An archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the middle of the north Atlantic off Portugal, the Azores showcase some spectacular scenery – lakes in giant green craters, charcoal-shaded lava caves and colossal mountains rimmed by clouds. Hidden away among these cinematic sights, you’ll find plenty of Airbnbs, some with equally unmissable views. Here’s our pick of the best.
Reminiscent of Tarzan’s treehouse, Azor Eco Lodge, which sleeps four, is a contemporary wood-centric hideaway. Though there is wood everywhere – rough-hewn pieces double as shelves and clean-cut logs line up as an under-lit pedestal for the bed – the space feels far from rustic, and is combined with stone pillars and a jungle-like living wall. Sliding stable doors leading to a double bedroom with a Marshall speaker and electric fireplace, and there are two bunk beds tucked into a nook in the main living space. The bathroom features granite-carved washbasins and a rainshower, while a plant-fringed deck has a BBQ grill and pillowy furniture for social evenings.
This traditional, three-bed cottage promises postcard-worthy views of the ocean and cool nights inside whitewashed stone walls. Waking to the sound of birdsong, you’ll be drawn to the sun-trap garden where you can sprawl with a book next to the fish pond or recline on wicker chairs under dappled shade. There is a kitchen stocked with essentials such as pans, silverware and seasoning, and you can grab fresh produce from the local market for dinner. Swing by the nearby viewpoint of Cumeeiras to take in views of Lagoa Azul, a spellbinding lake filling the crater of a dormant volcano.
Wrapped in a tangle of sub-tropical plants and gangly trees, Quinta do Vinhático offers seclusion just a short drive from the centre of Ponta Delgada. Inside, you’ll find lofty ceilings, raw-edged wood furnishings, a patchwork throw draped across the double bed and a rustic kitchen lined with coloured vases. The aromas of fragrant wildflowers fill the air, and light floods the space – creating a natural flow from the wild surroundings – while a welcome box filled with local tips and vibrant camellia is a thoughtful touch from the host.
Pack some sturdy walking boots alongside your flip-flops – this dreamy home sits on the volcanic Pico Island. When you’re not exploring bewitching lava caves, clambering up the craggy Mount Pico or touring the unique vineyards – where vines grow on black basalt rock – you’ll likely be swimming in the heated pool and taking in views of the Atlantic. Sleeping five, it has a dark stone façade that matches the geological surroundings but is kept homely by details like a Yamaha piano, wood burner and velvet furnishings. If the season is right, pick a healthy snack from the garden where you’ll find mango, fig and lemon-tangerine trees.
Overlooking the glittering ocean in Ponta Delgada, this sleek house is a short amble from the marina and its numerous seafood restaurants. It has three sprawling levels, so up to eight people can sleep here without feeling penned in: stripped-back rooms with bohemian decor are a peaceful space to get lost in a book, you can soak up the rays over a tipple (or two) on the top garden, and a secluded pool offers a chance to cool off.
This solar-powered winehouse, in a Unesco World Heritage site, is caught between the elements: one moment you’ll be watching waves crash against the rocks and feeling the salty spray of the ocean, the next you’ll be gazing across miles of vineyards to the scorched peak of Mount Pico. Open the cherry-red door to discover whitewashed walls with exposed black lava stone – reminiscent of cow print – and wooden gulls dangling from the vaulted ceiling. The property only sleeps two so it’s ideal for couples in search of romantic nights spent sipping local wine under the stars.
With its bucolic garden, sun-warmed patios and sweeping ocean views, this three-bedroom bungalow feels like a private eden. Sliding glass doors fill the interiors with natural light and welcome in the coastal breeze, but if the weather takes a turn and you’re partial to the patter of rain, put your feet up in the glass conservatory. When your stomach rumbles from a day of hiking, the fully equipped kitchen has all you need for cooking up something to devour under the pergola outside.
Courela’s House, a two-bedroom cottage in the picturesque village of Nordeste, makes a charming first impression. Behind its storybook façade of periwinkle-blue walls and blooming flower beds is a bright and airy interior with botanical prints, a marble-topped kitchen and potted plants. The real treat is the large garden: relax in the hammock, whip up an al fresco lunch to tuck into on the picnic bench, or sip sundowners around the firepit while planning your next adventure.