By Ben Coren – 2 minute read – December 2017
Scattered across the North Atlantic, some 900 miles from the coast of Portugal, are nine volcanic islands collectively known as the Azores – a little-known destination to the UK market and a bastion of green tourism.
Why sell it
The Azores is a great destination for outdoor sports and activities, nature, sailing, diving and whale-watching. It is home to some of the world’s best dive spots and unique marine wildlife. It is still relatively unknown to UK travellers and remains an unspoilt and sustainable tourism destination.
With current travel trends gearing towards experiential and authentic travel, the Azores is set to see an increase in interest from the UK market. The islands also regularly appear on cruise itineraries but the stop is often weather-dependent.
The Azores is currently one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries and is home to large numbers of blue whales, sperm whales, dolphins and sea turtles.
Due to their volcanic origins, the islands have huge craters and unique landscapes perfect for hiking, cycling and canoeing in the waterways. On the largest island, Sao Miguel, the Sete Cidades is a must-see. The enormous crater has a settlement inside it and large twin lakes.
The Azores is a unique part of Portugal way out in the Atlantic Ocean with lush green hills and Mediterranean architecture, mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar. .
Who to sell to
The Azores will appeal to more adventurous travellers who are looking for an emphasis on sustainable and green tourism.
There are plenty of outdoor recreation offerings for visitors and the winding roads and hills are a blast for cyclists and hikers. Fans of adventure sports are spoilt for choice with plenty of locations for world-class diving, canyoning and climbing. Younger travellers seeking outdoor pursuits will be in their element.
If adventure is not top of the list, the major cities – such as Ponta Delgado on Sao Miguel – are packed with beautiful historic architecture and plenty of restaurants, bars and museums.
The Azores is also a popular bird-watching destination and is home to the Azores bullfinch, one of the rarest birds in Europe.
Although it is not the easiest destination to reach from the UK – many journeys will require two flights – there are seasonal weekly direct flights available.
How to sell
There are plenty of companies offering whale-watching excursions. Picos De Aventura is centrally located in Ponta Delgada and offers a variety of tours.
There are numerous destination management companies and specialists who can assist in booking excursions. Go to visitazores.com for an extensive list of companies.
When to sell
The Azores is really a year-round destination as temperatures tend to hover between 13 and 25 degrees year round. The seas are much rougher in the winter seasons, and the rainy season runs from November to March. The summer months are the best times for whale-watching and warmer weather has less of an impact on outdoor activities.
Time: GMT -1
Flight time: 4 hours (direct); indirect flights vary in duration.
Visas: Nationals of EU member countries do not require visas.
Getting there: Azores Airlines operates a direct flight every Saturday between April and October from Gatwick. Ryanair flies direct once a week on Saturdays from Stansted. TAP Air Portugal flies from Heathrow and Gatwick changing in Lisbon with onward travel to Ponta Delgada.
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