Faial

The only town on the island is Horta which has several interesting historical landmarks and was once the whaling centre of the Azores.

Horta is renowned as a safe harbour for small boats and many of the sailing races which involve the Azores use Faial as the destination port, or a breathing space in a transatlantic crossing. Here on the sea wall you can see the signatures of generations of sailors together with their sometimes crude but more often, very detailed pictures of the boats in which they were sailing.

It was to Horta that the first Atlantic cable stretched back to Portugal with the prime objective of transmitting information on the weather systems in the Azores which were to lead to the advanced (for its time) weather forecasting systems employed in the 30ís and 40ís

Big Game fishing can be arranged between May and September (though only two or three boats are thus employed and demand is great).

Scenically the Island is beautiful, it is called the "blue Island" because it is here in particular that the tiny fields are hedged around with hydrangeas (the cows donít like the flavour!) and between July and September the Island is covered with blue hydrangea flowers. "Horta" is named after the Portuguese word for hydrangea - hortensia.

Faial increased in size by 2.5 square kilometres when in 1957/8 the volcano at Capalinhos erupted covering the vicinity with black lava, ash and sand, burying farm houses and the light house to first floor level and leaving it some distance inland. Even now only the most hardy of plant life can cling to life on the poisonous soil.

The Caldeira or long extinct volcanic crater at the top of the Island is magnificent in its awesome size and fantastic fertility. It is possible to climb down to the floor and some visitors camp there.

Eating out in Horta

Try "O Capote", a large first floor restaurant overlooking the sea... or "O Bar„o" in the centre of town and much enjoyed by the local community.