Sometimes 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 a map. However, owing to the islands’ wild beauty and proximity to both mainland Europe and North America, this archipelago is making a name for itself.
With lush verdant fields, black volcanic rock and the deep azure waters of the Atlantic, the Azores are bathed in colour and the perfect setting for returning to nature, switching off and spending quality time with loved ones.
Buying a property in the Azores is not only a wonderful lifestyle investment for those who love nature and outdoor pursuits, but it is also an interesting financial investment too. Though not as touristic as the coastal areas of the mainland, these beautiful islands are becoming increasingly popular, with the likes of Forbes and CN Traveler singing their praise. Last August, the number of overnight stays in tourist and local accommodation rose by 14.7% when compared with August 2018.
As much of the Azores’ allure is due to the islands’ stunning scenery, the government has adopted a proactive approach to managing tourism. Since 2015, the number of hotel rooms in the Azores has been capped at 20,000 – a quota that has yet to be hit – to protect the islands from overdevelopment. At the time of writing, there are approximately only 300 Airbnbs too. This scarcity of tourist accommodation combined with the increasing popularity of this archipelago suggests that properties here are set to perform well on the rental market.
This unique collection of islands offers the ultimate escape from city life and owning a property here is perfect for those who love the outdoors and want a home away from home where they can reconnect with nature. Plus, just a four-hour flight from the UK and a six-hour flight from New York, the wild beauty of the Azores is surprisingly accessible.
The Azores have seen significant infrastructure development in recent years. This includes improvements to transportation, such as the expansion and renovation of airports and ports, as well as the development of new roads and highways.
The islands have also seen investments in renewable energy, including wind and geothermal power, with several new projects being developed to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Additionally, there have been improvements to public services, such as healthcare and education, as well as the development of new tourism infrastructure, such as hotels and restaurants.
Overall, the infrastructure development in the Azores has helped to make the islands more accessible and attractive to visitors, while also improving the quality of life for residents.
Settlers first arrived in the Azores during the 15th century following their discovery by the Portuguese explorer Diogo de Silves. Santa Maria was the first island to be inhabited, followed by São Miguel which is now considered to be the principal island and home to João Paulo II Airport, the main gateway to the Azores.
Thanks to the fertile soil, throughout the Azores somewhat complex history, agriculture has been central to the Azores and at one time São Miguel island was the UK’s main source of oranges. Farming is still a major industry today and notable exports include wheat, pineapples and wine grapes.
The Azores comprises nine islands, the largest and most populous of which is São Miguel, sometimes called the Green Island, which is home to around 140,000 residents.
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.
Pico island is home to the highest point in Portugal, Mount Pico, a dormant volcano that stands at 2,351m. 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.
Just a four-hour flight from the UK and a six-hour flight from New York, the wild beauty of the Azores is surprisingly accessible.