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Pico Ascent

Azores - Açores


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9 day treks: Sao Jorge, Faial & Pico ascent | Sao Miguel

PicoAscent of Pico
At 2351m this is the highest summit not only in the Azores but also in Portugal. Although only a walk it is along rough trails and in places up steep paths. Because of accidents and fatalities that have occurred in the past it is now necessary to have a guide for the ascent and register with the local fire service. In winter an ice axe or walking poles and even crampons may be necessary and be prepared for some rough weather to add a bit of excitement to the ascent!

The rest of the trekking on this 8 day trip will be rather tame by comparison enjoying the dramatic verdant scenery: volcanic calderas, fajas, sea-cliffs and lakes. For the best flowers come in May, June or early August.

Sao Jorge, Faial, PicoGetting There
The best way to the three islands is to fly in directly to Horta on Faial. There are daily flights in the morning from Lisbon to Horta. Convenient ferries connect the islands and crossing times are never more than an hour. It is possible to see whales and dolphins on the boat crossings as an added attraction. If you fly in to Terceira or Sao Miguel there are connecting flights every day to one of the three islands but this is a more expensive alternative.

Although some early flights from London to Lisbon connect with the Horta flight, this is not always the case, and sometimes it is necessary to overnight in Lisbon.

Horta Faial
Horta, Faial


Lagoa do Capitao Pico
Lagoa do Capitao, Pico

Swimming with Dolphins
Swimming with Dolphins

Details of the ascent of Pico
From the roadhead at Cabeco das Cabras at 1220m (Goats Peak) the path leads through heather and thyme in 25in. to Furna - a cavern located in a volcanic cone. The caldera rim of Pico Grande can be reached in another 2h from Furna (2h 30min from the roadhead). From here the final cone and the true top (Piquinho) lies a 100m higher and takes a further 1h to reach. The descent from Piquinho to roadhead takes 2h 30min, making the whole round trip about 6h. The 1000m. ascent to the summit from the roadhead should not be underestimated. It is physically demanding and at 2351m you will start feeling the effects of the altitude unless you are already acclimatised. The caldera and the summit offer superb panoramas of the whole island and of Faial and Sao Jorge.

During the winter months you may have a perfect ascent but be prepared for storms and bring an ice axe or walking poles and crampons.

Alternative Walks
In the event of very bad weather several low level walks are possible on the island. A walk starting at a high level from Furna Frei Matias to Madalena via Biscoitas provides a 12km gentle descent following old tracks from Furna Frei Matias (Brother Matthew's Cavern) to the town of Madalena. The route passes old lava flows and numerous lava caverns then lower down past fruit plantations and the beautiful purpose made picnic site of Quinta das Rosas.

Another walk from Madalena follows tracks and paths along the south coast of Pico through seaside vineyards.

Finally near Madalena are the Azores longest lava tube caves recently opened up to the public.

Year Round Private Programmes
Sao Jorge, Faial and Pico ascent, 9 day trek
Sao Miguel trek and whale watching, 9 day trek
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ALW 25/9/03