Praia di Vitoria, Terceira, Azores, Portugal

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Praia da Vitória, in Portugal’s Azores archipelago, was one of two ports established when the island of Terceira was first settled in the mid-1400s. (The other is the island’s capital, Angra do Heroísmo.) Its small historic center has cobblestoned streets lined with ornately designed churches and imperiós, or shrines to the Holy Spirit, that are found only on Terceira. During the summer months, the town’s volcanic beaches are packed with sunbathers, and you can join diving and snorkeling trips to nearby reefs and shipwrecks. Praia da Vitória is also a great base for exploring the rest of the island. On the south coast, historic Angra do Heroísmo is a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with 16th-century Portuguese architecture. Adventurous visitors can take a hike into Algar do Carvão, a lava tube in the center of the island with delicate cave formations and an underground lake. And wine lovers should plan a trip to the Wine Museum, in Biscoitos, to learn about the history of Azorean wines and how they are made today—samples, of course, included.
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