Pico Island, named after its imposing mountain, is one of the most beautiful and underrated island of the Azores. Only second to S. Miguel in size the ‘Mountain Island’ stands majestically in the middle of the Azorean central group, at about 4.5 nautical miles from Faial Island and 11 miles from S. Jorge Island. It is approximately 167 square miles (433 km2).
The history of Pico was built around its whaling and winery based traditions. The famous Pico wines and the UESCO world patrimony designated vineyards, as well as wooden boat building, are contemporary fixtures of Pico. Whaling, long gone, gave way to a movement of fair treatment study and observation of whales, dolphins, and other sea mammals. Whale and dolphin watching trips can be organized from Madalena or Lajes. Volcanic eruptions ended 300 years ago and Pico is considered a dormant volcano, adding to the mystique of the island, and drawing in many scientists.
The Pico island landscape is a sublime mixture of lava rock and exotic vegetation in an ever changing scenery that envelopes this scarcely populated island. Pico features some of the best swimming holes in the Azores, and every so often an occasional sand beach appears. Pico is also the ideal island to trek, hike, jog, walk, bird watch, whale and dolphin watch, swim, fish, ride bikes and motto-quad bikes. Speleology is also a favorite pastime of Pico and its visitors.
Pico is an Island where calm and peace can be found around every corner, yet there’s always the choice of escaping to the village and experience the bustling culture or the occasional festival. Trips to Faial and S. Jorge are one ferry trip away. While it takes less time to become acquainted wit the smaller Faial Island, it takes a long time to get to know Pico as one has to get out of the car to experience all the island has to offer.