Car rental in São Miguel

Lagoa Sao Miguel

The best way to get to know the island is definitely by renting a car. At Ponta Delgada PDL Airport you will find a large number of local and multinational rental companies.

Where, when and how to book a car in São Miguel

On São Miguel, you can only rent a car at Ponta Delgada Airport; some car rental companies have a branch in the city, but you don't have to deal with transport there. The car rental staff will take you from the airport to your car in a van free of charge.

When booking a car not only in São Miguel, but in the Azores in general, it depends very much on the season and also on how far in advance you book the car.

The further in advance you rent, the cheaper it will be, at the same time, renting a car will always be significantly more expensive between May and September than the rest of the year.

As there are so many different car rental companies operating here, we recommend to make a booking, which will compare all the companies according to your criteria.

Traditionally, the best value-for-money car rental companies in São Miguel Ilha Verde include Sixt, Avis, Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise or Autatlantis.

Compare prices of all car rental companies

Car rental prices in São Miguel

Renting a car in São Miguel is not an expensive affair, unless you are travelling during the holidays and book well in advance Examples of average prices:

Always read the rental terms and conditions in detail, especially the insurance, which you can also find on Some rental companies include insurance in the final price, elsewhere you will have to pay extra, between 5 eur and 10 eur per day depending on the type of car and the length of the rental.

International driving licence and other documents

Sao Miguel is part of the European Union, so there is no need to arrange an international driving licence. The rental company will also accept a national driving licence from any EU country.

If you hold a driving licence from a non-EU country, Norway, Switzerland or Iceland, get an international driving licence with your licence.

Car rental companies usually require a credit card to rent a car, and will often lend on a debit card, but either on less favourable terms or with a very high deposit often exceeding even 1 200 eur.

Petrol prices and parking

Petrol is quite expensive in São Miguel. As petrol prices change frequently and rapidly, it is not worth stating exact amounts per litre. In general, however, regular 95-octane gasoline or diesel is sold on the island for between 1,60 eur and 1,85 eur per liter.

Parking is easy on São Miguel. Virtually all tourist attractions are free to park at, and like most towns there are free on-street spaces (paid spaces are always marked with a blue line). You can also park for free in Ponta Delgada, the largest city on the island, without any problems.

Traffic and traffic regulations

The roads are in excellent condition and drivers drive very orderly.

The central part of the island and some stretches along the coast are pleasantly flat and the roads move quickly, while the east and west of the island are very rugged and the roads here tend to be extremely winding, up and down. Traffic is light, however, and the roads are mostly perfectly signposted, so even in the more challenging mountain conditions driving is not too difficult.

A four-lane highway runs from the airport bypassing Ponta Delgada and continuing along the south coast to the popular resort of Vila Franca do Campo. The busiest local motorway from Lagoa near Ponta Delgada north to Ribeira Grande is also four lanes. There are no tolls or other charges on any motorway or road.

On São Miguel, you don't have to worry about ice or perhaps even snow, even at the highest elevations. Perhaps the only danger is frequent fog and rain. However, both usually last for a few minutes at most and are replaced by sunny weather.

If you stray into less exposed places during your travels (most often when you observe grazing cows, of which there are an incredible number on the island), you need to be careful about the quality of the paths. Even brand new asphalt roads have very deep drainage channels that can be dangerous for lower chassis cars (i.e. any car except a jeep).

What is really beautiful about Saomiguel's roads, on the other hand, are the ubiquitous colourful hydrangeas blooming along perhaps every road on the island. Especially between May and September, a drive will be a wonderful experience.

Traffic regulations are similar to those in all other European countries.

The speed limit is 50 km/h in the village and 80 km/h outside the village, and 100 km/h on the motorway. But because of the mountainous terrain, you can barely go 60 km/h off the motorway.

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