What you need to know to
Drive in the Azores
Driving in the Azores is a great way to explore the islands with freedom and autonomy. Before sitting behind the wheel, make sure you understand the rules for driving in the Azores.
The traffic laws and road safety regulations in force on the roads of the Azores are identical to those in Portugal and Europe.
Important information to keep in mind:
- In the Azores, you drive on the right-hand side of the road.
- Our speed limit signs are in kilometers, not miles.
- The use of seat belts is mandatory for all passengers.
- It is mandatory to use child restraints for children under 12 years old and 135cm in height.
- Using a mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited.
- Pets must travel in a carrier or with an appropriate seat belt.
The standard speed limits may vary in certain areas, it is essential to respect the signage and the rules of the road in force.
Do I need a car to explore the Azores Islands.
The public transportation offerings in the Azores are scarce and operate on a very limited scope and schedule. This makes renting a car the wisest and most convenient option for your Azores vacation. Use the form on the end of this page to find rent a car offers.
Special attention to roundabouts.
If you are not taking the first exit, you should approach the roundabout using the leftmost lane and you must yield to vehicles that are already inside the roundabout. Traffic flows clockwise. As you approach your desired exit, indicate the direction you will take and exit the roundabout, remaining in the appropriate lane. See the attached image for a better understanding.
Do I need a special license?
To drive on the roads of the Azores, you need to have a valid driver's license corresponding to the category of the vehicle to be driven, issued in Portugal in the EU, EEA, CPLP or OECD member countries.
The countries covered by this regime are: Germany, Angola, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, South Korea, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United States, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Mozambique, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands (Holland), Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Republic of Turkey, Romania, Sao Tome and Principe, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste.
Foreign drivers can drive with a valid driver's license from their country of origin for a maximum period of 185 days (driving as a tourist). Driving rental cars must be done by persons included for this purpose in the rental agreement. If you want more than one person to drive your rental car, confirm with the rental company the possibility.
What are the roads like?
Generally, the roads on the islands are of good quality, allowing for comfortable and safe driving. Many of the roads in rural areas are narrow and winding, so it is necessary to drive with caution and prudence. When driving in the Azores, it is important to always be attentive to the road conditions and frequent weather changes in the region.
Driving in the Azores is a unique and exciting way to discover the islands, but remember to follow the recommendations and regulations to ensure your safety and that of other passengers on the road. Enjoy your adventures on the Azorean roads with respect and responsibility.
Find and book a rental car
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