The Azores, is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal, composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean 1,360km west of continental Portugal, 880km northwest of Madeira, 1,925km southeast of Newfoundland, and 6,392km northeast of Brazil. Its main industries are agriculture, dairy farming, livestock ranching, fishing, and tourism, which is becoming the major service activity in the region. The main settlement of the Azores is Ponta Delgada.
There are nine major Azorean islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. These are Flores and Corvo, to the west; Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial in the centre; and São Miguel, Santa Maria, and the Formigas Reef to the east. They extend for more than 600km and lie in a northwest-southeast direction.
All the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled. Mount Pico, on the island of Pico, is the highest point in Portugal, at 2,351m. The Azores are actually some of the tallest mountains on the planet, measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, which thrust high above the surface of the Atlantic.
The climate of the Azores is very mild for such a northerly location, being influenced by its distance to continents and the passing Gulf Stream. Due to the marine influence, temperatures remain mild year-round. Daytime temperatures normally fluctuate between 16 °C and 25 °C depending on season.
The culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions of the Azorean islands vary considerably, because these once-uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries.
Meet trekking guide in the morning. Check in at the mountain lodge and start the climb to Pico’s summit. At the extremity of the top crater lies the volcanic cone of Little Pico, with (continuation of day 3) a height of about 70 metres and with fumaroles at its base. This is the summit of the mountain. Descend back down the mountain. Evening camping.