So much to share about the Azores! It is so difficult to reduce it to only one post!
The Azores is a hidden gem in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Is a group of nine volcanic islands located approximately 1,500 kilometers off the coast of Portugal, and is a destination that is often overlooked by travelers.
But those who do venture to this hidden gem are rewarded with breathtaking natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and unforgettable experiences.
In 2019 the Azores was officially recognized as the world’s first island archipelago to be certified under the EarthCheck Sustainable Destination program, making it one of the most sustainable tourism destinations in the whole world.
Is also an official UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
But the reward didn’t stop this region as they are committed to becoming an even more eco-friendly destination each and every day.
Why are these places one of the most sustainable in Portugal?
☘ Aims to keep low levels of development (currently only 5% of the Azores’ ground is a ‘built-up’ urbanized area).
☘ Preserve and protect marine life and wildlife (think dolphins, sperm whales, great whales, marine turtles, birds, pelagic fish, cold water corals, and more!).
☘ Preserve the natural heritage sites more specifically, 13 caldera lakes, geothermal springs and pools, mountain ranges, and reefs.
☘ Several Azorean companies have also signed the “Cartilha da Sustentabilidade”, where they committed to change at least three old habits per year, replacing them with more sustainable practices.
☘ Generate most of their energy from #renewable sources, such as geothermal, wind, and hydropower. In fact, the Azores are considered a pioneer in the use of #geothermalenergy, which accounts for about one-third of the island’s energy needs.
☘ Home to unique and diverse flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to the islands. The Azores have implemented several conservation programs to protect their biodiversity, including the creation of several protected areas, such as national parks, reserves, and natural monuments.
Imagine yourself having a relaxing bath in one of the hot springs and thermal pools or eating a traditional ‘cozido’ baked in a hole using the heat from the volcanic geysers and hot springs!!