What can be more beautiful than a peaceful sea breeze, pastoral green mountains, and an island covered with baby blue hydrangeas? The small island of Faial; which is known as the ‘blue island’, overlooks the beautiful mountainous island of Pico; which is the highest point in all of Portugal. On this small island with a population of just under 20,000 residents you can experience one of the Azores islands most visited, yet least spoiled islands in the Atlantic. The history of this enchanting island goes back to the early days of European exploration back in the 15th century; where the island had gained its reputation as an international stopover point for transatlantic crossings. The tradition, culture, and eco-friendly lifestyle that has always existed here on the island for centuries, has been able to maintain a delicate balance with its environmental obligations and the steady flow of tourists who come to this enchanting volcanic rock in the Atlantic to experience its endemic flora and fauna. The mosaic cobblestone streets, friendly local population, and amazing agricultural sector have allowed this small island to stay relatively self resilient and mainly a stopover destination for sailors, yachters, and hydrangea lovers; since this is one of the world’s best spots to see these beautiful flowers in bloom during the months of May until early September. Peter’s Cafe & Sports Bar is one of the most popular watering holes in Portugal with its rich history and amazingly fresh seafood, it is worth making a visit to this famous landmark destination that has been around on the island for decades. There is a couple of 17th-century lighthouses that are still in use on the island as well. The lighthouses on the island are neat to explore and are significant cultural icons that you can experience firsthand while imagining the 15th-century townsmen watching out for pirate ships and possible invaders who often attempted to capture this beautiful island. This part of the Azores is a popular spot for whale watching and for dolphins encounters. It is here in the safe waters surrounding the Azores that dozens of varieties of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles call home. The island of Pico; which is visible from Faial, is one of the main islands that offer this tour as well since they are just a short boat ride away. The island of Faial with all its unique charm and its relative isolation in the Mid-Atlantic ocean has some beautiful bed and breakfasts and private guest homes which are sure to give you a traditional and authentic Azorean experience while you admire the idyllic countryside or ocean views from the comfort of your room. The island is however very dependant on its ability to have ease of access to the other regions in the Azores and has benefited from both ferry access to the island as well as through regional air travel. The main islands to fly into Faial are the two larger islands “Sao Miguel” and “Terceira” which offer direct flights to all 9 Azorean islands through the islands regional carrier ‘Azores Airlines’.
- Capital City: Horta
- Population: 20,000
- 1 km of land was added in 1957 when the volcano erupted on the island
- Currency: Euro
- Ferry: Atlanticoline which runs seasonally
- Air: Regional airport with flights from Sao Miguel and Terceira islands daily
- Accommodation: Local guest houses for an authentic island experience.
- Economy: Great restaurants and a small downtown with a lively town square. Buying locally grown foods and authentic “Azorean made” goods are important to the lifeblood of the economy. Here it is an island of exports not imports.