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A Guide to São Jorge Airport

By: James | Last updated: November 2019*

São Jorge Airport (SJZ) is one of the smallest airports in Portugal, and only handles a small number of passengers every year. Most people visiting São Jorge will travel from Terceira or Pico by ferry as this is much more affordable but, if you’re flying into São Jorge, this guide should explain everything you need to know about São Jorge Airport.  

Car Rental at São Jorge Airport

Most airports have car rental desks inside the arrivals area, but that’s not the case with São Jorge Airport: it’s just too small. If you’re rented a car in advance, someone will be holding a sign with your name. Since they don’t have desks inside Arrivals, you’ll do all the paperwork sitting on a bench somewhere. It’s pretty low-key.

Of course, this means that you can’t just turn up and rent a car. It’s definitely something that you should do in advance.

Rentalcars.com is usually the best website to begin your search. If you can’t find anything on there, try Skyscanner.net and Kayak.com. If you can’t find anything on those comparison websites, try going through the following car rental companies manually. 

The following companies all operate on São Jorge, mainly out of Velhas. 

A few car rental tips

  • Tip #1: there are only a limited number of cars on the island, so be sure to book in advance.
  • Tip #2: It’s usually free or very cheap to rent a car at the airport and then drop it off at one of the ports, especially Velhas. 
  • Tip #3: The nearest petrol stations are about 4 km from São Jorge airport, close to Velhas (map).
  • Tip #4: You can bring cars on the ferry and some people rent one car and use it to visit all of the islands in the triangle (Faial, Pico, and São Jorge). You can bring it to the other islands as well, but the longer distance ferries are normally more expensive and it may not make as much financial sense. 

Hotels & Accommodation near São Jorge Airport

Most people stay in Velhas, the main town on São Jorge, which is 5.3 km or 9 minutes’ drive from the airport. You can easily get a taxi from Velhas to São Jorge Airport but, if you’d like to stay closer to the airport, there are a couple of accommodation options nearby.

  • Residencial A Quinta – Bed and Breakfast that’s about 5 minutes’ walk from São Jorge Airport. 
  • Tropical Fruit Garden – Guesthouse that’s about 5-6 minutes’ walk from São Jorge Airport. 
  • Casa da Ermida – Small unstaffed guesthouse that’s around a 15-20 minute walk from São Jorge Airport. 

Taxis, Transfers, & Buses at São Jorge Airport

Taxis

There is a taxi rank outside the airport. Taxis on São Jorge have fixed prices and, as of July 2019, a 1-way trip between Velhas and the airport cost €8. Taxis have the option of charging for luggage (up to €2.50 per bag) so be aware that some may charge for this.

Uber and other taxi apps are not available on São Jorge and the other islands in The Azores. 

Airport transfers

While it’s possible to book an airport transfer through a company like AzoresOnTravel.com, it seems to be more expensive than getting a taxi at the airport (this isn’t normally the case).

The only reason(s) that you might want to book a transfer as opposed to take a taxi are:

  • If you’re a large group: Azoresontravel.com allow you to book an 8-person minibus.
  • If you’re travelling with young children: Azoresontravel.com allow you to book child and baby seats for €1.

Buses

There is a very limited bus service on São Jorge with just 1-2 services per day. Most likely, you’ll need to take a taxi.

Other facilities

  • Parking: Parking is free. 
  • Wifi: Free wifi is available.
  • Shops: There’s a small newsagent in Arrivals which sells snacks, drinks, and some Azorean souvenirs.  

Updates: Some updates are as small as a spelling correction. If you spot a mistake or want to suggest a contribution, leave a comment below.

I lived in Portugal as a child and, after many years in Ireland, the UK, and other parts of the world, I moved back as an adult. Over the past decade or so, I've been lucky to live in several parts of Portugal, including Lisbon and the Algarve, and to travel to just about every corner of it.

While in Portugal, I've always found it a struggle to get accurate, up-to-date and insightful information about Portugal. I decided to create a hub for expats and travellers that was not only informative and accurate but that helped others really get to know Portuguese life and culture. So, I started Portugalist and (amazingly) it quickly grew to be the #1 resource about Portugal.

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