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Azores: The Atlantic’s Best-Kept Secret

Breathtaking views, untouched nature, and an air of tranquility that’s hard to find in our fast-paced world; these are just a few hallmarks of the Azores. Nestled in the heart of the Atlantic, this cluster of volcanic islands remains one of Europe’s most underrated locales. Whether you’re drawn to its rich tapestry of culture and history, the inviting embrace of its landscapes, or the budding real estate opportunities, the Azores promises a realm of discovery. Dive with us into this captivating archipelago, and unearth the Atlantic’s best-kept secret. Let the exploration begin!

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Embracing the Azorean Lifestyle

As you consider the possibility of calling this Atlantic gem your home, understanding its many facets, from the daily rhythms to its broader culture, becomes pivotal. So, let’s begin by discussing what makes the Azores such an enchanting destination.

Geographical Marvels

The Azores consists of nine pristine islands, each unique in its landscape and charm. From the towering Mount Pico on Pico Island, the tallest peak in Portugal, to the mystic lakes of Sete Cidades on São Miguel, nature unveils its grandeur at every corner. The islands, though volcanic in origin, boast a diversity of terrains from lush forests to serene beaches, ensuring a plethora of outdoor activities.

A Cultural Mosaic

History has left its footprints in the Azores, resulting in a vibrant cultural mix. The islands, while distinctly Portuguese, have seen influences from various corners of the world due to their strategic location. Festivals, music, and dance, like the traditional “Romeiros” processions or the lively Carnival celebrations, are integral to Azorean life, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage.

Mild & Pleasant Climate

The Azores experiences a maritime temperate climate. While it can be unpredictable at times, generally, you can expect mild winters and comfortably warm summers. This climate is perfect for those who appreciate a respite from extreme temperatures, and it’s especially inviting for those fond of outdoor adventures.

Language & Communication

Portuguese is the official language of the Azores. However, given the islands’ popularity as a tourist destination and their historical ties with countries like the USA and Canada, English is widely understood in urban areas and among the younger population. Yet, for a smoother transition, picking up basic Portuguese phrases can be an asset and is appreciated by locals.

Lagoa do Capitão, Azores
Lagoa do Capitão, Azores
Lagoa do Capitão, Azores
Pico, Azores
The Local Cuisine

Azorean cuisine is a testament to the island’s abundant natural resources. From the freshest seafood to locally grown produce, dining here is a delight. Specialties like “Cozido das Furnas,” a stew cooked underground using geothermal heat, or the iconic Azorean pineapples, are experiences not to be missed.

Healthcare & Amenities

While the Azores might seem remote, they’re well-equipped with modern amenities. São Miguel, the largest island, has the most extensive facilities, but each island is self-sufficient with healthcare centers, schools, and other essential services. What’s more, is that the quality of healthcare matches European standards, and as part of Portugal, the Azores benefit from the nation’s robust healthcare system.

Connectivity & Transportation

Given the archipelago’s spread-out nature, inter-island connectivity is vital. Regular flights and ferries link the islands, making travel convenient. São Miguel’s Ponta Delgada has the primary international airport, ensuring the Azores are well connected to mainland Portugal and other international destinations.

Safety & Community

One of the Azores’ standout features is its sense of community. The islands have a low crime rate, and the locals are known for their hospitality. Newcomers often find themselves welcomed into tight-knit communities where traditions are cherished and new relationships are celebrated.

What’s the Cost of Living in the Azores?

Let’s be honest. Navigating the financial landscape of a potential new home, especially if it’s in a new country, can be daunting. But in the Azores, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Here, the costs associated with housing, whether renting or owning, are notably lower than on Portugal’s mainland. And the best part is that this affordability extends to daily necessities, thanks to the reduced VAT of 18%, a welcome dip from the mainland’s 23%.

Though the islands’ remote location might suggest otherwise, most products remain both affordable and readily available. Granted, a few specialty items might carry a slightly higher price tag due to importation, but these are the exceptions, not the rule.

And for the tech-savvy or those accustomed to online shopping, the modern world remains at your doorstep, as most European e-retailers happily deliver to the Azores. All in all, the archipelago beautifully marries the tranquility of island life with the economic practicality many seek.

azores

Azores Real Estate: An Emerging Opportunity

Venturing into the European real estate market often means confronting hefty price tags, particularly in sought-after destinations. Yet, the Azores stand apart. Here, the real estate market remains favorably priced, especially when contrasted with bustling metropolitan hubs. Hence, prospective buyers can anticipate securing properties of significant value without the staggering expenses often associated elsewhere.

Furthermore, the upward trajectory of demand in the archipelago paints an optimistic picture for the future. With growing interest and limited inventory, property values in the Azores are poised for a promising ascent. For discerning investors, this means not just the joy of owning a piece of this Atlantic paradise but also the potential for appreciable returns in the coming years.


Best Places to Buy a Home in the Azores

As we mentioned, the Azores comprise nine distinct islands, each with its unique charm and character. For potential homeowners, choosing the right island can be both an exciting and overwhelming process. Factors such as lifestyle, amenities, and connectivity play a pivotal role in this decision. Here’s a brief rundown:

  • São Miguel: Often dubbed the ‘Green Island,’ São Miguel is the largest island and boasts the bustling city of Ponta Delgada. Its diverse landscapes, hot springs, and vibrant local culture make it a favorite among newcomers.
  • Terceira: With the UNESCO World Heritage city of Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira offers a mix of history and natural beauty. Its blend of festivities and serene pastures makes it a well-rounded choice for many.
  • Faial: Known for its marinas and the famous Caldeira crater, Faial has become a hub for yachting enthusiasts and those passionate about marine life.
  • Pico: Dominated by Portugal’s highest mountain, Pico attracts nature lovers and those who seek adventure. The vineyards, set amidst black volcanic rock, are not just picturesque but also UNESCO protected.
  • Santa Maria: As the southernmost island, Santa Maria is known for its golden sand beaches and distinct geological formations, making it ideal for those in search of a peaceful retreat.
  • Flores & Corvo: These islands cater to those truly seeking an off-the-grid experience complete with stunning waterfalls and pristine nature.

 

Ultimately, the best place to buy a home in the Azores hinges on personal preferences and what you envision for your Atlantic haven. Spend some time exploring each island and figure out which one best suits your lifestyle and preferences.

Discover Your Atlantic Haven

The bottom line is that the allure of the Azores extends beyond its landscapes. It’s a call to a life less ordinary. As you stand at the precipice of discovery, know that this Atlantic gem offers not just a home but a journey. So, dive in; the Azores are waiting!

Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO
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