Pico, the island, has the same name as its mountain. With 2531m, Pico Mountain is the highest mountain in Portugal and one of the biggest European volcanoes. The last eruption has been in 1720. One of the former eruptions created another tiny mountain inside of the caldera (I’m quite sure that geologists would chose different words for this outcome :-), which gives Pico its characteristic appearance. It looks like the mountain would wear a too small party hat. Despite this funny exterior, Pico has a diginfied and wise aura.
Pico: Lajes do Pico and Madalena, day and night
This trail was clearly one of our hiking highlights on the Azores. It follows an old water channel (Levada) through dense jungle-like forests and grasslands. As there was a hurricane just some weeks earlier, we had to climb over fallen trees a lot and there was even a bridge which was hit by a tree. On time we had to pass trough a tunnel.
As we have parked our car at the beginning of the trail we had to take a taxi to bring us back to our initial point. I guess it would have been much more exhausting if we hadn’t found one because the climb to the start was rather steep.
The underground documentation center architecturally is a great building. The museum (8€ pP) itself is ok but not great. The most important part (the eruption) is only documented on one wall, the festivity and marketing of 60 years of eruption is a huge room.
Vila Franca Do Campo is the oldest city on San Miguel and its former capital. It was founded by the first settlers in the 15th century. But after an earthquake in 1522 the city was destroyed and most of the inhabitants died. Ponte Delgada then became the capital of the Azores.