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Horta, Azores, Portugal

Horta is a pretty town curled around a protected harbor on the island of Faial in the Azores. Its location has shaped its history, from the first settlements in the 15th century until the present. It was one of the outposts as the Portuguese explorers dared westward. And even today it is a welcome respite for yachtsmen transiting the Atlantic. The walkway from the marina is resplendent with painted names and dates of yacht-borne visitors. Mark Twain stopped by en route to Jerusalem, and Joshua Slocum tied up the outbound Spray to rest. Albert Read taxied his floatplane into the harbor in 1919 after the first leg of an historic transatlantic airplane flight, and the might Pan Am Clipper flying boats paused here between Europe and America. The Café Sport holds a museum of the maritime art of scrimshaw, and the Horta Regional Museum boasts a fascinating display of miniature scenes carved from fig pits by a local artisan.