Retiring to Portugal and Living in the Azores

By Rhiannon Davies Published on 9th May 2008 .

Retiring to Portugal and Living in the AzoresIf you love Portugal you will love the Azores, and if you love the thought of retiring to Portugal but really, you want a guaranteed laid back lifestyle with fewer of the extremes of temperature that parts of Portugal can offer, why don’t you consider living in the Azores?

Located in the Atlantic Ocean, this archipelago of 9 islands has a pretty perfect climate, and what’s more the islands are stunningly beautiful, peaceful yet quite active locations offering would-be retirees a wealth of choice when it comes to activities as well as an affordable cost of living and a lovely location in which to live.

The climate in the Azores is affected by their location in the Atlantic Ocean, by the Gulf Stream and by their latitude as well – so whilst the Gulf Stream and the islands’ latitude could suggest one extreme of temperature, their physical location in the Atlantic ensures the climate is mild all year round.  Some have even gone so far as to suggest that the climate in the Azores is perfect!

In the summertime its warm, in the winter its mild, there is rainfall in moderation and only occasionally do storms hit the islands in the summer, with the odd rough winter day being the only negative climate issue!  Because of the attraction of the weather, the islands have become something of a retirement hotspot for British expatriates.  You will experience few harsh extremes and sufficient rainfall to ensure your garden and the surrounding countryside is always lush, verdant green.

If you are looking for a retirement location, the Azores are quiet enough when it comes to nightlife and tourism so that your summertime days and nights are not punctuated by noise and crowds…but at the same time, the islands have been well discovered and are beloved of visitors from many nations so that there is still plenty to do and see to stop you getting bored!

If you enjoy golf and had considered living in Portugal because of the number of incredible courses there are particularly in the Algarve, you’ll be please to know there are a fair few fairways in the Azores too!  You can try the Balalha or Furnas Golf Clubs on Sao Miguel island or perhaps Terceira Golf Course on Terceira island.  And if you’re a golf widow then don’t worry, there’s loads more to the Azores than just golf.

As mentioned, the islands are so lush and green thanks to the weather, they are also very fertile and so gardening is a popular pursuit.  Wining and dining out is also a highly enjoyable pastime because there are so many exceptionally good local restaurants and cafes on each of the main islands.  If you enjoy walking, hiking or mountain biking or cycling these are popular pursuits in the Azores – as is fishing with big game, sea and lake fishing all possible.  Bird watching is another popular pursuit – or if you prefer more activity what about tennis, horse riding, swimming or even scuba diving!

In terms of where to live in the Azores, well, the choice you make will be very much dictated by your lifestyle choices and also the locations you feel most at home in.  The islands are divided into three groups, the Eastern, Central and Western islands.  Sao Miguel is the most accessible and largest of the islands and is therefore home to more expatriates than the other islands and more tourists as well.  Santa Maria is a great island for those seeking tranquillity and the best weather in the entire archipelago, Terceira is popular with walkers and its capital is the harbour town of Angra do Heroismo which has been made a World Heritage site.

These are the three main islands of interest with would-be retirees…but to find the perfect location for you where you can put your feet up and make a home, you really need to spend an extended period of time exploring the islands.  I.e., that’s the perfect excuse for a holiday!

Rhiannon Davies's photo

Rhiannon Davies

Rhiannon is the Publishing Director at Shelter Offshore. With extensive experience as a technical author, Rhiannon's expat life began in Frankfurt with Deutsche Bank. Later as a freelance writer she was able to realise her ambition of living in some of the World's most beautiful locations.

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