Overview

Introduction

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.

Read more

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.

 

Coast Route (Full Day)

Come and discover the stunning landscape of Pico Island by walking along its coastline. Visit the wine region with its beautiful vineyards – listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Experience the ancestral traditions of whaling and shipbuilding, as well as the beauty of the biodiversity of the Island.

  • 10:00 - Madalena do Pico - Departure
  • Lajido de Baixo - Santa Luzia
  • Visit the village of Cais do Pico
  • Visit Prainha Forest Park with nature trail
  • 13:00 - Regional Lunch
  • Nature Trail in the Protected Landscape Area of the Pico Island Vineyard
  • 18:00 - Madalena do Pico - Arrival
  • Guide and transportation in all-terrain vehicle, regional lunch and entrance to the museum included

Price is £79 per adult and £60 per child (2-12yrs)

 

Mountain Route (Full Day)

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

  • 10:00 - Madalena do Pico - Departure
  • Stop with a visit to the Pico Lagoons
  • Nature Trail
  • 13:00 - Regional Lunch
  • Off road trail on the central part of Pico Island
  • Gruta das Torres (Lava tube), guided tour
  • 18:00 - Madalena do Pico – Arrival
  • Guide and transportation in all-terrain vehicle, regional lunch and entrance to the caves including all the equipment included

Price is £90 per adult and £68 per child (2-12yrs)

 

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 £90 per adult

 

 

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 £147 per adult 

Notes

  • 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 £59 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 £38 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 £59 per person

 

Caminho dos Burros Trail (Half Day)

This 11.2km (3.5 hour) hike to Topo offers an 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 £59 per person

Notes

  • 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

 

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.

 

Island Tour ‘E Pico’ Day (Full Day)

Travel through the vineyard landscape of Pico - classified as Human World Heritage by UNESCO; visit the cultural landmarks associated with the memory of the old Whaling Tradition; and experience life by the sea and the volcanic mysteries that surround the Island.

Price is £79 per adult and £40 per child (2-16yrs)

Notes

  • Pick-up from hotels on Pico at about 09:30
  • Departures: Daily - all year
  • Transportation, guide, lunch at a local restaurant and entrance fees at two museums included.
  • Minimum 2 people required

 

Wine Tour (Full Day)

Travel through the vineyard landscape of Pico - classified as Human World Heritage by UNESCO, with wine and liquor tastings.

Price is £90 per adult

Notes

  • Pick-up from hotels on Pico at about 09:30
  • Departures: Daily - all year
  • Transportation, guide, walking traill at Criação Velha vineyards, wine tasting at the wine cooperative, a visit to the coastal areas of Cachorro and Lajido, liquor tasting at Adega a Buraca and lunch at a local restaurant included.
  • Minimum 2 people required

 

Volcanoes and Lakes (Full Day)

Discover Pico’s central plateau - one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal, with approximately two hundred extinct craters and many volcanic lakes. The centre of a volcano will also be visited with a guided tour of Gruta das Torres, the largest lava tube known in Portugal.

Price is £90 per adult and £45 per child (2-16yrs)

Notes

  • Pick-up from hotels on Pico at about 09:30
  • Departures: Daily - all year
  • Transportation, guide, visit to Gruta das Torres and picnic lunch included
  • Minimum 2 people required

 

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 £34 per adult and £17 per child (2-16yrs)

Notes

  • 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

 

Pico Mountain Hike

For the more adventurous traveller a climb to the summit of Mount Pico can present the opportunity of a life time 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 £76 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

  • 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




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 £168 per taxi
  • Price from São Roque is £182 per taxi
  • Price from Prainha is £196 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 £216 per taxi


Notes

  • 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

 

Whale & Dolphin Watching Trip

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 £52 per person (21Mar-10Apr and 12Sep-06Nov20), £57 per person (09May-10Jul and 22Aug011Sep20) and £68 per person (11Apr-08May and 11Jul-21Aug20) 

Notes

  • 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.

 

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 £104 per person (21Mar-10Apr and 12Sep-06Nov20), £114 per person (09May-10Jul and 22Aug011Sep20) and £135 per person (11Apr-08May and 11Jul-21Aug20) 

Notes

  • 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

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Alison
Alison Garrard
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 tomorrow at 9:15 AM

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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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  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
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