The new Graciosa Resort & Business Hotel in Santa Cruz da Graciosa is part of a series of investments to build infrastructure connected to the tourist economy on Graciosa, such as the Carapacho thermal baths. The new four-star hotel has 120 beds, a restaurant for 100 people, a swimming pool and various services related to its category, having cost seven million Euros. It will be managed by INATEL in a partnership with a group of Azorean business people The hotel is part of the new Praia fishing port on Graciosa includes a set of floating piers, sea marking, water supply networks and electric grids, houses for fishing gear and a building to support fisheries. Graciosa has a mild climate, and a series of interior hills. One of the smaller Azores islands, it is about 8 x 12 km with a population of 4,660.
Graciosa, just north of Sao Jorge, was discovered in 1450. Soon after, people began settling there from Portugal and from Flanders. When Flemish settlers came, they added their own style of windmills to the landscape "”many of which make up the currently stunning landscape.
Santa Cruz da Graciosa is the main town, sitting on a small bay with many historic churches that date back to the 16th and 18th centuries. The houses are bright and whitewashed, and the island has several active geysers from its volcanic past. Several extinct volcanic craters are surrounded by low hills at the center of the island.
Visitors to Graciosa should check out the amazing views from the Caldeirinha, where you can see four of the other Azorean islands, from Terceira to Faial. The thermal mineral springs at Termas do Carapacho spa provides a place for visitors to soak in the sea waters that are said to cure bone and skin ailments.
The underground grottos at Algar do CarvÃ£o run deep into the red earth, while the sulfur cavern at Furna do Enxofre leads from an ancient crater into a lava cave with an underground lake. Set in the crater of a former Volcano there’s a tunnel about 330 feet deep to the lake filled. Visitors can climb down into the crater’s depths using steps taking you all the way to the bottom, where you’ll find a cave with a grey mass that still bubbles beneath the rocks. A tunnel above you leads to the edge of the crater, offering sweeping views of the entire island.
Azoreans know Graciosa for its fine wines and brandy, both made from the Isabella grapes that are locally grown. Farmers work hard to keep the land in balance, rotating grapes with other crops. Oxen are often used to work the fields and it’s not uncommon to see dairy cows throughout the island. The local cheese, and pastries are sought after in the Azores as well.
In addition to farming, fishing is also a way of life on Graciosa. The local fisherman use small wooden boats to catch a variety of fish, seafood and shellfish, plus a variety of seaweed that is exported.
Visitors to Graciosa can find many small shops selling local crafts, including handmade embroidery and linens.
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