Home Europe Things To Do on Faial Island Azores – A 3-Day Itinerary

Things To Do on Faial Island Azores – A 3-Day Itinerary

by Valerie Vanr

With dormant Faial Caldeira and Capelinhos volcanoes, a world-renowned marina and stunning ocean-side pools and beaches, Azores’ tiny Faial island packs a scenic punch. The Blue Island, due to the Hydrangeas growing wild everywhere has amazing hiking opportunities and breathtaking scenery.

Our 3-day itinerary gives you lots of things to see and do on beautiful Faial.

Faial Island 3-Day Itinerary

This itinerary covers the Best Activities on Faial Azores.

We’ve got all the details on the must-see places and adventures for each area of the island.

Faial Azores Map

Click on the Faial island map for an interactive version.

Things To Do in Horta, Faial

The city of Horta is a great base with lots of accommodation and food options. Any destination on the island is less than 40 minutes away by car. Founded in the 1400’s, Horta is Faial’s largest urban centre and has a number of things to see and do.

The marina is a must-see, conveniently located in the city centre.

Horta Marina Faial
See a mixture of pleasure and working boats of all sizes docked at Horta Marina.

Horta Marina

This world-renowned marina has become a favoured stop on cross-Atlantic sea trips and is a linking point for international regattas. A number of tour operators offer whale watching tours, fishing expeditions and sightseeing cruises from the marina.

Val standing beside the artwork on Horta Sea Wall Faial
The sea wall is covered in drawings by crews from around the world stretching behind me as far as the eye can see.

A practice, which began centuries ago due to sailors’ superstitions, has become a tradition in the marina. Sailors paint their boats’ symbols or logos around the marina in order to ensure their boats and crews arrive safely at their destination. Be sure to wander through this free outdoor art gallery to see the artwork of crews from around the world. The art is everywhere along the marina sea walls and walks, from the north end to the south, including along the outside walls of the fort which guards the marina.

Forte de Santa Cruz Horta Faial
Forte de Santa Cruz is over 500 years old.

Forte de Santa Cruz (Horta)

The fort was built between the 15th and 17th centuries and was the main fortification of the island. It became a national monument in 1947. Today, the fort is the luxury hotel Pousada Forte Horta, operated by Pestana Pousadas de Portugal. The company operates hotels in some of Portugal’s most historic buildings.

Continue past the fort to what some consider yachting’s greatest watering hole.

Peter Cafe Sport

For over 100 years, Peter Café Sport has been a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner. It is worth a visit just for the decor alone. Beautiful walls of coloured yacht flags and ensigns allow you to travel the world from your chair with beverage in hand.

Val standing outside Pete Cafe Sport Horta
Visit the main floor restaurant and the Scrimshaw Museum on the upper floor.
Val enjoying a beverage at Peter Cafe Sport Horta Faial
Relax in the colourful restaurant

Visit the Scrimshaw Museum upstairs to see the largest private collection of Scrimshaw artwork in the world. Scrimshaw art is engravings on and carvings from whale bone, cartilage or ivory, the byproducts of the whaling industry. The whalers were the artists. The museum pieces date back to the 19th century.

North of the cafe and west of the marina is Horta’s downtown.

Downtown Horta Faial street
See the beautiful gardens and cobblestone sidewalks of downtown Horta.
Sao Salvador Chuch Horta Faial
Church of the Holy Saviour is one of the largest churches in the Azores.

Church of the Holy Saviour

In the centre of downtown, the imposing Igreja do Santissimo Salvador is one of the largest churches in the Azores.  The former Jesuit College was abandoned around 1760 when the Jesuits were expelled from Portugal. Other buildings of the college have become the town hall and the Museum of Horta.  The museum is noted for its collection of fig wood art, a traditional handicraft.

Walking northward from the town hall, the clock tower quickly becomes visible.

Val and Clock Tower Horta Faial
The tower is at the north end of town overlooking the harbour.
Park bench and gazebo in Florencio Terra Garden Horta
Florencio Terra Garden is a beautiful green space to relax in.

Torre do Relogio (Horta)

This clock tower was used as a watchtower in the 1800’s. Climb the tower to get a bird’s eye view of Horta. Florencio Terra Garden, a beautiful park with a gazebo, is across the street. It’s a perfect spot for a rest while enjoying the view over the city.

Our Lady of Conception Viewpoint is one of the best places for an aerial view of Horta.

Val and Andy on bench with view of Horta Faial from Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Viewpoint
We enjoyed a beautiful day and the stunning view of Horta from Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Viewpoint.

Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Viewpoint

This viewpoint, on the top of the headland called Espalamaca, is north of Horta on the main road EN1-1A. The 30-metre high cross and massive statue of the Virgin Mary stand out on the horizon. The view of Horta is breathtaking. On a clear day, look east to the islands of Pico, Sao Jorge and Graciosa. Much of eastern Faial can also be seen.

View of Horta from Nossa Senhora Conceicao Viewpoint Faial
Monte da Guia and Horta are on full display from Our Lady of Conception Viewpoint with its 30-metre tall cross.

About 2.5 kilometres west of the viewpoint, the Botanical Garden of Faial conserves and protects local plants.

Monte da Guia Geosite

A Faial highlight, the geosite includes the volcano Monte da Guia, Porto Pim Beach and the volcanic cone Monte Queimado, plus all the sand dunes, slopes, cliffs, bays, inlets and marine caves around and within this area. This Azores Geosite is also two protected areas of the Faial Nature Park, protecting plant and animal species native to the Azores.

Monte da Guia from Monte Queimado Faial
Monte da Guia towers over sheltered Porto Pim Bay

See panoramic views of Horta, the south coast of Faial and the island of Pico from the top of both Monte da Guia and Monte Queimado,  Porto Pim Bay is the sheltered bay between the two cones.

Walk around the bay and discover a number of interesting places to visit. This walk is part of the Entre Montes walking trail.

Porto Pim Beach Horta Faial
Porto Pim Beach with Monte Queimado rising behind it.

Porto Pim Beach

This beautiful, wide expanse of sand is very popular with locals and tourists alike. There are washroom and shower facilities nearby. Several restaurants and bars can be found on the streets at the north end of the beach.

Porto Pim Whaling Factory

This museum, at the south end of the beach, shows the complete processing of a sperm whale. Its exhibits explain whale oil and grease extraction and the methods of handling the meat, bones and blood. The Whaling Factory Museum contains most of the actual equipment used by the station during its business operations from 1941 to 1974.  It is also the home of the Azores Sea Observatory, a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental education and activities in relation to ocean science.

Porto Pim Whaling Station and Dabney House Faial
Porto Pim Whaling Station and Dabney House (left to right) are museums which explain important contributions to Faial’s history.

Casa dos Dabney

Beside the museum, Dabney House contains exhibits explaining the story and lasting contributions to Faial of three generations of the Dabney family. The family moved to Faial in 1806 when John B. Dabney became the first United States Consul General to the Azores. Over the time that the Dabney family lived on Faial (1806 to 1894), both John’s son Charles and grandson Samuel held the position. Dabney House was originally the summer home of Charles Dabney.

Walking Trail – Entre Montes (PRC8 FAI)

This circular route links all the places in the Monte da Guia geosite. It is an easy 3.4-kilometre walk, taking about 1.5 hours.  Locals use this route for circuit training, so watch out for runners.

Park in the large parking area for Porto Pim Beach. Start on the paved path at the back of the Porto Pim Whaling Factory. Walk west up to the top of Monte da Guia and Our Lady of Guia Chapel.  It was built in 1943 to replace a chapel built in the late 17th century to honour the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. Follow the trail markers to wind down to the south side of the bay, past Dabney House and the Porto Pim Whaling Factory. Wander across the beach, along Rua da Rosa. Finally, head up over the top of Monte Queimado and back to the parking lot.

Piscina Lajinha and Poca da Rainha

These pools are about halfway to the airport, west of Monte da Guia. They are natural hollows along the coastline filled with seawater and continuously refreshed by wave action.  For a refreshing dip, take the steps down to the pools from the cliffs above.  Be careful as the rocks are sharp and jagged. The rocks formed when rapidly flowing lava hit the cold ocean water and cooled very quickly. The cliff has beautiful caves and arches. This section of coastline is also a geosite of the Azores Geopark. The whole shoreline is visible from the beautiful viewpoint at Ponta Furada.

Shallow natural seaside pools Piscina Lajinha Faial
The shallow pools of Piscina Lajinha are refreshed by wave action.

West Faial – Things to See

Head west on the main highway (EN1-1A), which circles the island, and pass through stunning countryside along amazing coastal areas. Faial’s roads have many beautiful viewpoints, often with picnic tables, making them perfect refreshment stops so don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch.

Morro de Castelo Branco

The huge, imposing, rock monolith at the ocean’s edge is visible from kilometres away. It forms a peninsula with plunging cliffs that extend into the water. It is a volcanic dome which was created from lava which was so thick that it didn’t flow away before cooling. The peninsula is an important nesting area for several species of birds native to the Azores and has been protected as both a Faial Nature Reserve and an Azore’s Geosite.

To reach the parking area, either drive, turning off the main road and following official signs, or hike to it on the Morro de Castelo Branco Trail. From the parking area, walk the path to the amphitheatre and on to the base of the dome. Climbing the rock peninsula is not permitted.

Morro de Castelo Branco Faial
Morro de Castelo Branco is an important nesting area for bird species and is off-limits to visitors.

Morro de Castelo Branco Trail (PRC5 FAI)

This trail goes through some of the protected area of Varadouro, in the Faial Nature Park and the halfway point is the Morro de Castelo Branco. It is an easy, circular trail, about 3.7 kilometres long and should take about 1.5 hours. 

The trailhead is on the main road about 3 kilometres west of the airport in the village of Lombega by the bus stop. Walk down the dirt road by a stream to the coast. Turn south and walk toward the Morro de Castelo Branco easily visible in the distance. At a gate, turn right following signs and walk to the monolith. After exploring the Castelo Branco area, return to the gate and continue. Circle left along a sideroad, which returns to the main road and follow that north and back to the starting point.

About 7 kilometres from the trailhead is the Centro de Artesanato do Capelo.

Andy outside Capelo Handicraft Center Faial
See examples of beautiful craftsmanship at the Capelo Handicraft Centre.

Capelo Handicraft Centre

The handicraft centre’s yard has a beautiful view of the ocean. Inside the Centro de Artesanato do Capelo, a small white stucco building, traditional island handicrafts are displayed and available for purchase. Find carvings in bone and whale’s tooth, fig tree pith (the centre core of the fig tree), straw embroidery, old lace and much more.

Continue west on the main road to more stunning views of the coastline.

Looking down from Ribeira das Cabras Viewpoint to Faial's Faja beach
Looking down from Ribeira das Cabras Viewpoint to Faja and its beach below

Ribeira das Cabras Viewpoint

This viewpoint provides an amazing view over the peninsula of Capelo, the youngest area of Faial (10,000 years old). The peninsula has about 20 volcanic cones of various sizes. On a clear day, see Vulcao dos Capelinhos, Cabeco do Canto, Cabeco Verde and Cabeco do Fogo. Look down to Faja, whose land area was created by lava flows from the volcanoes of the peninsula.

Praia da Faja

Faja Beach and the nearby children’s playground are popular with summer vacationers. This rocky, black coastline showcases the sharp texture of rocks created when lava cools quickly in contact with water.

Val and Andy standing on a coastal volcanic landscape of Capelinhos Volcano with rocky cliffs and ocean in the background.
We are standing on material jettisoned by the Capelinhos Volcano in the distance behind us.

Capelinhos Volcano

Faial’s youngest volcano was created during a 13-month eruption episode from September 1957 to October 1958. The eruption initially created an island off the coast.  Enough material was ejected from the volcano to join the new island to the mainland, increasing the area of Faial by 2.4 square kilometres. This area is one of the geosites of the Azores Geopark.

Historic photo 1957 Eruption Faial Capelinhos Volcano
A historic photo of the Capelinhos Volcano 1957 Eruption

Wander the area, walking on the material jettisoned from the volcano, and admire the cliffs along the edges of the volcano. There are a number of things to see.

Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre

The centre’s exhibits explain the Capelinhos Volcano eruption, the formation of the Azores, and the various kinds of volcanic activity in the world.  The Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre was built underground to minimize its impact on the landscape allowing visitors a better idea of how the area looked in the days shortly after the eruption in 1957.

Information on the history of Azorean lighthouses including the adjacent Farol da Ponta dos Capelinhos is also on display.

Walkway to underground Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Center Faial
The walkway leads from the parking area to the Capelinhos lighthouse, the Capelinhos Volcano and the interpretation centre.

Capelinhos Point Lighthouse

Climb the lighthouse for a unique view of the area. The Capelinhos Point Lighthouse, built in the late 1800’s, was operating when the volcanic eruption began. As the eruption continued, workers cleared away the volcanic ash. Eventually the volume of ash became so large, it was necessary to abandon the area. Despite surviving the eruption intact, the lighthouse never operated again. 

Capelinhos Point Lighthouse Faial
Capelinhos Point Lighthouse and the volcano in the background

The port, a short walk south of the lighthouse, is a sheltered cove.

Porto do Comprido

Cool off in the port’s natural pool, or launch a kayak to take a look at the volcano from the ocean. Stand at the port and look back toward the lighthouse. This was the edge of Faial Island before the eruption. It is amazing to see how much additional land area was added to Faial as a result of the 1957 eruption.

Just off the access road to Port Comprido, the Whaler Boats House museum explains the whaling industry.

Casa dos Botes

See a whaling boat and learn about the whale hunt in the Boat House, a branch of the Porto Pim Whaling Factory museum. The whaling industry, one of the most dangerous occupations on Faial, was vital to the island’s economy for many years from the 1800’s until it was banned in 1982.

Casa dos Botes museum Faial
The whaling post at Port Comprido was one of the most important sperm whale hunting posts on Faial until whaling was banned in 1982.

Capelo-Capelinhos Trail (PRC1 FAI)

This is an active way to get to Capelinhos Volcano. It travels through the Capela Peninsula, a Geosite with about 20 volcanic cones. The trail is an “out and back”, medium-difficulty, trail. It measures 5.0 kilometres round-trip and takes about 2 hours to complete.

The trail begins at the top of Cabeco Verde (there is a parking here). Walk all around the crater rim and then down the access road. Pass Furna Ruim, (literally “bad cave”), a 55-meter deep lava cave. Continue through the laurel forest to Cabeço do Canto. This viewpoint overlooking Capelinhos Volcano is the trail’s halfway point. Turn around and return to the starting point or continue on a portion of the 10 Volcanoes Trail to end in the parking lot of the Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre, about 1.5 kilometres away.

Faial Caldeira

The crater of the Caldeirado Faial Volcano, in the centre of Faial, is a must-see. It is about 2 kilometres across and has an average depth of 400 metres. It was created by different phases of volcanism over the last 400,000 years. Within the crater, look for a cinder cone and, in some seasons, two small lakes. There was a permanent lake in the crater before the 1957 Capelinhos Volcano’s eruption. The seismic activity associated with the eruption created cracks in the bottom of the lake, allowing water to drain away. Today the lakes often disappear during dry periods.

View at edge into Caldeira Faial
On the crater floor, see a cinder cone and two lake beds, one dry and one wet.

Caldeira has several different habitats within it supporting many species of plants and animals native to the Azores. It is classified a Nature Reserve in the Faial Nature Park. Additionally, the whole volcano is a geosite in the Azores Geopark. This ensures the protection of these habitats, climates and species along with the historic and geologic significance of the area. A great way to explore this area more intimately is by walking the Caldeira Trail.

Caldeira Trail (PRC4 FAI)

This circular trail follows the entire caldera edge, starting in the Caldeira parking lot. It is an easy 6.8-kilometre walk for 2.5 hours.

Andy on the Caldeira Trail Faial
Andy is standing on the Caldeira Trail

From the parking lot, cross through the small tunnel and enjoy a first look at Caldeira. The trail begins up the stairs toward a small chapel. On the walk, see native plants and incredible views into the crater. At about the half-way mark, the trail splits. To the right is the Ten Volcanoes Trail, a longer day hike. Keep to the left, continuing along the edge of the crater.  Climb toward Cabeço Gordo, the highest point of the trail at 1043 metres above sea level. On clear days, the islands of Pico and Sao Jorge can be seen. The trail from Cabeco Gordo back to the trailhead is uneven, so be careful.

East Faial – Things to See

The eastern side of Faial, north of Horta, is the oldest part of the island, about 800,000 years old.

Botanical Garden of Faial

Learn about the importance of conservation and protection of the biodiversity of the Azores and the world.  Opened in June 1986 with 1.4 acres, the botanical garden is now over 3.7 acres, allowing for greater species and habitat conservation. The visitor centre has an auditorium, exhibition room and snack bar. The Botanical Garden also manages a natural rehabilitation area of almost 15 acres nearby.

Botanical Garden Faial from above
The Botanical Garden has more than doubled its size since opening in 1986.

Farol da Ribeirinha

The Lighthouse of Ribeirinha began operations in November 1919 situated at the edge of the point. The 4-sided tower, 20-metres high, included living accommodations for four lighthouse keepers and their families. The lighthouse was typical of those built at the time; limestone corners, brick walls with the exterior covered in white tiles and a tower topped by a copper dome. 

The lighthouse operated until it was severely damaged in a July 1998 earthquake. Centred about 5 kilometres off Faial’s east coast, the quake measured 5.6 on the Richter scale and shook the islands of Faial, Pico and Sao Jorge for about 20 seconds. The parish of Ribeirinha suffered the most damage. Many buildings, including the lighthouse, were seriously damaged and remain abandoned.

A small automated light replaced the function of the lighthouse in 1999. Drive directly to the lighthouse or hike to it on a portion of the Caminhos Velhos Trail.

Val in front of Ribeirinha Lighthouse Faial damaged by 1998 earthquake
I’m standing in front of the Ribeirinha Lighthouse which was abandoned after the 1998 earthquake. Its function was replaced by a small automated light.

Much of the land to the northwest of the parish of Ribeirinha is cropland making the landscape a sea of green fields.

Salao Windmill

This red, wooden windmill operated between about 1929 and 1969 to grind the grain of the local farmers.  There are many of these small structures on Faial in various states of repair. These windmills played an essential role in Faial’s important cereal industry in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Val standing on the steps up to the Salao Windmill Faial
Salao Windmill operated when the cereal industry was important on Faial

More than 3 Days on Faial?

With more time on Faial, visit more of the places highlighted or take a longer walking trail. There are also many boat tours that depart from Horta Marina. These tours are another great way to view the island. Whales and dolphins are plentiful here in the summer. Enjoy a down day by relaxing on a beach or admire the views from a restaurant patio.

Faial Day Hikes

These additional walking trails will take a half to full day to hike. Before starting any of them, confirm transportation options at either end of the hike.  Pack and be prepared for any type of weather and remember to carry lots of water and a first-aid kit.

Andy hiking Morro de Castelo Branco Trail Faial
Andy hiking along the Morro de Castelo Branco Trail
Directional Signs Caldeira Trail Faial
Directional Signs for the loop Caldeira Trail

Caminhos Velhos Trail (PR7 FAI)

This trail travels through the Lomba Grande Protected Area and ends at the Faial Caldeira. It is a hard, linear trail that is 15.5 kilometres long, and will take about 5 hours to walk one way.

This circular trail, around the parish of Ribeirinha, goes through the Graben of Pedro Miguel, one of the geosites of the Azores Geopark. At about 800,000 years old, it is the oldest part of the island. This is an easy 8.3 kilometres and takes about 2.5 hours.

The trail begins at the harbour of Porto da Ribeira. This is an old fishing pier with a beach, picnic tables and washrooms. Climb up the many steps through the woods to see species of cedars and junipers native to the Azores.  Exiting the woods, see the ruins of the Ribeirinha Lighthouse in the distance.

Andy climbing log steps of Ribeirinha Trail Faial
Andy climbing a set of steps on Caminhos Velhos Trail
Ribeirinha Lighthouse Faial from a distance
Farol da Ribeirinha with Pico Island in the background

The trail continues to the left up the hill. Back on the road through the village, turn left and walk a short distance to the ruins of the Sao Mateus Church. It was built in 1934 and destroyed in the 1998 earthquake. Continue west after crossing the main highway.

Walk along farm fields and pastures into the protected area of Lomba Grande, part of the Faial Nature Park. Shortly after entering the protected area, arrive at a trail intersection. Turn right and follow the trail markers to Charcos of Pedro Miguel, a popular bird watching area. Continue along the trail to the forest reserve Cabouco Velho. The trail ends at the Caldeira viewpoint.

Ten Volcanoes Trail (PR6 FAI)

This trail travels through the Caldeira Nature Reserve and ends at the Capelinhos Volcano. It is a hard, linear trail, 20.0 kilometres long, taking about 7 hours to walk one way

Follow the Caldeira Trail to its half way mark. Turn right and go down the west slope of the Caldeira. Join another Azores Trail, Levada, for a short while until the trails separate again.  Follow Levada for a short walk to Cabeco do Trinta, then return and descend through forest to the Cabeco do Fogo viewpoint. Continuing on, go through more forest and by fields passing Furna Ruim, Algar do Caldeirão and Cabeço do Canto. See great view of Capelinhos Volcano. Continue to the end of the trail at Port Comprido, just west of the Volcano Interpretation Centre.

Coast to Coast Trail (GR1 FAI)

This trial is the combination of the two trails above (Caminhos Velhos and Ten Volcanoes) travelling from the east coast of Faial to the west coast.  It is 35.5 kilometres long and will take 12 hours to complete.

Val by the trailhead signs for Faial's Coast to Coast Trail
Trailhead signs for Faial’s Coast to Coast Trail

Faial Hiking Trails

This table summarizes all the hiking trail options on the island.

NameType/ DifficultyLengthAltitude range
PRC1 FAI Capelo – CapelinhosCircular/ Medium5.0 km/ 2:00250 m
PRC2 FAI Rocha da FajaCircular/ Easy5.0 km/ 2:30250 m
PR3 FAI LevadaLinear/ Easy7.6 km/ 2:3075 m
PRC4 FAI CaldeiraCircular/ Easy6.8 km/ 2:30150 m
PRC5 FAI Morro de Castelo BrancoCircular/ Easy3.7 km/ 1:30100 m
PR6 FAI Dez VulcoesLinear/ Medium20.0 km/ 7:00900 m
PR7 FAI Caminhos VelhosLinear/ Hard15.5 km/ 5:00900 m
PRC8 FAI Entre MontesCircular/ Easy3.4 km/ 1:3075 m
GR1 FAI Faial Costa a CostaLinear/ Hard35.5 km/ 12:00900 m

Faial Hotels

Looking for an accommodation on Faial Island Azores?

Horta Hotels

Make Horta your home base to explore the beauty of Faial Island.

We stayed at the excellent Lofts Azul Pastel. This property, located on the outskirts of Horta, offers ocean views and has a great restaurant onsite.

Click here for other great hotels in Horta.

Know Before You Go

Best Time to Visit Faial

The best time to visit Faial Island is between April and October. However, Faial has a temperate climate year-round due to its proximity to the warm Gulf Stream in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The average high temperature in August is 26°C and in winter, it is 17°C. The weather on any particular day can be unpredictable, with clear blue skies one moment then shrouded in clouds the next.

Visit in July and August to see hydrangeas at their peak.

Semana do Mar (Week of the sea) takes place every August. It is a week-long festival celebrating Faial’s link to the sea. There are concerts, exhibitions, a naval parade with dozens of colourful boats and kiosks selling foods and other products.

How to get to Faial Island

Fly to Horta Airport with Azores Airlines (SATA). The airport is on the south coast about 8 kilometres from Horta. Taxi and bus service are available between the airport and Horta. Cars can be rented both at the airport and in the city.

Arrival by ferry is also possible. We took a ferry from Pico Island to the Horta Port Terminal in Horta. Check with Atlânticoline for schedules.

Passenger Ferry at Horta Port Terminal Faial
Passenger Ferry at Horta Port Terminal

How to get around Faial

We recommend renting a car to see the entire island of Faial, though you can get around by hiring a taxi. Additionally, public bus service is available on Faial, reaching all areas of the island, except Caldeira.  Bus stops are plentiful but service is light, so check their timetables carefully when planning to use this service.

Where can I rent a car on Faial Island?

Renting a car for your visit to Faial gives you much more freedom to discover the island’s many attractions.

You can rent a car at Faial’s Horta Airport or in the main town of Horta.

Is English understood on Faial Island?

English is understood by many of the locals, with the younger people more adept at speaking English than the older generation. However, it is courteous to know and use a few common Portuguese words and phrases. The local population will definitely appreciate it.

What is the Faial Nature Park and Azores Geopark?

The Azores Islands contain many areas of both geological and ecological significance. The government understood the importance of the preservation of these sites and, in the 1970’s, began to set aside areas on each island to preserve and protect, for future generations.  This foresight led to the Azores being one of the early places recognized as a sustainable travel destination.  Each island in the archipelago has a nature park within, which has areas categorized for various levels of protection (habitats and species, landscapes, resources). 

The Faial Nature Park was an early winner of a European Destinations of Excellence award in 2011 (5 years after the program began) which recognized Faial’s sustainable tourism development models. There are 14 protected areas representing about 18% of the island’s land area.

Many of the areas of the Faial Nature Park overlap with Geosites of the Azores Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark. These Geoparks protect the geological heritage of the area.

When heading back to Sao Miguel, be sure to check out our article, Things To Do in Sao Miguel Azores, for more places and great destinations to visit.

Ocean shoreline green hills

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