Azores are a group of 9 islands formed by volcanoes a thousands years ago, located in the middle of Atlantic Ocean. Pico island is in the central group and the peak is at 2351 meters high and is the highest point of Azores and Portugal! With 1100 meter to climb from last accessible point by car. Its a hike of 3h30min in generally, easy to climb, just follow the signs. In winter may be a little snow and ice and the use of crampons will be useful. In the top, if the weather is clear, its possible to see all 5 islands of the central group from the total of 9 islands of Azores.
To arrive Pico island if you are outside Portugal, you can always fly with TAP Air Portugal to arrive to Portugal. Once you are in the country you have regular flights to the Azores either from Lisbon or Porto. You can fly with TAP or with the Azorean Airlines - SATA. In case you arrive to Faial Island (which is the best option to arrive to Pico), you should then take another flight with Sata or the ferry to Pico Island. Here are the two companies that have ferries connecting Faial and Pico : Açorline and Transmaçor.
To go to the mountain is easy, because its a small island, easy to go any where, just follow the signs in the road or get a taxi cab.
There are a few local guides that you can get their contact at the local tourism office.
At least there is one company which has organized climbs to the mountain.
There are some routes to the summit of the mountain, but only one is marked with signs all the way up. That route is very near the Madalena village, about 15 minutes to get to the mountain by car. If you want to climb the mountain for other route you will need to start form another village. The normal route starts from 1200 m and is always up to the summit, with 4.7 Km long, to climb safe I advice to start early morning, at 8:30 more or less.
Most of people who have good training gets to the top in 2h45min more or less. In the beginning of the climb, after 30 minutes of hike you will get to a place where is a small cave, called Furna, very interesting. Then the route will get harder as you will get up, not hard to climb but is a slow progression, sometimes you will need to use your both hands. As the mountain is formed by an old volcano its possible to see in the route some lava tubes and other great rock formations. After 3 hours of climb its all done, you get to the crater and then to the summit.
Don't forget that the time you waste to get to the top will be the time needed to get down, its 4700 meters long to descent in slow progression, so don't stay much hours in the top, or you can choose to camp in the large crater in the top and in the next day start the way down. In total is 9400 m to reach the top and to get to the start point.
In winter the route will be with some snow and ice, its not needed to have some alpine experience but the use of ice tools such as crampons will be helpful. Bring some winter clothes and equipment. In general, just a few people climb it in winter.
To see the sunset and the sunrise from the top of Portugal its a must!
There aren't any hut near the mountain but its allowed to camping in the mountain so if you will want to sleep in the mountain it will be needed to carry a tent and a sleeping bag.
If you want to stay for a few days in the island and don't want to camp, you can either rent a particular house or go to a hotel, there are hotels in all 3 villages in the island, which are Madalena, S. Roque and Lages. You can see below some links for accommodation.
The route is a walk up hike, in the months of summer is highly recommended, but if you are looking a winter climb, with snow and ice, the best month is March, but the weather in islands is very unstable in the winter, so it will be needed to keep an eye in the forecast.
Its free to climb, and there aren't any seasonal closures and no permits required, its a safe climb if you go in the trail.
The rules applied to the mountain have been changing a lot in the last years, so when you arrive to the island check the tourism office for further information.
Classified as a nature reserve since 1972, this is the highest mountain (2351m) in Portugal, which is capped by a crater, the Pico Grande, from which a small cone emerges.
Once you are in the island, in Madalena village and you forget some equipment at home and need to buy some new mountain equipment, you can try the store "Sailing", which is in center off the Madalena village, near the sea.
Nowadays, at the parking lot there is a small guard house, which is mandatory to write your name if you have intentions to climb the mountain and at the way back to tell that you arrived safely.
Weather by <ahref="http://www.meteoexploration.com">meteoexploration
Montanha do Pico WebCam:
Espaco Talassa WebCam
General Information in Azores:
Sapo - Search Engine
Virtual Azores - Search Engine
Particular Houses for rent:
Cazas do Pico
Aldeia da fonte ****
Aldeia da Fonte - Oficial Site
Phone:+351292 672 777
Pico Hotel ***
Phone:+351292 628 400
Hotel Caravelas ***
Phone: +351 292 628 550
Forecast in Azores Islands:
Institute of Meteorology of Portugal
Tap Air Portugal