Angra do Heroísmo is the oldest town on the Azores island of Teircaira, and despite its tiny population of just 12,000 it has contributed considerable cultural heritage to the world, and is now protected by UNESCO. One sign of the cultural sophistication of this small town is the fact that it has a university, though it consists of just two faculties. The students provide the otherwise sleepy place with a young and vibrant buzz. Even though the city can be easily discovered in with cheap car hire, the best way to fully explore the cultural richness of Angra do Heroísmo is a good old-fashioned walk.
Start your tour the way the old explorers would have done: at the harbour. The old marina is a popular meeting point, not just for sailors from all over the world, but for the locals as well. A number of bars, pubs, and restaurants offer refreshments and a place to sit in the sun.
Having fuelled up, take a walk through the Old Town. The most significant building in this district is Sé de Sao Salvador Cathedral, a monumental church straight from the year 1570, though restoration was desperately needed after a heavy earthquake in 1982. Now this place of worship is back to its old glory. Continue further on, simply taking in the town’s colourful architecture, featuring intricately decorated balconies and facades as well as beautiful courtyards. Since the town is relatively small, chances are you will automatically stumble across one of the locals’ favourites: the town garden, installed in 1882. This paradisiacal oasis is the perfect spot for an afternoon break. An explosion of colours around a small lake, a friendly, little café and lots of happy faces on relaxed visitors will finally let you forget the stress of your job back home.
After you have seen the town you might want to head out into the gorgeous countryside. As you can expect from any Azores island the vegetation is exotic and the wildlife an exciting alternative to the badgers and pheasants at home. One of the best things about Teircaira is that it has so far been spared by mass tourism, which means that the hiking trails are not crowded, the panorama not obscured by huge hotels, and you won’t get elbowed out to the way while taking pictures from the best viewing points. Instead the island is prepared for individual tourists, accommodated in private guest houses and greeted with great hospitality. Hiring a car is a good idea, as public transport is in part a bit scarce, but if you are up for the adventure, there is no reason why you shouldn’t explore the entire island on your own.
CarDelMar wishes you a pleasant stay with car hire on Azores.