All three islands were settled around the same time, in the 1460s – the sheltered bay at Porto Pim was an obvious anchorage and a settlement was quickly establish, eventually growing in the present-day harbour town of Horta. The etymology of the name Horta is often disputed – some say it’s a derivation of ‘Huerter’: the surname of Josse van Huerter, the Flemish first Captain of the island. Others point to the Latin Horta, as in ‘Horticulture’, and it was the cultivation of wheat and cereals which really establish the island’s economy.
For a small and unassuming island, Faial holds a surprisingly significant place in the history of the Atlantic – as a crucial resupply point for Portuguese ships trading in Brazilian gold in the 16th & 17th Centuries, as a 19th Century H.Q. for telegraph cables connecting Europe with the USA, as a safe-haven for seaplanes making the first trans-atlantic crossings in the 1930s, and as a communications hub connecting the D-Day landing beaches to the USA during the battle of Normandy in 1944. Nowadays, Faial has a colourful maritime feel and is one of Europe’s best whale and dolphin watching locations – it’s easy to add trips to a tailor-made holiday or you can enjoy a whole week of whale watching from Horta’s marina.
One of the Azores’ most arresting volcanic landscapes is Faial’s western peninsula at Capelinhos. Over a thirteen-month period (from September 1957 to October 1958), two overlapping volcanic eruptions created over 2km² of new land, allowing geologists their first opportunity to study a submarine eruption from beginning to end. The Capelinhos Interpretation Centre exhibits these studies, together with images and film from the time of the eruption.
Azores Choice provided a prompt, helpful service. they found us the perfect accommodation for our needs and provided superb, expert advice on how to spend our week walking on San Miguel. I would certainly use them again.
Joan from Durham
Recommended small travel company!
Great little company with friendly staff. Organisation of flights & accommodation very efficient. When problems arise they are helpful and very reasonable in their efforts to resolve them. We would definitely use them again for a return trip.
Really great! Would use again!
Very efficient, friendly, helpful. Excellent local knowledge. Everything ran very smoothly, from supplying the tickets to airport pick ups and hotel bookings. Lovely accommodation selected. No complaints!
A wonderful break in a beautiful environment!
Everything was excellent. The information and organisation, the hotel and the island itself all exceeded our expectations. Whale watching and other trips out, fantastic. We will book again!
Great honeymoon package and experience!
They provided a great package at a good price. We found them to be helpful and a quality service was provided.
Nicola and Christopher – Winchester
Top notch service. Highly recommended!
Excellent service throughout. Very informative, with lots of literature, maps and the like. Attended their offices in Ponta Delgada – very impressed with Olivia, friendly and helpful. Paul was first class.
Lynne in Welton-by-Lincoln
Great company for first time Azores visit!
Really great company, will be recommending them. We had never visited the Azores before but this company helped us decided which islands to visit.
Brilliant holiday organised by an excellent company!
Friendly, helpful, professional and completely geared to us as individuals.
John and Janice
Very helpful staff, and the trips they organised for us were excellent with knowledgeable guides.
A really wonderful holiday!
We normally travel independently, but I am go glad that we used Archipelago Choice – their insider knowledge was really helpful in making the most of our time.
Valerie – Brighton