Pico is to most visitors the Pico Mountain itself; a remarkable, steep-sided, dormant volcanic cone rising to height of 2,351 metres and Portugal's highest mountain.
A short drive will take you to Criação Velha, where you will see the emblematic vineyards of the island. Pico was once famous for its fortified Verdelho wine, and in the last several years, new methods of cultivation and production are once again producing table wine. Originally, the vines were grown in very small stone-wall enclosures to protect the plants from salt wind and to gain extra heat. These constructions are an extraordinary memorial to the tenacity and hard work of the settlers. Extensive areas stretching along the western coast are so impressive that in 2002 UNESCO designated them a World Heritage Site.
São Mateus is one of the oldest villages on the island, with a foundation dating back to 1482. For many years, the port here was busy with ships travelling between Pico and Faial. Today, it is a place of fertile soil and home to renowned lace artists. The lovely church of São Mateus dates from the 19th century.
Lajes, your next stop, was the first settlement of the island and known as the centre of the whaling tradition. This village has a set of old houses with masonry and balconies that reflect a wealthy past. The museum in Lajes tells the fascinating story of whaling in the Azores as it was done until 1987. The museum provides an essential experience for any visitor wishing to understand the role of whaling in the social and economic history of the islands.
Departing from Lajes, the landscape of rounded hills, pasture and remnants of the original forest that once covered much of the island, is lovely. Descending to Madalena, you will have a clear view of the island of Faial.