When traveling to the Azores islands, especially Sao Miguel and Terceira the largest islands in the archipelago it is best to have a car to get around the island and make the most of your experience on these magical islands. The island of Sao Miguel might sound small but getting around on the island is a must to experience all that Sao Miguel has to offer. Although there is a bus service that goes through the island daily the schedule is not as reliable as one would hope and although can offer excellent views of the island can take away from the main sites on your short trip.
The island terrain is very up and down with winding roads, although they are very safe and well-paved road throughout the island, you have the added benefit of having well-marked signs indicating locations throughout the island. The best way to experience the culture and the many secret viewpoints and locations on the islands is through a tour guide, where you can arrange the price for a tour for the day and you can suggest some ideas of sites you would like to see that may not be on a typical tour, so there are many options to take. The island is very safe to drive around and have many SOS phones throughout the island in case you have car issues or are in an accident.
The Azores are known for having the most expensive car rental rates is all of Europe as of 2015 according to a recently released study showing variations throughout Europe. Yes, this is true renting a car can be a little more expensive than you would pay in a large city or bigger European country, however, all the cars in the Azores meet the standards enforced on the islands regarding pollution etc and generally all are very compact and efficient. It is wise due to the winding roads and various altitudes of various points on the island to have a car to be able to have full control of your trip. There are several car rental agencies that you can research online and reserve your car to have it waiting for you at the airport or downtown in Ponta Delgada however if you have a friend or know someone on the island it is a good idea is to make an arrangement with them to rent their car for a minimal fee which is a great alternative to the high prices charged by local rental agencies.
The price of gas is much more expensive than in North America that is for sure. Although the cars are smaller and have excellent gas mileage generally the price of gas as of Summer 2017 was 1.35 Euros per liter of gas so it is best to fill your tank since you burn less gas above half a tank. Some car rental companies are Ilha Verde, Avis, Mirato have the option of automatic cars, however, the majority of the cars on the island are standard so if you are unable to drive a standard car make sure you book in advance. The island of Sao Miguel is an island filled with high peaks, sea level beaches and deep valleys so to make the most of your island experience, invest in a rental car and experience the mysteries of this Atlantic paradise at your own leisure. It should be noted that in the Azores Gasoline as well as Diesel are commonly used in cars so make sure you have confirmation of what type of petrol your car requires and follow those guidelines when filling up at the gas station. The pumps are clearly labeled, however sometimes people get confused and can cause expensive damage to their rental car that may not be covered by insurance.