July 22, 2019

Pico (Azores Part #3)

After visiting São Miguel and Faial we took the ferry from Horta to Madalena, which takes about 45 minutes and costs only 3,20 EUR (1 person, no car).

Pico island is home of the highest mountain of Portugal, Mount Pico, which is visible from more or less the entire island. Another characteristic feature of Pico are vineyards built on the volcanic and rocky soil.

Day 9

Some rocks in front of the harbor of Madalena you pass with the ferry. What a pity that there were those clouds. Otherwise, you would see Mt. Pico nicely from the water…

🌍 Picture location

Later that day, the clouds suddenly vanished and we first saw Pico, which indeed is an impressive mountain/volcano.

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What I highly recommend is having a car on that island and driving into the center of the island. The high plateau is quite beautiful and virtually uninhabited. However, you find many (often really bad and curvy) roads used by farmers, which you can and should use to explore the mountains and high plateaus.

🌍 Picture location – You see Pico from everywhere.

🌍 Picture location – Pico…

At the evening, we finally reached the parking place of the mountain house of Mt. Pico. We did not climb Pico mountain as you need a permit and must be at the mountain house as it seems terribly early.

I overheard some other guy in a restaurant who ordered a taxi for 3am the next morning. Apparently, a lot of people hike up Mt. Pico at the early morning hours to experience sunrise on top of the mountain. I bet this is beautiful, but I'm too old for this shit and I don't have a strap-on hiking light.

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Day 10

Hiking day. This time we tried to do a trail at the east coast. However, as it turned out, the first parts of the trail were – once again – little streets connecting several small villages. The next part of the path was more like “follow some markings near the shore over huge sharp-edged volcanic rocks”. We didn't do that as climbing over those rocks didn't feel nice or safe. Instead, we found a nice path through vineyards and orchards.

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🌍 Picture location – Vineyards. Grapes just grow on the ground.

🌍 Picture location – It seems that everything just grows on Pico island. We also saw figs and more flowers than you can count.

🌍 Picture location – The typical mixture of low bushes and rocks covering large areas of the coastal region.

After that hike, we drove back to the hotel via the central “highland” in the east. Again, clouds suddenly emerged and made driving around quite interesting. Also note that the roads on the eastern highlands are especially bad… You really need to be careful not to damage the tires…

Day 11

As it was too cloudy the other day, we returned to the central highlands in the east, which seem to be home of a lot (!) of smaller volcanic mountains and lakes. Really nice area.

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🌍 Picture location – Scenic but pretty bumpy road.

Back to the coast and the vineyards.

🌍 Picture location

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