Taking about two hours, regular flights link Faial to Lisbon. SATA Air Açores flies daily to Horta, departing from S. Miguel Island (one hour trip), and Terceira Island (about 40 minutes). A ferry connects Horta with S. Jorge Island (1 hour and fifteen minutes journey), and Pico Island (about 15 minutes). The duration of the journey can depend upon the company used. Horta is also a port of call for a ship that carries passengers and cargo between mainland and the islands. The time-table of these transports is available at the travel agencies and maritime companies referred in this guide.
Located 38'' 36 N and 28'' 30’ W, Faial Island is 8, 3 km (4, 5 miles) distant from Pico Island and 26 km (14 miles) from S. Jorge Island. Its surface has 173, 4 sq km (67 sq miles), 21 km (11, 3 miles) length and 14 km (7, 5 miles) width.
The discovery of Faial Island took place in the first half of the XV century, and the island was first designated as “Insula de Ventura”. The settlement began in 1460 in Cedros place with settlers coming mainly from the north of the Portuguese mainland. Later, Flemish settled in the place today known as Flamengos.
To visit the island, one can choose between rent a car, use a taxi or the local bus lines, which link the principal village-places of the island. The bus stop is in Avenida Marginal. Minibuses cover the urban area of Horta, and their circuits are displayed in the map of this guide.
• Marina da Horta - the cosmopolitan Horta City has in its yacht-harbour a point of reference. The paintings in the walls and floor are a testimony of yachters from all over the world, done to later remember, or to respect a tradition that tells sailors to do a painting here, otherwise they will not arrive home safely.
• Monte da Guia – is a cliff from where one can admire Horta City, the beach of Porto Pim, the coast till Ponta de Castelo Branco, and Pico Island. This landscape is classed as protected area.
• Espalamaca – is one of the belvederes overlooking Horta City. Besides the city, one can admire the fishing port, the yacht-harbour, the islands of Pico and S. Jorge, the beach of Almoxarife and the coast till Ribeirinha.
• Caldeira– is a crater with about 400 metres of depth and 2 km of perimeter; it is bordered by blue hydrangeas, beech, juniper and fern. It is classed as a natural reserve.
• Cabeço Gordo – located in the central part of the island, is an elevation with 1043 metres of altitude, from where the islands of Pico and S. Jorge, as well as the whole island of Pico can be admired.
• Jardim Botânico – located in Quinta de S. Lourenço, is a botanic garden.
• Horta Museum – presents a rich collection of pieces made of fig tree pith, a characteristic art expression of this island.
• Arte Sacra Museum– keeps interesting religious statuaries and Flemish sculptures from the XV century.
• Scrimshaw Museum – is located in Peter Café Sport, property of the heirs of Mr José Azevedo (Peter). It gathers a vast collection of pieces made by the most accredited artisans.
• Ponta dos Capelinhos– is the place where the volcanic eruption of 1957 took place.
• Exposição do Vulcão dos Capelinhos – Exhibition presents photos from the different stages of the volcanic eruption.
• The Interpretative Centre of Capelinhos– has informational, didactic and scientific character. The building is buried, allowing the visitors to enjoy the volcanic scenario, caused by the 1957/58 Capelinhos eruption. The Centre has different areas of visitation; an Temporary Exhibitions Room with the display of collections of geological samples; an Auditorium with films about the Azores archipelago and the Capelinhos Volcano; an Interpretative Exhibition that offers a journey through the history of the Azorean lighthouses, the Capelinhos eruption, the main types of volcanism and the formation of the Azores archipelago, from the beginning until now. The journey ends with an climb to the lighthouse, where you can enjoy this recent volcanic landscape, from a unique audience.
• Varadouro - o is a summer season resort.
• Centro do Mar Museum – is located in the access to Monte da Guia (pro tected landscape), in the former facilities of a whale factory that laboured during the years of 1941 and 1974. This space is destined to dynamic exhibitions related with the sea; it has also a meeting and congress hall.
Around the Island (half a day) Leaving Horta toward Espalamaca top, stop at the belvedere and continue through the regional road. Make a deviation, and go down to Praia do Almoxarife. Returning by the same road, turn right at the crossroad, and pass through Pedro Miguel, Ribeirinha, Salăo (visit the local fishing port), Cedros and Praia do Norte. Stop at the belvedere of Costa Brava (320 metres of altitude), and then take the road that leads to Fajă. Go down and visit this small village-place and its inviting beach. Return by the same road to Ponta dos Capelinhos, where one can admire the power of nature. Continue the trip to Capelo, turn right and go down to Varadouro, a seashore resort with a spectacular bay, a tempting bathing zone. Return to the regional road and turn right. Continue through the places of Lombega, Castelo Branco (airport), and deviate to Feteira, crossing this village place till the seaside where one can find a picnic park nearby the fishing port. Follow to the City of Horta passing through Angústias, Baía, the beach of Porto Pim, and climb to Monte da Guia. After that, enter in the City of Horta and take a pleasant walk, appreciating the yachts anchored and the paintings in the walls.
Flamengos, Caldeiras and Jardim Botânico - two or three hours Leave Horta by the street of Prince Alberto do Mónaco, passing through the industrial zone toward the parish of Flamengos. Take the road to Caldeira and appreciate this road bordered by hydrangeas during summer, and the fantastic view it offers. Return to Flamengos, take the road that passes through Quinta de S. Lourenço to Horta, and stop at the botanic garden; visit Torre do Relógio, a watch tower from the XVIII century. Return to Horta admiring the sight of Pico Faial channel. CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT A festival called The Week of the Sea begins in the first Sunday of August and attracts thousands of visitors to the island. The program generally includes music concerts, sea sports competitions and several exhibitions about the sea. A visit to the museums referred in the section Places to Visit is indispensable. TRADITIONAL FESTIVITIES AND ETHOGRAPHY The traditional festivities in honour of Espírito Santo are very meaningful to Faial inhabitants, as it happens in the other islands of the Archipelago. Since the Sunday of Pentecost till the month of August, all the parishes of the island celebrate the Holy Spirit. The celebration in honour of S. Joăo takes place on June 24; in this holiday, people gather in Largo Jaime de Melo and do a cheerful picnic, at the sound of philharmonic music and popular songs. The most typical songs are Pézinho and Chamarrita, played in a wire guitar. The handicraft is very rich and diversified. The visitors are generally fascinated by works in bone and whale’s tooth, fig tree pith, fish scale, wicker, straw and embroidery.
A festival called The Week of the Sea begins in the first Sunday of August and attracts thousands of visitors to the island. The program generally includes music concerts, sea sports competitions and several exhibitions about the sea. A visit to the museums referred in the section Places to Visit is indispensable.
The abundance of seafood results in tasty fish chowders and shellfish meals. The sausage or hog’s fat with yam, fish fillets, stewed octopus, and “molha de carne” (meat) are local delicacies that you should taste accompanied with the good wines of Pico.
Porto Pim in the city of Horta, Almoxarife about 5 km from Horta City and Fajă da Areia are excellent beaches, inviting for a pleasant sun and sea baths. Varadouro offers wonderful natural swimming pools.
Several companies settled in Horta have regular sea tours between the months of May and October. Please contact the companies referred in this guide.
The coast of Faial Island offers good fishing grounds, some of them locally marked. The possible species to capture are seabream, wrasse, grouper, mackerel, axillary seabream, porgy, bluefish and barracuda among others. On boat, one can practise big game fishing or other fishing technique. Blue martin, shark and tuna are the most abundant species. Specialised companies will help you experiment good moments of emotion.
Largehead airtail, bluefish, barracuda, grouper and conger are the most abundant species in these waters. We recommend that you look for further information at the local maritime authorities.
Rich fauna and flora offer unique moments of rare beauty. The companies referred in this guide will provide you with the necessary support to practise this sport.
Paths of wondrous beauty are suggested in specialised booklets. Look for information at your lodging or at the specialised companies referred in this guide. There are no dangerous species ou snakes in the island.