Sunlit House In The Azores

Discovering the simple beauty of nature

Our visit to the Azores turned into a journey of delight

Angra do Heroísmo is one of the 3 regional capitols among the 9 islands, and a UNESCO-designated World Heritage City with old world charm and beauty. Friendly people, medieval architecture, great restaurants and festivals abound to keep you exploring and content.

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rua direita
Peg and Vasco de Gama1
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The nine islands of the Azores are 1,000 miles (1,636 km) from Portugal. They’re 2,400 miles (3,683 km) from Boston. Talk about remote! Thanks to the modern miracle of flight you can get there in 5 hours from Boston and even less from Lisbon!

Terceira has some amazing pools for swimming which are totally enchanting. They have figured out how to create some utterly whimsical places to swim and dive, sun and cool off. Most parishes have a swimming area where you can enjoy the clean water almost all year long.

Why Is Terceira So Special?

Some people are of the opinion that Terceira Island is the best Azores island to visit and others seem to regard it as just so-so. Of course, people have preferences for everything imaginable. Nevertheless, there is something rather magical about this little place.

The weekly flight from Boston to the Lajes Airport on Terceira brings about 220 visitors on a regular basis. Maybe half of these passengers are Azoreans, coming back for a visit or coming back home from a visit to the USA or Canada.

It is not hard to sense the joy of returning islanders as the flight gets closer and closer. Often there are jubilant family members waiting at the gate to greet them with hugs and tears. Nothing like “coming home”!

Why Is Terceira So Special234
Why Is Terceira So Special123

From my experience, most of the visitors are taking advantage of the great deals offered by Azores Getaway or other travel deals. Really, for a very reasonable rate you can sometimes get a round-trip flight, 7 nights in a 4-star hotel, breakfast and maybe even a massage!

Some of these tourists will stay for just one week, which goes by like a whirlwind. Just about the time you’re getting acclimated you have to leave. Not to mention that the flight over from Boston is a red-eye and everyone is a bit like a zombie for the first day or so.

Those tourists looking for shopping, malls, sunny beaches and all-night entertainment are deeply disappointed. None of these things are to be found on Terceira.

Those tourists looking for natural beauty, friendly people, local festivals, great but basic food are happy as can be. This tiny island has an unbelievable variety of things to experience, if you are willing to make the effort.

look our perfect little family cropped shot affectionate couple carrying their two children during enjoyable day out beach1

Our House in the Enchanting Azores

Off season : Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb — $40/night or $240/wk

Shoulder season : Mar, April, May, Oct — $50/night or $300/wk

Peak season : June, July, Aug, Sept — $75/night or $450/wk

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Friendly And Kind People

I have lived all over the US and Europe, besides extensive travels to Mexico and South America. The people of Terceira are some of the most generous and friendly I have ever met.
For example: every time we visit and stay in our little house in Terceira we look on our doorstep in the morning to see what gift the neighbors may have brought. It might be eggs, fresh cheese, Portuguese stew or fish.

Terceira street
terceira street 2

Most of the clerks in the stores are also very friendly and helpful. If you speak some Portuguese you are even more likely to be treated well. There is a sincerity to their character that seems to be missing in other, more stressful places.

One of their mottos is “no stress”. We first heard this from a general store owner who, when we were caught in downpour waiting for a restaurant to open, set us up on his deck with lawn chairs and red wine, and joined us for a late day chat. I mean, who does that for total strangers?

Our dentist is a great example of this spirit of hospitality and generosity. He greets us with a big hug at his clinic, took us with his son to see a bullfight event, has taken us out for dinner at one of the nicest restaurants on the island and offered to check on our house during a hurricane.

Where Is Terceira Located?

If you were to draw a line from Philadelphia, PA in the USA to Lisbon, Portugal, the island is approximately 2/3 the distance from the USA.

That is, about 2,200 miles (3,600 km) from the USA and 1,000 miles (1,500 km) from Lisbon.

Talk about the middle of nowhere!

This location has been historically important throughout the ages. From the age of discovery to pirates, to Spanish dominion over Portugal, to trans-atlantic flight re-fueling stops to the sinking of German U-boats in WWII.

The good news is that it is only a 5 hour non-stop flight from Boston and even shorter from Lisbon.



Where is Terceira Island

What Is The Weather Like In Terceira?

Good question! They say that you can get four seasons in one day in Terceira, which seems to be true

First of all, it is not in the Caribbean, so it is not a tropical island. It is literally located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and has consistently variable temperate weather patterns.

Generally, it is cool and rainy in December and January, and hot and steamy in July and August. Most of the rest of the year it seems to change daily and sometimes during the same day. .

Personally, I don’t pay much attention to the weather forecast because the sky doesn’t seem to listen to the meteorologists. Sunny with a chance of rain, clouds and wind is the typical pattern.

Because it is a small island surrounded by a gigantic ocean it is subject to brilliant sunshine, dense clouds, very light rains, heavy downpours, strong winds and doldrum weather - all in the same day at times. 

I find that I rarely need more than a wool sweater and light rain jacket in the colder months. During the warm weather sandals, shorts and a light shirt are perfect.



Weather in Terceira

What Is There To Do In Terceira?

The answer depends on what you like to do. If you are looking for one of those island experiences that are somewhat like being in a cultural bubble you will be disappointed.
However, if you like nature, the outdoors, tame adventure and exploring, you will be in your element.

Some travel guides refer to Terceira as the “party island”. This is quite misleading and mostly stems from a poor translation of the word “festa”, which is more like the English word for festival.

There might be one nightclub on the island, though I’ve never been there. I only know of one dive-type bar and it is really small. This is not a place of rowdy parties and Brazilian carnaval nights. 

The festivals are family-friendly events where almost everyone in the local area shows up. There is plenty of beer drinking and the occasional drunken behavior, but most likely the local cop just gives the poor sop a ride home.



Swimming nearby

How To Rent A Car In Terceira?

Renting a car in the Azores is as easy as any other place - you can reserve one in advance online and have it waiting for you at the airport.

It is not recommended to wait until you arrive because there might not be one available, especially during the summer and Christmastime. 

The ability to drive with a manual transmission is an advantage, but not a necessity. Some agencies offer cars with automatics, but mostly those with a stick-shift. 

Our favorite rental agency is AngraCar. They have been very good to us over the years and are highly recommended.



Road to Porto Judeu

What About Real Estate In Terceira?

Everywhere you go on the little island you can see people working on home improvements. Unlike the US, you very rarely find run-down properties and certainly no “trailer trash”. There are always poor people, yet they maintain their homes as well as they are able.

It is possible to find nice properties and a good price, but it is getting more difficult all the time. After all, it is a small island with limited housing and now that people have “discovered” it, prices have gone up a lot. 

There are numerous real estate agencies offering land and houses. You can visit the agency or look online first to see what is available.

Buying a property is not that complicated, but there are a few things that are required. 

  • A NIF, which is a bit like a social security number
  • A sponsor - someone on the island who can vouch for you
  • A local bank account
  • An attorney to represent you

This is just a list from our personal experience, it may be different for others.



buy a house in Azores

How to rent a house or car and find
the best hotel and activities

Can You Swim In The Azores?

Can You Swim In The Azores?

Almost every parish also has a Zona da Balnear – very special places to swim, sun and dawdle by the water. The two cities, Angra and Praia, have...

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Where were you on April 25th, 1974? I was at the Carnation Revolution!

Way back in April of 1974 I happened to be living in Lisbon, Portugal as an idealistic youth together with some other wandering souls. I noticed that there was a sort of buzz in the air and that people were acting nervously and women were out shopping as if they were stocking up food.

On the morning of April 25th I was waiting for my bus, but instead a troop of horseback mounted soldiers came thundering down the street. Then the double decker bus arrived, and as I was settling in on the top level, we rounded the corner and saw the main plaza full of jubilant people. They were singing, dancing, waving flags in celebration of what became known as the Carnation Revolution.

Now April 25th is a national holiday called “Freedom Day”, or “Dia da Liberdade” in Portuguese. Prior to the revolution the government was known as Estado Novo, which was a fascist dictatorship that ruled for over forty years. Almost no shots were fired in the coup and the jubliant people were soon putting carnations in the rifle barrels of soldiers, hence the name: “Carnation Revolution”.

NoPath Copy 5
NoPath Copy 6

Openness and No Stress

Most of the clerks in the stores are also very friendly and helpful. If you speak some Portuguese you are even more likely to be treated well. There is a sincerity to their character that seems to be missing in other, more stressful places.

One of their mottos is “no stress”. We first heard this from a general store owner who, when we were caught in downpour waiting for a restaurant to open, set us up on his deck with lawn chairs and red wine, and joined us for a late day chat. I mean, who does that for total strangers?

Our dentist is a great example of this spirit of hospitality and generosity. He greets us with a big hug at his clinic, took us with his son to see a bullfight event, has taken us out for dinner at one of the nicest restaurants on the island and offered to check on our house during a hurricane.

Terceira Is Now Our Favorite
Place To Visit

We now own a house on the island of Terceira and have friends there. We get a lot of our medical care done on the island and also enjoy visits from our North American friends who come to discover the enchantment and make use of lower dental costs.

From our experience, most of the visitors are taking advantage of the great deals offered by Azores Getaway or other travel deals. Really, you can get a round-trip flight from Boston, 7 nights in a 4-star hotel, breakfast and maybe even a massage for a very reasonable price!

Some of these tourists will stay for just one week, which goes by like a whirlwind. Just about the time you’re getting acclimated you have to leave. Not to mention that the flight over from Boston is a red-eye and everyone is a bit like a zombie for the first day or so.

Those tourists looking for shopping, malls, sunny beaches and all-night entertainment are deeply disappointed. None of these things are to be found on Terceira.

ocean2