Sunday, December 7, 2008

Portugal Vacations: Pico Azores

Pico Island Azores

In the last post of Portugal Vacations I told you about Sao Miguel, the administrative capital of the Azores. On this post I will tell you a little about Pico, possibly the most fascinating of all the Islands of the Azores.

The island of Pico is 42 km long and 15 km at its widest point, with a combined area of 447 km², it is in fact the second largest island in the Azorean Archipelago. The name Pico is a Portuguese word for peak, which is obvious when you look at the island and it's remarkable volcanic cone rising to 2351 m. The volcanic cone is officially inactive, with the last major eruption occurring back in the 1700's.

The largest town in Pico is Madelena which is located on the western side of the island. There are just over 15,000 inhabitants residing on the island of Pico.

Up until the early 1980's, Pico had a very active commercial whaling industry, that at the time was the major economic engine on the island. Today, ironically, Pico is the place to go for whale watching, with many sightseeing expeditions taking tourists on breathtaking expeditions.

Another interesting part of the Pico economy is its viticulture. Built over many centuries, Pico's lattice work of protective stone encapsulations help protect the native 'Verdelho' grape from the harsh weather and conditions of Pico winters. Recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage, this wine region of Pico is a marvel to behold, as it is a green landscape amidst jagged volcanic rock in a virtually treeless environment offer spectacular vistas.

I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the Island of Pico, Acores. Come back for more information on the other islands of the Azores on Portugal Vacations.

Source of First Image:
Source: File produced by Christer Johansson

Source of Second Image:

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