One of the nine volcanic islands that make up the Portuguese Azores, Faial is one of them. The name “The Triangle” refers to the geographic formation that this island, together with Pico and So Jorge, its two nearest neighbors, makes up. It is generally agreed that Faial is the westernmost point in Europe. This is due to the fact that the two Azorean islands that lie to its west are really situated on the American plate.
Although Faial is not the biggest of the Azores islands in terms of population—it has less than 15,000 people living there—it has some of the most breathtaking landscapes. The expansive forests and towering cliffs left an impression on me that I will never forget.
Are you going to any of the Azores’ other attractions? Check out some of our other mouthwatering guides:
- Pico Island Azores: Best Foodie Guide
- 1 What To Do On Faial Island
- 2 Where to Stay On Faial Island
- 3 Practical Information
- 4 FAQs
What To Do On Faial Island
The pleasure of a trip to Faial is getting some fresh air and seeing the island’s natural wonders. You are going to want to engage the services of a native guide if you want to make the most of your time spent there. I had a conversation with Bruno from Tobog Azores, and I can’t say enough good things about this firm. As someone who has lived on the island their whole lives, he took into account all of my interests and worked hard to devise an itinerary for my stay there that was nothing short of extraordinary. We spent the day exploring the island in a Jeep, but he is also an expert in extreme activities like canyoning. We took use of his services.
Bruno has lived his whole life on the island, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he is familiar with all of the greatest sites, even those that the more established tour companies choose not to visit. An excursion to the caldera was the most exciting part of the day. A caldera is a crater that is formed when a volcano’s mouth collapses as a result of an eruption. This specific crater’s collapse started some 16,000 years ago, but it wasn’t completed until the past 1,000 years. We reached the caldera through a tunnel that went all the way through the mountain’s base. It was a fantastic experience when we emerged from the wet and gloomy tunnel into the bright and sunny crater after making our way through it slowly.
When Bruno found out that I had a strong passion for scuba diving as well as anything that has to do with the water, he made plans for me to spend the day with Ocean Eye. The Ocean Eye is one of just a few boats in the world that are exactly like it. The bottom of the boat is made of plexiglass, in addition to the fact that there is a large “eye” in the front of the vessel. Because its bottom is made of glass, you can view what is going on below the water’s surface without the need of diving or snorkeling equipment.
On board each excursion there is a real marine scientist who will do their best to assist you make sense of all you see. The marine biologist who was on board with us was able to identify a wide variety of fish and coral species, as well as some very beautiful jellyfish. This was a good time that the whole family could enjoy since it was laid back and enjoyable.
Where To Eat On Faial Island
It should come as no surprise that seafood plays a significant role in the cuisine of the Azore Islands. Even while Faial isn’t as well-known as Pico for its wine production, there is no lack of wonderful cuisine and wine to be found on the island.
In my experience, the octopus dish that I had at Aldina was among the very finest I’ve ever eaten. As soon as we walked in, Bruno informed our waitress that we would not want any menus since we were both going to have his standard dish. The octopus was cooked to perfection and was soft enough to cut with a fork. It was wonderful, so I’m pleased I listened to his advice and let him place the purchase.
In addition, the fresh cheese that was brought to the table was the most delicious cheese I had the pleasure of tasting throughout my whole stay in the Azores. They stated that it is a very tiny production firm, really much smaller than the place we were eating in at the time. It’s a good thing for me that Aldina is connected to a grocery store since they sell cheese. Before I left, I made it a point to get a substantial portion of it.
At Restaurante Genuino, I was given a wonderful lunch and treated to a night of fado as a special treat for supper. Fado is a kind of music that is considered to be traditional in Portugal. To my ears, it typically has a very sorrowful, even wistful quality to it. This evening, I was quite aback to hear many different renditions that had a livelier tone. I was familiar with fado, but my exposure was more tourist-oriented. This had a really genuine and local feel about it. Be sure to check the schedule and make an effort to eat at Genuino on a fado night; you won’t be disappointed with the experience.
Where to Stay On Faial Island
I stayed at the Casa da Baa, which has a fantastic location. The guesthouse is located smack dab in the centre of town, providing convenient access to the area’s retail establishments and dining establishments. In addition, if you opt to go on the Ocean Eye tour, the hotel is situated immediately across from the dock. My accommodation was spacious, pleasant, and had a beautiful view of the ocean. If you would rather cook your own food, there is also a communal kitchen available for your use.
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Although there are ferries the fastest/easiest way to reach Faial is by plane. SATA is the only airline that services inter-island travel. Unfortunately because of this, they can basically charge whatever they want. Several times I paid more to go from island to island than I did the much longer flight from the mainland to the islands via RyanAir. If you have more time you could check ferry schedules. If you’re on a time crunch try to book your flights as early as possible. I was told they sometimes run promotions.
Contact Toboga Azores to book your trip or inquire about prices for a custom trip.
Disclaimer: Some of the above-listed companies provided me with free or discounted services. However, all opinions about my experiences remain my own.
Faial landscape photos courtesy of: Toboga Azores.
Is Faial Island worth visiting?
The island of Faial in the Azores is one of the stunning islands that are part of the Central Group of the archipelago. If you ever find yourself in the Azores, it is a must that you pay this island a visit. If you are seeking for picture-perfect beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and verdant vegetation, you will be able to discover all of those things here.
How do you get around Faial Island?
When determining how you want to go about exploring Faial, you have a few primary choices from which to choose and choose. You have the option of renting a vehicle, a scooter, or hiring a cab driver who also doubles as a guide for the day. If you are going to be on the island for many days, renting a vehicle is probably the best option for you to take advantage of there.
How long does it take to drive around Faial?
Faial, which belongs to the center group of the Azores and is also known as the Blue Island of the Azores, is at its most stunning during the months of July and August, when the island is completely blanketed with brilliant blue hydrangeas. If you follow the main route around the island, it will only take you an hour, which means that you will be able to see all of the major attractions in a single day.
What is Faial Island known for?
There are a little more than 15,000 people living on the island of Faial, which is known for its breathtaking scenery and active volcanoes. This island in the Azores is home to the most recent volcanic eruption to occur in the region, and it has stunning scenery and gorgeous views of Mount Pico in the distance.
How do I get from Sao Miguel to Faial?
It will take you between 2 hours and 55 minutes and will cost you between €65 and €160 to go from Ilha de S. Miguel to Faial Island by line 311 bus and flight.