The Azores are a group of nine islands in the North Atlantic about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) due west of Lisbon (Portugal). As such, they’re both further north and further west than the better known Canary Islands (Tenerife etc.) and Madeira.
click on the map below for a larger image
Like Madeira, the Azores are part of Portugal and the EU but have regional autonomy. The population is mainly European (i.e. not black African). Portuguese is the language and the currency is the Euro (€).
The population of the Azores is 240,000 (same as Madeira: Canaries – 2 million). More than half of Azoreans live on the biggest island, Sao Miguel, where is also found the biggest town, Ponta Delgada – a place about the same size as Scarborough or Inverness. The smallest island, Corvo, has a population of just 400.
With fertile volcanic soil and a moist climate, the islands are lush and verdant. As regards the weather, think Ireland, Cornwall or Brittany but about 10 degrees Celsius warmer throughout the year!
Unlike Madeira and the Canaries, the Azores have not been developed for mass tourism: the economy is still mainly based on farming. It really is hard to avoid clichés like “unspoilt” and “undiscovered” about the Azores where low impact boutique and eco-tourism is encouraged.
If your dream holiday is soaking up the sun on a beach during the day and clubbing at night, then the Azores are not for you. But if you like the west of Scotland or Ireland, you’re going to love the Azores!
The west coast of Flores