With a landscape dominated by clay and whitewashed houses, Graciosa is known as the 'white island' and has the reputation as one of the most relaxed in the Azores. The island's main town, Santa Cruz, is picturesque and pleasant to explore on foot, with many well-preserved 18th and 19th century manor houses. Graciosa is famous for its cakes so this is the perfect place to stop in a cafe to sample the local delicacy, a delicious calorie-laden custard tart named Queijadas da Graciosa.
The coastline has many bays and the small off-shore islands provide a sanctuary for the grebe and red-billed tern, so birdwatching opportunities here attract visitors interested in nature and local wildlife.
Graciosa also boasts a natural black sand beach at Praia, and at Carapacho volcanic rocks form a natural swimming pool. Take a hike up to the highest point on the island. Standing at just 398 metres, Pico Timaeo offers sweeping panoramas over a landscape dotted with vineyards and windmills. Another must-see is Furna do Enxofre, located in the south-eastern part of the Caldeira da Ilha Graciosa. This impressive lava cave has an amazingly perfect dome-shaped roof.