Horta is a port city in Azores, located on Faial Island's southeast coast. The island is in the western part of the Azores archipelago - an autonomous territory of Portugal.
In June 1867, the American writer Mark Twain (1835-1910) visited Horta near the beginning of an excursion to Jerusalem. Sailing the Spray, the American seaman and adventurer Joshua Slocum (1844-1909) stopped in Horta on the first leg of his single circumnavigation of the world, chronicled in his book "Sailing Alone Around the World" (published 1899). The French novelist Jules Verne (1828-1905) mentions Horta in descriptions to his popular fiction novels.
- On July 28, 2012 a new passenger ferry dock was opened across Horta harbour, at the mouth of Ribeira Grande. The EUR 33 million project for building the new ship dock started in 2009. By this project a docking wharf was built (length of 393 m / 1290 ft, width 80 m / 260 ft) plus two ramps for RO-RO (car ferry) shipping operations.
- Horta's marina is a prime stop for yachts crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Its walkways and walls are covered in paintings created by visitors to note the names of their ships, crews, and the years they called on. Peter's Cafe Sport (across from the marina) houses isle's scrimshaw museum. A collection of marine artifacts is a point of reference for Transatlantic sailors.
- Among the town's most popular attractions is the Horta Regional Museum (with permanent Exhibition of Capelinhos Volcano. The museum has a collection of scale models of ships and buildings carved from fig kernels.
Faial Island (Azores)
Faial Island covers a total area of approx 173 km2 (67 ml2), with highest elevation point (stratovolcano Cabeco Gordo) 1043 m / 3422 ft). The island's total population is around 15,000, of which in Horta live around 10,000.
- In 1876 started the construction works on a dock in Horta harbor. The dock later became a way-point to Transatlantic shipping traffic. The island's main industries were whaling and agriculture (exporting wine and oranges). The safe Horta harbor made the town a coal storage base. A Clipper (sailing ship) base was also constructed in the harbour.
- The first ever airplane that crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1919 stopped here. During WW2 (1939-1945), Horta became an major naval base for Allied vessels participating in the Normandy France invasion.
- Faial Island was prosperous until the Capelinhos' eruption in 1957. The volcano's eruption affected mostly the island's northern and western coasts. There, all agricultural lands were covered with sand and ash. As result, around 4,000 of the inhabitants immigrated to the USA (New England).
- After 1976, when Azores Islands gained their political autonomous status, Horta was allowed to host Azores' Regional Parliament. Also in the 1970s was opened an airport, which made the island a tourist travel destination.
- On the island are located 3 Nature Reserves (Caldeirinhas, Caldeira, Morro do Castelo Branco), 4 Protected Areas (Cabeço do Fogo, Capelinhos, northwest coast, Varadouro-Castelo Branco, Lomba Grande), 2 Protected Landscapes (Monte da Guia, Central Zone), 3 Forest Reserves (Capelo, Cabouco Velho, Falca).
- In 2013, the research submarine Lula1000 discovered in the Faial-Pico canal a coral reef at sea depth 300 m (980 ft). The reef covers an area of approx 1 km2 (0,4 ml2).
- The island's current-day economy is based on agricultural (fruits, potatoes, cereals, wines), also cattle (dairy and meat), while in Horta are concentrated all the commerce and most services.
The following map of Faial Island shows its settlements, the airport and the road infrastructure (generally paralleling the isle's coastline).
In 2018, Azores Islands received a total of 180,000 cruise passengers via 136 ship calls (compared to the previous record year 2015 of 141,000 pax). Of those, Ponta Delgada handled 80 calls (124,000 pax), Praia da Vitoria 27 calls (30,000 pax) and Horta 29 calls (23,000 pax). For 2019 were booked total 145 ship calls with estimated 175,000 passengers. Maiden visits in 2019 included the newbuild ships Nieuw Statendam (2018), Celebrity Edge (2018), Roald Amundsen (2019), Hanseatic Nature (2019).
Horta cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Faial Island (Ilha do Faial) Azores dock (anchor) at Horta - port town on the southeastern coast.