The Pico Island is the second largest island of the Azores Archipelago, located in the central group of the Azores.
The island extends over 447 km2 (with an elongated shape), 42 km long, 15.2 km wide and a coastline with 151.84 km.
The dates of discovery of the Azores are unknown, but there are records of the colonization of Pico Island started around 1480.
The name Pico Island is due to the majestic volcanic mountain, Pico Mountain. With its 2351 meters, this is the highest mountain in Portugal and the third largest mountain that emerges from the Atlantic.
Administratively, the island is made up of three counties: Lajes do Pico, Madalena and São Roque do Pico.
It has a resident population of 14 114 inhabitants (Censos 2011 - Instituto Nacional de Estatística).
"Pico is the most beautiful, the most extraordinary island in the Azores, with a beauty that only it owned, with a wonderful color and a strange power of attraction. It is more than an island - is a statue raised up to heaven and warped by fire - is another “Adamastor as the Cape of Storms." ( (BRANDÃO, Raul. As ilhas desconhecidas.)
The island has a fantastic natural diversity: the Gruta das Torres, in Criação Velha, the natural reserve of the Pico mountain, the natural lagoons, and the fauna and flora.
The island presents experiences for all tastes, from climbing the Peak mountain, hiking the best trails, or whale and dolphin watching.
Here you can see more than 20 different types of cetaceans. Whale Watching is a memorable and unforgettable experience.
Around the island you can see the traditional windmills, churches, the picturesque ports and traditional houses.
Museu dos Baleeiros (Whalemen’s Museum) in Lajes do Pico, is the most important museum of the island. The museum was set up in the old storage facilities of wailing boats and includes a canoe, harpoons and other tools used for whale hunting and pieces of scrimshaw (engravings or sculptures on the teeth of whales).
In 2004, the Protected Landscape of Regional Interest of the Vine Culture of Pico Island (created in 1996) was considered as a World Heritage Site.
"The Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture is an outstanding example of the adaptation of farming practices to a remote and challenging environment. Pico Island is one of nine volcanic islands in the Azores Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. The island contains spectacular evidence of grape-growing and wine-making (viniculture), with an imposing pattern of orderly, long, linear walls running inland from, and parallel to, the rocky coastline around its northern and western edges. The stone walls form thousands of small, contiguous, rectangular plots built to protect crops from wind and salt spray. Vines were, and continue to be, planted within the small and soilless plots (locally called currais).
The cultivation of the vineyard, against the roughness of the volcanic terrains almost without vegetal soil, in corrals, which are walled areas of black stone, of very small size, marks the culture of the island." (Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture - UNESCO)
The gastronomy of Pico Island is very rich! Crustaceans such as lobster and crab, squid, octopus and fishes serve as the basis for varied and rich dishes.
The meat dishes are very present in the local gastronomy, mainly sausage with taro root and boiled beef.