It’s no secret that Portugal is one of the most popular destinations in Europe right now.
This popular European destination has attracted huge crowds this year thanks to its sunny weather, beautiful cities, and affordability compared to the rest of Western Europe.
As Portugal becomes more popular, one of the country’s most underrated destinations has also been breaking all-time tourism records this year.
The Azores are an island chain belonging to Portugal but geographically located in the mid-Atlantic. These volcanic islands are known for their isolated beauty, unspoiled nature, and dramatic landscapes.
According to recent data, August was a record-breaking month for visitor arrivals in the Azores, and the islands are on track to beat their previous tourism record from 2019.
Here’s why this island destination is exploding in popularity right now:
1. New Nonstop Flights From The U.S.
Currently, there are just a few cities in North America with nonstop flights to the Azores, but two new routes have been added this year.
Travelers from Canada can fly nonstop to Ponta Delgada, Azores from Toronto and Montreal on Azores Airlines, while travelers in the U.S. can fly nonstop to Ponta Delgada from Boston on Azores Airlines.
This June, United Airlines also launched direct flights to Ponta Delgada from Newark, making it easier than ever for travelers in New York and New Jersey to get to this off-path destination.
Additionally, travelers can fly from all of the cities above to Terceira, another island in the Azores. Azores Airlines launched a new route from Oakland, California to Terceira this summer.
2. Stopover Program
Azores Airlines is the main airline serving the Azores, and this airline offers a unique stopover program that allows travelers to easily discover this stunning destination.
Travelers can add up to 7 days in the Azores as a stopover on a flight from North America to Portugal or another destination in mainland Europe.
This is one of the best ways to travel to this remote destination without paying extra, and you can typically find good deals on airfare with Azores Airlines.
If you’re already planning to travel to Europe next summer, why not add a stopover in the Azores along the way?
3. Off-Grid And Wellness Travel
Off-grid travel and wellness travel are two of the biggest travel trends of 2023, so it’s no surprise that the Azores are growing in popularity as a destination.
This island archipelago definitely checks both boxes. The Azores are off the beaten path, with the remote location of the islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe.
The Azores are also a popular destination for wellness travel, particularly for those who want to connect with nature and experience the outdoors.
Dramatic volcanic landscapes, waterfalls and lakes, scenic hikes, rugged beaches, and wildlife await travelers in the Azores.
4. Great Weather And Low Prices
Much like mainland Portugal, the Azores enjoy great weather year-round and surprisingly low prices. You’ll experience the warmest weather in July, August, and September when temperatures hover in the high seventies Fahrenheit. This is the best time of year to visit the Azores.
However, even in the off season, it’s typically in the sixties during the day, and temperatures rarely drop below the mid-fifties at night.
In addition to great weather, travelers will also appreciate the affordable prices of the Azores. While you may expect such an isolated island location to have high costs, that’s not the case.
Much like mainland Portugal, prices in the Azores are surprisingly affordable, especially when compared to other popular destinations in Western Europe.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com