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                                                             Wonderful And Amazing Azores Islands

Azores Islands are a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, which are combined in the same name autonomous region of Portugal. They include 9 large inhabited islands and many small uninhabited.                                                                                                                                              Most likely their name comes from the old Portuguese word “azures”, which means “blue” or “cerulean” color. Also there is a legend that the islands took their name from the Arabian word “Açor” - Hawk. According to the legend hawks flew to their nests and pointed for sailors the way to the island.

These islands have a great history. Azores were known by Carthaginians, Normans, Arabs and Vikings.

Azores Islands is a real treasure of nature. Local landscape's color richness is beyond words: azure ocean and lakes, green hills, the black lava of extinct volcanoes, flowering hydrangeas and azaleas - all this like a fairy tale. There are no five-star hotels on Azores so you can escape from the city routine and enjoy the peace. In 1995, the Azores Islands were awarded the EU for development of eco-tourism and conservation of wilderness. This islands attract divers and ocean fans by diverse marine life. Here you can watch sperm whales in their natural habitat. All in the vicinity of islands inhabit 23 species of whales, several species of dolphins, rare jellyfish and soft corals.

The largest island of the archipelago is Sao Miguel island. The capital of the island is Vila do Porto - the oldest settlement in the Azores. Main attraction of this beautiful island is Sidades Seth crater. This place is full of legends and mysterious stories that locals will be pleased to tell you. Also you can visit the Church of St. Peter and the Church of St. Sebastian with its famous treasury. The island is also a lot of palaces such as Santa Ana, Conceicao, Fonte Bela, Santa Catarina.

The highest point in Portugal is placed on the Pico island. It is Pico volcano with height 2351 meters. Also on this island you can have unique opportunity to watch dolphins and whales. Or you can dive under the water with an aqualung and meet many other ocean inhabitants such as octopus, barracuda, parrot fish, needle fish, red grouper.

One more picturesque island of the archipelago - the Terceira island. There you can visit the Algar do Carvao cave. This is pipe 100 meters long that was formed from lava after a volcanic eruption 2000 years ago. There you can also visit another natural wonder – the underground lake with a lot of quantz stalactites and stalagmites.

Another island Faial locals call “The Blue Island”. The city Horta, which is located on this island, considered to be the most vibrant and attractive throughout the archipelago .Tourist routes conducted specifically to demonstrate the unique architectural heritage of the city: the numerous monasteries, chapels and castles.

The most famous cultural monuments are: the Church of São Salvador, Nossa Senhora DAZ Angustiash, Nossa Senhora do Carmo and St. Francis Church, Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Pilar and Nossa Senhora da Guia; clock tower Torre do Relozhiu and Fort Santa Cruz; antique iron gate "Portão fortificado do Porto Paim" and "Muralhas de São Sebastião "(Walls Sv.Sebastyana).

Azores Islands is a natural paradise near the banks of Portugal, which for many centuries attracts tourists with its beauty and natural treasures.

Bio: Joe Craven, writer in Essay-Point.com and developed tourist.

Linda arrived in the Algarve in 2001 with retirement in mind. It was after one fruitless shopping trip to buy decorative candles, that she realised there was a gap in the market. So, in 2003, Linda decided to open the Lindy Velas shop, selling a range of candles for the home. The business thrived and expanded to stock a wide range of home and garden accessories. Linda told us: “Setting up my business was easy in 2003, but I found that an excellent accountant and lawyer were vital for paving the way and keeping me straight on all the rules and regulations.” Linda has recently sold Lindy Velas. She comments: “I love Portugal, the Portuguese and my lifestyle here in the Algarve.”

Gina Carrington moved to the Algarve with her husband and young son

Gina tells us: “After thirty years of taking our family holidays in The Algarve, my parents bought a villa in Portugal and retired. That’s when I decided to move here with my family and try to get work.” Gina explains: “Having been in the travel industry for many years in the UK, I found a job in the same line of business here in Quinta do Lago. That was 10 years ago and we have never looked back.”

How well did Gina’s son adapt to his new lifestyle? “Our son went into the local education system and is now at school in Faro,” says Gina: “It didn’t take him long to learn Portuguese and integrate with the local population.” She smiles: “We have made many friends here and love living in the sun and our Portuguese lifestyle.”

Gina works for Solseta Travel.

Michèle Wolters owns luxury holiday villa company Algarve Housing

Michèle is originally from Utrecht in the Netherlands. At the age of 36, after spending six months in Nepal and six months travelling, she found that she couldn’t settle back in Holland.  

Michèle’s parents had been resident in the Algarve for many years, so moving to be closer to them seemed like the ideal next step. When Michèle’s father spotted an advertisement in a local paper for a personal carer in the Silves area, she applied, got the job, rented out her apartment in Amsterdam and, in 2002, made her move to the Algarve. It was only a year later, in 2003, that Michèle was presented with the opportunity to rent and manage four luxury villas and the rest is history! “That was the start of my business, Algarve Housing.” She said. “I sold my apartment in Amsterdam, bought a property in Silves and now, in 2013, I have a business with more or less 70 luxury villas for rent.”

So, what does Michèle like about living here? “There’s so much to like!” she says. “I love the ‘live-for-the-day’ attitude and relaxed way of life. Also, a big plus for me is that the cost of living is generally much cheaper here than in Holland, especially going out for drinks and dinner!” Michèle continues, “Although I didn’t move here for the sunshine, when I’m back in Holland and the weather is grey, I realise that the Algarve climate is a definite advantage. The beaches are gorgeous and the countryside around me is beautiful.”

Would Michèle recommend living and working in the Algarve? “I would definitely recommend it,” she says, “But if you’re thinking of setting up a business in the region, make sure you get good advice and that you understand the legal requirements. There are many organisations here who offer help in this area.”

Bruce Allen and Eva Kennedy run a naturist guest house in Silves

Both disillusioned with life and work in the UK, Bruce and Eva sold their home in England in 2002 and headed for a new life in the sun.

They bought an old Quinta just outside Silves which was practically a ruin and needed many months of hard graft to knock it into shape. Their dream was to eventually offer B&B and self-catering holidays. They had no idea that today they would be running Quinta da Vista as a successful naturist holiday destination, and attracting guests from across Europe and beyond. Bruce explains: “We got off to a fairly good start marketing the Quinta as a general guest house. Then we realised that the Algarve was fast becoming one of the top naturist destinations in Europe. We saw an opportunity and we took it!”

When asked why they chose the Algarve, Bruce told us: “Eva and I were eager to escape the stresses of life in the UK and carve out a new future for ourselves here, where we could enjoy a more relaxed outdoor lifestyle and have time for ourselves.” He continues: “We’d visited the region several times for holidays and it ticked all the boxes for us. Because many Portuguese in the Algarve speak English and are generally very helpful, the language has never been a problem either.” Bruce laughs: “Our work-life balance here is just about right, 25% work and 75% life. Seriously, a great lifestyle here costs far less than in the UK. There’s an excellent social life and the climate means we can enjoy our hobbies of cycling and running all year round.”

Bruce says of setting up their business: “We’ve had a few challenges along the way, but nothing to make us regret leaving the UK. It’s hard if you leave family behind, but it’s surprising how many people want to visit you when you live here.”

So much to enjoy for free

Aside from the best year round climate in Europe, there are so many things about the Algarve to appreciate and so much of it comes with a zero price tag - great news if you have a young family! There are beaches, miles of unspoilt countryside, mountains, lakes and waterfalls; in fact, wherever you turn in the Algarve, you’re surrounded by natural beauty. The range of activities on offer here is countless too. From sky diving to periwinkle picking! Whatever it is that floats your boat, you’ll almost certainly find somewhere to do it in the Algarve.

Meravista is listing thousands of properties for sale in the Algarve and we can almost guarantee there will be one to suit your budget, needs and taste. Remember, you’re not just buying a new home, you’re buying into a new lifestyle.

What are you waiting for?

Meravista asks the expats

Linda Dubbelt Disse has recently sold her successful business in Boliqueime

Linda owned The Grand Café in Amsterdam, before starting an interior design and renovation business. It was this new career path that brought her to the Algarve. She fell in love with the region while working here and it didn’t take much persuasion to convince her partner Mick to move here from their home in Holland.

If you’ve spent time in the Algarve, you’ll understand why people choose to make it their home. Life definitely tips the work-life balance scales here. Even true workaholics seem to be drawn in by the relaxed ‘joie de vivre’ culture of the region.

This is the life by Meravista

You’ll have heard the saying: ‘Life is for living.’ That’s certainly true here in the Algarve. And, contrary to popular belief, the Algarve isn’t populated by a myriad of affluent retired expats, who pass the time between rounds of golf sipping sangria on the terrace of a sumptuous villa in the sun. OK, yes there are quite a few Algarve residents who fall into that category, but there are also an increasing number of non-Portuguese nationals, well below retirement age, who are working and enjoying the wonderful life here on this stunning stretch of Portugal’s south coast.

In fact, the region is home to over 52,000 foreign residents, that’s around 11.5% of the total Algarve population. At the last count there were 378,349 homes in the region, around 70.6% of these dwellings are owner-occupied and 20.3% are rented. So what’s the attraction? Why do people choose to live and work here and are they enjoying the Algarvean lifestyle?

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