make for a fitting part of the wide landscape.

This is also a great time to visit the colorful streets of Angra do Heroismo. You’ll see the classically styled buildings from far above and below, and the morning light makes for a nice picture-taking experience while exploring the city’s architecture.

Visiting Queijo Vaquinha

After taking in the scenery of Cruzinhas, we drove for another 30 minutes to a local cheese and dairy product factory, Queijo Vaquinha. 

The Vaquinha cheese factory offers a unique cultural experience, allowing visitors to see how cheese and yogurts are made in the traditional Terceira way. It’s the oldest cheese factory on the island and holds many secret arts unique to the island’s culinary customs. Vaquinha’s cheeses are renowned for their aged, supple texture, complete with a perfectly formed crust and melt-in-your-mouth consistency.

On the tour through the factory, you’ll get to sample a variety of their cheeses, from classic Terceira to spicier tastes. They also have their own cafe looking over the green pastures–definitely a worthwhile breakfast stop if you haven’t eaten by now.

Exploring Mata de Serreta

Mata de Serreta

Next, we drove around 20 minutes to the Serreta Forest or Mata de Serreta. It’s a spectacular forest brimming with life and energy, situated near the northwestern cliffsides of the island. If you love bird-watching, foraging, or general nature-watching as much as I do, it’s a must-stop destination.

The Serreta Forest is one of the first places where local parishes built facilities for locals and travelers to enjoy the nature of Terceira. There are places to stay, children’s playgrounds and an old fountain to rest around that builds an idyllic experience for the average passerby. 

If you’re up for the hike, there’s also a moderately challenging 6-mile hiking path you can take to explore the forest. It looks over everything from the seaside cliffs to the towering pines and soft ferns.

Viewing Miradouro do Raminho

Raminho Viewpoint

While we visited Mata de Serrata, we took a 5-minute drive up to Miradouro do Raminho, a viewpoint on the northwest cliffs of Terceira. From here, you can see some of the surreal patchwork-quilt fields sewn all across the islands. 

It’s an insanely captivating view from above: the contrast between the roaring waves, the steep cliffs, and the green fields is something out of a storybook. We took some time to really admire the environment here before moving away to the next stop.

Swimming in Piscinas Naturais Biscoito
Woman standing over the waters of Piscinas Naturais Biscoitos in Praia dos Biscoitos.

Praia dos Biscoitos

After a thirty-minute drive, we finally reached Piscinas Naturais Biscoito or the Biscoitos Natural Pools. I talked a lot about it in my 5 Things to Do in Terceira post, and it’s still one of my most fun visits to Terceira. We took a dip in the pools and spent nearly an hour or so enjoying the refreshments from nearby kiosks and the waters.


Exploring Agualva through Cascata das Frechas
The Cascata das Frechas waterfall in Agualva.

Cascata das Frechas

Agualva is one of those smaller towns outside of the bustling tourist hotspots. It’s quiet, serene, and surrounded by lush, dense nature all around. We took twenty minutes or so to stop by here after our swim in Biscoitos, and I genuinely think it’s a little hidden gem in this Terceira Island itinerary.

There’s a short, moderately challenging loop you can take around the park to visit Cascata das Frechas, the local waterfall. This is where all the water runs down, feeding into the rivers of the parish. It’s small, cool, welcoming, and the surrounding ferns make for a great place to relax and reflect.

Eating lunch at Restaurante O Pescador

Interior in Restaurante O Pescador

It’s another thirty minutes of driving before we get to our lunch spot, Restaurante O Pescador. This restaurant rests on the northeastern coast of Terceira in the bustling town of Praia da Vitoria. 

The restaurant specializes in sumptuous seafood and classic Terceira Island wines. Most tables are reserved so you can look for bookings on their website.

They also had a number of sweets on display that I really enjoyed. My favorite was this passion fruit mousse that I feel is very exclusive to Portugal and some parts of Brazil–this one was especially tasty!

There’s also a small chocolate cupcake treat with a helpful guide on the ingredients and contents. It’s unique to Terceira Island and has a soft, delicate texture when biting into it.

Desserts at O Pescador

We took over an hour just enjoying the food and unique atmosphere here. There’s just something so charming about eating in a modern establishment with granite counters and fine cutlery while also being surrounded by yellowed photographs and historical artifacts. It’s just something you can really only experience in Europe.

Viewing Miradouro da Serra do Cume
The green fields over the Miradouro da Serra do Cume viewpoint in Terceira Island.

Serra do Cume Viewpoint

To close off the afternoon, we drove 15 minutes to visit the famous Miradouro de Serra do Cume. Do you remember the patchwork fields from the Raminho viewpoint? Here you get to see them all in far more detail, looking over the island’s eccentric landscape from a full panoramic view.

The whole scenery was so captivating that we ended up driving for two hours or so around the fields to take in more of Terceira’s nature. It was fun absorbing the greenery and coming across some bulls in the pastures!



Explore Angra do Heroismo

Finally, we circle back to Angra do Heroisme after a day of exploring the island. Again, I’ve discussed this city in the Things to Do in Terceira post, but it’s worth mentioning again how important the town is for the island and Portugal’s history as a whole. 

You can take some time walking around the street and visiting the city’s wonders, like the Duke of Terceira Garden or the streets of Se. 

Angra do Heroismo

Enjoying dinner at Restaurante Taberna Roberto

Restaurante Taberna Roberto wines and interior

After a long day of exploration, we wanted to end today’s journey with a hearty meal. Our guide led us to Taberna Roberto, by far one of the most delicious seafood and Mediterranean restaurants in the city.

The owners were incredibly friendly to us, and the food on the menu was diverse and quite accommodating. Definitely a great place to end our travels for the day.

Desserts and meals

Day 3

On Day 3 of our Terceira Island itinerary, we’ll be preparing to head back out of Terceira in the afternoon, so we made good use of our last hours to explore a little bit more of the island before heading out.


Swimming around Zona Balnear da Faja do Ficher

East of Angra do Heroisme is a wondrous geological pool protected by the island’s volcanic walls. The structures here are over 3000 years old, still quite rugged and bold though the area is now safer for tourists.

It’s a nice spot to dip your toes and swim in, but an even better spot to admire the Cabras Islets from afar. Walking along the beaches while looking out into the horizon of the sea really brings you closer to the island’s charms. 

Enjoying the market and coffee plantations of Quinta dos Acores

Coffee plantations and cups

Finally closing our stay in Terceira, we went to Quinta dos Acores, a mix of a factory, a farm, and a restaurant all in one. The salads and European cuisine were nice, but the highlight of our visit was going through these lovely coffee plantations.

The people of Terceira Island have a special relationship with the food and drinks they grow and tend to. Something about the simple experience of seeing coffee grow after having my own coffee really connected me back to the nature of the island. It’s definitely one of the many things I’ll miss from my Terceira Island itinerary.

Places to Stay for the Terceira Island Itinerary

Most of the great hotels and accommodations are in Angra do Heroísmo, considering the town’s popularity. Here are just a few you can consider:

  • My Angra Charming House: The hotel I stayed at! This place had a lovely, modern ambiance and lies squarely in the town’s center. I’d recommend it for the charming vibes and delicious breakfast meals. You can book a room here!

  • Palacio Santa Catarino Hotel: A whimsical hotel with a traditional stairway entrance and quaint Portuguese architecture. It has a garden, concierge services, and a swimming pool just outside.

  • Açores Autêntico Boutique Hotel: This sleek and elegant hotel has easy access to the nearby Zona Balnear da Prainha Beach and luxurious accommodations. The balcony view is especially notable, welcoming you with a signature European flair.

My Angra Charming House

A lot of the signs and instructions in Terceira are written in Portuguese, so I’d recommend hiring a tour guide while you’re visiting. I got quite lucky with Terceira Tours, which had a fantastic guide who showed us all the hidden gems of the island. Special thanks to him again for making our visit such a wonderful experience!

A man and a woman standing on the shores of Terceira Island in front of the Cabras Islets.

Our tour guide Ivo and I!

There’s a lot to really enjoy about this island. This Terceira Island itinerary goes over some of the real hidden gems I’ve witnessed around my time on the island, and the fact that it’s so small means that taking even more time will let you essentially find everything it has to offer. What sparked your interest the most?

Interested in my other trips to Europe? Check out my travel guide to Switzerland!

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