Car Rental Madalena
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Why rent a car in Madalena?
The island of Pico might be small, but the more you explore it, the more it has to offer. Known as Ilha Preta or the Black Island, it boasts a proud maritime heritage, vast vineyards, rugged beaches, the highest mountain in Portugal, and other stunning scenery at every step of the way. Getting a rental car is your best bet to see it all.
Top ways to enter Madalena
- Pico Airport: A small, but cozy international airport, as of July 2019, Pico-Madalena has flights to and from Lisbon, Ponta Delgada, and Lajes Terceira. Like from anywhere else on the island, travelers can enjoy an impressive view of the nearby Pico Mountain immediately after arriving. Located on the island’s northwestern coast, the airport is 8km (5 miles) northeast of Madalena, the island’s main settlement, which can be reached in about 10-15 minutes.
- By ferry: It is possible to fly to another international airport on one of the nearby Azores islands and then take a ferry to Pico. Some of the islands are directly connected to Pico while from others, you might need to take two ferries. Some airports near Pico include Horta Airport on Horta, São Jorge Airport on São Jorge, Lajes Airport on Lajes Terceira, Flores Airport on Santa Cruz das Flores, and Ponta Delgada João Paulo II Airport on São Miguel. It’s also important to look up the ferry schedule in advance as the services are much more frequent during the spring and summer months.
Useful city facts
- Pico enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm winters and hot, but tolerable summers. The average high temperature is 25°C (77°F) in July, the warmest month, and 16°C (61°F) in January. Summers are relatively dry, but there is quite a lot of precipitation in autumn and winter, especially from November to January.
- Pico is the youngest of the nine Azores islands. It was created in a volcanic eruption about 300,000 years ago. Although there are some legends and relics that might indicate an early human presence on the island, virtually nothing is known about these alleged first inhabitants. The island was settled by the Portuguese in the 15th century who initially didn’t live there permanently and used Pico’s green pastures and mild climate for grazing cattle and sheep. The first villages on Pico appeared around 1540. Today, the island’s population is about 14,800.
Top destinations and activities
- Whaler’s museum. Known as Museu dos Baleeiros in Portuguese, this museum is dedicated to whaling which for centuries was one of the most important sources of income for Pico’s inhabitants. The museum consists of three 19th century whaler houses, exhibits of original whaling boats, as well as the Whaler Art exhibition. You can combine a visit here with also seeing the Maritime Shipbuilding Museum and Sperm Whale and Squid Museum. One of the very few whaling museums in Europe, it is not to be missed.
- Wine museum. If whaling was the largest industry for Pico inhabitants in the sea, vineyards were where most of those who stayed on the land worked. This cozy museum honors the island’s winemaking heritage, focusing on different types of grapes grown on the island as well as on harvesting and wine storing techniques. Unlike whale hunting, viticulture is still an active industry on Pico, and you can afterward drive to see the vineyards and meet their owners.
- Pico saltwater swimming pool. Claimed by many to be the largest man-made saltwater swimming reservoir in the world, the pool is a stunning place to visit. Inexperienced swimmers should stay near the coastal cliffs, but the swimming pool is a place that everyone can enjoy. Located in the village of Ribeiras, it is about a 45-minute drive from the island’s largest town, Madalena.
Traffic and parking tips
- You can only enter the roundabout after giving way to cars already on it.
- The car’s documentation and proof insurance always have to be inside it at all times.
- Drivers can only use a mobile phone if it is a hands-free or an earpiece.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.2 for novice drivers.
- Safety cameras are in use.
- When parking in a street, your car must be parked facing the direction of travel.
There are no toll roads on Pico, but some motorways are subject to fees on mainland Portugal. See Portugal’s official toll road website for maps and fees.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Mount Pico (Montanha do Pico). Mount Pico is not only Portugal’s highest mountain, but it is also an active volcano. The last volcanic eruption, which was relatively small and harmless, occurred in 1963. Pico, like the rest of the Azores islands, is located at a meeting point of the tectonic plates of three continents - Africa, Eurasia, and North America. A fascinating place to visit, Mount Pico is just 15km (9 miles) southeast of Madalena and can be reached in about 20 minutes. Despite the island’s small area (it is just 46km (29 miles) long and 16km (10 miles) wide), there are a number of other volcanic structures on Pico including Topo Volcano, the volcanic complexes of Lajes, Madalena, and Calheta de Nesquim, most of which you can also visit.
- Gruta das Torres. A lava cave formed by a lava flow about 1,000 years ago, Gruta das Torres is the most impressive of 17 caves on Pico. At a length of 5.2km (3.2 miles), it is also the longest in the Azores. Tourists can visit Gruta das Torres, but be sure to look up the opening times on the Azores Nature Parks official website as they vary depending on the season. Gruta das Torres is just 7km (4.3 miles) south of Madalena and can be reached in about 10 minutes.
- São João Mysteries Forest Park. In 1718, a volcano erupted in the south-central part of Pico. The farmers were so surprised by the red lava rivers that destroyed their gardens and even a local chapel that they named the area ‘Mysteries’. Nowadays, the place has been turned into a forest park with paths still corresponding to where the lava rivers flowed 300 years ago. A calm natural area that is home to many different types of trees and birds, São João is the perfect place for a day outdoors. Just 24km (15 miles) southwest of Madalena, the park can be reached in about 30 minutes.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car type in Pico is the Citroen C1, and many travelers also pick the Toyota Yaris and the Peugeot 108. The most popular rental car types are mini, economy, and compact.
- Faial island. An even smaller island northwest of Pico, Faial punches way above its size when it comes to landmarks and things to do. Faial Caldera and Capelinhos Volcano are its two greatest natural attractions, and you can also go scuba diving in the Atlantic or join a whale watching tour.
- Sao Jorge. Like all of the other Azores islands, Sao Jorge has rugged cliffs, volcanic landscapes, and stunning beaches that visitors can explore. But Pico’s northeastern neighbor is also a foodie destination - famous for its cheese, corn-bread, yam, sweets, and, of course, delicious seafood, it is the place where to eat in the Azores.
- São Miguel. Known as the Green Island, São Miguel is the largest of the nine Azores sisters. The region’s capital and largest city, Ponta Delgada, has beautiful churches and an impressive museum about nature and oceanography, while the rest of the island offers hot springs, geysers, mountain forests, river valleys, and stunning lakes.
Note: It is possible to take a ferry from Pico to Faial, Sao Jorge, Flores, São Miguel, and other islands in the Azores, but it’s important to look up the ferry schedule and book the tickets in advance - some routes are not active during the winter months, so you might need to either fly or take connecting ferry rides.
While it is possible to bring a rental car on some ferries, many rental car providers won’t permit it, so it’s important to ask them in advance. A better plan can be to drop off your car in Pico, go as a passenger, and then pick up a new rental car at the port of your destination.
How can I save money on my rental car?
There are a number of things you can do to get a good rental car deal in Pico. Start with:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Madelan is the cheapest in January when renting a car is about 57% cheaper than the yearly average and a whole 76% cheaper than renting a car in May. Start your year with a trip to the Azores!
Top 5 Cities near Madalena
Ponta Delgada Car Rentals from $9.00 per day256.4 km / 159.3 miles away
Praia da Vitoria Car Rentals from $10.41 per day119.5 km / 74.3 miles away
Horta Car Rentals from $25.13 per day24.2 km / 15.0 miles away
Santa Cruz das Flores Car Rentals from $22.43 per day253.1 km / 157.3 miles away
Velas Car Rentals from $25.13 per day26.2 km / 16.3 miles away
Top 8 Locations near Madalena
Madalena, Downtown Car Rentals from $25.13 per day
Madalena, Pico Airport Car Rentals from $25.13 per day
Horta Airport Car Rentals from $25.13 per day24.2 km / 15.0 miles away
Velas, Sao Jorge Airport Car Rentals from $25.13 per day26.2 km / 16.3 miles away
Praia da Vitoria, Lajes Terceira Airport Car Rentals from $10.41 per day119.5 km / 74.3 miles away
Santa Cruz das Flores Airport Car Rentals from $22.43 per day253.1 km / 157.3 miles away
Ponta Delgada Airport Car Rentals from $9.00 per day256.4 km / 159.3 miles away
Vila do Porto, Santa Maria Airport Car Rentals from $25.13 per day8030.1 km / 4989.7 miles away
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Madalena?
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