(Last Updated On: August 21, 2011)
The island of Faial has more to offer than just the amazing port-town of Horta. There are volcanoes and lighthouses, beaches and beautiful sights every where you go.
In order to explore Faial outside of Horta, we rented a car. Faial is small, being only about 7 miles long and 5 miles wide. We began heading west first, out of Horta, enjoying the fantastic coast line along the way.
Capelinhos is a very interesting site. In 1957, a volcano began to erupt just off the coast of Faial. It erupted several times within the course of about a year. First below the sea, the volcano eventually grew to above sea-level. Eventually, the lava flow grew enough to attach itself to the island of Faial. Faial was suddenly about 1 and 1/4 square miles bigger. In the process, a lighthouse that was once right on the coast became partially buried in volcanic ash. It still stands today, seen in this photo.
Check out photos and read about the events of this well documented eruption on the Capelinhos website.
Near the Capelinhos lighthouse, there is a swimming area. As I said previously, the Azores are not known for their beaches. They don’t have very many of them. But, they do have many of these developed swimming areas among the rocks along the coast. They are quite nice.
Today, the lighthouse has become a museum. Don’t let the size fool you. The museum is largely underground, with rooms upon room telling the story of the eruption, describing how volcanoes form and the different types, and highlighting major volcanoes world-wide. There are videos and holograms, among other cool audio-visual displays.
There is a hiking trail that follows the entire circumference of the Caldeira. Though we didn’t have time to do the whole hike (about 2.5-3 hours, and we needed to have the car back by 5:30) we walked along the rim for a ways.
Next up- the island of Pico!
Complete List of Honeymoon Trip Reports:
Climb of Tosa d’Alp
Five hours in Lisbon
Horta Part I
Horta Part II
Island of Faial
Island of Pico, Day 1
Portugal and The Azores Highest Point: Montanha Do Pico 7,713′
Watching Whales & Swimming with Dolphins
Pico Adegas, Gardens, and More
Island of Pico