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Azoris Faial Garden

Discover Faial Island

With a shape similar to a pentagon, the island of Faial has got an area of about 173 km². It is the third most inhabited island of the archipelago, with 14,994 inhabitants (2011 data). The island of Faial is part of the central group and is the westernmost point of the so-called "islands of the triangle".

It is thought that the Portuguese discovery of the island occurred after the mapping of Terceira Island. Its name may have been inspired by the abundance of native beech (Morella faya Aiton) trees. The Horta Marina, inaugurated in 1986, is one of the world’s most famous harbour ports. With the creation of administrative autonomy, the town of Horta became the seat of the Regional Parliament of the Azores and followed the regional economic changes, developing mostly the tertiary sector, to the detriment of others.

The association between the island of Faial and the sea remains strong. Horta is an important centre for whale watching, swimming with dolphins, diving tours and boat trips. It is possible to cross the channels between the islands in well-preserved whalers or in rented kayaks. Sailing, windsurfing, rowing and surfing are other water activities that find good conditions in different parts of the island.

In August, the blue of the sea dominates the festivities. On the 1st, to commemorate the festival of Senhora da Guia, a procession of boats escorts the image of the Virgin from the beach of Porto Pim to the port of Horta. The vibrancy continues with Semana do Mar: initially dedicated to yachtsmen, this week of celebration is now shared by locals and visitors.

The octopus stew with wine, common to many islands of the archipelago, is one of the most typical dishes of Faial. At the table, the ever-important ocean is present also in the fish broths and stews. Bread and maize cakes are preferred as side dishes. Meats, blood sausages and chorizo serve as a snack, or as a meal when served with taro. In what comes to sweets, the Fofas do Faial are quite traditional.

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