Go back to Portugal Self Catering Holidays in Madeira and the Azores

Self Catering in Madeira & Azores

Although both are Portuguese islands in the Atlantic, self catering holidays in Madeira and the Azores are very different. Madeira is a lush tropical island off the African coast, while the more remote windswept islands of the Azores are further north, about 1,500 km (930 mi) west of Portugal. Madeira has long been a popular holiday destination and has a good selection of apartments, cottages and villas for rent across the island. In contrast, holiday rentals in the Azores are pretty limited but still an unforgettable experience.


Self catering villas, apartments and cottages for rent in the Western Azores, Portugal (Photo: Associacao de Turismo dos Acores)Western Azores The West Azores is made up of Flores and Corvo islands, which lay about 250km (155mi) northwest of the main group of islands in the Central Azores. The Western Azores was discovered by the Portuguese around 1452 but weren’t successfully settled for many years. By the 16th century small agricultural and fishing settlements were established and the islands also became strategic outposts for the Portuguese navy defending their trade routes from pirates. By the mid 18th century, Flores had become a harbour and processing centre for whaling, and although hunting whales has long since been banned, today it’s been substituted by dolphin and whale watching. Unfortunately, holiday rentals in the Western Azores are hard to find. Nearest airport: Angra do Heroísmo

Self catering villas, apartments and cottages for rent in the Central Azores, Portugal (Photo: Associacao de Turismo dos Acores)Central Azores The islands of Pico, Graciosa, Faial, São Jorge and Terceira make up the Central Azores. As with the rest of the Azores, the islands are volcanic and if measured from the ocean floor are home to some of the world's tallest mountains. Traditionally, the Central Azores has relied on farming and fishing for its survival, but these majestic windswept islands are becoming increasingly popular for self catering holidays as travellers become more adventurous and seek out new and unspoilt destinations. The verdant landscapes include iconic volcano shaped mountains, elaborate cave systems and coastlines of dramatic cliffs, coves and bays perfect for whale watching. Central Azores holiday rentals are limited but there are also hotels. Nearest airport: Angra do Heroísmo

Self catering villas, apartments and cottages for rent in the Eastern Azores, Portugal (Photo: Associacao de Turismo dos Acores)Eastern Azores The Eastern Azores lies about 200km (124mi) southeast of the Central Azores and consists of two islands, São Miguel and Santa Maria. As with much of the Azores, the choice of self catering holidays in the Central Azores is limited but is growing as people discover this unspoilt holiday haven offering outstanding natural beauty and unique experiences. There’s dolphin and whale watching or hiking through verdant valleys, dramatic mountains, crystal clear lakes, volcanic rock formations and thermal springs. Also the impressive coastline of the Eastern Azores, with its rocky coves, sweeping bays and sandy beaches, provides the opportunity for water sports of all kinds from big game fishing to surfing, scuba diving or sailing. Nearest airport: Ponta Delgada

Self catering villas, apartments and cottages for rent in Madeira, Portugal (Photo: Marcial Fernandes - Direccao Regional do Turismo da Madeira)Madeira Madeira and the nearby island of Porto Santo enjoy a mild tropical climate with little seasonal variation in temperature, which normally hovers around a pleasant 22°C. Combine this with some dramatic mountain scenery, exotic flora and fauna, rocky coves and Porto Santo’s long white sandy beach lapped by warm azure waters, it is hardly surprising self catering holidays on Madeira and Porto Santo have long been a popular, particularly with north Europeans looking for winter sun. Nature lovers will enjoy the enchanting forests, the diverse wildlife, exotic flowers and hiking along mounting trials through the most extraordinary scenery. There are plenty of apartments, cottages and villas for rent in Madeira, but choice in Port Santo is more limited. Nearest airport: Funchal


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