Azores: A Guide to the Triangle Islands (Faial) | i Travel Blog




Azores: A Guide to the "Triangle Islands"



Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores Archipelago is one of Portugal’s best hidden treasures. Find out why in this 7-day itinerary to The Triangle island cluster.



Day 1

Flying into Horta Airport from Lisbon, we find ourselves landing in Faial. The best way to get around the island is by car, so we definitely recommend a first stop at a car rental. There are several suppliers in both the airport and the city center, so you should be able to get a good deal (about 20€ per day). A car will also be useful in Pico & Sao Jorge, so we suggest you either take it with you on the ferry boat or go for a new rental in every island.

Once you have rented a vehicle, head northwest towards Capelo. Stop in Ponta de Castelo Branco for some beautiful shots of the coastline and keep following the national road until you see the exit to the volcano. In the Capelinhos interpretation center (10€ admission), you’ll be able to learn about the volcanic eruption of 1957 and climb up the lighthouse which witnessed it all. You can also hike the mountain for a panoramic view of the crater and the contrasting green colors of Cabeco do Canto. If the sea is calm, go for a swim in Porto do Comprido before you continue your trip.



Back on the main road, make a stop in Capelo Natural Park. Besides being a lovely place for a picnic, the park has a deer reserve and a traditional house in Basalt, which still preserves the furniture and structures that were part of rural day life. From there, head northeast towards Praia do Norte. Located in a Fajã (coastal feature constructed from land slides or lava flows), it’s the least populous parish in the island and the one which was more affected by the eruption of Cabeco do Fogo in 1672. Don’t miss the stone and black sand beach where the vessel CP Valour caused an oil spill back in 2005.



Keep following EN1 until Ribeira Funda, and from there take EN2 until you reach the detour to the Caldeira. You have to go around Cabeco Gordo until you find the tunnel-shaped entrance, but we guarantee that the sights from the inside are worth it. After taking in the view, keep following the same road until you reach Flamengos, and visit the Faial Botanical Garden before heading to Horta: the last stop of our first day. For dinner, we recommend Genuino, owned by the sailor Genuino Madruga, where you’ll be able to enjoy fresh fish or meat overlooking Porto Pim beach. After dinner, go for a “Gin do Mare” at the iconic Peter Café Sport, followed by a live music show at Oceanic.



Day 2

Start the day in Horta with a 3 hour whale watching excursion along the coast. Depending on the season, you might be able to spot dolphins, sperm whales and even orcas, so keep your eyes open!

The Naval Club is a good spot for a light lunch overlooking Pico island, before heading to the first floor of Peter Café Sport to visit the Scrimshaw Art Museum. Usually referred to as the artwork created by whalers, Scrimshaw emerged during the XIX century and it survived until the ban on commercial whaling in 1986. The Museum was inaugurated in the same year and it holds the biggest and most beautiful private collection of engraved whale bones in the world.

After the exhibition, climb up Monte da Guia for some beautiful views of Horta, and finish the day with a swim in the Porto Pim black sand beach.


Day 3

Time to visit the northern part of the city. Start at Marina da Horta, make your way to the City Hall (which also holds the city museum), and take a stroll in the both of the city’s gardens: Jardim da Praca da Republica and Jardim Florencio Terra. Loja do Triangulo is a good place to shop for souvenirs and local produce from Faial, Pico and Sao Jorge, so make sure to stop by before you leave the island.  

Back in your car, drive north towards Conceicao and stop at both Miradouro de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao and Miradouro da Espalamanca for some beautiful views over the Horta bay. Praia do Almofarixe and Ponta de Sao Joao dias are great places for a quick swim before you head to Ribeirinha, where you’ll be able to visit the lighthouse built in 1919, as well as several traditional homes and churches which were partially destroyed by the earthquake in 1998.



Keep heading east for a short roadtrip of Salao, Cedros and Cascalho. Cedros is the oldest parish in Faial and it remains highly involved in the agriculture and dairy industries to this day, so you should be able to spot a couple of Flour Mills along the way. After the tour, return to Horta for some nice dinner overlooking the sea, and finish the day at Miradouro do Monte Carneiro for a breathtaking view of the Pico island. Clear nights are hard to come by in Azores, but if you’re lucky enough, you might witness a starred sky like you’ve never seen before.


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