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.
- Azorean Way Rent A Car
- Ilha Verde
- Azores by Car
- Rent-A-Car Oásis
- Velas Auto
- Ribeiro e Sá Rent-a-Car
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
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.
- Taxi prices: Here’s a list of taxi prices for São Jorge (accurate in July 2019).
- Taxi phone numbers: If you aren’t renting a car, it’s always a good idea to keep a list of São Jorge taxi drivers’ phone numbers on you.
Uber and other taxi apps are not available on São Jorge and the other islands in The Azores.
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.
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.
- 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.