Faial is one of the 5 islands located in the central group of the Archipelago of the Azores and is the western most corner of the so-called “Triangle Islands” which also include São Jorge and Pico, the latter 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 Sao Jorge for the day, making Faial a perfect centre for your holiday.
- Cabeço Gordo: has an altitude of 1043 meters and offers amazing views of the neighbour islands of Pico and SÃ£o Jorge
- The 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.
- Ponta Dos 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.
- The Vale De Flamengos: is an attractive area full of colourful plantations, flowers and picturesque houses and is also where you will find Faial’s Botanical Garden.
- Scrimshaw Museum: This 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. The marina is covered with hundreds of paintings left by the sea-travelers 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 12C and are often up around 20C. The sea is warmed by the Gulf Stream to a pleasant 17-22 degrees C, 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 7 companies flying to the Azores: SATA International, TAP, Jetairfly, ArkeFly, Airberlin, easyJet 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 SATA International.
However, there are also 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 4 miles away from Faial. If you choose this gateway, you will then have to catch a ferry boat to Horta at Madalena harbour. From April to September TUI is going open a new flight route from Amsterdam to Pico Island.
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, the Archipelago airline, provides a routing service, free of charge, for passengers travelling within Azores, to or from Mainland Portugal or Funchal, intending to use any gateway in the Azores.