Discover the Azores and Pico Island

The islands
Belonging to Portuguese flag Portugal, the Azorean archipelago is made of 9 islands, divided into three groups: Pico, Faial, São Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira form the central group, São Miguel, Santa Maria and Formigas isles belong to the oriental group (the closest to mainland Europe) and, at last, Flores and Corvo constitute the western group, the closest to the Atlantic coast of North America.

Lost in mid-Atlantic, still very much part of Europe
The Azores, stretching for more than 600 km through the Atlantic ocean, lay between the 36° and 40° North Parallel and 24° and 32° West Meridian.

Climate, air and water temperature
This privileged position grants the islands mild climate, with air temperature varying from a minimum of 20°C to a maximum of 28-30°C in the summer, while it oscillates between 16°C and 24°C in spring and autumn. The water temperature at surface, milded by the Gulf Stream, varies between 20°C in April and 25°C in August.

Hydrangeas of Pico - Photo by Filip Staes
Hydrangeas of Pico - Photo by Filip Staes

Pico Island Video

The Azores in brief

How to get there

Getting to the Azores is a 2.5-hour flight from Lisbon. Flight time is about 4-5 hours from most European cities, Toronto and Boston.

Some useful links: TAP, Azores Airlines.

Weather

The Azores climate is mild oceanic. In winter, temperature rarely goes below 15°C/60°F in winter and rarely above 28°C/80°F in the summer.

Useful info

Electricity: 220V AC

Currency: Euro

Time Zone: UTC-1

Language: Portuguese

Population

According to the 2011 Census, population in the Azores was 246,746 at a density of 106 inhabitants per square kilometre (270/sq mi). S. Miguel and Terceira alone sum up to 194,300 inhabitants. Slightly over 14,000 people live in Pico. [Wikipedia contributors. (2020, June 1). Azores. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.]

Politics

The Azores are an Autonomous Region of Portugal, with their own government and legislature.

As part of Portugal, the archipelago is in the European Union and Schengen Area.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are mandatory to enter the Azores.

Please consult your physician for personalised medical advice.

GEOGRAPHY AND ORIGIN

All islands have a volcanic origin; Mount Pico on the homonymous island, with an altitude of 2351 metres, is the highest peak of whole Portugal!

The Azorean islands themselves are actually the top of mountains that, if measured from the base at the ocean bottom, are among the highest on Planet Earth.

The most qualified hypothesis is that the Azores owe their name to the astor (açor in Portuguese), a bird thought to be widespread all over the archipelago at the time it was discovered. Interestingly, the astor never lived in the Azores and the first explorers mixed it up with with the common buzzard (Buteo buteo).

Some historians, instead, identify the origin of their name in the archaic Portuguese term "azures" (plural of skyblu), due to the color of the islands afar off.

Windmill in Pico - Photo by Filip Staes
Windmill in Pico - Photo by Filip Staes
Fumarole on Mount Pico in April - Photo by Enrico Villa
Fumarole on Mount Pico in April - Photo by Enrico Villa
Highlander Cow - Photo by Enrico Villa
Highlander Cow - Photo by Enrico Villa

Mount Pico Video

WHALE WATCHING PARADISE

The Azores are characterised by one of the highest concentration of cetaceans worldwide.

Pico, along with the nearby islands of Faial and S. Jorge, features both the highest abundance and cetacean species diversity of the whole archipelago.

An ideal destination for whale and dolphin lovers, Pico is also outstandingly appealing for scuba divers and trekking fans.

The archipelago combines the comfort and safety of a European Community destination to the charm of wild landscapes and of a target far away from mass tourism.

Extraordinary sighting of a North Atlantic right whale - Photo by Enrico Villa
Extraordinary sighting of a North Atlantic right whale - Photo by Enrico Villa

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Milky Way on Bay of Caldeirinhas - Photo by Enrico Villa
Milky Way on Bay of Caldeirinhas, Faial - Photo by Enrico Villa