Known as the blue island of the Azores, Faial Island has a unique history and is home to one of the world’s busiest marina ports. Which is quite surprising given the small size of the island. Compared to the other islands we visited on the Azores, Faial also has a buzzing city nightlife. Overall, Faial is an Island you do not want to skip! So read on, this post will give you an idea of all the things you can explore on Faial Island Azores for one to two days.
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Exploring Faial Island Tips
Book EVERYTHING in advance! I cannot stress this enough. Flights, ferries, rental cars, guided tours, and even popular restaurants. The Azores are not a mass tourism destination and have limited capacities. Planning and booking ahead is often essential.
How Many Days to Spend on Faial
It only takes about one hour to circumnavigate around Faial Island, therefore you can easily see all the major sites in one day. However, I recommend staying at least 1.5 days or 2 days. This will allow you enough time to see all the sights at a more relaxed pace. Plus you can sleep in after a night out at Peter Café Sport!
How to get to Faial
Plane: If you are arriving to Faial from Sao Miguel or another Azores island that is not close, I recommend flying with SATA Airlines. They are relatively reliable, quick, and inexpensive. Again, book your flights way in advance!
Ferry: We actually arrived to Faial after visiting Pico Island by ferry. The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes and overall it is a straightforward process. If you are coming from Pico or Sao Jorge I recommend arriving to Faial by boat. You can purchase your ferry tickets in advance online.
Explore Faial Island – Azores – Day One
This was the one island where we decided not to rent a car. Instead, we booked a full-day tour. I am typically not a tour person, but I cannot say enough great things about the tour we did with Trilhos R. The entire day felt as if we were hanging out with a great friend who was showing us their hometown. Not to mention Ramiro, the owner/guide, is extremely knowledgeable – we learned so much!
If you would like to explore Faial island on your own, reserve a rental car through booking.com for the best deals.
Top Places to Visit on Faial:
Below is a map of Faial with the main sites to explore. If you book a full-day tour with Trilhos R, you will see all these stops and so much more!
Mel’s Travel Tip: If the weather is clear, head to the Caldeira first (the crater in the middle of the island). Unfortunately, when we visited Faial it was too cloudy to see into the crater. Guess we will have to plan another trip back!
Stop One: Monte da Guia
Monte da Guia is a scenic lookout of a volcanic crater that is attached to the island. You will see stunning panoramic views of the bay and the town of Horta.
Stop Two: Miradouro Ponta Furada
Miradouro Ponta Furada is one of the most visited lookouts on the island. You will be mesmerized by the impressive volcanic rock formations. The rocky formation was made from volcanic lava that quickly solidified by cold seawater. On a clear day, you can even see the island of Pico.
Stop Three: O Morro (Cheese Factory)
Before you enter O Morro Cheese Factory, you will be greeted by cows lounging in the field right next to the entrance. Talk about happy cows! As you enter the small factory, you will meet some of the workers and learn how the cheese is made. The entire cheese-making process is done by hand! Then you will be able to sample some delicious cheese. Even though the factory is small, this is one of the most sought-after cheeses in Europe – it is delicious!
Stop Four: Varadouro Natural Ocean Swimming Pools (optional stop or save for day 2)
If the weather is warm, make sure you carve out time to enjoy the pristine natural ocean swimming pools at this spot. There are bathrooms with changing rooms and showers so you can easily bring a change of clothes.
Stop Five: Capelinhos
Capelinhos is one of the main attractions of Faial, and for good reason. A volcanic eruption happened here from 1957 to 1958. The eruption spewed enough ash, sand, and lava to form a new land mass. Sadly, many people lost their homes and livelihoods as a result of the eruption. Luckily, the Azorean Refugee Act was signed in 1958 by JFK, allowing 2,000 refugees to come to the United States. The only thing left standing in this area is the lighthouse.
Stop Six: Caldeira
Located in the center of the island lies the impressive Caldeira do Faial. As stated previously, if the weather is clear when you first arrive to Faial, make this your first stop. The Calderia has a unique landscape with green-covered slopes that are covered in dense shrubbery. When the weather conditions are good, you can see views of the steep crater walls that drop 1,400 feet.
There is also a path that leads around the crater and down into to the crater, if you are wanting to do this trek, you can also book a tour with Trilhos R.
Stop Seven: Miradouro de Nossa Senhora da Conceição
Beautiful lookout with a stunning view of the town of Horta.
Peter Café Sport
After your day of touring, it is time to relax! Spend the evening having too many gins at the most iconic bar, Peter Cafe Sport. Café Sport was founded in 1918! They say “if you sail to Horta and you don’t visit Peter, you have not actually been to Horta.”
Explore Faial Island – Azores – Day Two
A Padaria Popular
Good morning! Head to one of the tastiest bakeries on Faial, A Padaria Popular. As you can see we sampled a little bit of everything. The food is delicious!
Monte Queimado Hike
After breakfast hike Monte Queimado for stunning views of Porto Pim Bay and the town of Horta. I would rate this hike as moderate, there are a lot of stairs on your way down, but it is manageable.
Tour the whale museum. Whale hunting was a huge part of the Azorean economy. The museum consists of all the original machinery. You will walk through several staging rooms where the sperm whale was actually processed. Whale hunting was officially prohibited in 1982. Thankfully today, hundreds of whales are safe in the Azores and it is currently one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries.
Marina of Horta
The tradition in the Marina of Horta is for each ship to paint a picture before departing. There are hundreds, if not thousands of paintings on the marina walls and docks.
Explore the Town of Horta
Get lost exploring the town of Horta! Horta was one of my favorite cities in the Azores. It is a lively maritime town and it is the 4th most visited port in the world!
Where to Stay on Faial Island
The only major town on Faial is Horta. Horta is a lively, buzzing port town that has many accommodation options and tons of tasty restaurants. It is also a great spot to stay if you don’t have a rental car, all restaurants, shops, and marina are within walking distance.
We stayed in the beautiful boutique hotel Casa Buonvento, which was located in the heart of Horta with stunning views of Pico Island. They only have a few rooms so reserve far in advance!
Best Restaurants on Faial
- Restaurant Atletico
- Peter Café Sport
- A Padaria Popular
- Genuíno Restaurante
- Taberna de Pim
- Gelados do Atlântico (Gelato)
I hope this blog post helps you explore Faial Island Azores and inspires you to add the Azores to your travel list! If you use this Faial Island Itinerary, tag me on Instagram @Mels_Scene and I will happily share your trip on my stories!
If you need any help planning or have any questions, please comment below or message me on my contact page! I would love to hear about how your trip went as well. Did you book a tour or rent a car? Tell me in the comments below!
Following my exact 2-Week Azores Itinerary? Check out the next stop, Flores Island (this might have been my favorite island we visited!).