Faial IslandTown Related Links
Faial IslandIntroduction

This island of 16.000 inhabitants was originally settled by the Flemish in the 15th Century and was named São Luís. Its length is 21 kilometres and 14 kilometres wide.

It is recorded that the island's first inhabitant was a hermit. In 1468 the Flemish Captain Josse van Huerter was appointed Governor of the Island through the good influences of the daughter of Dom João I.

He encouraged 2.000 of his fellow countrymen to emigrate to join him in cultivating and growing plants for the dye industry.

In 1567 the first fort was constructed which over the years grew to a total of six.

Between 1589 and 1597 the island was raided by Walter Raleigh, the Duke of Essex and the Duke of Cumberland, all Englishmen.

Anglo Saxon influences can be seen from the names of properties and during the 19th Century wealthy Americans held an influence in the island.

In 1857 the first Whaling Company was founded on the Island.

During the first part of the 20th Century this island was considered a valuable location to contribute by pre-forecasting impending weather conditions for Europe.

Cable links were laid across the bed of the Atlantic Ocean to relay the information and later expanded in all directions to and to linkup with other continents.

Today it is a prosperous island with fertile agriculture, a famous destination for yachtsmen crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and with it they bring an international flavour that can be seen.

The island has since 1976 been the seat of the Parliament that governs the Autonomous Region of the Azores and most of the administrative departments including that of Tourism.

There is a museum in the Colégio de Jesuitas which is mainly devoted to the history of the laying of the underwater cables.

There is also an exhibit of "scrimshaws" in a room above the famous Chez Peter Café, a popular haunt for tourists and passing yachtsmen of all nationalities.

The island's main attractions are its hydrangea blooms, the capital Horta and its unpretentious villages.

A headland on the west side of the island named Capelinhos is a dramatic evidence of a volcano that erupted from the bottom of the sea in 1957 and caused some 2.000 people to become homeless.

Close by is Caldeira which is a vast crater some 400 meters deep which is accessed by a short tunnel.

A 2 hour walk will take the visitor around the rim presenting constant views of the attractive sight below created by the mass and the variety of the vegetation.

There are regular flights from Lisbon to this island and connections to the others. Boats are available to the islands of Ilha do Pico, Ilha de São Jorge and Ilha Terceira.

The boat trip to the last two islands can only be taken in the summer months.

Faial IslandEvents

Faial IslandTelephone Numbers

Fire Brigade 292 585 333
Police 292 392 490
Emergency Treatment 292 392 931
Tourist Office 292 200 500

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