A volcanic island in the middle of the North Atlantic surrounded by whales, dolphins, and sharks, and teeming with nature. Sounds like a fantastic setting for an unforgettable adventure, doesn’t it? Alone or as part of a group, come have an adventure in Faial!
10 Adventure experiences in Faial
Diving with Sharks
Get ready to dive with blue sharks, one of the fastest fish in the ocean. Entering the world of this amazing predator is a memorable experience!
Diving or snorkeling with devil rays
Dive into the heart of the ocean with the majestic devil rays (Mobula tarapacana). Princess Alice Bank, which is 45 miles from Faial, is considered one of the best spots in the world for diving with devil rays. Enjoy this magnificent experience even if you are not certified to dive. You can always enter the water and go snorkeling, observing these amazing creatures from the surface.
The imposing Caldeira of Faial is 2 km in diameter and is the youngest crater in the Azores, estimated to be about 1,000 years old (at the time of its last eruption). It is a place with unique characteristics in the Azores, where it is possible to find a spectacular patch of high altitude laurel forest in pristine condition. It is only possible to descend the caldera with a certified guide. A unique experience!
In this fun and challenging adventure experience you have to walk, swim, climb, or use rope maneuvers like classic rappelling, guided rappelling or zip-lining to cross streams and descend waterfalls. A radical experience to discover the most remote places and wildest vegetation on the island.
At 2,351m, Pico mount is the highest mountain in Portugal. It is located on the island of Pico and is only 30 minutes by ferry from Faial. The climb up to its summit provides a unique experience, not only due to its altitude, but also because it is a dormant volcano in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Trail Faial from Coast to Coast
Cross the island from one end to the other by walking or running in one or more days along the paths that link Porto da Ribeirinha, the oldest and easternmost point of the island, to Vulcão dos Capelinhos, the most recent part of the island, on its weastern edge, formed only 60 years ago. Along the way you pass through very diverse and contrasting regions and landscapes, including the majestic Caldeira at the top of the island.
Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddle
Discover the bays and beaches of Faial by paddling. Seen from the sea, the coastal landscape enchants with its contrasts between the green of the forests and fields, the dark volcanic rocks, and the deep blue of the sea. Here everything comes together to form a heavenly setting for the practice of these leisure activities.
Challenging uphills, vertiginous downhills, muddy trails, rocky paths… Faial Island’s beautiful volcanic landscapes are a challenge for mountain bikers. Are you ready to accept the challenge?
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Experience this fantastic adventure from the briefing on land to the encounter with these extraordinary animals at sea. Along the way, enjoy the islands’ beautiful coastal landscapes. This is an activity full of adventure and scientific information about our seas and their centuries-long connection to Azorean history and culture.
Set off on an unforgettable maritime adventure of one or more days. Sail between the islands and experience all the beauty and intensity of an archipelago in the heart of the Atlantic.
Camping in Faial
Prepare your tent and backpack for a camping experience surrounded by nature while listening to the sound of the sea.
Wild camping is not allowed in the Azores. However, there are excellent options for those who want to camp near beaches or in the middle of nature.
During the bathing season, from June to September, there are two operating campsites, both in beautiful scenery:
– Varadouro Bathing Area
– In front of Almoxarife beach
The campsites are open 24 hours a day and have surveillance and facilities.
Besides these campsites, there are other places where it is possible to legally camp for free. These have some basic facilities but do not have surveillance::
– Porto da Ribeirinha: Intimate and overlooking the sea, this site has a few trees and good access to the sea. It has bathrooms, a covered dining area, a barbecue area, and a small playground.
– Porto do Salão: Located near Porto do Salão, this site is very popular with bathers in the summer. There is a grassed area with trees, bordered by low walls, where you can camp. The area has bathrooms, barbecue facilities, and a sheltered space for meals.
– Porto de Castelo Branco: Located near the natural pools of Castelo Branco, this site has access to the harbor and the natural pools. It also has a children’s playground and a meal area.
Click here for the location and contacts of the campsites.
Tips for camping:
Rain is always possible, even in summer, so be prepared for showers. Nights can get a little cool.
Generally, Faial is very safe, but we always recommend that you do not leave valuables unattended.
Campsites are located in more isolated areas, with few (if any) services and markets nearby. Many of them are also not served by public transportation. For this reason, we recommend planning ahead.
The campsites are equipped with barbecue areas. If you’re a fan of BBQs, don’t forget to include charcoal on your shopping list.
Please respect other campers’ privacy, avoid making noise, especially at night, and don’t leave trash behind.
Tips for an adventure trip in Faial
Discover everything you need to know to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
When to travel:
For the great adventurer, rain, bad weather or scorching sun are no obstacle. Any day is an opportunity for adventure. In general, when compared to other adventure destinations in the world, the climate of the Azores is relatively mild throughout the year, making it possible to enjoy nature in each season in different ways.
However, if your passion is nautical activities, winter is probably not the best time to come due to the sea conditions. If you like canyoning, streams run drier in summer and may be less challenging and less attractive for this activity. If you are looking for muddy trails for mountain biking or trail running, the rainy seasons are the most suitable. To climb Pico or take the Caldeira trail, you need to be time flexible in any season as the weather may not help (however, when you least expect it, the clouds can open and the mountain tops can be visible and ready to climb).
How to plan:
Many of these activities depend on the weather, sea conditions and visibility. In order to take maximum benefit, therefore, we recommend that you stay on the island for some time (at least 3 or 4 days) and that you have a flexible schedule.
As soon as you arrive on the island or just before the trip, contact the companies responsible for the activities or your accommodation, as they will be able to give you a forecast (which can always change) about the best days for each activity.
Note that even if it is not possible to do a specific activity at a given time, you will probably be able to do an alternative activity. The sea may be rough, preventing whale watching, but the weather may be perfect for a Levada walk.
It may be windy on one side of the island but very calm and sheltered on the other side. The summit of Caldeira may be covered with clouds, but the conditions may be perfect for walking a trail along the coast.
Remember: Even if an activity is scheduled, it can be canceled due to sudden changes in weather conditions. Be flexible. Good alternative activities will always be available.
What to bring in your suitcase:
Regardless of the season, if you are really into adventure, always have waterproof clothing and bathing suits at the ready. The weather on the island can really surprise you.
Both land and sea activities can get your footwear (very) wet. Always bring an extra pair.
In high altitude regions, such as Pico or Caldeira, it can be very cold and windy. Bring a layer of warm clothing and a waterproof/windproof layer if you intend to do high altitude activities.
If you have sports equipment you want to bring, check Azores Airlines’ special conditions. Most equipment can be carried free of charge. Find out more at.
If you intend to spend a lot of time at sea or on land, bring containers to carry water and food. There are no snack bars or markets in the wild.
Some equipment may be rented or made available by the tour companies:
Waterproof clothing for whale watching, raincoats for horseback riding, crampons to climb Snowy Peak, wetsuits and snorkeling/canyoning equipment are normally included in the price of the activities.
Bicycles, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards can be rented from specialized companies.