The Azores are an archipelago of nine islands, Faial is part of the central group made out of Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira. What to do and where to go best beyond Faial? Due to its central location and good travel connection Faial and Horta can considered as being the best base to explore neighboring Pico and São Jorge. Of course each of the nine Azorean island deserves a visit and a longer stay on its own, but if your possibilities are limited, then Faial is the best destination of the Azores. Pico can be reached within less than an hour by ferry, there are at least six daily connections, allowing you to visit Pico on one or several day trips. São Jorge is not much farther away than Pico and it is possible to do a one day excursion to São Jorge as well, though due to its size and the longer ferry trip, you might decide to leave Faial for one night. Why not staying on either Pico or São Jorge? Of course if you are asking somebody from there, they will answer stay rather on their island. Besides the possibilities offered in Faial, there is one advantage our neighbors cannot offer, the city of Horta which is small and charming, but also vibrant and full of life. If you want to spend your evenings not only at you accommodation but go out and enjoy the pleasantly warm evenings, then your base will be in Faial.
How to get to Pico and São Jorge
You can get to both islands by taking the ferries of Atlanticoline, there are several daily trips to Pico. if you want to do a day trip to São Jorge, you will need to get up early and come back with the last boat. On some of the ferries you can take your car, especially during high season it is advised to book in advance. In case you want to take a rental car on the ferry, please check beforehand with the rental company.
What to do in Pico
There are plenty of things to do and see beyond Faial. If you go for a day trip, best is if either you book a guided round trip or take a car. You can visit most of the highlights of Pico in one day, starting in Madalena, and simply driving around the island. If you want to climb Pico, make sure that you are fit enough. It is at least a 6 to 8 hours climb, you should feel stable on your feet even in steep passages. The number of daily visitors is limited, to be sure to book in advance at the Casa da Montanha.
For further inspirations on Pico, check out the link.
What to do in São Jorge
São Jorge is probably the most underestimated island of the Azores. Best is if you plan an overnight stay in São Jorge, like that you can easily visit most of the highlights.
For further inspirations on São Jorge, check out the link.