Many overseas property buyers in Portugal think of the Algarve or Lisbon – but there’s more to Portugal than just these two beautiful regions. Head out into the Atlantic, and you’ll find the stunning Azores. These green islands possess majestic scenery, a comfortably mild climate and low property prices. Here are our top five reasons to buy property in the Azores.
Breath-taking natural scenery
The nine islands of the Azores have dramatic scenery more associated with lands further north. The steep cliffs of Sao Jorge, at over 400m high in places, drop sharply into the ocean. Also on Sao Jorge is Mount Pico, whose snow-capped peak provides a picturesque contrast to the greenery of the surrounding lowlands. On the island of Flores, you’ll find rugged valleys, while on Graciosa you can explore volcanic craters.
The island’s isolated location makes them home to a number of unique species, including the Azores bullfinch and Monteiro’s storm-petrel. Around the islets of the Formigas, you can often spot sharks, whales and sea turtles.
Comfortably mild climate
We often associate dramatic scenery – and being in the Atlantic – with the chilly temperatures we know in Northern Europe. Nonetheless, that’s not the case here. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, the average temperature ranges from 15 to 25C. That said, many property buyers do choose to set themselves up on the east of the island – the rainfall here is just 700mm a year (a little less than Lisbon). In the west, it can range up to 1,600mm.
Easy access to the mainland (and the British Isles)
Although the islands are geographically isolated, the wonders of air transport mean that we can break that rule. Each island has an airport. These all operate flights within the archipelago. Two also fly overseas. João Paulo II Airport, on the island of São Miguel, flies to London-Stansted, Manchester, London-Gatwick, most major European cities and even New York and Toronto. Santa Maria (unsurprisingly on the island of Santa Maria) takes travellers to Lisbon.
The excellent location in the central Atlantic means you’re still within easy access of mainland Europe – and enjoy all the benefits of being politically part of Europe – while still being in easy reach of North and Central America for holidays or travelling.
Affordable property prices
Prices in the Azores are, on average, around €500-€900/m2. In some cases, that’s over €900 less than in the Algarve, for instance. For buyers from the UK and Ireland, that means fantastic opportunities to purchase a much bigger property for less money than back at home.
That said, the Azores Daily notes that the autonomous region has registered one of the biggest increases in property value in the country. Where Lisbon saw a 0.9% increase, the Azores saw a 1.4% increase. Not only that, but the region’s seen an 11% economic growth rate. This means that, for people buying property in the Azores, it’s important to act soon – and get in ahead of the curve.
Plenty of local colour
The Azores have developed their own strong sense of identity and culture, distinct from mainland Portugal. There are festivals aplenty in these islands, mainly originally linked to the Catholic religion. Between May and September, the island comes alive as each village and town celebrates its patron saint or the Holy Spirit. Street are illuminated with number lights, flowers and decorations, and parades take place through the main streets.
Of course, Carnaval is also a big celebration here in the Azores. You can expect noisy pageants, with live music, vibrant costumes and masks and plenty of creative floats.
Thinking of buying property in the Azores?
If you’re thinking about purchasing a house in the Azores, make sure to keep up to date with Green Acres for all the latest information, and browse our property portal to find your dream Azorean home.
If you are ready to buy in Portugal download the Portugal Buying Guide
Why not split the cost and double the fun of owning a holiday in Portugal by buying with family or friends? Read our guide to Buying Abroad with Family
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