Pico | Mountain And Sea
“Pico is the most beautiful, most extraordinary island in the Azores – with a beauty that belongs only to it, a wonderful color and strange power of attraction. It is more than an island – it is a statue rising to the sky and shaped by fire.”
Raul Brandão, As Ilhas Desconhecidas (The Unknown Islands)
Rising from the sea in petrified beauty, the majestic Pico mountain grabs hold of our senses. We behold it, and it in return beholds us from its 2,351 meters of altitude (7,713 foot elevation), the third tallest volcano in the Atlantic Ocean and highest point in all of Portugal.
Pico was the land of whalers who speared their bread, dreams and hopes with harpoons. For more than 100 years whaling, that riskiest of ventures, was not only the expression of the very need for human adventure but above all an indispensable supplier of resources. As a whale watching sanctuary, Pico today has in the whale a symbol (and myth) of that epic maritime past. As a result, the Museu dos Baleeiros (Whaling Museum) in Lajes is today the Azores´ most-visited museum.
The island´s viniculture area has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004.
Regarded as one of Portugal´s seven natural wonders, Pico magic and colossal mountain is both our spectacular year-round show and our daily barometer. It never presents the same view twice, since the light that outlines it is always in constant flux.
Pico´s Parque Natural da Ilha is the largest natural park in the Azores, comprising 22 protected areas. The Gruta das Torres (Grotto of Towers) in the concelho (county) of Madalena is Potugal´s largest lava tube.
Countless mainly spewing eruptions have occurred on the slopes of Pico mountain, which has been a nature reserve since 1982. Thin white ribbons of steam visible on the “Piquinho” (“little peak”, the volcanic plug at the summit) attest that the volcano has still not completely ceased its activity.
Island-mountain of wineries, vineyards, stills, dragon trees, willows and summer homes. Ancestral island, poetic, deep and wild, Pico is a telluric force.
Victor Rui Dores, 2015.