Culture & History - Discover Faial - Island of Nature & Culture

Culture & History

Faial has a rich history with connections to various parts of the world.
Since its settlement by the Flemish and Portuguese, Horta has been a mandatory port of call
in the Atlantic navigation routes connecting Europe to the Americas, Africa, and Asia

10 cultural experiences in Faial

Visit the Porto Pim Whaling Station

Discover the history of whaling in Faial and the Azores. The museum shows us the equipment and instruments used in the whaling industry, as well as photos, illustrations, and documentary videos that reveal the importance of this activity for the economic and cultural development of the island in the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum is also an environmental awareness center, where you can find out more about marine ecosystems and the sea giants that populate the Azorean seas.

Spend the late afternoon at the historical cafés in Horta

There are two historical cafes that you can’t miss in the city of Horta:
Peter Café Sport is a legendary place with over 100 years of history. Since its establishment, it has become famous as a meeting place for sailors crossing the North Atlantic. It is one of the busiest and most iconic places on the island, and is also famous for its gin and tonic.

O Café Internacional, inspired by Art Deco style and a decoration that recalls the French Belle Époque and allows you to travel back in time to sense the eclectic and cosmopolitan atmosphere that existed in Horta in the first half of the 20th century.

Museu da Horta, Ilha do Faial

Visit the Horta Museum

Located next to the main church in the center of the city, Horta Museum brings together documents, images, and works of art that tell the history of the island and the city, with particular emphasis on the history of aviation and telecommunications. It has an important collection of sacred art and a unique collection of works in fig tree kernels, a traditional and sophisticated art form that is exclusive to this island. Discover here how a small island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean was, for centuries, a meeting point for cultures from the four corners of the world.

Visit the Botanical Garden

Faial’s Botanical Garden is one of the three botanical gardens in the Azores. Here you can discover the island’s wide variety of endemic species and stroll through an impressive orchidarium.

Take a guided tour around the City of Horta

Discover the historical streets and buildings of the city accompanied by a local guide who will reveal the secrets that made Horta an important Atlantic port city from the 17th century to the present day. Find out more about the city where Martinho da Boémia, inventor of the famous Nuremberg Globe, married and lived, and which, at the beginning of the 20th century, was one of the world’s main centers for submarine telegraph cables and a stopover for the first transatlantic seaplane flight, the famous NC-4, which connected the United States of America to Europe. The History of Horta is the History of the World!

Whale Watching

Whale watching started in the Azores at the end of the 1980s and represented a paradigm shift in humankind’s relationship with these great cetaceans. After the extinction of whaling, which had been the main livelihood of many Azorean families since the mid-nineteenth century, a new way of looking at the sea and these incredible creatures emerged that allowed humankind’s relationship with the whale to continue, but this time through the promotion of knowledge, habitat conservation, and respect between species.
Today the Azores is known all around the world for its whale watching.

Guided tour around the island

By car, jeep or tuk-tuk, take a tour around the island with a local guide and learn about Faial’s culture, history, geography, and flora and fauna.

Guided Tour of Caldeira

Faial’s Caldeira is the crater left by the volcano that formed the island. Today, the interior of Caldeira is one of the most important nature conservation sites in the Azores and home to many endemic plants from the region. A guided tour of Caldeira, whether just to observe, walk the trail around the rim of the crater, or descend into its interior, offers a greater understanding of the geology, and flora and fauna of the Azores.

Visit the Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Center

This is the most popular interpretation center in the Azores and was nominated the best museum in Europe by the European Museum Forum in 2012. The central building, designed in a contemporary style, is buried and was designed so as not to interfere with the natural landscape of the volcano and the old lighthouse. It contains exhibits on several themes, namely the eruption of the Capelinhos Volcano and the formation of the Azores archipelago, the different types of volcanic activity around the world, and the history of Azorean lighthouses. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse, where you can enjoy an extraordinary view of the landscape formed by the eruption.

Museu do Scrimshaw, Peter Café Sport, Ilha do Faial

Visit the Scrimshaw Museum

Visit the largest private collection of scrimshaw in the world. This art form consists of whale teeth carved and engraved with the most diverse motifs by the skilled hands of whalers and other artists from the island.