Azores Adventures – Futurismo

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Pico island

A paradise island where its mountain kisses the moon and embraces the morning fog, this sky throne is the ultimate adventure for you.

Astonishing volcanic basalt landscapes and rivers of green vineyards, the second biggest island is rich in tradition and culture from its whaling glory days.

About Pico island

Pico, the rooftop of Portugal. This island of adventure is a destination of choice for nature lovers and challenge seekers. Pico has it all and will fulfill everyone’s most crazy dreams for great holidays, whether you are a family, a couple, or a solo traveler. The mountain is calling for a climb at 2,351m above sea level, and to relax after this unique experience, the many natural pools between lava rocks are just the perfect spot. 

The gray island, as described by the Portuguese poet Raul Brandão, is the place to go if you want to try the ultimate Azorean challenge of climbing the highest mountain of Portugal. However, under the water, there are also many wonders waiting for you. With Futurismo, discover some of the 28 species passing pretty close to the shore. 

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Geography

The island of the Mountain is 42km long and 15km maximum width and its population is made of about 14,200 people. The highest point is Pico Mountain, which is 2,351m high. Pico is the second biggest island of the Azores archipelago in terms of total area (445km2).

The closest island to Pico is Faial, only about 6km away by boat, or 15 minutes. Both are part of the Islands of the Triangle, and the Central Group of the Azores. The most noticeable feature of the island is of course the huge mountain – actually the biggest in all Portugal.

Economy

In the first centuries after the discovery of Pico, wheat and woad cultures were very important for the local life. However, the volcanic soil of Pico is rich in minerals and the climate is dry and warm, which will reveal to be perfect for cultivating vines. Wine and aguardente from Pico quickly became famous worldwide!

However, in the 18th century, the volcanic eruption will mark the end of the golden age of Verdelho, and in the 19th century, the disease of Powdery mildew and the insect Grape phylloxera will condemn the biggest part of vineyards. Later on, wine production will start again.

In “the land of the whales”, whale hunting has been for over 100 years one of the main methods of survival in the Azores islands. Started in the 18th century and forbidden since 1984, today it is part of the cultural heritage of Pico, also known as the “island of the whalers”. In general, it can be said that the major whaling centers in Pico are Lajes and São Roque.

Today, locals don’t hunt whales anymore, but observe them peacefully thanks to the important whale and dolphin watching activity. The main economic activities in Pico now are agriculture, fishing, livestock, wine and tourism. 

History

The island of Pico was discovered around the same time as the other central islands by Portuguese sailors. It was first named the Island of D. Dinis and then renamed due to the huge mountain rising up above the clouds. The first settlements began in the 1480s, being the last island of the central group to be populated. Lajes do Pico was the first town to be populated on the island, in the 15th century.

The big volcano of Pico erupted at least 22 times in the last 1,500 years, forming the current landscapes of the island as well as distributing the population. The last one was in 1718, which created the landscapes of Santa Luzia and São João.

Madalena on the West coast is the youngest town on the island of Pico, founded only in 1723.

Nature & Geology

The island of Pico is home to the third highest volcano in the North Atlantic: Pico Mountain. It is the highest point in Portugal and a geosite of international relevance. There are fumaroles at the top, where you can feel the warmth provided by the volcanic activity. The impotent volcano has a diameter of about 19km.

Under the ground, Gruta das Torres, on the island of Pico is the largest lava tube in Portugal and one of the largest in Europe! With an approximate length of 5,150 meters, visiting this place is a wonderful experience.

In terms of geology, Pico is a very interesting island. You can still see the consequences of ancient eruptions on the current landscapes called Lajido or Biscoito. When you see those, you can truly understand the name of Grey Island given to Pico, due to the strong presence of lava around the island. The lava stone walls separating vineyards are also a unique trait to Pico, creating a wonderful landscape recognised internationally and protected by UNESCO since 2004.

WHY VISIT PICO ISLAND

  • Pico Mountain

    Climb the third highest volcano in the North Atlantic and the highest point of all Portugal, at 2,351m above the sea level.

  • Hiking routes

    The island is rich in trails surrounded by vibrant green landscapes with endemic Macaronesian forests. 

  • Vines between lava walls

    There is an immense heritage associated with wine production, from windmills, tide wells, traditional houses, cellars and so on.

  • Tours Pico island in Azores

    Top Sights in Pico island

    Things you must see in Pico island

    Plan your Pico island

    How to get to Pico Island?

    You can get to Pico Island by sea and air. Atlântico Line ferries offer several daily connections to other islands of the Azores archipelago (most of them with the “neighbor” islands of Faial and São Jorge – especially during the summer months).

    By air, Sata/Azores Airlines and TAP Portugal offer regular direct flights to Pico with prices varying a lot in-between seasons.

    What to do in Pico Island?

    As you may have already understood, Pico Island is full of beautiful places to explore and an extraordinary cultural patrimony to be discovered.

    We offer a great number of experiences (cultural or adventures) on Pico Island that should not be missed. Have a look and get in touch with us by chat, email, or phone if you need some kind of help on deciding what to do first.

    Reviews What people think about

    Our Policies about Pico island

    01

    Language

    The native language is the Portuguese, although the accent differs from between islands according to the cultural roots of the first settlers on the island.

    The Azoreans easily master the English, French and German.

    02

    Currency

    The currency unit is the EURO (€).

    Only banking institutions exchange money, which are open from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm, except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

    The visitor can use credit cards, usually with the establishments that accept them affixed stickers that indicate it.

    03

    Transportation

    Air: All the islands of the Azores are connected by air, through the operator Sata Regional – Air Açores.

    Sea: Maritime connections between all the islands are provided from May to October by the shipping company Atlânticoline, and the islands of Faial, Pico and São Jorge have connections throughout the year by Transmaçor and Expresso do Triângulo.

    Land: On all islands there is a network of bus, taxi and rent-a-car services.

    04

    Clothing

    Summer: Light clothing is suggested.

    Spring and autumn: Clothing suitable for humid and cool days is recommended.

    Winter: the temperatures are mild, however precipitation is frequent, so warm clothing and raincoats are recommended.

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