Known as the Mountain Island, the landscape of Pico is dominated by the imposing Mount Pico which, at 2,351 metres high, is the highest point of Portugal and the third highest mountain emerging from the Atlantic. It is also one of the islands that form the ‘Triangle Islands’, located only 4.5 miles from Faial and 11 miles from São Jorge.
Climbing Mount Pico offers an unbeatable view of all the islands of the Central Group, as well the Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lush vineyards that descend the rocky slopes were built in the 15th century, cultivating the difficult terrain and producing a wine now famed around the world.
Pico Island is also famous for its links with whales. Historically the island was a centre for the whaling industry, but in recent years it has become better known for whale watching – something of which its inhabitants are very proud.
For divers, Pico Island offers one of the best diving opportunities –swimming with sharks. The Azores are one of the few places in the world where you can dive with the blue shark and although it is possible from several islands of the archipelago, the most visited site and the birthplace of this activity is the Condor Seamount, located about 10 miles from Faial and easily accessible from the island.
Because the island is so close to its neighbours it is easy to take advantage of the dive sites on offer in a variety of places, enjoying Pico’s rock formations such as the double arches located in Arcos do Pocinho as well as the chance to dive in the Faial-Pico channel or on the east coast of Faial. There is also opportunity to travel out to Princess Alice Bank, located about 45 nautical miles away and considered by many as the best dive site of the Azores. It is common to find large schools of pelagic fish, manta rays and even sharks at this famous seamount.