Pico

Travel Guide Europe Portugal Azores Pico

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Introduction

Pico Island is an island in the Central Group of the Portuguese Azores noted for its eponymous volcano, Ponta do Pico, which is the highest mountain in Portugal, the Azores, and the highest elevation of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In the tradition of the Portuguese poet, Raul Brandão, Pico is referred to as the Ilha Preta ("Black Island"), for its black volcanic earth, responsible for its UNESCO-designated historical vineyards that allowed the development of the island.

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Geography

The island is 17.5 kilometres south of São Jorge and just 7 kilometres east of Faial, in the Central Group of islands, an area that is known as The Triangle. Pico is 46 kilometres long, and at its maximum extent about 16 kilometres wide, rising from its center to the west in the summit of the stratovolcano of Pico, making it the second largest of the Azores islands. Along the central plain of volcano cones to the eastern coast the landscape is pitted with the remnants of craters and lake-filled cones, and dominated by the ancient volcano of Topo.

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Sights and Activities

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  • Whale museum
  • Museu do Vinho (Wine Museum), Madalena, Rua dos Baleiros 13.
  • Swim in the largest man-made, outdoor, public saltwater pool. It's a fantastic place to relax and cool off in the summer. The pool is deep enough for diving. Beginner swimmers should stay away from the middle, as the size is quite large.
  • Climb Mount Pico (Montanha do Pico), a stratovolcano 2351 metres above sea level. It is the tallest mountain in Portugal. Climb the mountain in the afternoon so you can see the sunset when you reach the summit. Normally it takes 2 to 3 hours to climb, more if you are not fit. Then in the morning to see the sunrise, climb a little mountain called Pico Pequenino (Little Pico) that the mountain has on top. From there you can see the islands of Faial and São Jorge perfectly.

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Weather

Pico has a very pleasant and moderate climate with hot weather or frosts (apart from the highest areas) almost unheard of. In general average summer temperatures (June-September) are around 24 °C to 26 °C during the day and 16 °C to 18 °C at night. In winter, daytime temperatures still average 16 °C to 18 °C degrees and rarely drop below 10 °C at night in most places. Rainfall is spread out evenly throughout the year, although the summer period of May to September is drier with average monthly rainfall of about 40 to 50 mm. During the wintermonths of November to March, 100 mm or more is normal.

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Getting There

By Plane

SATA Air Açores flies to/from Ponta Delgada and Terceira. TAP Portugal offers connections to/from Lisbon.

By Boat

Transmacor offers several daily ferries to/from the island of Faial, which is just a short ride away.
Anlanticoline offers some ferries as well to Faial. It also travels onwards to São Jorge. In summer this ferry continues to Terceira, Graciosa and then back towards São Jorge, Pico and Faial again. Once weekly summer only this ferry travels onwards to/from Flores from Horta.

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Safety

Towns in Pico are very safe. Crime is very low and violence is almost non-existent. However, be VERY aware when crossing the streets; people on this island tend to drive a bit crazy. You will frequently see cars driving at freeway speeds on cobble stone roads. Also, it's not surprising to see cars parked in the middle of a road and blocking traffic. The driving laws are loose at best.

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Eat

There are many cafes in the area and all of them offer good food for reasonable prices. Variety of food is limited mainly to bread, cheese, and beef. Vegetarians may have some trouble having a balanced meal. Even the local soups will most likely have meat or meat broth as an ingredient. If you're a vegan, be prepared for starvation.

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Drink

The local cafes usually double as the local bars. Beer here is cheaper than bottled water.

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Sleep

  • Retreat of Goats, Travessa de Santo António, 5 (São Mateus, in front the Atlantic Ocean and overlooking the mountain of Pico), ☎ +351 918171681. Holiday cottage.
  • Pocinhobay - 6-room boutique hotel with traditional stone cottages and modern decor

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This is version 4. Last edited at 13:53 on May 24, 19 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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