How to travel to Pico Island

When someone thinks about going to the Azores to visit Piso Island, the first question that comes to mind is: how to travel to Pico Island.

The most obvious answer would be to catch a direct flight from Lisbon or Porto to Pico. But there are alternatives, interesting and cheaper ones. Find out in this article how to travel to Pico Island.

The second biggest island of the Archipelago is one of the islands that have the most to offer to those who visit it. However, the offer of direct flights from the continent (Lisbon and Porto) is slim and only made by Azores Airlines and by TAP.

This shortage of flights limits the arrival of tourists, whether it being by the dates (there aren’t flights every day), whether by the prices, since there’s a lack of competition which makes the prices less attractive.

However, there are other solutions to be able to travel to Pico that I’ll explain below:

Travel to Pico Island with Direct Flight:

The trips are usually made from Lisbon or Porto, and the involved companies are Azores Airlines and TAP which usually work in a “code-share” partnership, therefore in reality it’s as if it was only 1 company to have the monopoly, whereby the prices tend to end up being a little superior to the trips to S. Miguel or Terceira because in these islands there are other companies that travel there.

The quantity of weekly flights varies according to the time of the year and from year to year, there has been an attempt to adapt the weekly flights to the growth that Tourism has been having in Pico.

como viajar para o pico
How to travel to Pico

Usually, there are between 2 to 3 weekly flights in the low season and 5 flights in the high season. As I referred above, this quantity isn’t tight, for it varies and with the growing number of visitors year after year, the number of weekly flights tends to be superior in the future.

However, you can get an idea that with 1 flight per day, it’s complicated to find a place and prices that are competitive, especially if you try to book summer vacations and if you book the flights after Easter.

Travel to Pico via Horta:

The city of Horta is one of the 5 existing cities in the whole archipelago and is on the neighboring island of Faial. Being a city and the capital of the district, its airport has bigger traffic and, for this reason, the diary flights offer between continent and Horta is superior to the weekly flights offer.

This solution presents yet another advantage. If you can get an early flight, you can take the opportunity to visit the island of Faial, because being that it’s a small island, in some hours you can get to know its tourist spots and get to know another island of The Azores, without spending much.

At the end of the day, you take the boat that crosses the channel between Horta and Madalena of Pico.

The boat trip costs not much more than 3 euros per person and takes only 30 minutes.

To know the schedules of the boats and be able to book the tickets only takes accessing the site of Atlântico online.

Travel to Pico with free forwarding:

With the intent of not prejudicing the islands less “developed” compared to those of S. Miguel and Terceira, which have airports with more traffic and with flights of other companies, the Azores Regional Government has created a system of free forwarding between the main islands (S. Miguel e Terceira) and the others, which includes Pico Island.

This forwarding is made by SATA and consists of the offer of inter-island flights, supported by the company.

como viajar para o pico
Travel to Pico with SATA

The format is simple:

The traveler buys a round trip passage to S. Miguel or Terceira, through Azores Airlines, TAP, or Ryanair and then asks the forwarding of those two islands to the destiny island, in this case, Pico, making the reservation of the round trip to Pico and forwarding system that SATA has available.

More below you’ll find a more detailed explanation and the SATA contacts where you should request the booking of forwarding flights.

There are a few rules to be able to obtain this forwarding for free.

  • The time you stay in S. Miguel or in Terceira, whether it being on the arrival flight or on the departure flight, cannot be inferior to 90 minutes. Per example, your flight Lisbon – Ponta Delgada, arrives at 9 am, if the connecting flight between Ponta Delgada and Pico is at 10 am, the forwarding won’t be accepted, once there aren’t 90 minutes between both flights.
  • The time you stay in S. Miguel or in Terceira, whether it being on the arrival flight or on the departure flight, cannot be superior to 24 hours. Per example, from the flight of the previous example where you arrived at 9 am, you have until 9 am of the next day to do the connecting flight to Pico.
  • The passenger must have a ticket bought in one of the companies that do a connection with S. Miguel and Terceira to be able to book the forwarding (more below I’ll explain a trick that you should use).
  • When doing the check-in of the forwarding flights (arrival and departure flights) you must present the boarding slip of the flight you made to get inside of the archipelago. Using the example above, you’d have to bring the boarding slip of the flight Lisbon – Ponta Delgada, when you do the check-in for the flight Ponta Delgada – Pico.
aeroporto da ilha do Pico
Pico Island’s Airport

You can get to know all the terms and conditions of the forwarding flights wIth Sata.

When you choose to travel to Pico via forwarding you must note that there might not be flights or available vacancies and therefore the trick that IO mentioned above is:

1 – Search what are the available flights between your destiny and the islands of S. Miguel and Terceira, in the several companies that operate these two destinies.

2 – After choosing the inbound and outbound trips to The Azores (you can opt by coming via S. Miguel and going by Terceira, or vice-versa). Don’t book the flights before speaking to SATA. Write which flights you want to book (number of the flight and schedule) and with this data call for SATA’s number that handles the forwardings (Call: +351 296 20 97 20). Explain that you want to go to Pico and that the flights you have of inbound and outbound are x and y and ask for them to verify if there are forwarding flights available on those dates.

In case there aren’t, look for other solutions for inbound and outbound flights and call them again.
In case the forwarding is possible, then book those flights right away, as well as the forwarding and you have 6 hours to be able to book the flights that connect your destiny with S. Miguel and Terceira and send by email to SATA the payment receipt of the flights that confirm that you’re going to The Azores and that you need the forwarding. The email with the receipts must be sent to: encaminhamentos@sata.pt

With this trick, you guarantee that you only buy the inbound flight into the archipelago after you are sure that you can get the forwarding flights between your island of destiny (Pico) and the islands of inbound and outbound (S. Miguel or Terceira).

Travel to Pico via Boat

To those who enjoy boating, you can yet opt by traveling to S. Miguel or Terceira and then catch a boat to Pico.

These trips are only available in the high season and are slow, therefore this is rarely the chosen option, especially since the forwarding system exists.

But in the past, it was frequent for people to go from Terceira to Pico by boat. Traveling to Pico by boat took 6 to 8 hours, depending on the stops (on the island of S. Jorge) and on the destiny in Pico (São Roque or Madalena).

What is the best way to Travel to Pico?

From the several solutions to travel to Pico Island, the best one, in case you have some time, will be using the forwarding.

The advantages are:

  • More variety of flights
  • Better price
  • The possibility of visiting other two islands, without paying more. You have until 24 hours to visit the arrival island (S. Miguel or Terceira) and other 24 hours to visit them on the departure flight.

Usually when we go to Pico with friends that don’t know The Azores, what we do is:
1 – Lisboa – S. Miguel (Ponta Delgada) – We try to go towards the end of the morning, we rent a car for 1 day and we visit the island, getting to know the main tourist spots. We sleep one night in S. Miguel and we catch the flight the next morning (before doing the 24 hours since the arrival to S. Miguel) to Pico.

2 – We stay 5 to 6 days in Pico – We take the opportunity and take a day to go by boat to Faial and sometimes another day (when the stay is longer) to go to S. Jorge (to a boat from Pico to S. Jorge takes 1h30). We go in the morning and come back at night, that way we don’t have to change accommodation.

3 – Pico – Terceira – We catch the flight to Terceira, rent a car and do the same we did in S. Miguel. Tour around the island, sleep 1 night and catch the return flight (Lisbon or Porto) the next day. In case you don’t want to sleep in, you can try to get a flight to Pico right in the morning and the return flight to the continent at the end of the day, staying only a few hours in Terceira. In 6/8 hours you can visit some of the most interesting spots of the island, like the Serra do Cume (Peak Mountain Range), Algar do Carvão (Coal Algar), Angra do Heroísmo, and Biscoitos.

Conclusion

Beyond the direct flight Lisbon or Porto to Pico, there are other alternatives to travel to Pico Island, some even more accessible and interesting, because they allow getting to know other islands, or for who already knows them, to make a quick visit to friends or locals you’ve met in the past.

Whatever is your favorite solution, it’s worth traveling to Pico and getting to know everything this beautiful island has to offer.

And don’t forget to fet to know our vacation houses in Pico.

VACATIONS HOUSES IN PICO

What is the best solution for you to travel to Pico Island? Leave a comment below.

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