A taste of life on Terceira, a Portuguese island in the middle of the Atlantic

Four volcanos make up the island of Terceira in the Azores archipelago where I’ve been living for the past month. One is reassuringly dormant, three are less reassuringly active.

Just across the water in Sao Jorge, residents wait with packed rucksacks for instructions to leave in case the thousands of earthquakes they’ve been experiencing this week mean a volcano is about to erupt.

Life here is close to the earth. People live their lives on ancient lava spills: beautiful, green, fertile land that is constantly being shunted around by seismic shifts, and which in some places visibly steams. A striking reminder that we are living on top of an intricate plumbing system of bubbling molten rock.

Outside my Airbnb window the village’s animals, including dogs, cows, donkeys and cockerels, make their usual morning cacophony to indicate the start of the day.

There is a notable interest in cows. Walking around, you’ll notice statues, murals and other reminders that cows are the island’s bread and butter (mainly butter). Here, cows live like kings in luscious grassy meadows overlooking the sapphire blue Atlantic: not a barn or factory farm to be seen. It’s common while driving to be confronted by a herd of cows plodding obediently from one verdant meadow to another. And the freedom pays off: Azores cheese is delicious, especially when paired with bolos levedos, a regional mildly sweet muffin-type bread, and jam made from local passion fruit.

We’ve yet to experience the bull runs Portugal is famous for, but we’ve heard from our friends that the island goes mad for them every summer, with each village hosting its own fight – which involves setting a bunch of testosterone-fuelled bulls loose in the streets and then trying not to get gored. Not really my cup of tea.

So far, our stay in Terceira has been mainly wonderful. As this blog is one follower away from 500, I thought this would be a good time to share some photos with you.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to ask any questions in the comments. Thanks 🙂

Açucar, the most hyperactive of the two lovely dogs we’re lucky to have at our Airbnb
Our friends have been showing us all the good spots
One thing that strikes me is how well-maintained all the houses are. Apparently they get repainted every year in time for the bull fights.
Açucar has no concept of personal space
Our gorgeous little cottage, which is on a farm with cows, donkeys, pigs, ducks and a really friendly rabbit
Old volcano
On sunny days the island almost looks tropical
Our friend has started a local business doing family photography shoots and we were lucky enough to be the subjects of one of her shoots. Check her work out at mossandmeadowfilms.com
The view from a morning jog
Terceira is known as the lilac island because there are so many gorgeous flowers blooming over it
Praia da Vitoria
Wine pals
Fried egg flower
Even on cloudy days the island looks magestic
The gang. You can explore more of these guys’ adventures on Instagram (Erwin Excursions)
I love how the land is naturally terraced by volcanic activity
From our shoot, where we got to visit several beautiful locations
Many of the views could be straight from the British Isles
The ocean here is dark and deep and wild
Morning tea under the camelea trea
This is my office and I’m not ashamed
Our favourite activity: hiking
We bought bikes too!
The cows and donkeys get on
A very steep hill I jogged up
A carpet of yellow flowers in our airbnb’s orange orchard
So much Azalea
Pink trees seem so alien
She calls this the enchanted forest
Being silly in a field
Raincoats are a necessity in the Azores
Another jog

Oh and the really cool thing is that you can reach Terceira in less than 4 hours from London Stansted, for about £20.

That’s all folks!

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9 responses to “A taste of life on Terceira, a Portuguese island in the middle of the Atlantic”

  1. Beautiful blog! Thanks for sharing our lovely island 🙂

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    1. Thank you! It’s an honour to be here

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  2. Looks like a beautiful island, very much like Madeira where I was born. Xx

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    1. I didn’t know you were born in Madeira Ana! I bet it’s beautiful there too? X

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  3. Love your blog about this tiny island I lived on for 2 years of my youth. I envy your being there and enjoying the simple life that is afforded you as you take in the scenery, the people, and their culture. If not for family obligations I would also be enjoying this small paradise in the northern Atlantic.
    If you accept the people there and respect their way of life then you will never find a negative in this beautiful hidden gem of an island! Enjoy and savor every moment, for should you ever leave, your heart will yearn daily to return! I know mine does!
    David

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    1. Thank you! It sounds like this island is still very much in your heart; will you return for a visit one day? I am treasuring my time here and look forward to many more visits 🙂

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  4. We love Terceira! Have visited twice now. It is also called the Party Island, or do we were told on our last visit in 2019.

    We plan a long trip back there next year so I’m interested in your views on your accommodation…..

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    1. I didn’t know it was called the party island 😂 we have had our fair share of hangovers since getting here though. We are staying in a lovely little Airbnb in Terra Cha…I’m sure if you look on the app you’ll find it. It’s just outside Angra. It’s on a farm with animals and orange trees – very idyllic!

      Liked by 1 person

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