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Faial Island, Azores

Listed under Islands in The Azores, Portugal.

  • Photo of Faial Island, Azores
  • Photo of Faial Island, Azores
  • Photo of Faial Island, Azores
  • Photo of Faial Island, Azores
  • Photo of Faial Island, Azores
  • Photo of Faial Island, Azores
  • Photo of Faial Island, Azores
  • Photo of Faial Island, Azores
Photo of Faial Island, Azores
Photo by Jenny Fowler
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Breezes blow, clouds shift and change, sunlight sweeps over the sea lighting up the view of islands. From the marina at Horta, capital of Faial Island in the Azores, groups take off to go scuba-diving or whale watching.

Faial's mid-Atlantic position makes it a favourite stopping off place for yachts, and crews from every continent leave their mark on the harbour walls, brightly painted pictures of their boat or flag, with names and messages. On the seafront, Peter's cafe is decorated with flags and pennants left by the crews who have stopped over here, 1000 miles from Portugal and 2500 miles from the eastern seaboard of the US.

I arrived in Horta on the daily flight from Sao Miguel Island, and walked along the seafront to Peter's cafe. Sitting on the wooden deck overlooking the harbour I enjoyed the sunshine and the view of nearby Pico island.

From the harbour it was a short walk to a sheltered sandy beach at Porto Pim. Besides beaches, Faial has natural rock swimming pools around the coast. Water temperatures are around 20 C. I went out with Norberto Divers and had an interesting local dive photographing well-camouflaged flounders and colourful wrasse. Longer dive trips go to Princess Alice Bank where there is a good chance to see manta rays but these were not running in October when I went.

Faial island was created by a volcano. Trips visit the crater and there is a great view from the top across to the other islands, and also down into the crater.

Another volcano added extra land to the island in 1957, forming stark black cliffs and layers of ash. The Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre is a really interesting museum on the site, with a dramatic audiovisual reconstruction of the eruption and lots of information about volcanoes worldwide.

Faial has a mild climate all year round and a clean, green environment ideal for outdoor activities. It is easy to visit Pico Island too as there is a ferry which only takes about half an hour.

It is easy to visit Pico Island too as there is a ferry which only takes ab.

Written by  Jenny Fowler.

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