Visit the Morro de Castelo Branco Nature Reserve
A stunning landscape that is home to endemic vegetation and sea birds
Morro de Castelo Branco is one of the main points of interest in Faial. Not just for the beauty of the landscape but also for its geological characteristics and fauna and flora.
The Morro de Castelo Branco Nature Reserve is located in the parish of Castelo Branco. It is a volcanic formation and a classified special conservation area registered in the Natura 2000 Network. This reserve consists of the geological formation called Morro de Castelo Branco, which was formed during a coastal volcanic eruption that occurred approximately 30,000 years ago and has a total area of 138 acres.
Because of its characteristics and isolation, it is very sought after by nesting seabirds. Among these is the Cory’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) that flock to the Azores between March and October to breed; the common tern (Sterna hirundo), and the black-winged duck (Puffinus assimilis baroli) (learn more about birdwatching). You will also find endemic vegetation such as heather and the rarer Azorina Vidalii.
This is a great place for easy hiking, picnics, contemplation, and birdwatching. The reserve can be accessed by car (there is a parking area at the perimeter where the hiking trail to Moro begins) or by the PRC5FAI trail.