Download GPX file for this article
38.580-28.717Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Faial is an island in the Azores archipelago, an autonomous region of Portugal. Horta, the legislative capital of the Azores, is the sole municipality on the island. Faial is a tourist destination with a rich collection of historical, natural and modern attractions that attract yachts, cruise ships, tourist groups and the naturalists to the hills and streets of the island.

The visitor seeking sun will likely travel to the black sand beaches of Praia de Almoxarife, Conceição, and Porto Pim, as well as the rock pools scattered along the coast. Varadouro is one such place, known for its warmer waters, micro-climate, summer cottages and complicated salt-water pools open to the ocean.


Almoxarife Beach, a black volcanic sand beach in Praia do Almoxarife

Horta (OHR-tuh, /ˈoɾ.tɐ/), the capital of Faial (figh-AHL), /faj.ˈaɫ/), is the political and economic centre of the island and is famous for its sailing port. It is divided into 13 civil parishes (freguesias).

The island is 172 km2 (66 sq mi). The distance to the neighbouring island of Pico is only around 6 km (3.7 mi). The highest point is the 1,043 m (3,422 ft)-high Cabeço Gordo in the Caldeira.

The port of Horta is an important port of call for Atlantic sailors.

With its nearest neighbours, Pico (east across the channel) and São Jorge (northeast across the channel), it forms an area commonly known as the Triângulo (English: Triangle). The island has also been referred to as the Ilha Azul (English: Blue Island), derived from the writings of Portuguese poet Raul Brandão, due to the large quantity of hydrangeas that bloom during the summer months.


It has very mild winters for its latitude, in part due to its location in the mid-Atlantic Ocean and influence from the Gulf Stream, averaging 14 °C (57 °F) in its coldest month, February, and frosts never occur other than at high altitude. Summers are warm and relatively dry.

Temperatures are moderated year-round, never too hot or too cold, daily temperatures are also moderated, with only 5 °C (41 °F) difference between highs and lows. Average relative humidity remains high at around 80% and insolation is relatively low with around 1,800–1,900 hours of annual sunshine.

Precipitation is plentiful especially in the winter months, averaging 1,000 mm (39 in) annually. At higher altitudes (e.g. Cabeço Gordo) temperatures are cooler, precipitation and humidity are increasingly higher and fog is very common.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By boat[edit]

Get around[edit]

Map of Faial


Capelinhos Volcano and Ponta dos Capelinhos (including Lighthouse)
  • 1 Horta Harbour. where many sailing vessels stop Horta (Q990385) on Wikidata Horta, Azores on Wikipedia
  • 2 Caldeira (Faial Caldera). The centre of Faial is occupied by a large crater, called "Caldeira". The road from the capital passes through Flamengos, the first village to be founded by European settlers. In its vicinity is the botanical garden. Also interesting is the trip along the "Ribeira dos Flamengos", a stream that crosses a very green valley. The descent into the crater is challenging and generally requires a local guide. You can observe the laurel forests that once covered the whole island. Once you have visited the Caldeira it is possible to descend in the direction of Praia Norte or in the area of ​​Capelo dominated by the lunar landscapes of the coast. The 3-km path, called "covered by Levada", is easily accessible. An extension of it begins near an artificial lake and penetrates through a tunnel inside a basaltic volcano "Cabeço dos Trinta" and then flows directly into the crater. Another excursion is to "Cabeço Gordo", the highest point of the island (1043 m) Which offers a panoramic view of the Caldeira.
  • 3 Capelinhos volcano. A volcanic eruption lasted for 13 months, from September 27, 1957 until October 24, 1958, which may have been two overlapping volcanic eruptions. While enlarging the land by 2.4 km², it spawned 300 seismic events, hurled ash 1 km, destroyed 300 houses in the parishes of Capelo and Praia do Norte and caused the evacuation of 2,000 people (many of whom emigrated to the US and Canada). The ruined lighthouse and Visitors Center (which lies along the cliff from the volcano) are a tourist destination. A trail network runs from the Visitors Center and lighthouse to the caldera summit. Capelinhos (Q1034530) on Wikidata Capelinhos on Wikipedia
  • 4 Lighthouse of Ponta dos Capelinhos (Farol da Ponta dos Capelinhos). A former beacon/lighthouse on the coastal peninsula of Ponta dos Capelinhos and Costa Nau that was constructed in the late 19th century. It is a symbol on the island, for the eruption of Capelinhos volcano, which occurred in 1957-58. Ponta dos Capelinhos Lighthouse (Q2890500) on Wikidata Lighthouse of Ponta dos Capelinhos on Wikipedia


  • Scuba diving and whale watching tours are offered at Horta harbour (link) by several tour operators.
  • The Semana do Mar (Week of the Sea) takes place at the beginning of August. It is a week-long celebration in Horta of Faial's link to the sea, celebrated in song, dance, exhibitions and kiosks selling different foods (of local and continental Portugal) and goods. During the day there are several sailing competitions and exhibits, while in the evening while many sample foods along the Avenida Marginal, others listen and/or dance to popular and/or traditional musical acts on one of several platforms devoted to bands, traditional and modern/contemporary musical artists.



The island, like some other Azorean islands, produces cheeses and other milk products, along with beef, and by-products notable in Portugal, and it has a rich cuisine that includes local seafood.

  • 1 Ah! Boca Santa, Mercado Municipal, Rua Serpa Pinto, Horta, +351 968 305 135, . Tu W 11:30–14:30, Th F 11:30–14:30 & 18:00–22:00, Sa 09:00–14:30 & 18:00–22:00, closed Su M. Genuine Azorean comfort food. €2-8.
  • 2 Peter Café Sport, Rua José Azevedo 9, Horta, +351 292 292 327, . M–Th 09:00–00:00, F Sa 09:00–01:30, Su 10:00–00:00. A historic cafe that has existed since 1918 and is popular with sailors on their way from the Caribbean to the European coasts. It is called "the most famous bar in the Atlantic". Mid-range.
  • 3 Restaurante Pasquinha, Canada da Mestre 31, Salão, +351 292 946 911. W–Sa 12:00–15:00 & 19:00–22:00, Su 12:00–22:00, closed M Tu. Mid-range.



  • 1 Azoris Faial Garden, Rua Cônsul Dabney, Horta, +351 292 207 400, . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. Four star, 131-room hotel. It has two swimming pools, tennis courts, a spa, and a bar. €49-118.
  • 2 Hotel do Canal, Largo Dr. Manuel de Arriaga, +351 292 202 120, . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Oceanside four-star, 103-room hotel with a nautical theme. Has a spa, a fitness centre, and a bar. €58-131.
  • 3 Pousada Forte da Horta, Rua Vasco da Gama, Horta, +351 21 040 7670, . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00. This four-star, 28-room pousada on Horta Bay was built in an old fort and is classified as a national monument. It features a swimming pool, a bar, free Wi-Fi, and free parking. €64-162.


Go next[edit]

  • Pico — island 6 km (3.7 mi) away which offers the opportunity to climb the highest mountain in Portugal
This city travel guide to Faial is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.