Often referred to as the ‘Hawaii of the Atlantic’, the Azores is an archipelago of nine volcanic islands 1,000km west of Lisbon. Up until a few years ago, many would be hard pushed to pinpoint this collection of islands on the map. However, owing to the islands’ natural, wild beauty, the Azores is making a name for itself and tourist figures have doubled in the past four years.
With turquoise lakes, green pastures and black lava fields, the Azores are a kaleidoscope of colour and the perfect setting for getting back to nature and exploring. Activities here include kayaking, hiking, diving, mountain biking and paragliding. Owning a property here is the ultimate getaway from the chaos of city life; it is a unique opportunity to relax and recharge.
Pico island is home to the highest point in Portugal, Mount Pico, a dormant volcano, which stands at 2,351km tall. For many, Pico island is synonymous with wine as it is responsible for 80% of all the Azores’ wine production and its unique vineyards have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. Pico island is also one of the best spots in the world for whale-watching with more than 50 species of dolphins and whales in the waters.
As much of the Azores’ draw is due to the islands’ stunning scenery, the government has adopted a proactive approach to managing tourism. Since 2015, there has been a cap on the number of hotel rooms in the Azores - a quota which has been only half-filled - to protect the islands from overdevelopment.