Horta Azores Portugal by dinovazzer Shutterstock© dinovazzer, Shutterstock

The only town on the island of Faial, Horta is home to the remains of a volcanic crater as well as a brand new €35m quay to complement the existing one dating from 1876.

Faial’s only town is made up from two adjacent bays, one small and rounded, Baía do Porto Pim, the other larger and more open. The remains of a volcano crater divides them, the Monte da Guia, from which may be had splendid views of both. The smaller is intimate, and was an American whaling centre from the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century. As many as 400 ships have been recorded in the harbour. Even by the beginning of the last century, two-thirds of all sperm whales harpooned were caught off the Azores.

The old whale factory and the slipway where whales were landed and hauled up for processing after being caught by the Azorean open boats is now an excellent museum. In the town itself there are some fine buildings, and there is a walk northwards along the esplanade out to a little park. Work has begun on a new €35 million quay to complement the existing one dating from 1876 on the south side of the bay. It will be in three phases: the first is the wall and passenger terminal facilities for the increasing number of cruise ships and the smaller passenger ferries; then follows the restructuring of the present harbour and improvements to the commercial port.

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