While in the Azores Islands, I spent some time hanging out in the city of Horta which has a population of ~7,000 and is actually part of the Municipality of Horta. This is a photo essay of sorts which should paint a picture in your mind of what the place is all about. Horta is the capital city on the island of Faial which is one of the central islands in the archipelago that is the Azores. This island is popular among sailors as it’s a common stop when crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
We went for a hike in the morning but the clouds were low which was a shame as supposedly it offered some great views like all the other hikes I had done previously. From there we went to the Interpretation Center of Capelinhos Volcano which is a museum that explains the recent eruption that happened ~1km off the shores of Faial. That’s alright but what I loved about the museum was how it explained the creation of all the Azorean Islands.
From there we drove into the city of Horta as the sun started to show itself. We eat at Peter’s Cafe which is an iconic spot because it used to never close. As a result, whenever a weary sailor would come in they could get a warm welcome, a gin and tonic and some soup or a steak. Today it’s still a popular spot and I can vouch that the steaks are delicious, so are the gin and tonics for that matter. The walls are filled with magnificent memorabilia from the four corners of the world.
The harbor of Horta is something not to be missed either with all sorts of paintings left on the concrete from various sailors including the date and vessel name. Seems like every square inch of harbor space has been influenced. In Horta there is a saying that if you don’t leave something or a story, it’s bad luck for the rest of your voyage. So, you can imagine how most, especially back in the day left things, yes? The city itself is quite quaint and naturally, situated by the sea. A few big churches in the skyline and tall hills to either side offering great view points.
If you are going to spend a little bit of time in Horta, I suggest you look into the islands scrimshaw museum which is right above Peter’s Cafe. The museum houses some incredible art carved on the teeth of whales. It also has all sorts of other works of art related to the trade including other artifacts such as pipes, chess sets, walking sticks and the like. Today these artifacts are incredibly rare as it’s a tradition of yesteryear. Should you visit, you’l probably be shocked by the level of detail on some of these carvings much like I was.
Something worth noting about Faial is that it’s the spot where communication cables that cross the Atlantic run through. We only spent a day on the island of Faial but it was enough time to get to know Horta. If you’re doing a tour of the Azores Islands, you can’t really miss Horta. I was there in late September, supposedly during the summer the place is absolutely packed with sailing yachts and the types of characters who come off looking to let loose after completing half an Atlantic Ocean crossing. You know, the type that go to places like Peter’s an order up a storm while counting their lucky blessings after just avoiding one type thing…
Big thanks to Visit Azores for their hospitality; it was appreciated!