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Pico lies in the heart of the Azores Islands in the North Atlantic and is nicknamed the ‘Mountain Island’ due to its imposing volcano, the highest in Portugal.
As you would expect, then, Pico provides the perfect setting for challenging hikes and scenic walks. Reaching the mountain’s summit offers sublime panoramic views, whilst the Achada Plateau to the east has a fascinating 30 km-long ridge and 200 volcanic cones with bogs, ponds and lakes.
Also, be sure to explore the Gruta das Torres in the west, the longest lava tube in Europe with an estimated length of over 3 miles.
Although lacking beaches, the coastline is dotted with the most beautiful natural swimming pools in the archipelago which are ideal for relaxing in after a long hike. The finest pools can be found in Sao Prainha, Sao Roque, Santo Antonio and Madelena, so there’s plenty to choose from.
As well as exploring the landscape, keep a keen eye on the surrounding waters, as Pico has long been a great destination for whale and dolphin watching. Those looking for some more white-knuckled fun will be glad to hear the Azores are regarded as one of the best places in the world to dive with sharks, namely blue and shortfin mako.
For a more tranquil afternoon, organise a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed vineyard and the fascinating wineries to learn about how the volcanic soil helps create internationally acclaimed whites and reds.
Like every island in the Azores, Pico has a rich festival culture, most notably the celebration of the patron saint, Maria Madalena which includes various sporting and cultural activities during July. If visiting in September, don’t miss the Festas da Vindima, a grape-picking festival involving a series of interesting dances about wine production.
You can sail to the port of Sao Roque on Pico’s north central coast from the Azores Islands of Faial, Flores, Sao Miguel, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Graciosa and Santa Maria, with a few crossings provided each week.
The trip itself went relatively well. However, there were some problems with functioning of the website and for a week we could not buy the tickets because the website was not active (in May). I strongly recommend reminding/explaining foreign tourists the car license issues. While buying the ticket online for some reasons there was no option for "car registration/licence no. is unavailable at the moment" or something like this in the beginning of purchasing process. Then it appeared. When we came in a rented car to get the tickets in Madalena, the staff member at the ticket office did not ask us for the car registration number, so we went to the ferry and got to Horta with no car registration number on the tickets but, going back we experienced a big stress, when almost 5 minutes to the departure of the ferry we were told that our tickets are not valid for this car, though we had come without any problems to Horta already. Your staff at the ticket office should be careful. But generally we found this way of moving to Horta and back to Madalena very good.Read More Read Less
"Booking Atlanticoline with Direct Ferries"
Booking with Direct Ferries resulted in major issues which we have had to rectify while on holiday. The Direct Ferries website failed to include a car on the selected ferry crossing. When I contacted Direct Ferries to request that a car be included, I was informed that they would address this within the next 24 hours. I did not hear from Direct Ferries until one week later, shortly before our departure for the Azores, to inform me, as I was already aware, that a car was not included in the booking 2. When I attempted to rearrange the booking, once on the Azores, it transpired that Direct Ferried, despite confirming the booking for the 7th August, had in fact booked the outgoing journey for the 22nd July. Since this date had now passed I had to forfeit the cost of this booking and rebook for the correct date. I was fortunate to be able to include a vehicle in this booking but had to rearrange to a 7.30am crossing which was far from convenient. I will be raising these issues with Direct Ferries on my return to the UK. My advice to other travellers in the Azores would be to book directly with Atlanticoline who proved to be very efficient and helpful while trying to rectify the problems, and on our first crossing the service was excellentRead More Read Less
departure right on time and quick checkinn. that is something your rarely see when travelling by plane. pleasant and beautifull trip sitting on deck with a Nice sunshine seeing all the islands by. What more can jou wish. Only thing to improve is the lunch and diner. Food is good but it is serves in a short periode so the line up is long. Sometimes to long. Why not a buffet??Read More Read Less
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