Faial – a lively town and just 60 years old piece of land (Azores)

Faial is the newest island. At least, the westernmost part is. It is so young it was not there when our parents were born. It is the smallest of the four we visited, just for a day trip by ferry from Madalena, but could easily spend a night there.

The capital, Horta, is basically the only town on the island, with a few settlements scattered around the Caldeira volcano. It is also much more alive than Pico’s Madalena. Even the Azorian parliament resides here. There are bars, restaurants, a port, a marina and a beautiful beach with calm waters, almost hidden in plain sight on the opposite side from the port, Praia de Porto Pim. We tried the Peter’s Sport bar, a very friendly place by the marina with great food, beer and lovely interior.

Praia de Porto Pim
The marina
Peter’s Sport Bar
Gin’s Users Manual
Street art with Czech flag

Caldeira crater is what forms almost the whole island. You can climb the steep winding road to Miradouro da Caldeira, pass a short pedestrian tunnel and you’ll find yourself in a place with a strange, yet calm energy. It is a viewing platform of the crater, about 300 meters above the crater floor. In the past, it was possible to walk down, but the road is close now due to safety. You can climb up to the summit instead, about 150 meters higher, and hike around the whole crater, too, about 7 km.

Caldeira crater
The path around the crater
View to Pico island
Hiking around the crater

For me, the most interesting place on Faial was the Capelinhos volcano. Situated at the westernmost part of the island, it is only about 60 years old. In 1957, a man was just doing his job as always in the Capelinho lighthouse, when he noticed something strange. It was the beggining of a volcanic eruption. Everybody was evacuated and after a year-long seismic activity, new land appeared where ocean has been. There is a very well-made interpretation center, explaining everything and also showing interviews with locals, talking about their experience from this time.

Capelinho lighthouse
All this was not there 70 years ago



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