Picos Historic Vineyards
Key information: Picos Historic Vineyards
A hugely atmospheric walk exploring fascinating – if slightly weird – historic vineyards.
- Walkopedia rating92.5
- Natural interest16
- Human interest15
- Negative points0
- Total rating92.5
- Length: Up to 13.5km
- Maximum Altitude: N/A
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
From The World’s Most Amazing Places:
“The landscape of Pico in the Azores reflects a unique response to viticulture on a small volcanic island. The extraordinarily beautiful man-made landscape of small, stone-walled fields is testimony to generations of farmers who, in a hostile environment, created a sustainable living and a much-prized wine. The walls were built to protect thousands of small, rectangular plots (currais) from wind and sea water. The resourcefulness and artistry of the inhabitants is also evident in the islands manor houses, wine-cellars, wells, churches and ports.”
This fascinating walk through the world heritage listed vineyards of Pico island was recommended by our friends at Inntravel.
You can walk this extraordinary area in various ways, but to make the most a varied walk of it, start at the enormous lava tunnel of Gruta das Torres, which runs for no less than five kilometers and is explorable for nearly 500m.
You head off downhill on red cinder tracks, descending through rough little paddocks into interesting and varied forest and then into small agricultural plots. The vivid sea is a regular presence ahead of you, with Faial's caldera rim dominating the horizon.
At the traditional village of Monte, you turn south to drop to the sea at the little harbour of Porto do Calha.
Turning north and climbing back up round the former crater of…er…Monte, you drop back through interesting vineyards to an enticing swimming enclosure.
Maybe a km up the seaside road, you turn right up a track then a narrow path, both lined with high stone walls protecting a sea of little vineyard enclosures, hemmed in by heat-retaining black lava walls, and heading straight towards the great Pico cone ahead. You wind on through the general wierdness to an old windmill, then head back to the seaside road, and on north to Madelena. The rest is not especially thrilling, the little town's outskirts pretty mixed.
The route follows red-marked trails on the Kompass Azores map 1.
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