The stunning destination of Graciosa literally means “graceful island”. It’s gentle rolling hills peppered with windmills and white-washed houses, make the landscape of Graciosa quite tranquil. However, a trip to Furna do Enxofre (the sulphur cavern), will remind you that there is more to the Azorean islands than meets the eye. Climbing down a spiral staircase deep into the volcano, you enter a 328-foot tunnel that opens out into a breathtaking grotto 262 feet high.
Area: 60,66 km2
Population: 4,391 inhabitants
Highlights: Carapacho; Monte de N. Sr.ª da Ajuda; Furna do Enxofre; Monteiro’s storm petrel; Windmills;
Fresh fish captured in the generous sea of the Azores is traditionally served roasted or stewed. The garlic and the rockmelon of Graciosa have reached gourmet status and are the basic ingredients for various recipes.
However, if there is a staple dish of the island, it is the pastry Queijadas da Graciosa (Graciosa Custards). This delightful desert has adopted the namesake of the island and was inspired from a centuries-old recipe of milk tumblers. There are also vast amounts of other tasty local pastries, which includes cavacas, escomilhas, capuchas, pastéis de arroz [rice cakes] or encharcadas de ovos [egg-based custard].
The staple wine of Graciosa is made from the original Verdelho grape, which has survived the past spread of phylloxera. Since then, there have been plenty of other types of grapes used to make the locally produced white wines, which greatly complement the region’s cuisine. Spirits and aperitif wines also complement the range of local beverages.