If you are heading to Terceira, making a stop at Monte Brasil is a must. From our hotel we could see Monte Brasil, and even though we were tired and jet lagged, we decided to hike it the following day. We started out from our hotel on foot, as we hadn’t rented a car yet, thinking it looked relatively close and we should be able to reach it in no time. No time turned out to be about 45 minutes.
The road you walk to head up the mountain will take you through a very narrow gate. Be warned, there is not a sidewalk and you won’t be able to see the cars coming. Look for the traffic light to let you know that it’s safe. Once you walk out of the narrow gate, you will see a military personal guarding another gate with a big gun. Never fear, you are immediately taking a left and heading up the mountain.
The road will split with a dirt trail on the left and a road you can drive on going to the right of the split. I suggest first walking the dirt trail to the left of the split, as this offers stunning views of Ilhéus das Cabras, and of Angra do Heroismo. This is a great place to get those Instagram photos, and warm up for the next part of hike. This dirt path does end abruptly, so if you don’t want to backtrack, look for the path on the right about 20 minutes into your walk (mind you we were taking a lot of pictures so it might take you less time to get there). This part of the hike, most people ignore and go straight up the mountain on the paved road. However this dirt trail is well worth it!
The next path you will take is on a HUGE incline and you will sooner or later pop out on the paved road. I would love to give you an estimate, but it will vary on how much you stop to rest and trust you will need it on this incline! When you pop out at the road, you will be in a beautiful park. This park has benches, animals and old buildings to explore and look at, not to mention it’s almost to the top. We took our time walking around this area and resting (man that incline was killer!) before we moved on to the monument and Museu de Angra.
Time your trip to the this area so you miss the morning tour groups and the evening tour groups and you will have the monument area to yourself. We loved walking around, however I will admit, I enjoyed the animals, stone buildings and views more than the actual monument and museum.
We arrived at the monument before the tours, however we had about 15 minutes then we were joined by quite a few people. We made our way back down to the stone buildings, to get away from the crowds, and discovered another small trail by the seesaw and swings. Heading down the trail wasn’t that bad and we popped out at yet another paved road (the paved roads are actually connected) and we kept walking. This is where I must say that tours tend to breeze over Monte Brasil and you should definitely try to hike it if you can.
There are truly beautiful nooks are crannies all over Monte Brasil that you will not get a chance to see if you take a tour, and if you drive up make sure you take advantage of the parking areas to get out and explore far and wide! This whole place is a photographer’s dream with stunning views of Angra, cliffs, the ocean and the list goes on and on. Making a stop at Monte Brasil is a must, make sure you leave enough time in your itinerary for exploration!