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Climbing Mount Pico in the Azores

Pico Mount Pico
Pico Azores photos and review by Alain Debord

On Pico in the Azores a majestic volcano dominates the island, with an altitude of 2,351 metres. It is crowned by Pico Alto, a round crater with a perimeter of about 700 metres and a depth that reaches 30 metres.

At the extremity of the crater lies the volcanic cone Piquinho or Pico Pequeno, with a height of about 70 metres and with fumaroles at its base, and which constitutes the summit of the mountain.

It is covered with thick forests up to about 1,500 metres, but above this altitude the vegetation is reduced to shrubbery ending at 2,000 metres. After that there is only the cone of bare, naked lava, which is covered by snow in the winter.

It provides magnificent views, including glimpses of the islands of Faial, São Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira. Sunrise viewed from the top of the peak is a spectacular and unforgettable sight.

Mount Pico Climbing Mount Pico in the Azores is an exciting experience because it is the national summit of Portugal. There is parking located on the west side of the mountain at 1200 m altitude. The climb is technically easy but you have to be in a good shape to climb, because it's an 1100-m high hike.

This could be a dangerous climb in bad weather. Mount Pico Clouds and wind could arrive very quickly and as they have no marks on the way, it is easy to be lost. When I climbed there was 100 km/h strong wind and snow in the summit. No visibility at all, fortunately we had a GPS. So watch the weather before. It takes 2 ½ hours to climb and 2 ½ to go down.

This review was written by French traveller Alain Debord. If you'd like to read more of his adventures (in French) why not visit his website?.

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