issues a weekly "Top 20 Travel Destinations" newsletter and back in
January this one popped up. The travel package was being offered
by Azores Getaways and was to the island of Terceira in the
Azores. The package included r/t air for two + 7 nights hotel +
breakfast + airport/hotel transportation for an amazingly cost
effective price.... we couldn't resist so we booked it! This
"package" is what I call an "independent tour" where logistics are
covered but once onsite we're on our own to explore at our own
pace. No bus tours for us! Also note, that we have done
several trips and getaways offered on travelzoo.com. Click here for more detail on the money side of things.... Money Matters
Please Note: Click on any image for more specific information about it. Clicking on the little map will bring up a satellite image showing where we were when the image was taken. Camera setting information can also be found.
The Azores are a group of 9 islands
located about 900 miles off the coast of Portugal with Terceira being
the 3rd largest of them. Back in the early days of trans-Atlantic
flight, the Azores were a refueling stop. What amazed us was how
few people have even heard of the Azores now that aircraft can go the
distance on flights to Europe. An exception to this would be
certain military flights which stop at Terceira because there is still
a US Air Force presence at the airport. Terceira itself is about
15-17 miles long and about 10-12 miles wide and is inhabited by roughly
60,000 people. Most are in the city of Angra do Heroismo where
our hotel was located. Dairy farming appears to be the primary
industry. For this trip we chose to rent a car which was equipped
with a 5-speed transmission but most of our driving was in 2nd and
3rd. Our GPS showed that we covered 250 miles at an overall
average of 25mph. I did get to use 5th gear a couple times on the
islands 10 mile stretch of highway between Angra and the airport.
Driving was on the right as here in the states. Euro is the local
currency and gas was pumped by the liter which worked out to about
$6US/Gallon and we used about $45 worth for the week. We brought
along our Garmin GPS with a map chip installed for the Azores. In
addition, we had waypoints for places like the hotel and some sightseeing points of interest preloaded.
The "package" included r/t air for two from Logan in Boston with the departure scheduled for 10pm on a Wednesday arriving in Terceira the next morning around 7am. There are several ways we could have used to get to Boston but we came across r/t Philadelphia to Boston flights for $116/each so we decided to fly. Our flight got us to Logan around 3:30pm which gave us plenty of time to get our bags, walk to the international terminal, and grab dinner before boarding our 10pm SATA Airlines flight to Terceira. Upon arrival (~7am local time), we cleared Portuguese customs, retrieved our rental car, and drove to Angra do Heroismo to our hotel. Check in wasn't until 2pm so we let them know we were in the area and walked into town for breakfast at a sidewalk cafe followed by a little sightseeing. Return flight to Boston departed Terceira around 3:30pm local time and arrived in Boston around 5pm EST. Rather than risk missing a late evening connection to Philadelphia, we elected to spend the night at a nearby hotel and fly home to Philadelphia the next morning. The airport on Terceira is pretty small, been awhile since we had to get on/off an airplane via stairs and a bus to the terminal.
The Hotel, Pousada de Sao Sebastiao:
noticed that there were several hotel upgrades available while going
through the booking process. We upgraded to this one because it
was located in Angra and was inside of an old fort. I was sold
when I saw this unique location. Most of the rooms were in a
somewhat modern building located on the grounds within the walls.
We were assigned to a room located in a structure that was part of the
original fort. This structure is the "yellow" building shown in a
couple of these pictures. The room itself was VERY large and was
equipped with the usual amenities. Ours was even equipped with a
wifi router so we were connected. The hotel also had a restaurant
where breakfast (included) was served daily. We even purchased
lunch and dinner a couple times. The grounds were open to all and
we spent some time walking the walls and taking pictures.
The Town, Angra do Heroismo:
in town is a nightmare so all of our trips into town were on
foot. We found ourselves walking into town at least once a day
for dinner. Sometimes we made the trip twice. In either
case, we were hitting 12,000-14,000 steps on our Fitbits. All of
the roads AND sidewalks in town were cobble stone. Sidewalks had
some white marble stone laid into them to form patterns. The
island does NOT get snow so there isn't a plowing issue to deal
with. Sidewalks were narrow and in some places, non-existent,
especially on very narrow side streets. While we ate in several
different places, we especially enjoyed two of restaurants. One
was on a 2nd floor with a decor that was about as "old world" as it
gets but we found that the place was frequented by "tourists".
The other location (O Chico) was much more to our liking as we were
usually the only tourists in the place. In any event, we found
that meals were cooked to order, nothing pre-made. There was no
rush in any restaurant and you had to ask for the check when YOU were
ready to leave. While in town, we visited a rather extensive
garden, visited the museum which was awesome(!), and walked a lot of
streets and alleys.
The Streets and Sidewalks were all stone. Even crosswalks.
Designs were made with white stone/marble. Some of the off
streets had a narrow sidewalk if any at all. Of course there were
LOADS of hills to walk.
We Walked Into Town Every Evening For Dinner. Restaurants Didn't
Open Until 6:30pm With Most People Showing Up After 7:00pm.
Never Any Rush. We Found That You Had To Ask For The Check When
You Are Ready To Leave....
The Museum was absolutely AMAZING and was far more extensive than some
we've seen in larger cities. Admission was 1E for seniors.
I tried to donate a couple more and they wouldn't accept it.
There was a church connected to the museum......
The local grden was pretty nice and was well maintained. Kathy
was amazed at the size of the Jade plants. The garden was tiered
and we climbed all the way to the top. We walked back into town
via local roads through the neighborhood.
* Some images we captured as we walked/drove around town....
Out and About:
As mentioned, we rented a car for the week so we were able to go out and explore the island at our own pace. We also had a couple dozen geocaches loaded into our GPS so searching for them gave us an objective to drive to. By weeks end, we had pretty much covered the entire perimeter of the island and a number of interior locations as well. We visited both caves, Praia Da Vitoria (the "beach" community), and a few of the villages along the way. Our final morning was spent hiking what was deemed an "easy" trail that was an experience for us. Clicking on these thumbnails will get you some additional detail.
* The "EASY" trail but it was worth the effort. The scenery was absolutely beautiful!!..... Baias da Aqualva
* The Cave With LOTS Of Steps But It Was An AMAZING Sight..... Gruta do Algar do Carvo
The Cave With Few Steps But Rough Walking Surfaces. This one had
a virtual geocache inside of it..... Gruta do Natal
* The Other Major Population Center On The Island. This One Has The Islands Beach..... Praia da Vitoria
* We Spent A Lot Of Time Exploring The Island, Here Are Some Captures Along The Way..... Terceira Island
To see images in stream fashion: Flickr Album
Return To Main
|New April 2016|