The lovely Faial Island is located on the central group of the amazing Azores Archipelago, separated from its neighbour Pico Island by the Faial Canal, a narrow sea canal with about 8km width. The Azores Archipelago is divided into three groups: the Eastern Group with, Santa Maria and São Miguel and the Formigas Islets; the Central Group with, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial; the Western group with, Flores and Corvo. With the exception of the Santa Maria Island, all the others have volcanic origin, as it is perfectly visible in the famous Furnas valley, in this greenish São Miguel Island.
The Island occupies and area of circa 172 km2, with 21km length and a maximum width of 14km, fascinating for its amazing peace of mind and tranquillity, for the great natural beauty, for the wonderful heritage and for its traditions that are wisely maintained and cherished. The Island’s landscape presents an irregular relief with cliffs, mounts, profound greenish valleys, beaches with dark sand… The highest point is located in Cabeço do Gordo, at 1043 meters high.
The discovery dates of the Azores Archipelago are unknown, with several historical researches affirming that some of the island were already referred in Genovese maps since 1351, yet it was only from 1431 onwards that the colonization started in these Islands. Faial Island was discovered in 1427, and the colonization started around 1432, by many inhabitants of Flanders. During many years, and due to the crescent prosperity, Faial Island got many Pirate attacks, which lead to the construction of 21 fortresses in its coast, many of them nowadays gone or ruined. As from the 17th century, Faial gets a big development, becoming an important trading point and later, with the wine and other agricultural products, as well as the increment of the Whale industry flourishes even more, yet many natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, harmed the development of the Island and its habitants.
It was in the Faial Island that the last volcanic eruption in the Archipelago took place, back in 1957 in Capelinhos volcano, which consequences are still visible nowadays, one of them was the enlargement of the territory with the lava solidification that got above the ocean’s level.
Nowadays Faial Island presents itself as a perfect destination for all nature lovers, and has in its maritime port, in Horta, one of its biggest features as a very welcoming place, where many nationalities and cultures stop by since a long time ago. Continuing the long Whale tradition of the Island, and of the Archipelago, Faial Island is one of the privileged places for the Cetaceous Observation, with many companies that are dedicated to this wonderful activity providing pleasant perfect moments of leisure, contemplation and nature contact.
Land of tradition, fertile soils and pastures, and the rich influence of the wide Atlantic Ocean, in Faial Island, the typical Gastronomy assembles delightful recipes with the best meat, sea and shell food, vegetables and also Cheese and pastry tradition.
Also quite appreciated are the traditional handmade items, with pieces made of cachalot bone and teeth, several types of embroidery, wicker and straw works and the flowers made from fish scale, as one can observe in the very interesting Capelo Handicraft School.