I typically begin my search for car rental on RentalCars.com, and I was able to find quite a few options for Terceira – a mixture of international companies like Hertz and Goldcar as well as local Azorean companies like Ilha Verde, Way2Azores, and Autatlantis.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on RentalCars.com, I would also recommend looking at Skyscanner.net and Kayak.com. There usually isn’t an need to look at many other companies: a lot of the car rental websites that exist just use the technology from RentalCars.
Failing that, you’ll need to manually go through the list of car rental companies listed below.
- Way2Azores – Located across the road from the airport.
- Aguiatur – Possibly the same company as Way2Azores.
- Ilha Verde – Can also be booked through https://www.portugalist.link/go/rental-cars/rental-cars/
- Hertz – Can also be booked through https://www.portugalist.link/go/rental-cars/rental-cars/
- Autatlantis – Can also be booked through https://www.portugalist.link/go/rental-cars/rental-cars/
- Ilha 3
- Gold Car – Can also be booked through https://www.portugalist.link/go/rental-cars/rental-cars/
- Interrent – Can also be booked through https://www.portugalist.link/go/rental-cars/rental-cars/
- Angrauto Rent A Car
- Auto Ramalhense
- Açor Rent
- Rent Agra
- Ilha 9
I booked with Way2Azores. I didn’t have any problems with them, and would probably book again, but I did find their opening hours very limited for a car rental company that’s based at the airport.
Terceira Car Rental Tips
- Tip #1: There isn’t a petrol station directly in front of the airport. The nearest petrol station (which is open 24 hours according to Google) is located here.
- Tip #2: Book in advance. There are a limited number of cars on Terceira (and all of the islands in The Azores) so prices not only go up but car rental companies actually run out of cars.
- Tip #3: Because Terceira is quite small, car rental companies tend to be quite flexible about you returning the car to another location such as a ferry port. So, if you’re planning to go to one of the other islands by ferry (cheaper than flying), it’s worth asking to see if it’s possible.
Scooter or motorbike rental
Renting a scooter tends to be cheaper than renting a car (if it’s just one person), but there are a few downsides to renting a scooter over a car:
- Safety: Riding a scooter or motorbike isn’t as safe as being in a car, especially if you’re not used to riding scooters. Driving in Portugal can be a bit hairy sometimes, and The Azores is no exception.
- Rain Protection: The Azores has a different climate to mainland Portugal, and it’s more likely to rain there (even in summer). A car means you’re prepared for every eventuality.
- Limited luggage: It’s hard to take a suitcase or a backpack on a scooter and, unless you’re used to doing it, it’s going to be very dangerous. If you’re planning on renting a scooter on Terceira, make sure you travel light. (Tip: you can leave some stuff in the luggage storage lockers at Terceira Airport, if you need to).
If you do decide to rent a scooter, though, the following companies are based on Terceira.
- Azores Easy Rent – Offers motorbike rental, but doesn’t really give much information about the types of motorbikes that it has.
Terceira without a car
Renting a car is definitely a good idea if you’re visiting The Azores. It’s possible to visit The Azores without one, but you will be a bit more limited as public transport services are limited (although Terceira is better than a lot of the other islands).
If you don’t drive or you can’t find a car to rent (companies run out on the islands), here are a few other ways to get around.
It’s possible to stay in Angra do Heroísmo, and just take tours to all of the attractions outside of the city. A lot of the attractions can be seen as part of a full day tour and many tours & activities like whale and dolphin watching and Monte Brasil start in Angra do Heroísmo anyway.
Full day tours
- GetYourGuide – Azores: Terceira Island – Full-Day Tour that goes to destinations like Algar do Carvão Cave, Serra do Cume, and (includes lunch)
- Azorbus – Offers a full day tour of the island which takes you to attractions like Biscoitos, Algar do Carvão Cave, Serra do Cume, Serra do Facho Viewpoint, Contendas Area, and Salga Bay.
Single destination tours
Alternatively, you could book a tour to one of the attractions:
Generally speaking, though, it probably more sense to book one full day tour rather than several smaller tours. Hikes won’t be covered on the full day tour, but you could always get a taxi to take you to the start (and pick you up) the next day.
Tours are often easier and cheaper but, if you don’t want to join a tour, you can also get a taxi to any of the attractions in the island. Many of the taxis in Terceira will have fixed prices to each of the attractions, so you’ll know exactly how much it’ll cost in advance. You also have the option of hiring a driver for the day and exploring the island that way.
There are taxi ranks in Angra do Heroísmo and Praia da Vitória. There’s also a taxi rank at the airport as well.
I didn’t see a lot of people cycling on Terceira (or anywhere in The Azores) but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Terceira is reasonably flat, and definitely when compared to other islands like São Jorge. Although it’s one of the larger islands, it’s still fairly compact.
A loop around the edges of the island is roughly 80 km, which is a lot for most people but not for experienced cyclists. Less experienced cyclists will be pleased to know that the distance from Angra do Heroísmo to most attractions isn’t far.
- Angra do Heroísmo to Algar do Carvão: 11.2 km.
- Angra do Heroísmo to Miradouro da Serra do Cume: 15.5 km
- Angra do Heroísmo to Biscoitos: 16.3 km.
- Angra do Heroísmo to Praia da Vitória: 22.9 km.
Bike rental companies in Terceira
Surprisingly, hitchhiking isn’t very common in The Azores, but that’s not to say it can’t be done. I hitchhiking once while I was there, met one other person that had done it, and I also picked up some hitchhikers (also tourists). That said, the hitchhikers that I picked up were the only other people that I saw doing it.