Ascending Mount Pico is one of the great European hiking challenges, but for many, it’s the Whales and Wines of Pico which are the biggest draw.

We often comment on the ‘Ilhas Triangulo’ being the perfect Azorean island getaway. Seeing Sao Jorge from Faial for example, or the view across the narrow channel from Faial from Pico – it’s counter intuitive perhaps, but there’s something about these three islands being in close proximity which heightens their remoteness, making you more aware you’re sitting on a tiny island in the middle of the vast Atlantic Ocean.

Pico’s landscape is dominated by the Montanha do Pico:  an immense 2351m stratovolcano and one of the Azores’ most visually striking natural monuments. Man’s impact on the island’s landscape is equally dramatic. Pico is covered in a geometric network of rectangular enclosures – these drystone Currais plots are the backbone of the island’s wine industry.

It’s a method of protecting the vines from the fickle winter which evolved over five-hundred years and was granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2004. You’ll explore the island’s long history of wine production with our resident guide Joao Xavier, visiting his traditional adega wine cellar to taste his family’s own wines.

The pan-European Great French Wine Blight in the mid-1800s almost wiped-out Pico’s vineyards, and many islanders turned to whaling hunting for their incomes. A corresponding switch occurred when hunting was banned in the 1980s. French naturalist Serge Viallelle offered an alternative to whale hunting – he saw a new future for the hunting infrastructure, combining the islanders’ skills and experience with his own passion for marine conservation. Serge demonstrated that whale watching, rather than whale hunting, was the sustainable way forwards.

Sadly, Serge is no longer with us, but his spirit lives on at Espaco Talassa – you’ll head to sea on three whale and dolphin watching trips with his team, based in the south coast harbour town of Lajes. The waters around the Azores are one of the best places to observe common and Atlantic spotted dolphins, loggerhead turtles, Cory’s shearwaters, and the Azorean sperm whale. Whale tourism is key to the ecology of the Atlantic Ocean, helping to support sea life studies and cetacean conservation.


You’ll begin your holiday by flying to Sao Miguel, via Lisbon. You’ll be collected on arrival by our driver for your transfer into Ponta Delgada (a ten-minute drive).
You’ll have a free morning in Ponta Delgada: capital of the Azores and the main town on the island. Our driver will return to the airport and your flight to Pico. You’ll collect a hire car on arrival, before driving to your new accommodation in the north coast village of Prainha.
You’ll head to sea on the first of three whale and dolphin watching trip with the team at Espaco Talassa. The waters around the Azores are one of the best places to observe cetaceans and ocean wildlife. Whale tourism is key to the ecology of the Atlantic, helping to support cetacean studies and conservation.
You’ll take a tour of Pico’s vineyards with our resident guide. Drystone-walled pens, known as Currais, are used to protect the vines from the fickle Azorean winters. Following a series of local protections laws, UNESCO granted the vineyards World Heritage status in 2004 ensuring the landscape is now protected for future generations.
You’ll visit to the lava caves at Frei Matias and the harbour town of Madalena, before returning to Lajes for your second whale and dolphin watching trip.
You might like to take a ferry to the neighbouring island of Faial for a guided tour, with visits to historic Horta, the Cabeco Gordo caldera, and the famous volcanic peninsula at Capelinhos.
You’ll return to Lajes for your final whale and dolphin watching trip.
For your final day, you’ll visit the harbour town of Sao Roque, the Museu da Industria Baleeira and the volcanic coast at Arcos do Cachorro. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the HQ of the famed Azores Wine Company where you’ll have a chance to sample Arinto Sao Mateus, Arinto dos Bandeiros and Canada do Monte.
You'll return your hire car to the airport before flying home, via Lisbon.

From £2400 per person

We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

INCLUDED: international flights, overnight accommodation ion Sao Miguel in a twin/double en-suite room on a B&B basis, accommodation on Pico in a one-bedroom cottage for two on a self-catering basis, airport transfers, car hire, three whale and dolphin watching trips, a half-day vineyard tour and a one hour wine tasting session.


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