The island of Faial is situated in the Central Group and is located only a distance of 6km from Pico. Faial is 14km wide and is 21km in length. The highest point of the island called the Cabeco Gordo, it is located in the Caldeira area.
It is believed the island was named because of the abundance of fire trees that covered the island; these trees are called faias-da-terra. The first settlers are known to have arrived from Flanders and Portugal in around 1465. The harbour of Horta became very important as a stop over for travellers and also enjoyed a prosperous period during by the exporting of oranges.
Horta became the station for submarine cables which were responsible for the transmission of information between Europe and North America. The first station was established in Horta in 1893. In early 20th century, the island also opened Horta Weather Observatory in 1915. The city of Horta is the seat of the Azores’ Regional Parliament. The fort of Santa Cruz is the main fortification on the island, to defend this valuable harbour.
Faial botanical gardens situated near Flamengos has many beautiful plants and flora to admire. The nature reserve at Caldeira is a sight to behold with its many plants and gorgeous hydrangeas, descending into a volcanic cone which is 450m deep.
There are numerous religious festivals held throughout the year, which include music shows, boating regattas, parades and local food fairs.