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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Trek the Volcanic Islands of the Azores


5. Oddball Day

Learn about the region's volcanoes at the Capelinhos Interpretation Center, then grab a drink at Peter Café Sport.   

Take a 50-minute flight ($90 from Ponta Delgada) or a 75-minute ferry from Pico ($15 on Atlanticoline) to the island of Faial, a must-see for any Azores first-timer. Start with an espresso and a plate of vésperas—rich éclairs unique to Faial—at the Ponto Come pasteleria and gelateria (Travessa de São Francisco, No. 9; 292-392-623). Next, take a short taxi ride to the subterranean Capelinhos Interpretation Center, an ultramodern volcano museum devoted to the complex geology of the islands; the structure was built on the site of a 1957 eruption, beneath a lone surviving lighthouse. Work your way back to the yacht town of Horta to browse the colorful drawings of ships covering the marina—the artwork has been painted by hundreds of superstitious crews since the eighteenth century who believe it’s bad luck to leave without adding your ship’s name to the wall. Then cool down with a gin and tonic at Peter Café Sport, a nineteenth-century British nautical pub that serves burgers and sandwiches. Afterward, poke through hundreds of pieces of curious artwork carved on whale’s teeth and jawbones at the Scrimshaw Museum (Rua da Fonte do Rego 21; 292-292-327), founded by Peter Sport’s late owner. Finally, take a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Algoa Municipal Park, a fifteen-minute walk south of the marina, before heading back on the ferry.

Published on Aug 26, 2010 as a web exclusive.

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