What to do on Pico Island in the Azores

Aerial view to Pico volcano and island AzoresPortugalThe island of Pico is a small, mountain island that is just 150 miles north-west of the island of Sao Miguel. The beauty of the island is known for its volcanic landscape and its unique wines that are produced on the island. The wine vineyards were designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2004 because of its impressive black lava stone walls and unique growing methods, which has made this area one of the most popular areas on the island to visit. Here you can explore the winery while sampling some of their local vintages and admiring the history in their museum. It has an outstanding lookout point that overlooks the entire winery and has sweeping ocean views. 1344 36 Harvested grapes Pico Island Azores. Image shot 1985. Exact date unknown. The island of Pico is known in the Azores and internationally for its unique wines and although they have never been considered a mainstream favorite, they were, in fact, a favorite of the last Czar of Russia Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra. It is said that they would special order cases of the prized wines and have them shipped to Russia. It was during the Russian revolution when the guards invaded the palace that they discovered the numerous cases of wines from Pico in the Czar’s private cellar.Typical Azores VinyardPico has the tallest mountain in Portugal and is considered the largest mountain in the world if you measured it from the base on the bottom of the Atlantic ocean to the top of its peak. It is a favorite amongst hikers and sports enthusiasts and is able to be climbed throughout the year without any rock climbing gear as the paths that lead to the top are accessible. It is recommended to bring gloves and a jacket as the temperature on the top of the peak is different than that on the lowlands of the island and tends to be slightly chilly. The best time to do the hike is just before sunrise where you still have the benefit of the thousands of stars guiding your trail and to be able to watch the sunrise from the top of the mountain is an experience of a lifetime and will be something you will never forget.shutterstock_403842946The local herbs and berries produced on the island make some very unusual but tasty liquors that are sold throughout the island and are a must when experiencing this unique island. 21 species of whales and dolphins have been reported off the coastal waters of the Azores, due to their safe ocean waters where whaling is strictly prohibited. Pico offers a holiday of many contrasts, where there are numbers of beautiful walking and hiking trails that offer a relaxing, stress-free vacation.shutterstock_702867247The Capital city of the Island is Madalena and has a number of annual religious festivals that draw residents from all regions of the Azores and Portugal annually to take part in these historic celebrations. The small city center has many unique restaurants that serve the local cuisine as well as some international restaurants that have opened up recently that offer both Portuguese and international cuisine, with of course the famous local wines to pair with your meal. It is recommended to try the local seafood as it is caught fresh daily and is a major economic sector of the island due to its high-quality fish from the North Atlantic waters.shutterstock_737627254

 

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