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How to shoot the 6 best photo spots in Terceira Island, in the Azores


The island of Terceira, also known as “Lilac Island”, is part of the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Terceira’s varied landscapes include seashores, forests, patchwork fields and volcanoes.
This article introduces you to my 6 favourite photo spots and explains how I took these landscape photographs.

Experience the enchanting beauty of a sunset captured from Miradouro da Serra do Cume, offering panoramic views of Terceira Island's mesmerizing patchwork fields. This captivating landscape photograph invites you to immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and serene atmosphere of the Azores archipelago. Discover the breathtaking vistas and tranquil ambiance of this picturesque lookout point, where every sunset paints a masterpiece across the rolling hills and lush landscapes of Terceira.

Miradouro da Serra do Cume

Experience the enchanting beauty of a sunset captured from Miradouro da Serra do Cume, offering panoramic views of Terceira Island's mesmerizing patchwork fields. This captivating landscape photograph invites you to immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and serene atmosphere of the Azores archipelago. Discover the breathtaking vistas and tranquil ambiance of this picturesque lookout point, where every sunset paints a masterpiece across the rolling hills and lush landscapes of Terceira.

The Serra do Cume is the most famous viewpoint on the island of Terceira. It overlooks the “patchwork” (green pastures) and the town of Praia da Vitória.

How to get there

The Mirador de La Serra do Cume is easily accessible by car. You can park just a few metres from the platform. However, the site is very popular, so don’t hesitate to come a little early to make sure you can get a good view.

How I took this photo

In itself, this photo is not difficult to take. It was just a challenge to be able to see a sunset from this spot. I had to come back 3 times to take this photo. In the Azores, fog forms very easily at altitude. I advise you to check the weather forecast before climbing. Just because it’s sunny where you are doesn’t mean it’s sunny everywhere on the island. 

My gear

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8

Camera settings

ISO 250, f/13, 1/25s

Unveil the timeless charm of Terceira Island in the Azores with this captivating photograph featuring an ancient tree adorned with lush moss in the heart of the black forest. Expertly captured, this stunning landscape photography showcases the rich natural beauty and serene ambiance of Terceira's unique ecosystem. Immerse yourself in the enchanting tranquility of this pristine island destination as you explore the hidden gems of its mystical forests.

Mistérios Negros

Mistérios Negros is a hiking route through Terceira’s indigenous forest. Along the way, you’ll encounter a variety of landscapes, including lakes, dense woods, meadows, volcanic rocks and pine forests.

How to get there

This is a fairly strenuous walk of around 5km. You’ll find the start of the trail just beside Lake Negro and around 100 metres after the Gruta do Natal.

How I took this photo

This part of the walk is fairly narrow and the path is signposted to prevent us from going too far. As a result, I couldn’t get far enough away to take a photo of the whole tree. My aim for this photo was to give the impression that the tree is very large and alive. I wanted as much sharpness as possible throughout the photograph. So I took several photos focusing on different parts. I used Photoshop to combine all the photos using the “auto-blend layers” option.

My gear

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, polarising filter

Camera settings

ISO 320, f/11, 1/6s

Unveil the timeless charm of Terceira Island in the Azores with this captivating photograph featuring an ancient tree adorned with lush moss in the heart of the black forest. Expertly captured, this stunning landscape photography showcases the rich natural beauty and serene ambiance of Terceira's unique ecosystem. Immerse yourself in the enchanting tranquility of this pristine island destination as you explore the hidden gems of its mystical forests.
Discover the awe-inspiring beauty of Terceira Island's volcanoes with this breathtaking aerial view captured from above. This mesmerizing landscape photograph showcases the rugged majesty and unique geological features of the Azores archipelago. Immerse yourself in the stunning vistas and natural wonders of Terceira's volcanic landscape, where each peak tells a story of the island's volcanic history. Explore the enchanting allure of these iconic landmarks through the lens of this captivating image.

Pico Dona Joana

Discover the awe-inspiring beauty of Terceira Island's volcanoes with this breathtaking aerial view captured from above. This mesmerizing landscape photograph showcases the rugged majesty and unique geological features of the Azores archipelago. Immerse yourself in the stunning vistas and natural wonders of Terceira's volcanic landscape, where each peak tells a story of the island's volcanic history. Explore the enchanting allure of these iconic landmarks through the lens of this captivating image.

Pico Dona Joana is a small volcano in the south-east of the island of Terceira, in the “patchwork” region, also known as green pasture. While researching the Azores, I saw several photos of this place from the air and I wanted to give it a try.

How to get there

There are several small roads passing around Pico Dona Joana. All you need to do is find a place to park your car that doesn’t obstruct traffic or access to the meadows. Once you’re settled in, all you have to do is take out your drone.

How I took this photo

Before setting off, I checked the weather forecast carefully. Personally, I wanted to take my photo in the morning sunlight. It’s up to you whether you prefer sunrise, cloudy or evening light. I went two mornings in a row, because I wanted a few clouds to give the sky more texture.

Once you’re there, all you have to do is get the drone airborne and look for the right composition. In this particular case, I think the view from the north looking south-east is the best, but that’s very personal.

My gear

DJI mini 2

Camera settings

ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/1000s

Embark on a visual journey as a lone observer marvels at the magnificent spectacle of colossal waves crashing against the volcanic shores of an island in the Azores. This captivating landscape photograph captures the raw power and rugged beauty of nature's relentless forces. Immerse yourself in the dramatic scenery of the Azores as you witness the mesmerizing interplay between land and sea through the lens of this awe-inspiring image.

Miradouro de Alagoa (Praia da Vitória)

Located in the north of the island of Terceira, the Miradouro de Alagoa offers a magnificent view of the Atlantic Ocean and lava cliffs.

How to get there

Access to the viewpoint is very easy, and you can park your car there. The road is not very good, but follow it to the car park indicated on Google Map. Once there, you can simply walk around and choose your photographic frame.

How I took this photo

I spent quite some time there before finding the right setting. At first, I cautiously climbed up onto the rocks to see the view, but I wasn’t convinced. It was on the way back to the car that I saw these two large rocks. That’s when the idea for this landscape photo came to me. I asked my friend to go and stand between the two rocks, safely of course.

To start with, I set up my tripod because I wanted to combine my photos afterwards in photoshop. The big waves were actually quite rare and only came every 5 to 10 minutes. So I took the first photo with my friend. Then I waited for some nice waves to crash against the cliffs. It took me about 30 minutes to take all the photos I wanted, which I combined into 5 images in Photoshop.

My gear

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8

Camera settings

ISO 250, f/11, 1/320s

Embark on a visual journey as a lone observer marvels at the magnificent spectacle of colossal waves crashing against the volcanic shores of an island in the Azores. This captivating landscape photograph captures the raw power and rugged beauty of nature's relentless forces. Immerse yourself in the dramatic scenery of the Azores as you witness the mesmerizing interplay between land and sea through the lens of this awe-inspiring image.
Embrace the mystical allure of Terceira Island as a lone figure stands amidst a enchanting pine alley, captured in this captivating landscape photograph. Transport yourself to a world of wonder and tranquility as you explore the serene atmosphere of this picturesque Azorean destination. Delve into the natural beauty and serene ambiance of Terceira's mystical landscapes, where every moment invites introspection and connection with nature's splendor.

Reserva Florestal de recreio do Viveiro Da Falca

Embrace the mystical allure of Terceira Island as a lone figure stands amidst a enchanting pine alley, captured in this captivating landscape photograph. Transport yourself to a world of wonder and tranquility as you explore the serene atmosphere of this picturesque Azorean destination. Delve into the natural beauty and serene ambiance of Terceira's mystical landscapes, where every moment invites introspection and connection with nature's splendor.

I hadn’t put this place on my list of places to visit. It was as I was driving past that I decided to stop. This park is located in the western heights of Terceira. It’s actually a popular picnic spot for the locals.

How to get there

To find this forest, simply follow the path past the picnic area. As you go along, you’ll see a field with a small house on your left. Walk a few metres further until you reach the next forest. Still on your left, you’ll see a path that leads into the forest and you’ll see these tall trees.

How I took this photo

This composition was self-evident. I chose a vertical orientation because I wanted to see as many of the trees and their straight trunks as possible. What’s more, the red earth and green leaves create a nice contrast. I asked my friend to walk along the path to give a human dimension to this incredible place. The light was quite low, so I used my tripod to make sure the photo would be sharp.

My gear

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, polarising filter

Camera settings

ISO 200, f/10, 0.6s

The Algar do Carvão is an ancient lava tunnel in the center of the island of Terceira.

Algar do Carvão

The Algar do Carvão is an ancient lava tunnel in the center of the island of Terceira. It is famous for the ferns that grow down to the bottom of the tunnel.

How to get there

There’s a parking lot close to the entrance. This is a well-known attraction, so expect to see a lot of people. Once inside, you’ll have to go down several steps without an elevator. The way down and up is fairly easy.

How I took this photo

The light at the bottom of the tunnel is very bright in the center and very dark on the sides. Unfortunately, when I went there, tripods were not allowed. The best thing to do was to take the photographs in raw format. In terms of composition, it’s quite limited. As there were a lot of people on the stairs, I decided to take a photo without it (well, you can’t see it in the photo) and focus on the dynamics of the ferns coming down from the entrance.

My gear

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, polarising filter

Camera settings

ISO 800, f/10, 1/60s

The Algar do Carvão is an ancient lava tunnel in the center of the island of Terceira.

Published on 01.10.2023 by Jennifer Esseiva