Travelling in São Miguel by public bus
Three bus companies operate in São Miguel Island linking all localities.
Caetano Raposo & Pereira (CRP) links Ponta Delgada to Ribeira Grande and operates in this municipality;
Varela operates from Ponta Delgada to the southeast villages of the Island, as far as Povoação;
Auto Viação Micaelense (AVM) operates in the municipality of Ponta Delgada linking almost all villages located at the West side of the Island.
Just to help you, I wrote some tips about some trips. Anyway, acced to the map and click on the desired location to look at the timetable.
Sao Miguel is connected to the world by air.
Sao Miguel has an international airport just outside Ponta Delgada and you have flights to the other islands of the Azores just as you have flights to several other countries in Europe and North America.
It´s mainly the Azoran airline SATA and TAP air Portugal that flies there, but you do currently have airlines like Air Berlin and Finnair aswell as some charters coming there.
It´s a small but very pleasant airport with nice cafes, shops and free wifi there so i always find it a joy flying in and out of that little airport.
- Business Travel
Hire a car
Hiring a car is, in my opinion, the best choice in Sao miguel Island. You will be free to travel around.
When you get the car, you can note tha the car will have plenty of little scratches. I have been twice in Sao Miguel and I have never done something about this scratches - as normally you would do - in the car and nobody told me nothing about that when I leave the car at the airport, so, don't worry about those scratches :|
There are not many, but you have an increasingly number of bicycle lanes springing up on Sao Miguel, mainly in the bigger towns and you can rent bicycles on the island and take some nice trips, especially around the scenic coastline.
Sao Miguel is not really a cyclists place yet, but it´s slowly moving in that direction and i think that is great.
- Road Trip
Na minha opinião, a melhor maneira de explorar a ilha é de carro. Contudo, se não gosta de conduzir e necessita de um guia, recomendo que recorra a uma agência de viagens. Pode procurar na rede por essas agências, mas aconselho vivamente Festitour Thematic Tours devido ao excelente serviço e à possibilidade de personalizar uma excursão apenas para si. Recentemente, tive a oportunidade de me encontrar com um casal de turistas que viajaram com o António Cabral, o proprietário da agência, os quais ficaram muito bem impressionados com o serviço de elevada qualidade prestado por esse cavalheiro.
In my opinion, the best way to explore the Island is by car. However, if you don't like to drive and need a guide, I recommend you go request a travel agencies. You can search on the internet for these agencies, but I strongly advise Festitour Thematic Tours, due to the excellent service and the possibility to personalize a tour just for you. Recently, I had opportunity to meet a couple of foreigners who travelled with António Cabral, the owner of the company, and they were more than impressed with the good quality service offered by this gentleman.
Busses: S. Miguel Transport
This link of S. Miguel Transportes is all you need to get around Sao Miguel without renting a car!! And also the cheapest way to explore island and see the views without driving stress.
I saw all I wanted and if you want to see more without walking a little; go by bus to the town which is near and make deal with taxi there.
Operating companies are CRP, Varela and AVM.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
The bus company UTC, besides offering a shuttle service between the airport and the city centre, also offers some tours around the island. I really don't know, personally, nothing about the quality of the service, but can be a option to take in mind. They don't offer a personalized service.
A companhia de autocarros UTC, além de oferecer um serviço expresso entre o aeroporto e o centro da cidade, também oferece excursões em redor da ilha. Na verdade, pessoalmente, não sei nada acerca da qualidade do serviço, mas pode ser uma opção a ter em conta. De qualquer maneira, o serviço não é personalizado.
UTC - União de Transportes dos Carvalhos
Sata –airline between islands
Sata airline operates between islands of Azores but also to Europe and to America. In Ponta Delgada you can find many travel agency where to book or you can do it online here.
- Road Trip
Negotiate a taxi trip
If you don't like the idea of renting a car (like I don't because I just want really see the views without worrying), take a bus to some of the towns or negotiate with a taxi driver. For me my daily trips were much more cheaper this way when you calculate car rent, fuel and warranties together.
And you can combine like I did. I went to some town by bus and then negotiated a taxi trip to the nice place which were too far away to walk.
And I even got some extra on one of my trips; I wanted to go swimming and my taxi driver showed me the nice spot for that and even took some pictures while I was swimming :)
- National/State Park
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Renting a car
Se vem visitar a ilha por poucos dias, devia considerar a possibilidade de alugar um carro. Eis algumas agências de aluguer de viaturas. As agências Auto Ramalhense e Flor do Norte são particularmente conhecidas por oferecerem as melhoras tarifas do mercado.
If you are visiting the Island for just a few days, you should consider to rent a car. Here are some rent-a-car agencies. Auto Ramalhense and Flor do Norte are well known for offering the lowest fares.
Flor do Norte
Renting a taxi / Tour
Na verdade, não conheço o Gary Travassos, mas o síto internet dele pode ser muito útil, especialmente se precisar de fazer uma excursão na ilha e for um grupo de 3-4 pessoas. Por favor, compare as tarifas com outros operadores.
Na minha opinião, um serviço de táxi por 13€ do aeroporto para um hotel na cidade é caro. Não deveria pagar mais do que 8€. Vivo numa freguesia a cerca de 5km do aeroporto e a tarifa normal do táxi ronda os 7-8€. Atualmente, por 5€, pode usufruir de um serviço expresso entre o aeroporto e a cidade.
I really don't know Gary Travassos, but his site can be very useful, especially if you need to make a tour in the Island and you are a group of 3-4 people. Please, ask others to compare fares!
In my opinion, a taxi service for €13 from the airport to a hotel in the city is expensive. You shouldn't pay more than €8. I live in a village about 5km from the airport and the normal fare by taxi is €7-8. Nowadays, a shutle service is available between the airport and the city for 5 EUR.
Flights from UK
Only two airlines off direct flights from the UK, SATA from Gatwick and Ryan Air from Stanstead – They both fly into Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel.
When you add up the extra Ryan Air charges like chickened in Baggage and sitting together, the price can be much the same – We opted for Ryan Air as the check in time was better for us as it enabled us to get from Devon and Cumbria by train for the outbound flight, however on the return in meant an night in a B & B near the airport and so returning to our respective homes the next day, again by train.
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
Hiring a car on Sao Miguel
Hiring a car on Sao Miguel will certainly give you a lot more freedom to see the island – We hired ours in advance on the net through Atlas Choice and I was very happy with both the service as well as the car its self.
Once I tracked down the local rep from "Luso Rental" at Ponta Delgada airport, there was the usual paper-work and even though I had paid Atlas Choice the additional fee to have the insurance excess reduced to zero, I still had to provide a credit card and the local company “Blocked off” 400 euro and told me, in the case of damage to the vehicle that they would keep this and I would have to claim it back through Atlas Choice. Luckily there was no damage, so I didn’t have to put the theory to test.
The car was a nearly new “Mini One”, diesel, so it sat on the road nicely and was very economical – The only thing that Atlas Choice couldn’t do for me was to extend the car hire for a day at the end of our time on Sao Miguel when our plans changed slightly – But it was cheaper than most other car hire companies, so I would have no hesitation of recommending Atlas Choice to anyone heading to The Azores
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Ferry connections in the Azores
In the high season, is possible to travel in the Azores by ferryboat, especially between the Eastern Group Islands, São Miguel and Santa Maria, and the Central Group ones. The connections are provided by the Atlanticoline company.
Besides this company, among Faial, Pico and São Jorge, Transmaçor operates boat connections all year round.
Na época alta é possível viajar nos Açores através de ferribote, principalmente entre as ilhas do Grupo Oriental, São Miguel e Santa Maria, e as do Grupo Central. As ligações são asseguradas pela companhia Atlanticoline.
Além desta companhia, entre as ilhas do triângulo (Faial, Pico e São Jorge), a Transmaçor faz a ligação marítima durante todo o ano.
Rent a car in the Azores
After using the transfers our trip included, we arranged to have a car delivered to the hotel. You could do this in advance, in fact I would recomend arranging it ahead of time as we had some difficulty getting the car we wanted. If you are renting a small standard transmission car be sure you are fully comfortable with this type of transmission. some of the grades are very steep and will require starting from a stop sign on an extream upward pitch. You'll find yourself holding the emergency brake while you use the gas and clutch at the same time to combat the car's tendancy to roll backwards. In the city you will find that you must share a narrow road with drivers coming from the other direction and cars parked randomly. If the car is parked on your side then you must wait, signal and go around, it is not first come first served. If you are not familiar with Roundabouts, make yourself familiar before you go. Unless you are taking the first exit to your right, go to the center lane in the roundabout and then signal your intention to exit before crossing the outside lane to your exit. Outside lane yields to inside lane, and must take the next available exit.
We used Ilha Verde Rent a Car, 6 days with cdw insurance $400 Cad. They were very good to deal with.
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park