The Azores are one of the most remote and spectacular archipelago on Earth.
Portuguese and of volcanic origin, the Azores are a paradise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The nine most important islands are Sao Miguel, Pico, Terceira, São Jorge, Faial, Flores, Santa Maria, Graciosa and Corvo.
Politics: the Azores belong to Portugal.
Time Zone: UTC-1
Electricity: 220 volts AC
Car: car rental is recommended and it is best to book in advance.
Clothing: In summer, light clothing and a sweater for the evenings it's enought. It 's always good to be equipped for rain and warm clothing especially if you want to climb the volcano.
Pleasant temperatures with little variation throughout the year. The winter months are the wettest compared to the summer months.
Never too cold and never too hot. The average annual temperature is 18 ° C; in the coldest month the average is 16 ° C while in the warmer months the temperature doesn't exceeds 30 ° C and does not drop below 20 ° C. Thanks to the Gulf Stream the water temperature in the summer is about 26 ° C and does not fall below 20 ° C even in spring and autumn.
The best time for a trip to the Azores is from early April to late October
The archipelago rises from a platform that has the depth of about 2000 m. This platform appears to have extraordinarily rugged hills and deep holes and represents one of the most tormented portion of the earth's crust. The archipelago is therefore made of the parts, emerging from the water, of a number of large volcanic systems. The rest of the system is hidden under the ocean as submarine volcanoes.
The fertility the volcanic soil, combined with the winter rains and abundance of water sources allow the Azores to have a very rich vegetation.
The second largest island of the Azores offers a lunar landscape in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The island gets its name from the volcano "Montanha do Pico" high 2,350 meters.
Pico is the second largest island of the Azores.
Size: about 445 km2
Dimensions: 46 km in length and a maximum width of 15.8
Location: It belongs to the central group of the Azorean archipelago together with Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial (which is only 6 km away)
Important cities: Madalena, Lajes do Pico and São Roque do Pico
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WORLD HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
In order to protect against the wind and sea air and to take the best advantage from the geological and weather conditions of the areas with lava plaques known as lajido the land was divided into a most impressive weave of black stone. The segmented horizon ends in the so-called currais – squares delimited by basalt walls where grapevines grow.
The localities of Criação Velha and Santa Luzia are the best examples of this art of dividing the fields, which corresponds to hundreds of miles of stone walls hardly raised. These lands, a mixture of nature and ancestral cultural practices, include the Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture has been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 2004.
Other natural heritage are the Gruta das Torres; the best preserved lava tunnel of all the Azores and discovered only in 1990. About 5 km long and high up to 15 meters , this natural monument, offers spectacular examples of lava stalactites and smooth pahoehoe flows, erupted a thousand years ago.
PLACES AND COLORS
The dark gray basalt, the crystal blue water and the milky-white foam of the waves form the trilogy of colors of the coast of Pico.
Without classical beaches, but with so many beautiful bays and coves, the island has several bathing areas, often derived from the naturally indented coastline, and therefore able to offer beautiful natural scenery. In some places the coastal cliffs rise tall, imposing and admirable as those of Sao Jorge: the viewpoint of Terra Alta provides this such beautiful view.
The coast is a mix of arches, caves and coastal shoals,which give access to the vineyards with their typical wineries (with wine tasting).
The volcano "Montanha do Pico" is 2,350 meters high and has an average diameter of 19 km. The highest point in all of Portugal is the 'Piquinho', a cone of lava in the crater of the volcano at 38 ° 28'07'' north latitude and 28 ° 23'58'' west longitude.
It's possible to gain the top of the volcano and enjoy a breathtaking view of the island, the nearby Faial and Sao Jorge, and on days when the sky is clear, you can also get the opportunity of to see the Islands of Graciosa and Terceira.