Welcome to Horta, Portugal!
The stunning archipelago of the Azores consists of a chain of lush volcanic islands hidden in the blue waters of the Atlantic. Faial Island is one of the smallest and the most scenic, with Horta being the largest city on the island. Because of Horta Airport, many people use this city as a launching pad to their expeditions on the island, but worldwide locals can immerse themselves in the city’s fascinating maritime culture and its steep colonial history. On the streets of Horta, island living is at its best. Explore the city with this guide to discover the best it has to offer.
Learn about Horta’s Whaling History
Horta has flourished due to the city’s local maritime industry, with whaling being one of the most lucrative businesses during its golden era. The decline of the whaling industry was evident during the mid-20th-century but came to a halt altogether during the 1970s bringing an end to a staple tradition in Faial. The Porto Pim Whaling Factory Museum provides a great insight into the practices of whaling, from primitive methods to more modern and effective practices. The museum holds an interesting collection of machinery used to extract and rendering whale oil, and you can also see a life-size model of a sperm whale on the ceiling.
Worldwide Local Tip: Peter Cafe Sport is a favorite amongst the locals. It’s a meeting spot for the weary sailors to grab a drink and socialize with fellow seafarers from all over the globe. The cafe is filled with memorabilia such as flags and banners, making it a local institution.
Pick Up Some Good Luck
If you are superstitious, head to the Horta Marina, where you’ll gain good fortunes from the colorful paintings by the dock. Sailors believe that passing through the murals will grant them good luck on their next ventures on the sea. If you don’t believe in luck, the marina is still a wonderful place to visit, as it serves as so much more than just the Horta cruise port. Join the locals taking a relaxing stroll through the promenade to witness magnificent views of the seascape.
Worldwide Local Tip: Don’t laze about in your hotel in Horta--head up the volcanic cone opposite the bay on Monte de Guia to get a great vantage point of the city. Gaze at the whitewashed houses with orange roofs and church steeples that pierce through the city.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Discover the different species of flora in the heart of the city. The Faial Botanical Garden preserves native plant life endemic to the Azores and exotic trees. Walk through the tranquil garden’s several footpaths where you can get up close and see the various vivid colors, from the green of the trees to the bright colors of the flowers in bloom. The botanical garden is also a government research facility where you can watch an introduction video about the history of the garden.
Worldwide Local Tip: The Restaurant Canto da Doca offers a peculiar way of dining. The servers give you a scorching hot slab of solidified lava with several choices of meats and sauces, for you to cook yourself. The restaurant also offers front-row views of the Pico Volcano on the opposite Pico Island.
Enjoy Your Stay!
A nature lover’s dream, the island chain of the Azores provides unparalleled access to unadulterated landscapes and picturesque sceneries. The humble city of Horta may be the ideal base for expeditions to the rest of the island, but worldwide locals can delve deeper into the city’s history and mingle with its friendly residents for a true experience of the island life.