The gentle Graciosa Island

Graciosa, the “White Island”, is the second smallest island of the Azores Archipelago in Macaronesia and an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Located in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km (850 mi) west of Portugal, Azores is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal.

Discovered by the Portuguese around the 1450s, Graciosa was rapidly cultivated because of its fertile soil and favorable climate producing cereals, wine and local spirits; throughout its history Graciosa suffered from many natural disasters and between the 1950s and ’70s a large portion of populations migrated to the United States. Currently the island’s main industries are agriculture, dairy, beef and wine production.

The island’s main town Santa Cruz, has several historic and elegant churches, white houses, two original ponds, Dutch style windmills and cobbled roads.

The island is perfect for travellers who enjoy nature, scuba diving, surfing, trekking, fishing, mountain biking and horse back riding. Graciosa’s high cliffs offeramazing panoramic views of volcanic mountains, golden beaches and turquoise sea. The two main attractions are Furna do Enxofre the volcanic sulfur cave accessible by spiral staircase and Termas do Carapacho the thermal pools with temperatures up to 40°.

Info: http://www.visitazores.com/en

Photo credit: ©Azoresphotos.visitazores.com

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