On 27th July 2015 we finished our job and, at the end of afternoon, we walked to Relvão Park, in Angra do Heroísmo. It´s next to this park that PR4 TER – Monte Brasil starts.
Monte Brasil is an extinct submarine volcano, the biggest of this kind in the Azores. It forms a peninsula with Terceira Island and it is composed of a caldera surrounded by four peaks: Pico do Facho, Pico das Cruzinhas, Pico da Vigia and Pico do Zimbreiro.
This circular trail takes us around the caldera. The military structures from the 16th century found along the trail demonstrate the military importance of Monte Brasil.
We climbed the asphalt road towards the Fortaleza de São João Batista (St. John the Baptist’s Fortress). The first kilometre offers great views of Bay of Angra.
We passed by an old magazine, by Ermida de Santo António (St. Anthony’s Chapel) and then we continued along the dirt road.
The next kilometre of the trail required some effort. We climbed to Pico do Facho, which is the highest point of Monte Brasil. There’s a lookout post in there. Nowadays known as Posto Semafórico (Signal Station), this place was used in the past to observe and communicate, through a system of flags and balloons, the number, type and nationality of the vessels that were approaching the island.
Forte da Quebrada was our next stop. We went down through a winding dirt road until we arrive to the ruins of the fort. This fortification was built to protect the island of the enemy ships that would seek protection on this dead angle.
Other two optional paths lead us to Vigia da Baleia (Whale Lookout) and to Posto de Vigia da 2ª Guerra (Observation Post of the 2nd War).
On the first point there’s a whale watching shelter. During the hunting season a watcher would be in there looking for whales. It was his job was to find the cetaceans, inform about the species, the distance from the shore, their heading, the speed of their march, i.e., all the important details for the success of the hunt.
Unfortunately, at that time sun’s position in the sky didn’t allow us to fully enjoy the view from both these spots. Even so, we saw São Jorge island from the Whale Lookout.
We enjoyed beautiful views of the sea as we were walking down the hill, in direction to Miradouro da Caldeira (Caldera’s Viewpoint).
We left the road and followed a small path that lead us to Pico das Cruzinhas, the most visited viewpoint of Terceira island. From there one has an amazing panoramic view of Angra do Heroísmo, the first Portuguese city to be classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, in 1983.
The viewpoint is easily recognizable by the monument marking the 500 years of the discovery of the Azores that was erected in 1932. A World War II anti-aircraft battery was sited next to the monument. It is now part of the Museu de Angra do Heroísmo (Museum of Angra do Heroísmo).
From here, we went down to the picnic area. That picnic park seems very nice. It has a large area, lots of tables with different sizes, some of them grouped, there’s a few playgrounds, there’s even a kind of a small ornithological park!
Some minutes later, we were back to the starting point.
Characteristics of the route
Arrival and departure: Relvão Park, Angra do Heroísmo
Extension: 8 km
Duration: 2.5 hours
Level of difficulty: easy