The volcanic islands of the Azores create a natural aquarium in the middle of the Atlantic between Europe and North America. Whale watching, sport fishing, paragliding, and yachting are popular pastimes. Stroll by the beautiful marina and stop in to legendary Peter Café Sport - a restaurant, scrimshaw museum, post office and necessary stop for all sailors.
The following Shore Excursions are available for this port on this cruise, and may be reserved beginning 240 days before the cruise begins for guests receiving Concierge amenities, and 180 days before the cruise begins for all other guests. Guests receiving Concierge amenities will receive a 5% discount off of the prices shown below for Regent Choice tours.
Most Active or Strenuous
Minimal Activity Required
Learn about the devastating 1957 volcanic eruption just off the western shore of Faial Island by visiting an interpretative center built underground in the lunar-like landscape.
After departing from the pier, you will enjoy a picturesque drive to the western shore of Faial Island to see the area where the Capelinhos volcano violently erupted in 1957. Over the next 13 months, until the volcano became dormant, scientists filmed, photographed and studied it in great detail, compiling a definitive look into the natural phenomenon.
The landscape was dramatically altered, and lives were changed forever. Farmland was covered in ash, as were many homes that collapsed under the weight. Half the population of Faial emigrated because of the hardships on the families.
Today, the Capelinhos area is often described as lunar-like, as you will discover on the approach to the interpretive center. The center was built underground in the former first floor of the Capelinhos lighthouse, so as not to alter the harsh but beautiful landscape.
While here, you will learn about the Capelinhos volcanic eruption through virtual and interactive exhibitions, photographs and perhaps even a film. There are also enlightening displays that detail the geology of the Azores and the history of volcanic activity in the islands. Still, the Capelinhos eruption is given the most attention because it had such a great and long-standing effect on the Azores. Following your visit, you will transfer back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 75 minutes of easy to moderate walking that includes some steps and gravel surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Views are weather dependent. The tour sequence may vary.
Admire Faial’s mesmerizing natural beauty, much of it the result of volcanic eruptions such as the one that formed the enormous crater in the center of the island.
After departing from the pier, you will enjoy a pleasant drive up to Espalamaca, an overlook that offers a spectacular view of lovely Horta. If it’s a clear day, you should also be able to catch sight of three other islands: Pico, São Jorge and Graciosa.
Then, following a route punctuated by several windmills and often bordered by blue hydrangeas, you will drive inland to Caldeira, an enormous crater left by the now-extinct volcano that created the island of Faial. The crater measures more than one mile across and is blanketed with indigenous junipers, tree-heather, cedars and ferns.
Next, you will see Capelinhos at the island’s western end. Its barren landscape is dramatically different that the greenery surrounding Caldeira. The ground is rocky and hauntingly lunar-like, the result of a devastating volcanic eruption in 1957.
The only building to survive was the lighthouse; its first floor still covered by volcanic ash. Capelinhos is quite the curiosity and its strangely beautiful setting clearly depicts the force of the volcanic activity once so prevalent in the Azores.
You will return to Horta along a different route, passing through lush Capelo Forest Park and Praia do Norte, an area shaped by a volcanic eruption in 1672. It’s a surfing mecca because of the massive waves caused by an underwater ravine.
Please note: This tour is primarily panoramic in nature with minimal walking at the guests’ discretion during the stops. At the stops there will be a few steps to negotiate and some uneven cobblestone and gravel surfaces. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them; however, getting off the coach at the stops may not be feasible. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Views are weather dependent. The tour sequence may vary.
Trek through the countryside - frequently off road, in a 4X4 vehicle that allows you to see places not accessible by coach. Along your route, pause every so often to gaze out over the dramatic, volcanically formed landscape.
After departing from the pier in a 4X4 vehicle, you will soon leave Horta behind and head inland toward the nature reserve of Caldeira do Faial at the center of the island. An ancient volcano caused the massive crater here and formed the entire island.
The crater is covered with a lush laurissilva forest, the type of vegetation that blanketed Faial Island before human settlement. Plants include junipers, tree-heather and cedars, which lead down to the edge of the small lagoon below.
Still, blue hydrangeas are the single most recognized plant throughout the island. You can expect to spot these beautiful flowers around houses, in the fields and lining the roads. They are so predominant that Faial is sometimes called the Blue Island.
Continuing on toward the seaside parish of Praia do Norte, you will pause for photos at the Ribeira das Cabras lookout. Below lies extensive lava beds, caused by the 1957 volcanic eruption at nearby Capelinhos. As you drive through the lunar-like landscape left behind, you will appreciate the power and ferocity of the eruption.
More adventures await you on the way to the volcanically formed shore of Varadouro Bay. Lastly, before returning to the pier, you will stop at Espalamaca, an overlook that offers a spectacular view of Horta.
Please note: This tour includes limited walking/standing, primarily at the guests’ discretion at the stops. There will be some cobblestone and gravel surfaces to negotiate at the stops and a high step to enter and exit the 4X4 vehicle. The ride can be bumpy at times. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns, back, neck or joint problems, pregnant women or children under 6 years of age. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Views are weather dependent. The tour sequence may vary.
Trek along the dramatic southern coast of Faial Island in an area that was devastated by a volcano in 1957, leaving behind a hauntingly beautiful landscape.
After departing from the pier, you will drive along the southern shore of Faial Island, passing through several small villages along the way. An ancient volcano formed the entire island and a laurissilva forest eventually blanketed it.
After approximately 1 hour, you will arrive at Capelinhos on the island’s western tip, near where a volcano violently erupted in 1957. It continued to spew lava and smoke for 13 months, leaving the landscape dramatically altered and the residents’ lives forever changed.
Farmland was covered in ash, as were many homes that collapsed under the weight. Half the population of Faial emigrated because of the hardships on the families.
Today, Capelinhos is often described as lunar-like, as you will see up close once you begin your walk to Varadouro Bay. The setting is wild and wonderful. The volcanically formed landscape is barren, black or rust-colored from iron in the soil, and punctuated with tenacious plants.
You may also pass clusters of wild blue hydrangea. These beautiful flowers are so predominant that Faial is sometimes called the Blue Island.
The amazing scenery makes for a memorable walk, especially as you approach Varadouro Bay. The sea here is a deep blue and the coast is rimmed with jagged black volcanic rock. A few homes dot the hills, and you may spot locals swimming in the natural pools below. Following your arrival in Varadouro, you will re-board your coach drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of moderate to strenuous walking that covers just over 5 miles. There will be some steps, uneven, gravel and cobblestone surfaces to negotiate. If there has been rain, some portions of the track may become muddy. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with waking difficulties. Participants should be in good physical condition. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; a bottle of water and energy bar from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Leave Horta by boat in search of the whales and dolphins that live in the Atlantic Ocean surrounding the Azores. Species found in these waters include bottlenose dolphin, beaked whales, pilot whales and sei whales, the latter being the world's third largest species of whale. Sperm whales are perhaps the most commonly seen marine species, as scientists believe they live in these waters year-round, feasting on the indigenous squid. Other sightings include sea birds and other marine life.
Important Notes: Tour operates weather permitting. Wildlife sightings are likely but are not guaranteed
Horta is well-known in the worldwide sea-faring community and is often an obligatory stop for ships crossing the Atlantic. During a leisurely guided walk through town you’ll take in its many interesting highlights and then delve more deeply into the island’s history at the Horta Museum.
Setting off from the pier on foot with your guide, you will soon arrive in the center of Horta, the capital of Faial Island. As you walk about popular spots such as Republica Square, you will get a genuine feel for daily life in the Azores. That is especially true in colorful Horta Market, where the locals shop for fresh seafood and produce such as pineapple and guava.
The Sociedade Amor da Patria is another highlight. Built in 1934 in the Art Deco style, the building held the opening of the first legislature of the regional government. The association that now operates there is involved in promoting cultural affairs throughout the island.
Continuing on, you will arrive at the Horta Museum, which is housed in a former Jesuit college that was unfinished for years because the Jesuits were expelled from Portugal in the 18th century. As you browse the exhibitions, you may see the works of Portuguese artists and an unusual collection of scale models of ships made from fig kernels. Other objects on display include linens, agricultural implements, and technological items related to the history of Horta.
Lastly, after passing the marina with its colorful drawings on the jetty walls that have been painted by the many sailors who have stopped off in this historic port, you will enjoy a refreshing gin and tonic at Peter’s Cafe. Opened in 1918, Peter’s is a classic seaside bar where people from all walks of life gather, particularly sailors. Afterwards, you will walk back to the pier.
Please note: This is a walking tour that includes nearly 3 hours of easy to moderate walking that covers approximately 2.5 miles. There will be some steps and cobblestone surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with waking difficulties. Participants should be in good physical condition. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The tour sequence may vary.
Terms & Conditions:
Free Unlimited Shore Excursions are for full fare guests only, capacity controlled and subject to availability. Requested excursions may not be available at time of booking. Supplement will apply on Regent Choice excursions (indicated by the above) and excludes Private Arrangements and all Adventures Ashore programs. Concierge benefits do not apply to Executive Collection private cars or other private arrangements. In order to ensure quality guides and sufficient transportation, we must provide the tour operator with passenger counts at least 36 hours in advance. Therefore no refunds will be given within 36 hours of tour departure for cancellations or no-shows. Please pay special attention to scheduling and tour lengths when booking your shore excursions. In many cases, it is not possible to participate in more than one tour per day in a given port. Tour Departure times are subject to change so please reference your actual tour ticket for the correct departure time. Tours operate rain or shine. Minor children 17 years and under must be accompanied by a an adult 18 years or older on all shore excursions. Tours require minimum participation levels to operate so please sign up as early as possible. Tours may be cancelled if minimum participation levels are not met. Prices, Itineraries and General Information shore excursion prices are subject to change to meet unexpected cost increases or currency fluctuations. Please consult the Destination Services Desk onboard for information. During local or national holidays, access to certain facilities (such as museums or archaeological sites) may be limited or denied. In such instances, adjustments will be made to minimize inconvenience to guests. Some tours have limited availability. Tours are generally available for reserving 180 days prior to the beginning of a cruise. Please sign up early to avoid disappointment. Regent Seven Seas Cruises reserves the right to require guests to complete a liability waiver for select shore excursions. For more information, please visit the Destination Services Desk onboard.