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Paínho de Monteiro ilha Graciosa



Year of creation

The second smallest island in the Azores, with a population of 4,095 (2021 census), is characterized by its gentle, low altitude (maximum of 405 m), which leads to the lowest rainfall in the archipelago. The largest settlements are located in Praia (São Mateus) and Santa Cruz, with the latter being the main urban cluster and the administrative center of the municipality. Here is located the Graciolica company, responsible for producing around 65% of the island's energy through renewable sources, thereby making it a "model island".

Agriculture and livestock farming, enhanced by the gentle topography, have always played a key role in the island's economy and, even today, there's a strong link with the rural environment. Recently, the island has seen an increase in the value of products such as wine, cheese and garlic; while traditional fishing is practiced mainly for local consumption and export. The pleasant climate combined with the distinctive and appealing landscapes offer Graciosa a high potential for multifunctional tourism.

Given the absence of significant reliefs, the number of habitats and wildlife is relatively small, particularly in terms of terrestrial fauna and flora. Nevertheless, this limitation is compensated by a high level of geodiversity, which consists of a wide variety of structures, shapes and geological materials, including an imposing lava cave with the largest volcanic dome in Europe, the Furna do Enxofre (Sulphur Cave), within the Natural Monument of Caldeira da Graciosa. There are also thermal springs, with the most famous located on the Carapacho coast.

In terms of biodiversity, the Natural Reserve of Praia Islet, located in front of the Praia parish, stands out for hosting one of the richest and most diverse nesting colonies of seabirds in the Azores, among other endemic vegetation cover. Of particular note is the endemic bird Painho de Monteiro (Hydrobates monteiroi) and the presence of two species of bat, one endemic to the Azores (Nyctalus azoreum), having a strong diurnal activity, and the other endemic to Macaronesia (Pipistrellus maderensis), with a typical nocturnal activity.



Parque Natural da Graciosa 
Rua Victor Cordon, n.º 11
9880-390 Santa Cruz da Graciosa


+ 351 295 403 870



Biosphere Reserves Portugal: Ilha Graciosa

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