Hiking the highest mountain of Portugal, Pico, is a must-do when on the island or in Faial! We decided to stay in Faial, because Azul Singular is such a beautiful place, and to travel to Pico island early in the morning with the ferry for the hike. Looking back, we would have stayed one or two nights on Pico island too. First you can do a sunrise hike (specially in summer, it’s less hot) and second the island is not touristic at all and perfect for all kind of sport activities. Our guide, Quim Néné, was the best! I wanted to have a guide even if we are used to difficult hiking routes in Switzerland. When planing our activities, I read some articles about hiking the Pico and everyone wrote that the mountain is a bit more of a challenge that some might think. It can be quite a challenge specially if the weather is changing all the time (to find the path in the fog is not easy). We were very lucky, bright sunshine all day long! However, as Mike likes to be in competition with all the other people on the mountain and thinks that the fastest we get up the better, I was very happy to have Quim. He looked after me and so Mike could enjoy his pace. Quim picked us up at the ferry terminal and drove us to the starting point Cabeço das Cabras at 1231m above sea level. Pico is 2355m high, so you’ll walk 1200m up and down again. At the starting point you’ll have to register yourself and you’ll receive a GPS (in case of emergency they can track you). They started doing this because there where tourists walking up with bad gear (I mean flip flops!!!). What makes the hike a bit more challenging, is the path. The volcano stones are tricky and you have to be careful where you put your feet so you don't fall and hurt your ankle. We therefore recommend you to wear hiking shoes and have hiking sticks with you. The last part of the hike is called «Piquinho» and is pretty steep. You will have to use your hands and climb a bit. But it’s totally doable. To be honest, I did not mind this last part, because I really like to use my whole body. And believe me, once you’ve reached the peak, you will forget about all the strain. The view is so, so, so beautiful! On a less cloudy day you can see the islands Faial, São Jorge and Graciosa. We were specially thankful for our hiking sticks on the way back down. It can be quite hard on your knees and a lot of people even take longer to walk down than up. We did it in a bit less than the hike up. In total we had 2.5 hours up and 2.15 hours down. Our guide said that this is quite fast. Normally people have about 6-8 hours in total. It was a fantastic experience and for all the hikers a must! And we still recommend to go up with a guide. If you need Quim’s number, just let us know, he speaks English perfectly! Or just contact mybookpack for more support. Here are some pictures of our adventure, we hope it will inspire you!
Pico island seen from the ferry
Our guide Quim Néné (right) and Mike
Pictures © Taste of Portugal