Faial is one of the 5 islands located in the central group of the Archipelago of the Azores. Together with Pico and São Jorge they form the so-called Ilhas do Triângulo – “Triangle Islands”. Pico is just 6 km away from Faial.
The surface area of Faial is approximately 173 km2. The island has about 15,000 inhabitants and its main municipal seat is located in the city of Horta.
In the 18th century the development of whale hunting brought the early whaling fleets to Horta. By 19th century, Horta had become an important sea port, and a stopping point for a large number of yachts crossing the Atlantic.
In 1957 a great volcanic eruption from the Ilhéu dos Capelinhos, about 1 km from the coast, projected large quantities of lava and ash, forming an islet that later became connected to Faial by an isthmus.
Explore the dramatic volcanic sites of the Caldeira and Capelinhos, the picturesque villages and the main town of Horta, with its marina full of colourful paintings left by visiting yachts. The famous “Peter’s Café Sport” is the perfect place to stop for coffee or a cold drink, where sailors swap tales of adventure on the high seas.
Whale and dolphin watching trips have replaced the traditional whaling boats as a way to make a living from the sea. From the marina you can go whale watching, swimming with dolphins, sport fishing, line fishing, diving and sailing, or just take a cruise along our scenic coastline.
Passenger ferries enable you to visit Pico or São Jorge for the day, making Faial a perfect centre for your holiday.
- Caldeira is an enormous crater with 2 km in diameter and 400 metres deep. This area is classified as a nature reserve. You can walk around the crater rim, enjoying a panoramic view of the island as you do so.
- Monte Da Guia, overlooking the town, is also a small crater and a protected nature reserve.
- Capelinhos is one of Faial’s main tourist attractions. Here you can see the results of the offshore eruption of 1957/8 which transformed the landscape, burying fields and houses and creating a new piece of land. The old lighthouse underwent a restoration in 2008 and now boasts an impressive underground interpretation centre.
- Lajinha and Ponta Furada are a great attraction for their caves and strange lava arches, where the sea often flows violently against the rocks. A popular area for fishing.
- Scrimshaw Museum is a private collection belonging to the owner of the popular Peter’s Café. Over a hundred pieces are exhibited here, engraved with beautiful sailing boats, mermaids, images of whale-hunting, among many others.
- Horta Museum, housed in the former Jesuit College, the museum is noted for its collection of carved fig wood, one of the island’s traditional handicrafts.
- Port of Horta, built in 1876, this important sea-port is a principal port-of-call for many transatlantic yachts. The sea wall is of special interest as it is covered with hundreds of paintings and messages left by the sea-travellers who call in at the port.
Climate in Azores
The Azores enjoy a mild maritime climate, of which the dominant feature is the area of high pressure named after them. The “Azores High” generally lies South or South West of the islands and, in the summer, is often stationary, when prolonged calm, hot, sunny weather can be expected. July and August are the hottest months and February and March the wettest. Temperatures rarely drop below 12ºC and are often up around 20ºC. The sea is warmed by the Gulf Stream to a pleasant 17-22ºC, making it very pleasant to swim in year round.
How to reach Faial
The Archipelago of Azores is situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, at about 1400 km West of continental Portugal, which represents a two or a two and a half hour flight from Lisbon depending on the Island you are flying to.
At the moment there are 4 companies offering direct flights to the Azores from Europe, the USA and Canada: Azores Airlines, TAP, TUI fly and Ryanair.
Flight connections to Faial Island are made through Horta Airport (HOR). Horta Airport offers regular domestic non-stop flights to and from Lisbon, which are operated by Azores Airlines.
However, there are other regular flight connections to Faial through Lisbon, Oporto, Ponta Delgada (São Miguel Island) and Lajes (Terceira Island) Airports. These connections may include a stop at one of these airports.
Even though there aren’t many regular flights from Lisbon to Pico Island Airport, you may also reach Faial through Pico Island, which is only 6 miles away from Faial. If you choose this gateway, you will then have to catch a ferry boat to Horta at Madalena harbour.
When flying from Lisbon or Oporto Airports to Ponta Delgada or Lajes Airports, you can ask for the Inter-Island Connecting Flights. Sata Air Açores, provides a free routing service to any island, for passengers travelling from Mainland Portugal or Funchal, after letting them know within 24h of the flight reservation (more information at encaminhamentos.sata.pt/en).