Praia da Vitoria Cruises
Pretty Praia da Vitoria, the former capital of the Azores, is a town steeped in history. Originally heavily fortified, Praia has a fascinating historic quarter, and a stunning natural harbour that’s overlooked by the impressive 16th century Fort of Santa Catarina.
Translated as the Beach of the Victory, Praia da Vitoria is a popular destination thanks to a bustling, modern harbour, vibrant town centre and gorgeous sandy beaches. The pick of which is the uncrowded Praia Grande, which is a safe, dark sand beach with barely any waves.
Praia’s centre has a pleasant pedestrian zone with many attractive shops and some notable historic buildings that deserve a glance. The most notable monuments include the imposing bell towers of 15th century Igreja Matriz de Santa Cruz and the stunning Town Hall in the main square.
Angra do Heroísmo
The historic city of Angra do Heroísmo is the former capital of the Azores and is a must-see for anyone visiting. Dating from the 15th century, it was an important port for Portuguese and Spanish merchants due to its sheltered harbour. Located in the city is the 16th century Sé Cathedral.
Monte Brasil is a now-extinct volcano which emerged from the sea following an early underwater eruption to join the city of Angra do Heroísmo, the former capital city of the Azores. Monte Brasil sits 205 metres above sea level, and from the top offers stunning views over Angra do Heroísmo.
Igreja Matriz de Santa Cruz
This attractive parish church dates back to the middle of the 15th century, and boasts a large façade with two imposing bell towers that can be seen for miles. The three-naved church has been damaged many times over the years by earthquakes, and restored each time. Its main feature is the Gothic main portal, whose arcade is composed of five vaults – a gift from King Manuell – and the gilded wood carvings throughout. Housed in the church is the beautiful alabaster statue of the infant Jesus, which is kept in a silver chest in the sacristy.