Horta, "the smallest big city in the world", is an almost obligatory place to stay. Capital of Faial (6,000 inhabitants), it owes its fame to its port, but also to the submarine cable that linked it to Lisbon as early as 1893, making it a world telecommunications centre whose reputation has only been tarnished by the satellite age. Built on terraces and surrounded by a crown of villas and large gardens, Horta owes its name to José Von Huerter, and not to the magnificent hydrangeas which, in May and June, bloom on its roads.

It has seen the greatest sailors in the world, from Tabarly to Lamazou, Malinovski, Cousteau, and the great aviator Lindbergh. It was also the place chosen by Prince Albert of Monaco (the first of the name, who was more interested in sea shells than in famous mannequins, or more discreetly) for many of his observations. The meteorological observatory of this prestigious host can be visited in Horta. Today, the city is famous for boaters from all over the world. We would be well advised to come there the first week of August, during the port festival: it is one of the most festive events in the Azores.

The historic centre with its 19th century houses and bandstand is very pleasant. Horta was at one time a very fashionable city, where the wealthy people of the continent, the greats of this world, used to meet, where balls, plays, etc. were held. What remains of this glorious past are sublime bourgeois houses, small palaces, a balcony theatre and beautiful bandstands.

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