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The busiest airport in Portugal’s Azores archipelago is Ponta Delgada Joao Paulo II Airport, located just two miles west of Ponta Delgada, the largest city on the island. Private taxis and airport buses provide transport for travellers who don’t opt for a rental car at the terminal. Well-signed roads make driving easy to other nearby towns like Arrifes, Nordela, Relva and Faja de Baixo that are just minutes from the airport.
Who to Book With
There are five major car hire companies at the airport: Alamo, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty. All of these rental firms have kiosks just outside the Baggage Claim area. Demand fluctuates greatly based on the season, so be sure and book ahead for peak tourism months.
Need to Know Essentials
The following documents must be shown to the rental office upon arrival:
- An EU or international driver’s licence
- The credit card you used for the booking
- A second form of picture identification
- A confirmation sheet of the rental booking
Driving around the island of Sao Miguel is straightforward and it is relatively easy to navigate. Be sure to drive on the right side, and park facing the proper direction. Traffic congestion is not an issue on the island and parking is available anywhere there is an open spot. Look for signs on the street that indicate specific parking rules, or use a pay parking lot. Some petrol stations accept credit cards at the pump but cash is always welcome. A GB sticker is the only thing required on every vehicle, but there are no toll roads.
There are basically two options to get from the airport to your destination on Sao Miguel. Taxis are the most convenient choice, while rental cars provide unbeatable convenience to move around the island at will.
Several taxi companies are on hand just outside the terminal Arrivals area to meet every flight into Ponta Delgada. They use a meter to determine fares, which are very reasonable considering the short distance into the main town.
Ponta Delgada Joao Paulo II Airport to Ponta Delgada is about £8
Ponta Delgada Joao Paulo II Airport to Faja de Baixo is about £30.
The single terminal at Ponta Delgada Joao Paulo II Airport handles around one million passengers each year. Around two dozen European and North American destinations enjoy regular service into the Azores, with additional seasonal flights. SATA International operates the majority of flights, followed by TAP Portugal.
Ponta Delgada Joao Paulo II Airport has two parking lots. P1 is for short stays, with £0.50 per 15 minutes up to five hours. A full day is £8, while two days is £9. P2 is designed for longer stays, with £0.50 per 15 minutes up to five hours. A full day is £7 and two days is £8.
Free Wi-Fi internet is available from Boingo, but it’s not exactly an easy process. The first 30 minutes are free, but a credit card is required to sign up to Boingo to create an account. After that period, a small fee is charged per minute.
There are information desks in the public Arrivals area.
Service Centre: +351 29 620 5400
Ponta Delgada Joao Paulo II Airport has a good range of access for travellers with reduced mobility, including elevators, curb ramps, moving walkways and staff prepared to help. Personalised support is available with the MyWay program than can be requested by calling the airline up to 48 hours before departure time.
Restaurants and Bars
Although there is no proper sit-down restaurant at Ponta Delgada Joao Paulo II Airport, there are a couple of good snack bars and delis selling light meals and drinks.
Money and ATMs
An ATM, currency exchange office and banking services are all located within the airport’s public areas. Multibanco ATMs are used here, while Santander Totta is the bank that is open from 09:00 to 15:00 each day.
The shopping options in Ponta Delgada Joao Paulo II Airport are limited to news- stands and a few gift shops that feature fashion accessories, Azorean crafts and travel gear. Duty-free outlets operated by Just for Travellers are also on site for passengers flying directly out of Portugal.