Praia di Vitoria, Terceira, Azores, Portugal

Praia occupies the shoreline around the only sand beach on Terceira Island. The harbor is actually formed by the geological relocation of the shoreline by the subversion of one plate under another in this geologically active intersection. The entire island sits directly atop the meeting of three major plates, the Eurasian, African and North American plates. Praia was one of the first settlements in the Azores, established in the mid-15th century. The town encompasses a virtual treasury of ancient buildings and remnants, including some 15 fortifications, 17 churches and 12 fountains. The interior of Terceira Island is comprised of ancient stratovolcanos and contains thee large forest reserves. The island’s other port, Angra do Heroísmo, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site based on its maritime importance during the 15th and 16th century Age of Discovery.