How to plan a trip to Faial Island in the Azores
It’s the perfect island destination for sailing, visiting a famous sailors’ cafe, and exploring an extinct volcano.
Faial is known as the blue island because of the hydrangeas of a very particular tone. These flowers are relatively common in all the archipelago, and they change color based on the soil’s pH level. This “hydrangea blue” is more common in Faial.
At the Capelinhos volcano, the world seems to stand still. The volcano was active for 13 months between 1957 and 1958. The lava that slid towards the Atlantic Ocean added new land to the island’s landscape.
No one died, but people left their ruins behind. Most of them moved to nearby islands or to North America. Although some plants have started to grow in the area these days, it’s still deserted enough to make you think about the force of Nature.
Horta, Faial’s only city, is worldwide famous among sailors. The almost 100-year-old cafe Peter’s and the Marina are well-known in the sailing community.
Top things to do in Faial island
Faial has a strong connection to the Ocean and to sea activities.
Take a stroll in Horta’s marina and see the paintings made by those who sailed by or stayed for a while on the island.
Lying on a black sand beach is also an acceptable sea activity. And, speaking of black sand, a trip to the extinct Capelinhos volcano has to be on the top things to do on your list.
- Endemic Azores (birdwatching, hiking, scuba diving) – www.endemicazores.com
- Naturalist (birdwatching, geotourism, hiking, whale watching) – www.naturalist.pt
- Azores Experiences (scuba diving, whale watching) – www.azoresexperiences.com
- Dive Azores (scuba diving, whale watching) – www.diveazores.net
- Norberto Diver (scuba diving, whale watching) – www.norbertodiver.pt
- Capelinhos Ocean Tours (yachting) – www.pureadventureazores.com
- Sail Azores Yacht Charter (yachting) – www.sailazores.pt
- SailDive Azores (scuba diving, yachting) – www.saildive.pt
Top cultural events in Faial island
Religious events take center stage on this island throughout the year too. Those include the Holy Spirit festivities in the Summer and Nossa Senhora das Angústias after Easter (a celebration that is as old as the Flemish settlement in the late 1400’s).
But celebrating the Ocean is what this island does best. They dedicate a full week of events to the sea. Semana do Mar (week of the sea) takes place every year in August, mixing music, folklore, and sea activities.
What to eat in Faial
Faial’s traditional cuisine is rich in fish, beef, and pork. A pastry called Fofas do Faial is unique to the island. The small cakes stuffed with a rich egg-based cream have a distinct flavor of fennel seeds.
Oh, and if you’re a gin and tonic enthusiast (I’m sorry, I can’t vouch for this myself since I don’t enjoy the drink at all), then the folks at Peter’s make a good one.
Maybe it’s a secret gin and tonic recipe, or perhaps it’s the view that gives it a unique taste. I guess you have to try it and let me know later.
Local handicrafts in Faial include works made from fig tree pith and flowers made from fish scales.
Creating art from fig tree pith is so unique that the city’s Museum has a whole room dedicated to the local artist Euclides Rosa and his work.
Any memorabilia from Peter’s Cafe Sport is also a great souvenir to add to your “I was here” collection.
Find a place to stay
Know before you go
Where is Faial island?
Faial is one of the five islands in the Central Group (Grupo Central) of the Azores Archipelago, one of Portugal’s autonomous regions.
What's the official language in the Azores?
Portuguese. The Azoreans are also fluent in some foreign languages (mostly English), especially those who work in the tourism industry.
What's the time zone in the Azores?
GMT -1 hour
What's the currency in the Azores?
The same as in Portugal, the Euro (€).
What Visa do I need to visit Faial island?
You need a visa to enter all Schengen area territories, including the Azores islands. Click here for detailed information.
* Please note that this information may change over time. Refer to the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in the country of your departure for updated information.
Do I need any special vaccination to visit Faial Island?
Special vaccination is not mandatory to enter the Azores region. If you have special health conditions, please seek medical advice.
How do I get medical care in Faial island if I need it?
There are pharmacies, a hospital, and public health clinics (known as centros de saúde with emergency services on the island.
What is the voltage?
220 volts (round two-pin plugs).
Is there public transportation in Faial island?
Yes, there are buses and taxis. You can also rent a car (check the local car rental companies for information).
How big is Faial island?
The area of Faial island is 172.43 square kilometers (approximately 66.57 square miles).
How far is Faial island from Lisbon?
1,690 km (approximately 1,050 miles).
How many people live in Faial island?
14,994 people, according to the last census of 2011.
How do I travel to Faial island?
SATA Air Acores – between islands
Azores Airlines, Tap Air Portugal, and Ryanair (via S. Miguel and Terceira) – from the Portuguese mainland and other countries
Atlanticoline SA – regular trips from Pico and Sao Jorge (Green Line)
How is the weather on Faial island?
The climate is mild temperate. Temperature: average high 19.9°C/67.8°F. Average low 14.9°C/58.8°F.
When is the best time to visit Faial island?
August for the “Semana do Mar” events (“week of the sea”).
Are there earthquakes in Faial island?*
There is medium-level activity mostly West off the island. (Source)
*Note: seismic activity is constantly monitored in the Azores.
Is there WiFi and cell phone coverage on Faial island?
Yes, 3G and 4G.