DRIVING BY CAR ON SAO MIGUEL ISLAND, AZORES - TRAVEL TIPS

1. On Sao Miguel island you have to drive on the right, the same as in Portugal or the most of EU countries

2. The island is small, about 65 km long and 16 km wide. Small dimensions are easy to handle

3. Driving style is normal, usually accept the rules, but the locals prefer higher speeds, they will overtake the much more careful drivers like you

4. There is a 200 km long ring road which goes around the island and a dual carriageway from Ponta Delgada (on the southern coast) to Ribeira Grande (on the northern coast). You can find side roads as well, which cross the mountains or go to the beaches.

5. Ring road is relatively easy to drive on. Side roads in the towns (for example Ponta Delgada) and in small coastal villages are narrow and/or steep, be careful driving on it

6. Roads around Airport-Ponta Delgada-Ribeira Grande are in very good condition with traffic lights, roundabouts; traffic is dense on it

7. Finding parking spaces in Ponta Delgada is not always easy. Payment needed in most of the urban carparks, you have to use the “pay and display” machines. You can find free parking spaces as well, for example under Parque Atlantico, here you can put down your car for free while shopping.

8. If you visit botanical gardens, thermal baths, tea factory… you must find parking spaces at these destinations for free

9. You can find lots of viewpoints across the island (“miradouro”) with outdoor ovens, fireplaces, wooden furniture in a nice park environment. Good to know that most of the viewpoints have no toilets, handwashing opportunity, eateries, drinkbar…usually there is no infrastructure there, but parking spaces are available for the tourists at the viewpoints. There are some exemptions, for example Miradouro Vista do Rei, where you can find toilet.

10. Before you start your trip, check the parking opportunities on google map, it is very useful for travel planning. But be careful because the streetmaps are from 2010, rather old. Map data and satellite data are fresh, perfect for planning.

11. Roads are used not only by cars, but also buses, coaches, rural vehicles. Cycles and scooters are not common, we didn’t see any of them in one week. Sometimes you can meet cows walking on the road or across the road, be careful, take care of them!