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Graciosa, a small island, has a mysterious lake at the bottom of a volcanic shaft, and open vine-covered fields where windmills wave their sails.

Getting to know Graciosa means walking amongst the green chequerboard formed by the vines hemmed in by the lava walls of the corrals. Climb rounded hills that provide rapturous viewpoints. Enjoy the leafy vegetation of the Caldera, where the Furna do Enxofre (Sulphur Shaft) allows the visitor to delve inside an extinct volcano, with its mysterious underground lake. Along the coast, discover the deep bays and their small dream-like islets.

The streets lined with white houses in the town of Santa Cruz take you back a century or two. Its main church safeguards 500-year old panels, works which are precious examples of the art of Portuguese painting.

Where there are vines, there is wine … and the whites and reds of Graciosa go so well with the dishes of fresh fish, seafood and meat that make up the local fare. To finish off the meal, there can be nothing better than a traditional dessert and a glass of brandy that has been distilled in old copper stills. Holidays on Graciosa are simple, healthy and tranquil. On departure, you are left with the feeling that you are leaving a world where time may be forgotten.