Somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean lies an archipelago called the Azores.
Still technically in Portugal’s domain, although the chain of islands is located roughly around 1300km from the continent, the Azores have kept their authenticity as the “Green Island of the Atlantic” for hundreds of years. Indeed, the Azores are filled with breathtaking landscapes of lush green and black rocks, given the fact that a group of active volcanoes lives here as well.
Think Hawaii with a mild climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream which passes right through the islands.
The Azores are relatively unknown compared to the other European islands and therefore are a great place for nomads who seek calm and want to reunite with Mother Nature.
We’re going to see in detail why you should consider the Azores as your future destination!
How is the internet in the Azores?
The archipelago is well developed, ferries and planes are used to travel from one island to another and, the largest islands and some small ones have roads that link the different cities within them.
Where you can find roads, houses, villages, and cities, you can surely find a steady internet connection through WiFi or share the internet connection from your phone.
According to this article from AzoresProperties, some houses have access to fiber-optic connections and hotspots can be found in airports.
The 4G coverage is pretty impressive in the most inhabited region of the islands and falls short in the rural and natural parts.
The best network provider is arguably Vodafone, even though it is the most expensive out of the three brands and in some parts of the Azores, MEO is slightly better. You’ll be more likely to get a steady and high-speed internet connection with Vodafone.
If you’re looking for the most reliable spot to work from, the main city of Sao Miguel, Ponta Delgada, and its surroundings are by far the best option.
Many digital nomads will prefer to alternate a week or two of intense work and then one week to discover other parts of the main island as well as other islands.
Best Visa for Digital Nomads in the Azores?
All you will need to know about the best visas to work from Portugal has been summarised in this Portugal for digital nomads guide.
Where to stay in the Azores?
Unlike the Algarve, these islands haven’t received the same amount of attention from foreigners, tourists, and nomads.
This coincidentally limits the number of possibilities for accommodations, although Airbnb counts roughly 300 houses and apartments in the entire archipelago.
On the contrary, the digital nomad community is quite present there and a fair amount of coworking and coliving spaces have come to life over the last 10 years, mostly on Sao Miguel and Terceira.
As I mentioned above, Sao Miguel is the largest island of the Azores where lives more than 140000 Azoreans. Ponta Delgado is the capital city and the perfect way to get introduced to the lifestyle of the Azores.
The modern and cosmopolitan city is located southwest of Sao Miguel in front of the Atlantic Ocean and has a bit of everything to offer for visitors, mainly historic places to visit like the Fort of Sao Bras and some great hiking circuits.
In Sao Miguel, you’ll have access to activities such as whale and dolphin-watching (especially during April and May, as many species of whales and dolphins migrate to the Azores during this period), surfing, snorkeling, diving, enjoy some thermal springs in Parque Terra Nostra and even kayaking on the Lagoa Azul.
Plenty to do on that island, and other than the respectable internet coverage you’ll also find a few outstanding coworking spots.
This coworking space is situated in the west of Sao Miguel and provides an amazing environment for remote workers. Lightning-speed internet since the house is linked with fiber optic cables, scoring 200Mbps with a wired connection, and a beautiful view over the western tip of the island. They organized events in the evening such as dinners, board games, barbecues, or a night out at the restaurant in the nearby village.
You can book a room even for a long-term stay but is limited to one single bedroom, one double bedroom, and a triple bedroom.
The only negative point is that you’ll be further from Ponta Delgada than Dwell Azores, although this is a minor adjustment considering that a bus can get you there in 30 minutes.
A beautifully decorated place situated in Fenais da Luz (~15km from Ponta Delgada), Dwell is everything you can hope for when you imagine a coworking space in the Azores.
Direct ocean view, high-speed internet, a patio and terrace, swing chairs, and showers on-site to use after a visit to the nearest beach, are just some of the amenities that you’ll find there.
There are also a lot of viewpoints, 5 kilometers northwest of Fenais da Luz, which makes a nice reward after a hiking session.
The second-largest island is known for its incredible natural environment and main city, Angra do Heroismo, which is filled with typical and colorful houses and churches.
You can directly land at the Terceira-Lages International airport, from North America and Europe which is very convenient.
In the northern part of the island, you’ll find the Nature Park of Terceira, which represents 22% of the island. Hikes and tours are organized regularly and you can witness some of the species living inside this astounding forest.
Lastly, Terceira is similar to Ibiza, as it is a great spot to enjoy the nightlife of the Azores. You’ll find nightclubs in various parts of the island and Angra do Heroismo has many active bars and restaurants at night.
Sadly, there are no coworking spaces like the ones from Sao Miguel, and hotspots in cafés are not a common thing. Thankfully, the 4G coverage in Angra do Heroismo is good enough that you can share your connection.
The other islands are more remote and less populated, therefore they are harder to get to and not equipped with the same infrastructures as Sao Miguel or Terceira.
Still, they make a perfect weekend trip filled with sportive activities.
If you’re planning on a long-term stay, it might be a good idea to start looking for houses and apartments.
The website LongTermLettings.com is useful in that regard, but the best way is to get to know the locals, in the meantime, you stay in a hotel or Airbnb.
Depending on the location, monthly rent can go from $550 to more than $800 which is very reasonable compared to other European countries.
Traveling alone gives the possibility to rent a single bedroom in a house owned by locals and is probably the cheapest way to live in the Azores.
To conclude, visiting the Azores is a breathtaking experience for digital nomads. The cost of living being as low as Portugal, the stunning wildlife, the connectivity, and the lifestyle is aligned perfectly with the needs of modern remote workers.
On top of that, it is still rather unknown by the masses even though more and more tourists come each year, the Azores are perfect if you’re looking for peace, quiet and a soothing trip.
If you wish to know more about Portugal and how is it there in general for Digital Nomads I suggest you read our Working remotely from Portugal article.