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Overview

Introduction

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The Grey Island - 42km long and 15km wide, with an area of 447 sq. km, Pico is dominated by its volcano (snow capped in winter) at 2351m the highest point in Portugal. The views to and from the volcano are spectacular and its presence seemingly binds together the central islands of Faial, Sao Jorge and Pico itself. One cannot mistake that this island is volcanic.

Between Madalena and Lajes the black stones and rocks have been painstakingly gathered to make the labyrinthine walled enclosures which protect the famous Pico verdelho grape (fortified Verdelho wine) which, it is said, was imported in the 16th century from Cyprus. The houses and churches, too, are black – their features outlined in white. An area of 987 hectares of vineyards and its surrounding landscape, has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Pico and nearby Faial (30 minutes by boat from Madalena) were the centres for traditional, open-boat whale hunting, an important industry for the islands until its ban in 1987.

These two islands are now the centre for the growing interest in whale watching and the conservation of these magnificent mammals.

Hire a car or a taxi for an island tour to visit the lakes and marvel at the magnificent views and changing facets of the mountain and its relationship with the sea. A particular favourite of the Sunvil team is a drive along the north coast of Pico where wonderful views to neighbouring Sao Jorge can be found. Visit the fascinating whaler’s museum at Lajes. Walks are plentiful and, for the experienced walker (you must take a guide), the ascent to the summit of the volcano is a must.

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About Pico

Area: 447 sq. km
Length: 42 km (26 miles)
Width: 15 km (9 miles)
Population: 15,000 inhabitants
Capital: Madalena do Pico

Highlights

Pico wine
Pick up a bottle of the local Verdelho (aperitif wine) or the equally famous Angelica and Pico brandies.

Museu dos Baleeiros
Visit the fascinating whaling museum in Lajes do Pico offering a fascinating insight into the islands’ long history of open-boat whale hunting (banned in 1987).

Gruta das Torres
Take a tour (c.45-minutes) of a lava cave located just south of Madalena. A short film shows the history of volcanic caves in the archipelago followed by a walk along one of the longest caves (4,480m) found in the Azores.

Day excursions
A 30-minute ferry links Madalena to Horta (Faial) at least five times a day. A 90-minute catamaran links Sao Roque to Velas (Sao Jorge) twice a day. These connections make Pico an ideal base for multi-island exploration.

Activities

All Terrain Tours

Enjoy an unforgettable drive along the islands’ best trails. Driving through trees and pastures often overlooking the Atlantic Ocean you will discover places and landscapes of rare beauty. During the trip there will be several stops with time to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Vineyard Route (Full Day)

Take a trip back in time and discover the old winemaking traditions that still remain in place today which make it an obvious choice as a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.  Walk through the vineyards and taste their exclusive wines.

  • 10:00 - Madalena do Pico - Departure
  • Stop at Cachorro
  • Guided visit to the Lajido de Santa Luzia
  • Santa Luzia - guided visit to the protected landscape of the vineyard (North Zone)
  • 13:00 - Regional Lunch
  • Criação Velha - guided visit to the protected landscape of the vineyard (South Zone)
  • All terrain trail by the Maroiços of the Madalena do Pico
  • Pico wine tasting with guided visit to the wine company
  • 18:00 - Madalena do Pico – Arrival
  • Guide and transportation in all-terrain vehicle, regional lunch and entrance to the museums included 

Price is £86 per adult and £65 per child (2-12yrs) 

Wine & Food Route (Full Day)

Come and discover the unique gastronomy of Pico Island, as well as its wines, grown from the volcanic rock.  Throughout the day you will delight in the singular tastes and wines whilst getting to know the traditions and culture of this unique island.

  • 10:00 - Madalena do Pico - Departure
  • Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture Interpretation Centre
  • Santa Luzia - guided visit to the protected landscape of the vineyard (North Zone)
  • 13:00 - Regional Lunch
  • Guided visit to the Wine Museum
  • Pico wine tasting with guided visit to the wine company
  • Criação Velha - guided visit to the protected landscape of the vineyard (South Zone)
  • 18:30 - Madalena do Pico – Arrival
  • Guide and transportation in all-terrain vehicle, regional lunch, wine and cheese tasting and entrance to the museums

Price is £161 per adult and £121 per child (2-12yrs)

Island Route (Full Day) 

Take an adventure on Pico Island and discover stunning landscapes in their purest state of preservation, with its flora and fauna. Explore the largest volcanic cave, with amazing geological formations and walk the longest lava tube in Portugal. All this in an unforgettable journey into the history of a people, their culture and gastronomy.

  • 10h00 - Madalena do Pico - Departure 
  • Stop and visit Capitão, Caiado, and Seca Lakes 
  • Stop at Prainha Viewpoint with short nature trail 
  • 13h00 - Regional Lunch 
  • 4X4 trail at Pico Central Plateau 
  • Guided visit to Gruta das Torres lava tube 
  • 18h00 - Madalena do Pico - Arrival 
  • Guide and transportation in 4x4 vehicle, regional lunch, entrance to Gruta das Torres, child's car seat and tour photos

Price is £86 per adult and £65 per child (2-12yrs)

Notes (All Terrain Tours)

  • Excursion provider: Terralta 
  • Pick-up from hotels in Madalena (Pico) at about 09:45
  • Departures: Daily - all year  
  • Minimum 2 people 
  • Infants 0-2 years are free of charge
  • Duration: 8 hours including lunch 

Guided Walks

The islands of the Azores, with their mild climate (day time temperature ranging from 14-22 degrees), are the most wonderful islands for walking. Our suggested walks incorporate some of the best scenic walks on the island. 

Lava Trail (Half Day)

This 9km walk (3 hours) passes through a fascinating landscape of lava fields in which the famous ‘currais’ (square or semi-circled, stone walls in which vines are cultivated) are found. These unusual vineyards, on Pico’s north coast, produce an excellent Verdelho wine and are inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

  • Difficulty:  Grade 1 (Easy)

Price is £56 per person

Criação Velha Trail (Half Day) 

This 8km walk (2.5 hours) starts at Porto do Calhau, passing through vineyards towards a solitary windmill, from where there is a panoramic view over the vineyards, protected from the wind by lava rock walls.  From here, the walk continues through pasture meadows following the coastline, offering some spectacular coastal and mountain views before ending at Areia Larga. 

  • Difficulty:  Grade 1 (Easy)

Price is £36 per person

Caminho das Voltas Trail (Half Day)

On the north coast of Pico is the small village of Santo Amaro, where the main ship building yard in the Azores can be found. This 6.3km walk (2 hours) twists and turns along the coastline of Pico and affords magnificent views over the ocean to São Jorge and of vineyards, rural scenes and Mount Pico. During the walk, you will have the opportunity to visit the maritime museum and the shipwright school in Santo Amaro (entrance fees payable locally). 

  • Difficulty:  Grade 1 (Easy) 

Price is £56 per person

Caminho dos Burros Trail (Half Day)\

This 11.2km (3.5 hours) hike to Topo offers a unique view to the south coast of the Island. Discover how Pico Island was originally formed whilst climbing (1022m) the oldest volcano on the Island.

  • Difficulty:  Grade 2 (Medium)

Price is £56 per person

Notes

  • Excursion provider: A Abegoria Adventure 
  • Pick-up from hotels in Madalena (Pico) at about 09:00
  • Departures: Daily - all year
  • Guided walks with English speaking guide 
  • Full day and Half day walks include a picnic lunch 
  • Minimum 2 people and maximum 16
  • Recommended: Comfortable clothing, walking boots, swim suit, towel, rain jacket, sun lotion, binoculars and a camera 

Pico Mountain Hike

For the more adventurous traveller a climb to the summit of Mount Pico can present the opportunity of a lifetime especially if you are blessed with clear skies. The peak, at 2,351 metres, offers spectacular views over the central islands of the archipelago. The ascent generally takes between 3½ and 4½ hours depending on how fit you are and weather conditions. The climb should only be attempted by strong walkers. The walk is not technically difficult but would involve some steep slopes along uneven paths and in places slippery vegetation and loose stones. The climb starts from 1200 metres. To climb the mountain you must be accompanied by a qualified guide.

Price from Madalena is £94 per person (based on 2 people)

Price from São Roque is £186 per person (based on 2 people)

Price from Prainha is £91 per person (based on 2 people)

Notes

  • Excursion provider: Lava Steps
  • Daily pick-up from hotels at 06:30
  • Duration: 7 hours including 3-4 hours uphill
  • Difficulty Level: High
  • Accompanied by an experienced English speaking guide 
  • Equipment required: Comfortable clothing, walking boots, rain jacket, sun lotion, water, food supplies and a camera  
  • Prices for larger groups on request

 Land Activities on Pico Island

On an island with so much to offer, don’t miss out on the opportunity to discover more about the history, culture and nature of this mystical Island.

Pico-nics (Half Day)

What’s better than discovering nature whilst learning about the local gastronomy at the same time?  This tour includes a picnic done in a different way, visiting magical places selected to give you the experience of seeing the best landscapes whilst enjoying the best delicacies made on the island. 

Price is £33 per adult and £17 per child (2-16yrs) 

Notes

  • Excursion provider: Épico
  • Pick-up from hotels on Pico at about 09:30
  • Departures: Daily - all year
  • Transportation, guide and picnic lunch with typical dishes included
  • Minimum 2 people required

Private Taxi Tours 

Sunvil is able to pre-book the following private taxi tours on Pico with English speaking driver. Tours can also be tailor-made to suit the individual requirements of our clients, please telephone us for a quotation.

Pico Island (Full Day) 

Depart from Madalena to the village of São Roque on the north coast of Pico, visiting the black rocks of Cachorro en route. Take the mountain road (altitude 900m) towards the village of Lajes do Pico, which for many years was the centre of the whaling industry in the Azores. Continue on to the Whaler’s Museum and home to a fascinating exhibition about the industry. Return to Madalena stopping at ‘Verdelho’ wine cellar en route.

Price from Madalena is £160 per taxi

Price from São Roque is £174 per taxi

Price from Prainha is £187 per taxi 

Faial Island (Full Day)

Depart from Madalena harbour to Faial Island (30 minutes by boat) – boat ticket not included. From Horta harbour take the mountain road towards Caldeira, the highest point on Faial at 1,043 metres. Continue north to Capelinhos, the site of the last volcanic eruption in the Azores in 1957 and visit the museum, which details the evolution of the eruption. Return to Pico by boat.

Price from Horta harbour (Faial) is £206 per taxi

Notes 

  • Excursion provider: Melo 
  • Pick-up from hotels in Madalena (Pico) at about 09:00
  • Meeting point on Faial (when coming from Pico) is Horta harbour
  • Prices are based on a maximum of 3 people per taxi
  • Full day (7 hours) 
  • Not included: Lunch and entrance fees to museums and parks and the boat crossing between Madalena (Pico) and Horta (Faial) 
  • A qualified English speaking guide can be provided at a supplement on request 

Pico Van Tour - Full Day

Learn all about the historical, cultural and natural characteristics of Pico Island.  Experience the striking Unesco World Heritage landscape where you will learn about the viticulture on the Island with a visit to typical wineries  The tour will take you to the central plateau where you will be pleasantly surprised by the green landscape and striking lakes. You will also be introduced to the island’s whaling heritage with a visit to the boathouses, whale lookouts and the Whaler’s Museum.

Price is £81 per adult and £38 per child (5-12yrs) 

Notes 

  • Excursion provider: Naturfactor
  • Minimum 2 people required
  • Children 0-4 yrs free of charge
  • Included: Transportation, guide service, lunch at a local restaurant and entrance fees at ONE of the following museums: Whaler’s Museum, Whale Factory, Wine Museum or Gruta das Torres (Lava cave). Clients will be given a choice locally and the majority vote dictates which museum is visited. If more than one chosen then there will be a local charge for the additional museums at 5.56 Euros or 11.11 Euros for the wine museum including wine tasting.

Wine Tour - Full Day

This tour will take you on a voyage of discovery through vineyards and wine production on Pico island.  There will be a walk through the vineyards classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco and where you will learn about the cultural heritage linked to wine production. There will also be time for some wine and liqueur tastings that are produced locally.

Price is £92 per adult and £38 per child (5-12yrs) 

Notes 

  • Excursion provider: Naturfactor
  • Minimum 2 people required
  • Children 0-4 yrs free of charge
  • Included: Transportation, guide, walking trail at Criação Velha vineyards, wine tasting at the wine cooperative, visit to the coastal areas of Cachorro and Lajido, liqueur tasting at Adega a Buraca and lunch at a local restaurant.

Whale & Dolphin Watching Trip - Half Day

Take a trip of a lifetime on board a Zodiac in search of cetacean activity – 27 of the planet’s 80 species of whales and dolphins have been sighted off the coast of the Azores.

Price is £50 per person (06Mar-09Apr and 11Sep-15Nov), £55 per person (08May-09Jul and 21Aug-10Sep) and £65 per person (10Apr-07May and 10Jul-20Aug)

Notes 

  • Excursion provider: Espaço Talassa 
  • Departures: Daily 3-hour excursions
  • Meeting point is Espaço Talassa’s base in Lajes do Pico marina departing at 09:00 or 14:00 
  • Transfers to/from the whaling base are not included
  • Minimum child age is 6 years (accompanied by a parent or guardian) 
  • Apr to Sep is the best period to see whales off Pico
  • Briefing by a marine biologist (c.20-minute talk) 
  • Zodiac boats (small, rigid hull inflatable carrying up to 14 people) are used
  • We cannot guarantee that you will see a cetacean but it is unlikely that you should be so unlucky
  • Pre-booking in July and August is recommended

Important: Children aged 5yrs or under, pregnant women or any person suffering from severe back problems are not allowed on the Zodiac boats.

Whale & Dolphin Watching - Azorean biodiversity - Full Day 

Join a tour where you will be able to birdwatch from land and sea; search for whales & dolphins in their natural habitat; stop for a picnic lunch; take a short walk on São Jorge Island; and have time to do some snorkelling. 

Price is £99 per person (06Mar-09Apr and 11Sep-15Nov), £109 per person (08May-09Jul and 21Aug-10Sep) and £129 per person (10Apr-07May and 10Jul-20Aug) 

Notes 

  • Excursion provider: Espaço Talassa 
  • Departures: Fridays
  • Duration: 8-hour 
  • Meeting point is Espaço Talassa’s base in Lajes do Pico marina departing at 09:00 
  • Transfers to/from the whaling base are not included
  • Minimum child age is 6 years (accompanied by a parent or guardian) 
  • Apr to Sep is the best period to see whales off Pico
  • Briefing by a marine biologist (c.20-minute talk) 
  • Zodiac boats (small, rigid hull inflatable carrying up to 14 people) are used 
  • We cannot guarantee that you will see a cetacean but it is unlikely that you should be so unlucky
  • Pre-booking in July and August is recommended

Important: Children aged 5yrs or under, pregnant women or any person suffering from severe back problems are not allowed on the Zodiac boats.

Festivals

  • Espírito Santo (April & September) – festivities unravel throughout the island (Friday -Tuesday).
  • Cais de Agosto (end July) – Music festival in Sao Roque.
  • Festa do Sr Bom Jesus Milagroso (August) – Religious festival in Sao Mateus.
  • Festa dos Baleeiros (Whaler’s Week) in Lajes (August) – Religious, cultural and music festival celebrating the sea.

Useful information

Talk to one of our experts

020 8568 4499

We're open on Tuesday at 9:15 AM

Get in touch
Rosanna Melaragni
Rosanna Melaragni
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT - 1 hour

Currency

Euro

Language

Portuguese

Average flight times

4 hours 5 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Note: Map is for guidance purposes only.

Talk to our The Azores expert

Alison
Alison Garrard

Alison joined the Sunvil team in 2019 but has long been an extended member of our family, having sold our holidays as a travel agent for 25 years! Sunvil is more than a business, our approach to travel - introducing visitor to lesser-known places and placing them among the locals, is a concept that our staff buy into and feel passionate about. Our holidays are those that we ourselves enjoy and would recommend for our friends and family. Alison is no exception having chosen a Sunvil trip to the Azores for her honeymoon and having recently returned from Veneto.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8758 4722

We're open on Tuesday at 9:15 AM

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Pico, The Azores

Pico

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

Required Information

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First name *
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Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
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