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Discover the Azores: Graciosa Island

Manuela Azevedo

The Island of Graciosa, classified by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve, is the northernmost of the five that make up the central group of the Azores archipelago.


1. Discover Caldeira and Furna de Sulfur, the island's biggest attraction. A fascinating lava cave and its main feature is its perfect vaulted ceiling that covers it, formed by lava prisms.

2. Delight yourself with the Queijadas da Graciosa, a regional sweet from the Graciosa Island - Azores, made with local products and rooted in the most genuine tradition of the Azorean sweets.

3. Praia do Barro Vermelho is one of the most important bathing areas on the Graciosa Island, located on its north coast. This bathing area consists of a natural rock and sand pool, with cement accesses, and the open sea bathing area with basalt slab bottom.

4. Visit the picturesque center of the municipality of Santa Cruz where the typical houses stand out, the cobbled streets, branched from the wide central square, where you can see the bandstand, water tanks and araucarias.

5. Discover the Santa Cruz da Graciosa Mother Church, Built in the 19th century. XVI and extended during the century. XVIII. Note the façade cut by the black stone carved from the portal, the windows and the bell tower. Inside, the important altarpiece painted on wood, from the century. XVI, a masterpiece of 16th century Portuguese painting attributed to Cristóvão de Figueiredo.

6. Visit the Museu da Graciosa, installed in an old bulk, where the cereals and wine were kept, the Museum presents on the first floor the interior of a typical Graciosa house. On the ground floor, you can see the building's cellar with mills, presses and agricultural implements. The Graciosa Museum also has two nuclei, Barraca das Canoas, where you can see a whaling canoe and equipment related to this activity, and the place of Fontes, where you can visit a mill.

7. Dive into the Boqueirão Natural Pool, a semi-natural pool of great beauty, formed by black lava that solidified many years ago when it reached the sea.

8. Get to know the Forte do Corpo Santo, which constitutes a fortification designed to defend the port of Calheta against attacks by pirates and privateers, formerly frequent in this region of the Atlantic Ocean.

9. Enjoy the view from the viewpoint of the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, this viewpoint offers privileged views over the housing estate of Santa Cruz da Graciosa, with the ocean as a backdrop.

10. Discover the chapels dedicated to S. João, S. Salvador and Nossa Senhora da Ajuda. The latter is one of the best examples of “fortified religious architecture” in the Azores. It has attached the “pilgrims' house” designed to welcome those who traveled there on pilgrimage.

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