What to visit, where and when to visit Pico Island

What to visit, where and when to visit Pico Island
Published by:   Toni Martins
This Route was consulted:   3208X
Recommended Season:   All year
Recommended time:   4 days
Located in the central group of the Azores islands, Pico Island is one of the islands with a lot of tourist potential and interesting places to visit.
To get to the island of Pico from the mainland, you have the option of a direct flight, Lisbon/Pico, you have the option Lisbon/Faial and then the ferry from the city of Horta to Madalena do Pico, with several daily connections and the option Lisbon/Ponta Delgada or Terceira/Pico. As I opted to visit the 3 islands of the central group, I preferred to travel to Faial, rent a car in Faial and go to the other islands.
The Faial/Pico ferry connection takes about 30 minutes, the ferries are new and modern and in excellent condition.
One of my recommendations is to rent a car and discover the island and everything it has to show you, don't be afraid because it's an island and as such you won't get lost, but with the car you'll be able to stop whenever you want, wherever you want and stay as long as you like.
One of the biggest attractions today for those visiting the island of Pico is to climb its mountain, the highest in Portugal at 2,351 m. At the top of the mountain is the crater of the volcano and inside this crater, in a more recent eruption, another smaller elevation emerged, which the Picarotos call Piquinho, about 70 meters high.
To climb to the top of the mountain has some conditions and rules. First of all you have to be in good physical shape, the climb is very difficult, it always takes more than 3 hours and much more if you are not in excellent physical shape, you will often have to climb on all fours. The starting point of the hike is at Casa da Montanha which is located halfway up the mountain, it is there that you must first register and inform whether you are going to climb alone or with a guide, even going up alone, you must receive a GPS system to that it is always located. depending on how you go up, there is a cost (between €25 and €65), but it is always recommended to go with a guide. Don't forget to take out good insurance, because if something happens to you, the cost of evacuation is very expensive.
Another of the great attractions are the corral vineyards and of course to enjoy the delicious vines that this island produces.

The trip

Madalena do Pico

  Ferry ilha do Pico para ilha do Faial  
Madalena
  Igreja Matriz de Madalena do Pico  
Madalena
  Antigo cais de Madalena do Pico  
Madalena

Capital of the island of Pico, Madalena do Pico is located at the western end of the island of Pico, being the most recent municipality on the island, having been created on March 8, 1723.
Since its location is favored due to its proximity to the city of Horta and the shorter distance between Pico Island and Faial Island, it is now the island's main port.
The village has good restaurants, hotels and is the most populous of the entire island.
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Pico Island Vineyard and Wine Museum

  Museu da vinha e do vinho da Ilha do Pico  
Madalena
  Museu da vinha e do vinho da Ilha do Pico  
Madalena
  Museu da vinha e do vinho da Ilha do Pico  
Madalena
  Museu da vinha e do vinho da Ilha do Pico  
Madalena
  Museu da vinha e do vinho da Ilha do Pico  
Madalena

Another place not to be missed is a visit to the wine museum.
Here you will discover the whole history of Pico wines, the corral vineyards, the stills and a panoramic view where you can admire the famous vineyard corrals.
Installed in the former Carmelitas Convent, the museum was inaugurated in 1999. During the months of September, it allows visitors to participate in the grape harvest.
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Wine cellar on the island of Pico

  Adega vitivinícola da ilha do Pico  
Madalena

Going to the island of Pico and not visiting a winery is almost like not going to Pico, we visited the oldest wine cellar on the island where we tasted several Pico wines produced in this winery and where we were informed not only of the history, but of the various types of grapes and wines produced in the cellar and also on the island.
We were very well attended, with a very well presented technical-professional explanation. Don't miss this visit
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Cela bar, Pico Island

  Cela bar  
Madalena
  Cela bar  
Madalena

Having become a must-visit point on the island of Pico, Cela Bar has won architectural awards, due to its shapes and materials used. Located by the sea overlooking the Faial/Pico Canal and the city of Horta on the other side, this bar has a wooden construction that looks like the back of a whale.
Let's say it's worth a visit for its architecture and location.
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Cachorro village

  Cachorro, Ilha do Pico  
Cachorro
  Cachorro, Ilha do Pico  
Cachorro
  Cachorro, Ilha do Pico  
Cachorro
  Cachorro, Ilha do Pico  
Cachorro

Located close to the airport on the island of Pico, the village of Cachorro is also one of the places not to be missed. When visiting this village, you will have the feeling that you are traveling back in time. Typical island houses built in lava stone. The name is due to a rock formation in the shape of a dog's head. Another attraction of this village are the rock formations, the arches formed by volcanic rock through which the sea enters on days with rough seas are a true spectacle of nature. These formations are composed of volcanic caves and lava tubes, these extend into the sea causing strong eddies and eddies in the marine waters when they penetrate their tunnels and volcanic caves.
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Lajido, Pico Island

  Lajido, Ilha do Pico  
Lajido
  Lajido, Ilha do Pico  
Lajido
  Lajido, Ilha do Pico  
Lajido
  Lajido, Ilha do Pico  
Lajido
  Lajido, Ilha do Pico  
Lajido

One of the places you cannot miss when visiting the island of Pico, Lajido, derives its name from the fact that it is located on extensive lava flows. The village of Lajido, is located by the sea on the north coast of the island of Pico, full of old cellars, or it wasn't for Lajido, famous since the beginning for its liqueur wine, which gave so much fame to the wines of the island of Pico. It is also in Lajido that you can find one of the most important areas for the cultivation of vines on Pico Island, mainly the famous VERDELHO. It is here that you will be able to admire the corrals of Verdelho vineyards and the corrals destined for the cultivation of fig trees. Most of the houses in Lajido have a traditional architecture, maintaining the lava stone construction. You will easily find a cellar where you will be able to learn not only about wine production but also about brandy production.
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Sao Roque do Pico

  São Roque do Pico  
São Roque do Pico
  São Roque do Pico  
São Roque do Pico

São Roque do Pico is located on the north coast of Pico Island, it is in São Roque do Pico that one of the most important ports of this island is located. São Roque do Pico was very marked by the whaling industry, with one of the main attractions being the visit to the museum of the whaling industry, the convent of São Pedro de Alcântara, the natural pool of Cais do Pico, among others.
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Ponta da Ilha Lighthouse


The Ponta da Ilha Lighthouse, also known as the Manhenha Lighthouse, is located at the eastern end of the island of Pico. Built in 1946, it deserves a visit, not so much for the lighthouse but for everything you will see and know along the road until you get there. The lighthouse is not open to the public.
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Central peak lagoons


One of the most famous lagoons is the Capitão lagoon, but if you enter through the central plateau you will be able to admire several lakes and lagoons as well as the beauty of the landscapes of this part of the island of Pico.
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Landscapes of the center of Pico Island

  Paisagens do centro da Ilha do Pico  
Ribeira Grande
  Paisagens do centro da Ilha do Pico  
Ribeira Grande
  Paisagens do centro da Ilha do Pico  
Ribeira Grande
  Paisagens do centro da Ilha do Pico  
Cascalheira
  Paisagens do centro da Ilha do Pico  
Fetais
  Paisagens do centro da Ilha do Pico  
Fetais

If you go to the east end of the island and return through the center of the island using secondary roads, you will be able to admire beautiful landscapes, lagoons and small volcano calderas. The landscapes of the central plateau are truly admirable. Pastures with cows among the green, seen on both sides of the island from the highest points, are something you cannot miss, you can also reach this plateau using the N3 road passing Lagoa do Capitão.
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N3 road or longitudinal road

  Estrada N3 ou estrada longitudinal  
São Caetano
  Estrada N3 ou estrada longitudinal  
Lajes do Pico
  Estrada N3 ou estrada longitudinal  
Lajes do Pico

Road N3 or also known as the longitudinal road has 23km, of which 9km are a long straight, this straight is the longest in the Azores archipelago and one of the longest straight in Portugal. It is also part of the Top 10 list of things not to be missed on the island of Pico. It is through this road that you can easily reach Lago do Capitão, and if you want to have the best perspective of Pico Mountain, it is here on this road that you will get the best photo. The N3 or Longitudinal road was considered by an international magazine, the most beautiful road in Portugal.
Along this road you will find many good surprises, for example cows on the road, cows everywhere embellishing the landscapes. Therefore, do not forget to include this road in your itinerary when visiting Pico Island.
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Pico Mountain

  Montanha do Pico  
São Caetano
  Montanha do Pico  

The mountain that the inhabitants of the island (the picarotos) do not call Pico mountain, but simply mountain, is the image that represents the island. Pico Mountain is today one of the biggest attractions due to the number of tourists from all over the world who come here for the adventure and unique experience of climbing this mountain, the largest in Portugal with its 2351 meters high. The starting point for the ascent of Pico Mountain is the mountain house, which in itself already represents practically half the height. To climb the mountain you need to pay attention to some conditions. First of all you need to be in very good physical shape, the duration of the ascent and descent lasts around 4 hours, forget those who think that going down is easy, it is not, maybe going down is even harder than going up because I often if you go up you have to help with your hands, imagine going down. Another condition is that you need to book, even if you don't go with a guide and don't forget that in high season you should make your reservation to make the climb well in advance. To be able to go up, you also have to go to the Mountain House to receive the GPS device that you will have to use throughout the journey and that will save you in case you get lost or need to be evacuated, knowing your location. To go up, you must observe the timetable so that you can be back before nightfall, unless you are doing the route with an overnight stay. It is recommended to make the ascent accompanied by a guide. Another thing you cannot forget is taking out special insurance for adventures because evacuation, if necessary, is very expensive.
If you visit the island of Pico with the intention of making the climb, you should stay for several days to be able to climb on a day with good weather conditions, so you should stay at least a week
If you don't want to make the climb, you can always go to the mountain house and watch the videos and explanations about Pico Mountain.
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Frade windmill, Pico Island

  Moinho do Frade, Ilha do Pico  
Criação Velha
  Moinho do Frade, Ilha do Pico  
Criação Velha
  Moinho do Frade, Ilha do Pico  
Criação Velha
  Moinho do Frade, Ilha do Pico  
Criação Velha

Inserted in the middle of one of the largest vineyards on the island, the Frade mill offers an impressive image standing out in the middle of the corrals. Moinho do Frade was rebuilt in 2003/2004. The reconstruction was made in order to be a copy of the original mill in which its function was the grinding of cereals.
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Corral vineyards

  Vinhas de Curral  
Criação Velha
  Vinhas de Curral  
Criação Velha
  Vinhas de Curral  
Cais do Mourato

Perhaps even more visited than Pico Mountain, the corral vineyards are the most beautiful thing the island has to offer. You will find these constructions all over the island but with a higher incidence on the south coast. It is something that you really cannot miss. Do you know that if you lined up all the stones that build the corrals, they would create a line that would circle the planet earth almost 2 times around the equator. The corral vineyards are now a World Heritage Site, which allows for their continuity and maintenance. Each corral has no more than 4 feet of vines, and that
a to imagine the work required to reach the wine, you need to prune, sulphur, pick, keep the walls in one piece and all this manually, besides looking at the corrals it looks more like a maze game, in larger vineyards getting to the center das vines is a puzzle and an incredible job as you need to transport the grapes through the labyrinths. That's why the wine is more expensive, but it's very good. History says that the Tsars of Russia only drank this wine.
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Landscapes along the south coast

  Paisagens ao longo da costa sul  
Cachorro
  Paisagens ao longo da costa sul  
Cais do Mourato
  Paisagens ao longo da costa sul  
Criação Velha

Another road not to be missed is the road that goes from Madalena towards Candelária but always along the seafront. Here it is possible to appreciate all the beauty and all the work that was and is the construction of the corrals to protect and plant the vines. A road not to be missed. It is also through this road that you will be able to visit the Frade mill and the vineyards that surround it.
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Lajes do Pico

  Lajes do Pico  
Lajes do Pico
  Lajes do Pico  
Lajes do Pico

The village of Lajes do Pico was where the settlement of the island began, the first settler was just a man and his dog who lived alone for some time, the story goes that about a year. It is known that the man was called Fernão Álvares Gospel, Fernão Álvares established his residence in the year 1460, perhaps due to the need for water supply, he built the house next to the existing stream there and for many years it was known as Ribeira de Fernando Álvares . Lajes do Pico was for years the center of whaling activity and currently, it is possible to visit the Whaling Museum where you can learn about this activity. I recommend visiting the fishing port area, the historic center and the parish church.
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Landscapes of Pico Island

  Paisagens da Ilha do Pico  
Madalena
  Paisagens da Ilha do Pico  
Lajido
  Paisagens da Ilha do Pico  
Criação Velha
  Paisagens da Ilha do Pico  
Pontas Negras

Mainly in the Center/East of the island, using one of the secondary roads that cross that part of the island and towards the lagoons, you will find very beautiful landscapes. We did it from the east end, from Farol towards the lagoons along secondary roads, don't be scared because at first it seems that the road is very bad and will end up without giving access to anywhere but it's not like that, keep going, if If you have a GPS, use it and head to the lakes and peaks and you'll see that it's really worth it. see the pictures
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O Petisca Restaurant, Pico Island

  Restaurante o Petisca, Ilha do Pico  
Madalena

During our stay on the island of Pico, whenever we were nearby we took the opportunity to have lunch at this restaurant, the reason is because at lunch it has a self-service buffet, excellent variety and quality and a price that is not abusive.
So here we leave our recommendation if you visit the island of Pico.
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