The volcano of Capelinhos located at the western tip of Faial is a living witness of active volcanism in the Azores. It is the result of an eruption which lasted from September 1957 until October 1958, it was the latest terrestrial eruption in the Azores. During the event large parts of the parishes of Capelo and Praia do Norte were covered in ashes and destroyed by a series of earthquakes. The eruption triggered a large wave of emigration from Faial. Today, the martian ash covered landscape is slowly reconquered by pioneer plants. The ruins of the old lighthouse mark the coastline as it was before the eruption, all the lands west were rising out of the sea during the cataclysmic eruption.
How to get to Capelinhos
By car, Capelinhos can be reached in about half an hour from Horta by simply following the main road towards the west. If you are making a trip around the island, Capelinhos is about half way.
What to do in Capelinhos
You can visit the Volcano Interpretation Center of Capelinhos, a museum built below the old lighthouse which has been destroyed during the eruption.
A bit further down at the coast there is the old port Porto do Comprido which used to be a launching site of the whalers boats during the summer season. During the summer this is a popular place to swim and to watch the sunset in the west.
Capelinhos is the end point of a number of hiking trails. The Cabeço do Canto trail is a circular trail above Capelinhos, giving you a great view on the volcano. Both the Ten Volcano and the Coast to Coast trail end in Capelinhos,
If you are more into a light walk or a cycle tour, then you have a nice walk along and above to coast from Capelinhos to Varadouro which is about 6 km on a dirt road.
In case you do not want to spend to much time on hiking, you can take a short walk up the hill just above the lighthouse. It will lead you to an old whaling lookout. If you walk a bit further you will get a nice sight towards the north side of the island.