The main city is Angra do Heroísmo, founded during the 15th Century. As Terceira’s main seaport, the city was at the very centre the Portuguese Civil War (1828-1834), since the island served as a base for the liberal movement opposing the supporters of absolute monarchy. In 1830, Queen Maria II went as a far as declaring Angra the country’s capital, a situation that endured until the end of the conflict, and adding “Heroísmo” (heroism) to its name.
The capital of Terceira was once again in the spotlight in 1980, due to the second greatest earthquake to hit Portugal’s territory (7,2 in Richter’s scale). Most of Angra was devastated, but the city was practically rebuilt a few years later, with the joint effort of its population and several institutions. And in 1983, recognition came as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
A trip through the island can begin with a nice walk through the centre of Angra do Heroísmo, which preserves the original 15th Century design and architecture. This is also an opportunity to visit the Museum of Angra do Heroísmo and the old Convent of Saint Francis. Afterwards, the best is just to rent a car and discover the surroundings and the local culture.
The natural wonders of Terceira reveal themselves as soon as you leave the urban area. In Biscoitos, in the municipality of Praia da Vitória, you'll find the origins of the Vinho Verdelho, a traditional local wine. The town has a Wine Museum, where you can learn a lot about the local wine making traditions. This is also a good place to refresh yourself in the ocean’s waters, in natural pools of volcanic origin.
Should you wish to further explore the island’s peculiar geography, carry on to the Porto Judeu area and head for the Algar do Carvão, a volcanic pipe located in a sleeping volcano known as Caldeira Guilherme Moniz. Once you enter, you will be amazed by the rock formations and ceilings covered with stalactites.