There are frequent flights from Lisbon to Horta airport, with a flight duration of approximately 2 hours. SATA Air - Açores flies from São Miguel island (1 hour flight) and Terceira island (40 minutes flight). Also, between May and September, you may choose the maritime transportation that links all the islands. Ferries connect the triangle islands (Faial, Pico and São Jorge) all year round.
The island of Faial is placed at 38° 35'N and 28° 30'W and is part of the Central Group of the Azores. It covers an area of about 173 km², with a length of 21 km and a width of 14 km. One of the so called "islands of the triangle", together with Pico and São Jorge, it is the third most populated island of the archipelago. It's highest point is Cabeço Gordo, reaching an altitude of 1043 m.
The first settlers in Faial, of Flemish and Portuguese origins, reached the island in 1465. The island was named after the abundance of myrica faya plants. The first settlements were started in Cedros, by Northern Portuguese and settlers from Terceira, and in Vale dos Flamengos, by the Flemish.
For transportation in the island of Faial, you may rent a car, use the taxi services or the public transporta bus, which connects all the main places of the island.
Placed in the central area of the island, this is its highest point, reaching around 1043 m of altitude. From here one can view the whole of Faial and also the islands of Pico, São Jorge and Graciosa.
A caldera around 400 m deep and 2 km wide. Classified as a Natural Reserve, it is surrounded by hydrangeas and many other rare species of flora. The inside of the caldera can only be visited with a certified guide, but you can always hike the surrounding trail where you can some enjoy beautiful views.
Privileged location for observing the activity of the port and the internationally renowned marina of Horta. It is also possible to see the islands of Pico, São Jorge and Graciosa from this point.
Place where the last volcanic eruption in Faial occurred, expanding its landmass. Vegetation already grows on the grey soil of volcanic origin. You can go up the Capelinhos lighthouse, which remained intact, and also visit the underground Centro de Interpretação do Vulcão dos Capelinhos, where you can learn more about the eruption, the history of lighthouses, the Azores and its formation.
Located in Porto Pim, this factory-museum presents the original machinery and several areas where the different steps of whale processing took place.
Inaugurated in 1986, it is one of the busiest marinas in the world, visited by many sailors and adventurers. Its walls are covered in paintings, traditionally made by passing sailors to bring divine luck to the ship in their returning voyage. The bay of Horta, where the marina is placed, is the second Portuguese bay to join the "Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club".
Natural reserve composed of several geological strata. It is named after its shape, resembling a castle, and its white sides. It is an important nesting location for sea birds.
Ancient volcano of maritime origin that expanded to the island of Faial. Serves as an excellent sightseeing spot with a view of Horta and Porto Pim beach. Here is also the Ermida da Nossa Senhora da Guia, from where you can clearly see a beautiful portion of the coast of Horta.
Famous café in the sailing circuits, it was established in 1918. Inside, you will find flags from all over the world, brought by visiting sailors. On the upper floor is the Museu of Scrimshaw, which exhibits a large collection of whale bone and tooth carvings and engravings.
Leave Horta heading to Alto de Espalamaca and stop at its sightseeing spot. Then, follow the regional road, turning to Praia do Almoxarife, and returning back up to the regional road. Turn right at the junction and go through Pedro Miguel, Ribeirinha, Salão - visit the port -, Cedros, Praia do Norte and make a stop at the sightseeing spot of Costa Brava - at around 320 m high. Continue through Fajã, visiting its beach and following the same road towards Ponta dos Capelinhos, where the last volcanic eruption in Faial happened. Go through Capelo and turn right in the direction of Varadouro, a bathing resort of excellence. Return to the regional road and turn right, going through Lombega, Castelo Branco and Feteira. Head towards Horta, passing through Angústias, Baía and the beach of Porto Pim. Go up to Monte da Guia. Go down and enter the city of Horta and head to the Marina to enjoy the yachts and the paintings made by its sailors.
Leaving Horta by the Príncipe Alberto do Monaco road, going through the industrial zone of Santa Bárbara, towards the parish of Flamengos. Afterwards, take the road to Caldeira, and enjoy the fantastic view and surrounding hydrangeas. Return to Flamengos and go in the direction of Horta, following the road that runs by Quinta de São Lourenço, stopping by the botanical garden. Then, return to Horta, while enjoying the view of the island of Pico.
Semana do Mar, happening in August, was initially dedicated to sailors that has now turned into a diverse set of activities and music concerts. Arts and crafts expositions, gastronomy fairs and aquatic sports competitions are also part of the program.
The fig wood craftwork by the people of Faial is very famous. The scrimshaw, the scale flowers and the wheat embroidery are other noteworthy crafts that honor the legacy of Faial.
The main religious occasion in Faial is the Festa da Nossa Senhora das Angústias. The streets are filled with processions and popular celebrations, in a tradition that remains from the time of the first settlers. On the 24th of June, São João is celebrated, marked by the music played several philharmonic orchestras that come together at Largo Jaime Melo.
The Festas do Espírito Santo are also of great importance, lasting from Pentecost to the month of August, in some parishes. Pézinho and Chamarrita are the typical dances of Faial, accompanied by the sound of the Viola de Arame.
Built in the 17th century, it has interesting tiles, panels and gilded wood that cover the main chapel.
Built in the 16th century, this fortress has protected the city of Horta from several attacks.
Part of the defense system of Porto Pim bay.
Built in the 17th century, it houses a nativity scene by Machado de Castro.
Built in the 17th century, it belongs to the Colégio dos Jesuítas. Holds displays and tiling of great value.
Surviving part of the old Igreja Matriz, demolished in the 19th century.
Built in the 18th century, it is the first "theatre" built for the Festas do Divino Espírito Santo.
Houses a vast collection of fig wood craftwork.
Faial is famous for its octopus and wine stew. At the table, the importance of the sea takes form in the fish soups and stews, since Faial is also known for being the island of the sea. Regarding seafood, the spine lobster, the slipper lobster, the crab and the limpet rice are sought-after dishes. Bread and corn cake are common side dishes. Sausages and blood sausages are local favorites when it comes to meat, either as a snack or a meal, usually eaten with yam. The "molha de carne" is an aromatic beef stew, seasoned with pepper, cumin and cinnamon.
When it comes to confectionery, Faial is known for the typical "fofas", small oven baked dough cakes, scented with fennel and filled with a cream made of egg yolks, milk, sugar, flour and lemon.
The beach of Porto Pim is great for a good swim. The beach of Almoxarife is 5 km away from Horta and is also an excellent bathing area. Varadouro is a quality bathing resort.
Faial is a synonym of ocean. Between may and October, many tourism enterprises go out to sea in search of these animals and provide one of the best experiences ever. Consult the part of our guide with the information of enterprises that provide this service and contact them.
You can find several designated fishing ports along the coast of Faial. Species that you can capture include seabream, wrasse, grouper, parrotfish and anchovy. You can also fish from a boat. Faial has been a considerably popular fishing spot. A fleet of rental boats for sport fishing with experienced crews, knowing the best places for fishing. Sport fishers from around the world come to feel the rush of capturing a blue marlin or a bluefin tuna.
There are specialized enterprises that provide this type of experience.
A very popular way of fishing in Faial that, besides allowing the capture of large species, provides to the diver an unforgettable dive surrounded by a marvelous underwater view. Frequently fished species include vadigo, parrotfish, barracuda, anchovy and conger eel. Please contact the competent maritime entities for information regarding the current legislation on spearfishing.
The waters and ocean floors of Faial are characterized by an exacerbated richness of underwater fauna and flora. This allows for memorable dives. Besides diving along the coast of Faial, you may also dive in the channel between Faial and Pico. The Fumarolas of Espalamaca, which we recommend, offer a dive in a unique setting where one can witness the local volcanic activity, with springs of hot bubbly water. Contact the enterprises in this guide for unique experiences.
Sailing has been practiced in Faial for decades and there are several tourism enterprises that offer you the chance to sail. The bay of Horta is a place of excellence for stand up paddle surfing, sea tours and other activities.
You will find in this island trails of rare beauty, such as 10 Vulcões, Monte da Guia and Perímetro da Caldeira. Some trails are ready for mountain biking or horse riding, promoting a healthy lifestyle in harmony with nature.
You can contact tourism enterprises that offer this kind of services and explore the inner creeks of Faial, witnessing scenarios that have never been seen before.