About Graciosa Island
Classified by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve, the island of Graciosa is the second smallest of the archipelago and also the one with the least imposing terrain, with several flat areas and smooth hills. Pedras Brancas (white stones), Serra Branca (white hills) or Barro Branco (white clay) are localities on the island whose names are related to the presence of a volcanic rock, the trachyte, which is common on the island and which was once withered by passing of time.
Santa Cruz stands out because of its tropical house and cobbled lanes which stem from the large central square, where a bandstand emerges against brackish ponds and pines. Furna do enxofre (sulfur cave) is the most symbolic element of the island´s landscape. The Pico Timão (Timão Peak) is one of the largest cones of scoria on the island of Graciosa. Along with the Ponta Lagoa – Arrochela, Pico Timão resulted from the last volcanic eruption. The Praia Islet, which boasts the island´s only sand beach, contrast with the blue sea and green vegetation which covers its surface. Is is classified as a Special Protection Area as it lies along the route of Monteiro´s Storm Petrel, the only seabird endemic to the Azores. The Ponta da Barca Lighthouse, the whale islet, the bays of Vitória, Folga, Barra and Porto Afonso are also points of interest.
Fresh fish captured in the generous sea of the Azores are traditionally served roasted or stewed. The garlic and the rock melon of Graciosa have attained gourmet status and are the basic ingredients for various recipes. However, if there is a typical product of the island, it is the pastry that adopted the namesake of the island: Queijadas da Graciosa inspired by the centuries-old recipe of Portuguese custard tart.
The popular and tasty local pastry also includes others delicacies which go by the name of Cavacas, escomilhas, capuchas, pastéis de arroz or encharcadas de ovos. The wine of Graciosa is made from original verdelho grapes. Spirits and aperitif wines also complement the range of local beverages.