Azores: Hawaii of Europe

Located in the Atlantic Ocean, between the United States and Portugal, the Azores are an archipelago consisting of nine individual islands. Due to their appearance and shape, and beautiful and serene nature, many call the archipelago the Hawaii of Europe. Moreover, both Hawaii and the Azores were the result of the same volcanic eruptions occurring more than 70 million years ago. The archipelagos also have agricultural similarities as well. Both places enjoy an abundant source of pineapples, for example. However, for some reason or another, the Azores do not have the same popularity as Hawaii.


Out of nearly 30 million people who visit Portugal in a year, only 350,000 of them visit the Azores. Looking at its nature, distinct culinary and drink culture, history, and festivals, this number seems too low.

azores nature

The common view is that the history of the archipelago starts with Portuguese settlers in the 15th century. However, excavations and some findings suggest that at some point, the Vikings may have settled in the Azores between the 700s and 900s.

azores greenery

In addition, the archeologists found a few hypogea, which is the common name of various underground structures. While some cultures used hypogea as temples or tombs, the islanders used it as storage. The estimation is that the hypogea on the Azores are at least 2000 years old. This discovery of course raises the question of who were the first settlers of the islands.

azores from above

Although the Portuguese were on the islands in the middle of the 15th century, the ultimate settlement process began with the Flemish.

the forests of the islands

During that time, Philip the Good ruled the Duchy of Burgundy. However, there were some revolts against him which failed. Moreover, various diseases and a wave of hunger existed in the region as well. In order to escape from the ordeal, 2000 Flemish were allowed to leave and settle in the Azores.

the terrain of the islands

As centuries passed, people from different nations settled in the islands. However, this also resulted in overcrowding starting from the late 16th century. Due to overpopulation, some islanders migrated to North America which eventually turned into a trend. At the beginning of the 20th century, ships started to move passengers between the Americas and Europe. Just in 20 years, nearly 40,000 islanders migrated to the US with these ships.

azores from bird's eye view

Today, the Azores have a population of nearly 250,000 people. The largest island of the archipelago is Sao Miguel which is also home to the regional capital. Due to its position in the Atlantic, many ships and planes use Sao Miguel as a refueling location.

hawaii of europe