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There's More to Do on Pico Island Than You Might Think

 

Soon enough we’ll hit the one-year mark for the worldwide coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions. Almost everyone is working remotely and getting a dose of “cabin fever.” Many are missing the sheer adventure of travel and looking for alternative adventures, like learning new skills or placing wagers in the market.

But inevitably, life and travel will return to normal. Have you thought about planning your first post-Covid vacation? Why not start? One destination that spells adventure is the Azores, a string of islands 850 miles off the coast of Portugal.

The vast majority of people who visit the Azores stay on São Miguel. And this is understandable. It’s the home of the João Paulo II International Airport and the island offers a wide variety of tourist activities. The other islands in the archipelago all have their own unique appeal though.

Pico is the second-largest island in the Azores at more than twice the size of São Miguel. But the investment world has largely ignored it resulting in a welcome absence of corporate hotels. Its main industries are winemaking and shipbuilding.

As a result, most tourists see Pico as a good location for a relaxing vacation in a beautiful place. But it's wrong to think of it as nothing more than a picturesque beauty. This islet has far more to offer than stunning views and geological splendor.

 

Wine Museum

Known for its abundant wineries, Pico Island boasts a museum that’s dedicated to its prolific supply of vino. Tucked inside the Casa Conventual dos Carmelitas, this fascinating museum touches on the area’s affiliation with wine while offering vineyard tours and wine tastings. Inspired by Mediterranean architecture, the museum’s aesthetic is as interesting as the information it houses.

Espaco Talassa

Touted as the first sustainable whale watching tourism base, Espaco Talassa is one of Pico Island’s most notable attractions. When a French seaman encountered a former whale watcher, the two brought Espaco Talassa to life.

Their enterprise has proven so successful that it’s said to have its “own empire.” On nearly all the tours, cetaceans are spotted, making this maritime excursion well worth the money.

Longitudinal

Dubbed the prettiest road in Pico Island, Longitudinal, otherwise known as EN3, puts all highways, pavements, and avenues to shame.

While navigating this road, you’ll have a constant view of Mount Pico. Various bodies of water will also catch your eye, including Capitao, which is a glistening lake encircling the mountain.

Gruta das Torres

As the largest lava tube in Portugal, Gruta das Torres holds tremendous appeal. Stretching over three miles long, this unique landmark has a compelling backstory. According to historians, Gruta das Torres is the result of an eruption that happened in Cabeco Bravo over 1,500 years ago.

Since its formation, Gruta das Torres has attracted thousands of tourists from around the globe.

Landscape in Pico island - Azores by Associação de Turismo dos Açores - T09AUH2V[1]

Museu dos Baleeiros

Equipped with artifacts, exhibits, and whaling tools, Museu dos Baleeiros pays homage to Pico Island’s once-thriving whaling industry.

Though whale hunting has been forbidden since 1986, this practice was once prominent in and around Pico Island. This museum details the techniques, hardships, and triumphs that came with a whaler’s lifestyle.

Cafe Rego

Tasty treats are a dime a dozen in Pico Island. Locals and tourists alike are especially fond of Cafe Rego.

This quaint eatery offers delicious finger foods, unique ice cream flavors, and a magnificent view to boot. With the ocean mere steps from your seat, Cafe Rego promises an exceptional dining experience.

Casa Ancora

The quintessence of a modern dining option, Casa Ancora’s mouth-watering Portuguese food speaks for itself.

From signature dishes to exotic meals, Casa Ancora appeals to all palates. In addition to their unbeatable taste, the dishes are also beautifully presented. Some fan favorites include octopus, marinated cauliflower, and gnocchi.

Canto do Paço

Preferred for its culinary excellence and fulfilling meals, Canto do Paço is no stranger to visitors. Their menu includes vegetarian and pescatarian options, making it suitable for many dietary preferences. To get the most out of your experience, opt for the limpets or pavlova.

Whales and wineries and restaurants, oh my! Contrary to popular belief, Pico Island packs a big punch. Though you might come for the gorgeous landscape and riveting natural features, you’ll stay for the historical sites, rich culture, and fantastic food.

Pico Vineyard LAJIDO_C.VELHA - Photo Credit to Direccao Regional do Ambiente

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