Traveling through five centuries of history, you will get to know the built heritage of the different periods and styles which is a testament to the experiences of a cosmopolitan port city that opened the world to new worlds. Its geostrategic position is intertwined with the rectilinear and modern layout of its streets. Opened to the sea, Angra was an unavoidable stop during the Age of Discovery, an oasis to navigators in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a harbor sheltering them from pirates and privateers who coveted its riches and diversity.
Angra do Heroísmo
Recommended months to visit January - December
Low difficulty level
Some places with restricted hours
The floor in the city center is distinguished by being paved, and as the points furthest from the central area (as is the case of Monte Brasil) are in forest areas, it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes.
Angra do Heroísmo "Very noble, loyal and always constant"
Its centrality, its rich soil, its safe bay and its monumentality have turned Angra do Heroísmo into a city whose historical importance is recognized throughout the world. Linked to maritime expansion, this port city was an unavoidable stop for the fleets from South America, Africa and the Indies. Here people traded in spices, precious metals from the Americas, fine fabrics, wood, ivory, temperas and religious imagery. Angra was the center of the world, and it was where Philip II built his greatest fortress, considered to be the largest stronghold of Europe, following the 1580-83 succession crisis, during which heroically Portugal was only the island of Terceira, the last remaining piece of the former kingdom. In 1828, Angra once again demonstrated its bravery as it was once more named the capital of Portugal. Angra became the center of Liberalism and the place from where the men who would write the first Constitutional Charter left. The city would be honored in 1837 by Queen Maria II with the highest insignia of the Portuguese State – the Grand Cross of the Military Order of the Tower and Sword, of Valor, Loyalty and Merit. As a result of its role during the civil war, the titles “Always Constant” and “Heroísmo” [Heroism] were added to the motto “Very Noble and Loyal,” which it had been awarded after the Restoration.
January 1, 1980 earthquake
Devastated by an earthquake on January 1, 1980, Angra knew how to stoically rebuild itself without erasing the typical character of its streets, monuments and houses.
Walking along its streets and searching for the historical and architectural landmarks that led this city to be listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1983 is one of those things that you cannot afford to miss.
This is an enchanting city not only because of its history and culture but also because of its architecture, nature and people. Along the narrow streets covered with Portuguese cobblestone, bakeries tempt you with traditional pastries, grocery stores make you go back in time and the bay invites you to simply wander along the streets or to plunge into the clear waters of the Atlantic taking advantage of a small sandy beach.
The hill Monte Brasil, an old sea volcano, is the largest and most well preserved of its kind in the Azores. Located at the southern end of the city and surrounded by a fortress, it is a mystical place. There is a walking trail marked with signs in the middle of lush flora. Along the walk, you can stop at different viewpoints until you reach the final destination, the Pico das Cruzinhas [Peak of Small Crosses], which affords a sublime, 180-degree view over Angra do Heroísmo from Ribeirinha to São Mateus.
The itinerary can be carried out on foot, by car or even by bicycle and each person can manage their time in the most convenient way.