The village of Madalena is the main town of the municipality and is located on the western side of Pico island. In front of the village, two islets arise from the sea – “Ilhéu Deitado” and “Ilhéu em Pé”, as witnesses of the volcanic eruption that created the Island.
Behind these islets, at a distance of 7 km, the horizon gives way to Faial Island. The fact that these two islands are such close neighbours is the reason why Madalena is the main sea gateway of Pico island. The recently built Ferry Terminal “João Quaresma”, one of the most modern ferry stations of the Azores, provides comfortable means for all those travelling to Pico by sea.
The village of Madalena has a rich rural legacy, concerning farming and wine making: tide wells; traditional wineries; distilleries, warehouses, manor houses and other traditional buildings; and the world famous “currais” – a unique landscape with remarkable patterns of spaced-out, linear stone walls, in square and rectangle plots, built to protect the vineyards, form wind and sea water. The architectural logic that underlies the organization and division of the “currais” made of volcanic stones is exceptional and was classified as World Heritage, by UNESCO, in 2004.
The municipality of Madalena, consisting of six parishes (Bandeiras, Madalena, Criação Velha, Candelária, São Mateus and São Caetano) is recognized as one of the main producers of wine in the Azores, made with the local and exclusive grape varieties: Verdelho dos Açores, Arinto dos Açores and Terrantez do Pico.
In the heart of the village and overlooking the sea, the main church dedicated to Santa Maria Madalena, dates back to the 17th century. With two bell towers stretching towards the sky and a beautiful high altar, the façade was totally restored in the 19th century. With the earthquake, in 1998, the people’s religious devotion was again put to the test by the need to restore and rebuild their church, making it possible to reopen to religious service on Christmas Eve, in 2004.
The outline of the village, with the church towers, a couple of hundred year old trees, the old and contemporary houses, their reflection in the water and the mountain in the background, turns Madalena into a living postcard!
However, the utmost assets of the village and the municipality are the natural landscapes – peaceful surroundings, which bring together the darkness of the lava stones with the colourful and exotic species, provided by the mild climate – and the joyful, friendly and authentic local people.
In the village and nearby there are several natural swimming pools of clear and warm waters. For those more adventurous, there are other alternatives such as: diving along the coastline, with dolphins, sharks or manta rays; whalewatching; or boat rides.
The locals are very proud of their gastronomy, which is very rich and creative. Any meal should be preceded by Pico cheese and “Bolo de Milho” (sort of flat bread made with corn and wheat flours) and toasted with excellent wine, made in Pico.
The mild climate and the type of landscape of the island, are an invitation for walking trails or bicycle riding. In the village centre, follow the Public Art Route, of wall art and murals, visit the interpretation centers, museums and religious temples or simply enjoy the view of mountain and sea. There is so much to do, see, feel and enjoy!