Sun & Sea: Beaches and Natural Pools - Discover Faial - Island of Nature & Culture

Jump in the crystal clear waters surrounded by beautiful landscapes

In Faial, you can visit the entire island by hopping between natural pools, harbors and beautiful black sand beaches. During summer, Faial life is very much influenced by the beach and the ritual of ocean swimming.

Although many of the locals swim all year round, the most pleasant time starts in mid-spring and goes until November with the high point being from late June to mid-October. Summer in the archipelago is marked by the regular presence of the Azores Anticyclone over the region resulting in calm, hot, and humid days.

The average air temperature at this time varies between 20ºC and 24ºC but it may reach 28ºC/30ºC on the hottest days. The water temperature varies between 20ºC and 25ºC making it excellent for swimming. This is the perfect time for long beach days and endless swims.

During the bathing season, the main beaches and natural pools have lifeguards. In addition to the lifeguards on duty, there are flags indicating the water conditions and warnings about the presence of jellyfish and Portuguese-man-of-war.

If you choose to swim in areas with no lifeguards, we recommend caution and that you do not enter the water when no one is around. Pay attention to the swell and the presence of jellyfish and Portuguese-man-of-war, common in the Azores.

Access to beaches, natural pools, and harbors, as well as the use of changing rooms, playgrounds, and adjacent barbecue or picnic areas are free of charge. Some beaches and pools allow access to people with reduced mobility.

©Rê Schermann

Almoxarife Beach

  • Lifeguards on duty during the bathing season
  • Moderate swell
  • Amenities: Restrooms, bars, restaurants, and parking
  • Camping site

Almoxarife beach is an essential beach in Faial. It has a long black sandy beach and a breathtaking scenic setting with Pico and São Jorge islands just across the water. It is considered one of the best beaches in the Azores. It has good amenities and a campsite. The bathing area is located in a rural area only 5 km from Horta. The cafes and restaurants by the beach are open during summer.

©Rê Schermann

Porto Pim Beach

  • Lifeguard on duty during the bathing season
  • No swell
  • Amenities: Restrooms, bars, restaurants, and parking

Located in one of Horta’s bays, this picturesque beach lies in a beautiful natural setting between Monte da Guia and Monte Queimado. This beach has a long stretch of sand and good facilities. It is a sheltered bay therefore the sea is known for being calm without waves which makes it an ideal beach for families with children. It faces south and has excellent sun exposure all day long, perfect for long beach afternoons. Sunsets are particularly beautiful with the delicate changes of color in the bay.

Porto Pim bay also has great historical importance because it is thought to have been here that the settlers of the island first landed in the 15th century. Near the beach there are several fortifications and walls that for centuries protected the coast from pirates and buccaneers.

©Annabel Schäfer| Azores Experience

Praia do Norte or Fajã Beach

  • No lifeguards on duty
  • Regular heavy swell
  • Amenities: Restrooms, children’s playground, parking, and barbecue area.

Fajã beach is a beautiful and wild black sandy beach in the north of the island magnificently framed by the high cliffs with exceptional water quality and sun exposure. It does not have a lifeguard service and the sea is usually rough, especially from August onward. It is also the main beach for surfing on the island.

©Rê Schermann

Conceição Beach

  • No lifeguard on duty.
  • Moderate swell.
  • Amenities: Playground, restrooms, beach shower, skatepark, sports court, grills, and parking.

Conceição beach, also called Alagoa beach, is located in the bay of Horta, in the parish of Conceição. It is a very small beach but it has a beautiful view of Pico Island and all the amenities of the Alagoa Park located just behind the beach.

©Rê Schermann

Natural Swimming Pools of Castelo Branco

  • Lifeguard on duty
  • Amenities:
  • Restrooms, picnic area, playground, parking and bar, grocery store, and restaurant just a few meters away

These natural swimming pools which have been adapted from pre-existing natural pools are one of the most sought-after bathing sites by local families during summer. In addition to having a lifeguard and excellent amenities, they offer different options for bathing: natural pools that fill with the tide, an open sea bathing area with a basalt slab bottom, and two artificial pools (for children and adults). These pools are fed by a constant flow of seawater. The bathing area has a magnificent view of the Morro de Castelo Branco.


Varadouro Natural Swimming Pools

  • Lifeguard on duty during bathing season
  • Amenities: Restrooms, bar, and parking
  • Campsite

A summer vacation spot par excellence, these pools are formed by the cutout of volcanic basalt rocks. This results in formations of rare beauty and charm with the dark rock contrasting with the blue of the sea. You can swim in two different areas: the natural pool or the open sea. The first has a beautiful bay formed by high rocks, and the second has an area with beautiful bottoms, ideal for snorkeling. In addition, there is a third small artificial pool for children, fed by a constant flow of seawater. The bathing area also has a magnificent view of the island’s steep slope and Morro de Castelo Branco.
There are wooden decks between the rocks for sunbathing and places to set your umbrella.

This is one of the most popular spots for off-season bathing (all year round) as it is sheltered and generally very safe.

©Rê Schermann

Porto do Comprido

  • No lifeguard on duty
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, and showers, Capelinhos Volcano Visitor Center, Casa dos Botes

Have you ever thought about bathing in the sea overlooking a newly formed volcano? Porto do Comprido is an old fishing port located in Capelo, right next to Capelinhos Volcano. It is formed by basalt rocks whose configuration results in a deep and long bay parallel to the coast, overlooking the Capelinhos Volcano, with crystalline and warm water. It is full of marine life and excellent for snorkeling.

There are no areas of shallow water in Porto do Comprido, so it is not recommended for people who can’t swim.

Did you know? Until the eruption of the Capelinhos Volcano, this was the most important whaling port in the south of Faial. Due to the abundance of sperm whales which passed along this tip of the island, whalers from Faial and Pico would gather here to hunt whales that were processed at the Fabrica do Porto Pim in Horta. To discover the memories of that time, you can visit the Casa dos Botes, a museum space opposite the port, where you will find a whaling boat and other information from that period.

You can also walk in the Interpretive Circuit Whalers’ path

©Rê Schermann

Porto do Salão

  • No lifeguard on duty
  • Amenities: Campsite, restroom, barbecue facilities with picnic area, and parking

Located on the north coast of the island, Porto do Salão is a former fishing and whaling port. As this is an area of high and steep slopes, access is by ramps and stairs. This picturesque bathing area is much sought after by the locals, and the small pier is used for sunbathing and as access for deep sea diving. It is an excellent place for snorkeling.
Porto do Salão is a deep-sea region and there are no areas of shallow water, so it is not recommended to enter the water if you cannot swim or if there is no one else around.

There is a small campsite in the vicinity (unattended and free of charge) with various amenities.

Did you know? In the past, this was the most important whaling port on the northern coast of Faial.

Porto da Eira

  • No lifeguard on duty
  • Amenities: Picnic area, restroom, and parking

Built on black rocks that contrast with the blue sea, this bathing area is much sought after by the locals for sunbathing and sea diving. Since it is located in an area of high slopes, access is via a long staircase.

Porto da Eira is a deep sea area and there are no shallow water areas, so it is not recommended to enter the water if you cannot swim or if there is no one else around .

©Rê Schermann

Poça da Rainha

  • No lifeguard on duty
  • Amenities: Restroom and parking

Poça da Rainha is located in Feteira in a picturesque setting formed by basalt rocks that create pools for calm sea bathing. It has access to the sea and is an excellent place for diving and snorkeling. On clear days, the sunset is beautiful. Overlooks Monte da Guia, Pico, and Ponta Furada, and there is a picnic area with barbecue facilities nearby.

©Rê Schermann

Porto da Feteira

  • No lifeguard on duty
  • Amenities: Camping area, picnic area with BBQ facilities, restrooms, bar, restaurant, and parking

Porto da Feteira has a small and sheltered dark-brown beach protected by rocks. The sea can also be accessed via a small harbor next to the beach, which serves as a bathing area. Great amenities with a campsite, BBQ facilities, bar, and restaurants.

©Rê Schermann

Porto da Ribeirinha

  • No lifeguard on duty
  • Amenities: Camping area, picnic area with BBQ facilities, restrooms, and parking.

Porto da Ribeirinha which is also known as Porto da Boca da Ribeira has a privileged view of Pico and São Jorge islands and is a great place for snorkeling. It has access to the sea and a small swimming area. It has a nice campsite (unguarded and free) with facilities such as restrooms and a picnic area with BBQ facilities.