The Azores – Pico A Young Island Rising High

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The Azores – Pico A Young Island Rising High

A trip I have been anticipating excitedly for quite a while now. The Azores. A group of islands halfway out across the Atlantic and part of Portugal. A paradise island escape, but was surprised that it was just a short 3.5 hour flight from Gatwick, London!

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My first island to hop to was Pico, part of the central group of these stunning isles. The first sighting was stunning, my jaw dropped as I saw it first hand. The volcano, Ponta do Pico, the highest mountain in Portugal, the highest point of the Mid Atlantic Ridge, rising up in the centre, a true sign of the magnificent adventures and sights to come.

Where should I start? A day of discovery. Of course by foot, along the coast.

The island’s nickname is Black Island. Anyone that has been will know why. Past volcanic eruptions and dried lava flows have created a landscape that is compelling to see. All the way down to the coast you can see in the patterns of rock the flowing motion and drop off into the ocean creating sea views so unique.

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I was fascinated that such a landscape became habitable. You cannot escape seeing how from early Portuguese settlers it became a thriving land of vineyards. All along the coast I could see old vine fields surrounded by volcanic walls. The volcanic earth had created a land to be developed into a unique cultural industry for wine growth. They are thankfully preserved as a UNESCO heritage site. An unforgettable trail to walk. Views out to the ocean, blue on blue. Old vineyards for miles and miles standing amongst the black rock creating lasting photographic memories.

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Of course looking up and inland you can see the peak of the mountain or clouds helping it play hide and seek in a special way. Every five minutes you can view up there and want to take a picture of the new view.. A peak I want to get my legs up… soon!

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The buildings, especially around the North coast are a tribute to the rock. I myself come from areas in the UK that have buildings made of local rock, limestone, slate, sandstone etc. But here, the drystone walls, churches and houses rise up made of volvanic rock. Mastery and quaintness all rolled into one.

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I was in Portugal and the eating here is a fantastic reminder of how they love their food and create each dish with taste beyond taste. In the Pico town of Madalena I sat for a local dish… seafood was a natural choice and had what I can describe as the best octopus dish I have ever had, honestly. The herbs, garlic and olive oil with the meat was just… perfect.

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A day was not enough to do everything on offer here, I could have hiked for miles, alas I needed to move onto another isle, but, I shall be back, boots on, ready to explore more and hike up and down. Plus I want to see more of the great lakes that adorn the mountainside. See a packed isle of Paradise.

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About Paul Steele

Founder of BaldHiker.com and avid hiker, climber and trekker. Never liking to sit still and always seeking new adventures around the world. Sharing personal views here and tweeting live via @paul_steele

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7 Responses to "The Azores – Pico A Young Island Rising High"

  1. Sara Chukoian @Green Global Travel  March 18, 2014 at 01:09

    This was a truly magnificent post. I have always wanted to travel Azores. I have heard great things! As a person who loves to explore the outdoors, this would be a great trip to take. After looking at these beautiful pictures, I am definitely adding this trip to my bucket list. Great post and great pictures! Thank you for sharing!

    -Sara

    Reply
    • Paul Steele  March 18, 2014 at 18:31

      Hi Sara, yes.. Each island is different to each other in many ways.. A remarkable place to go. Thank you

      Reply
  2. Jo Carroll  November 22, 2012 at 08:06

    One day, I WILL go back!

    Reply
    • Paul Steele  November 22, 2012 at 20:51

      Go for it Jo :)

      Reply
  3. Kerri  August 19, 2012 at 13:51

    Awesome post Paul! I really enjoyed following along with you on twitter as you made this trip!!

    Reply
    • Paul Steele  August 19, 2012 at 14:41

      Thank you Kerri. Kind words..

      Reply
  4. Melinda  August 18, 2012 at 14:18

    Glad you got to enjoy the beauty of the Azores. It’s an amazing place and so overlooked by many travels, especially those that love nature and a slow packed life. I lived in the Azores for 2 years. I miss it!

    Reply

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