25 Things to do in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel

📅 26 June 2021 | Azores Islands, Portugal | ⌛ 25 mins

Ponta Delgada
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Ponta Delgada is the capital of the Azores islands and is one of the most charismatic cities in the Azores archipelago. Although, it is not a big city, there are plenty of things to do in Ponta Delgada. Whether you would like to explore some churches, gardens, caves, museums or simply walk around, there are lots of options for everyone.

Here’s a little history behind the city of Ponta Delgada. The island of Sao Miguel was settled since 1450, but Ponta Delgada has been just a village for a long time. However, a devastating earthquake destroyed the capital of Villa Franca do Campo, which led to proclaiming Ponta Delgada the capital of the Azores islands. The city has been the main economic link for all Azoreans with Europe and the whole world. It was one of the main port stops along the way to the new world and was a sanctuary for many travelers. 

Nowadays, Ponta Delgada is still the main stop for most of the travelers coming to the Azores islands. It is the link to each and every of the Azores islands. Thus, it is quite inevitable to miss the city and walk around its charming streets. Follow below to find what to do in Ponta Delgada, Azores islands… 🤩

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Things To Do in Ponta Delgada Map

Things to do in Ponta Delgada Map
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Museu Carlos Machado

Flowers Ponta Delgada Sao Miguel

The museum of Carlos Machado was founded in 1876 in the old Santo Andre Convent. It is considered to be the oldest museum in the Azores islands and also the one with the greatest collections.

If you are an art and history lover, you will love the Carlos Machado Museum. This museum gathers in itself all sorts of collections from all over the world. It has all sorts of art collections including Sacred Art, Textiles and Decorative Art. Additionally, you can find a well-preserved collection of musical instruments, geology, natural history and ethnography.

Museu Carlos Machado Overview:

          🎟️ Price: 5 EUR

⌚️ Working Hours:

Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Forte de São Brás

The fort of Sao Bras is one of the most well-preserved military forts in the Azores islands. It has been founded shortly after the islands were settled as a way to protect the settlers against pirate raids.

Nowadays, Forte de Sao Bras is still in use by the military, but you can still visit the fort and its defensive walls. Plus, you can check out the museum that has gathered all sorts of weapons from that period… 👀

Igreja de São José

The church of Sao Jose is another important site in the heart of Ponta Delgada. The church was built around the 16th century and has been serving ever since.

This religious site has a very well preserved its Baroque architecture style since the colonial times of Portugal. It has the easily distinguished gilded woodwork and the hand-painted tiles covering its interior, known as azulejos.

It is definitely worth a visit on your walk around the city of Ponta Delgada!

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Santuário de Nosso Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres

Another religious site you can visit to learn more about the old times is for sure the Sanctury of Holy Christ of Miracles. The sanctuary is associated with an old tradition dating back to the 17th century that was about worshipping the Holy Christ of Miracles. This old tradition is in remembrance of the nuns that have travelled the long way to Rome and the Pope to get the papal bull and found the first convent on the Azores islands.

Each year, the people of the Azores islands gather to rule out the procession of this old tradition and worship the Holy Christ of Miracles. It is a great tradition that you can witness if you happen to be on the islands at that time. So, don’t miss out! 

Ponta Delgada City Center

Igreja de São Sebastião

This church in the heart of the city of Ponta Delgada is dedicated to the city’s patron saint Sebastiao. The story goes back to the great plague, when the Azores islands were not spared. The devastating plague took the lives of many on the Azores islands at the time. However, after the Black death left the islands at peace, the church of Sao Sebastiao was founded.

Nowadays, the church of Sao Sebastiao is attracting many tourists with its beautiful Baroque Portuguese exterior. Inside of the church you would enjoy masterfully hand-painted tiled paintings and gilded woodwork. Don’t miss it out!

Igreja do Colégio dos Jesuítas

Well, probably you would ask “Is this another church?!” and I would answer “Yes!”. I believe you would then ask “Well, what is the special thing about this one?”. Well, the Church of All Saints was constructed by the first Azoreans ever! That makes it around 5 centuries old!

Honestly, this religious site is going to make you WOW with its incredible gilded woodworks and golden altars. It is absolutely astonishing! 😍

Portas da Cidade

Feeling lost and don’t know how to enter the city of Ponta Delgada?! Head straight to the Portas da Cidade… the city gates of Ponta Delgada.

Build in the 18th century, the Portas da Cidade were “the way”, but not the only way to enter the city. Their purpose was more symbolical than in terms of defense of the city. The city gates of Ponta Delgada consist of three beautiful arches that feature the royal and city’s coat of arms.

🧐 DISCLAIMER 📖

It is a fun fact to know about Portugal, but Portuguese are very traditional. You know Harry Potter sequel, right?! Well, you see all those coats of arms and traditions kept… Let me enlighten you! J.K.Rowling has been living in Porto, Portugal for some time. She got inspired by Portuguese traditions and especially by the uniforms of students from Porto University and we got the exception Harry Potter sequel!

Activities in Ponta Delgada

Gruta do Carvão

If you are into caves, you got very lucky! The Gruta do Carvao was found in the 16th century and has been explored ever since!

It is not a very big cave to explore, but it is quite fascinating due to the fact that it is the largest lava tunnel on São Miguel island. Yes, you are going to walk over a lava tunnel! 🌋 While doing so you will get the chance to explore the so called lava bridges, lava balls and spongy lavas. Enjoy!

Gruta do Carvão Overview:

          🎟️ Price

Adult: 5 EUR

Student/Senior: 3 EUR

Children: 1.5 EUR

⌚️ Working Hours:

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM/ 14:30 PM – 15:30 PM/ 15:30 PM – 16:30 PM

Jardim António Borges

The island of Sao Miguel is known as the “Green island” and is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation everywhere. Thus, going to a botanical garden in Ponta Delgada might seem a bit irrelevant or too much. However, this garden is a green masterpiece with great landscaping spread all around it.

The garden was found by Antonio Borges in the 19th century who was a businessman and a politician. He imported various exotic species, which luckily felt at home in the Azores islands. Along with that, he ensured that this garden is his sanctuary by building a couple of ponds and caves to make his garden even more enchanting.

Nowadays, the botanical garden is known as one of the best places for a jog, some yoga, meditation or whatever sparks your soul. I would definitely recommend you to visit this green heaven in the heart of the Azores islands!

Jardim Botânico José do Canto

Although you might consider skipping another botanical garden, I will stop you here and tell you to reconsider your decision. The Jardim Botânico José do Canto has been proclaimed an UNESCO World Heritage Designation and is definitely worth your time!

The garden was established in the beginning of the 19th century by Jose do Canto, a wealthy man with a huge passion for botany. He managed to gather various species from around the world and bring them to his garden. That is why his garden became such an out of this world place with lots of gigantic plants and great landscaping!

Jardim Botânico José do Canto Overview:

          🎟️ Price: 4 EUR

⌚️ Working Hours:

Everyday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Arte Urbana

Well, I believe that you are guessing what this sight is about from its name – “Arte Urbana”. Arte Urbana is everywhere in the city of Ponta Delgada. You will notice some great street art graffiti within the streets of the city which are quite fascinating.

Honestly, these pieces of art only make the city more charming and welcoming 🖼️

Mercado da Graca Ponta Delgada Azores

Mercado da Graça

I am a sucker for exotic fruits and vegetables! Guess, where I went to seek them?! AT MERCADO DA GRACA!

The prices of the market are quite reasonable, it’s not too expensive nor cheap. You can get fresh bananas, annonas, which I recommend you try, because it is amazing in taste. There is passion fruit, in fact all kinds of passion fruit, mangos and many other weird tropical fruits.

If you want some dairy produce you will be able to find some nice cheese, milk and whatever your tummy desires. Honestly, the market offers everything from fruits and vegetables to fresh fish and meat. You can even find souvenirs to bring back home… 😏

🧐 DISCLAIMER 📖

The Annona is a mostly known as Sugar Apple and is easily found in tropical places. The fruit is known to be extremely high in antioxidants, promotes good eye and gut health and boosts your mood. The taste of the Annona resembles the taste of a custard, but is way fresher 😋

Marina Ponta Delgada

Portas do Mar

The Portas do Mar are the perfect place to have a nice walk around the seashore of the city. It is leading to the marina of Ponta Delgada and offers great views of the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to all that, there is a theater, lots of restaurants to pick from and even a swimming pool for those who want to relax. Go check it out!

Miradouro Pico do Carvao

Miradouro Pico do Carvão

Well, the Miradouro Pico do Carvao is slightly outside of Ponta Delgada, but it is definitely something you can do while around the city. The viewpoint is perfect on a sunny day as you can observe the east side of the island and enjoy the beauty of the island.

To get the best shots of this viewpoint, it is best to come early in the morning or at sunset.

Even though the Azores islands are not so densely populated, that does not mean that you won’t meet any people. In fact, the Azoreans are quite outgoing and they might the first ones to start a conversation 🤗 You can also expect them to invite you over for a dinner with their family and try some traditional food. Trust me, that is their way of showing you their hospitality!

Sete Cidades Sao Miguel

Sete Cidades

Sete Cidades is probably the most notable village on the Sao Miguel island. There is no chance that you will miss the village while in the Azores. Sete Cidades is home to the Azores most famous lakes – Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde, or widely known as Lagoa das Sete Cidades.

These lakes are attracting many visitors each year, due to their enchanting beauty. Thus, while staying in Ponta Delgada, it is best to opt for a day tour to Sete Cidades and explore this magical place!

Lagoa do Canário

Lagoa do Canario is another sight close to the city of Ponta Delgada. In fact, it is 30 minutes’ drive away from the city of Ponta Delgada. This enchanting lake is usually overlooked by tourists, as they aim at going to Boca do Inferno. However, this little gem is all you might need on a busy day. Absolutely astonishing and peaceful!

Fun fact is that most people know the lake as the “Snapchat” lake due to its distinctive form if looked from above 🐤

Miradouro da Boca do Inferno

Ahhh! Miradouro da Boca do Inferno! This is probably the king of all the miradouros(viewpoints) in the Azores islands, if not the whole Atlantic Ocean. This breathtaking viewpoint is definitely one that you will remember your whole life.

To be honest, there is no good time to visit the viewpoint. That’s simply because the view is always beautiful there at any time in the day. however, if you want to avoid the overcast and have a clear view, check the Spot Azores Cameras prior to your visit 🧐

Lagoa das Empadadas Sao Miguel

Lagoa das Empadadas

These tiny lakes are probably the cutest lakes on the island. They are forming a nice group of lakes close to the island’s most notable spots. The Lagoa das Empadadas are for sure a nice place to visit on your way back from Boca do Inferno. They offer a serene atmosphere and some beautiful gardens to explore…

Pinhal da Paz Ponta Delgada

Pinhal da Paz

Just half an hour away from Ponta Delgada is Pinhal da Paz. This recreational forest reserve is one of the hidden gems on the island of Sao Miguel which is rarely visited by tourists.

It was found in the end of the 19th century by the descendants of Jose do Canto. Just like their accentor, they were very passionate about botany. Thus, the park was filled with many tropical and exotic plants. Within the park you can find wild pines, cryptomeria, hydrangeas, azaleas and various palm species 🌺

Funny thing is that locals come here for picnics and some grill, not to explore the vegetation of the park. But who is going to blame them… I mean – they live in one of the most beautiful places in the world!

Pinhal da Paz Overview:

🎟️ Price: FREE

⌚️ Working Hours:

Monday to Friday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Saturday to Sunday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Ponta da Ferraria

Ponta da Ferraria

If you are yarning some time to relax, I would suggest you go to Ponta da Ferraria. This beautiful place offers a natural swimming pool with unique properties. You get to dip into hot geothermal springs that are regularly washed away by the cold ocean water! How does that sound to you?! I believe it sounds exciting!

Don’t worry about your security, this open pool is secured with ropes to which you can hold on to. The only thing you should consider before going is the tide. It is best to go to Ferraria at high tight, as the water won’t be that hot. You can check it here.

 See Also: Azores or Madeira?

Praia dos Mosteiros

After dipping into the hot and cold pool at Ferraria you can check the romantic beach of Mosteiros. This beautiful beach area is a place for unwinding and carefreeness. Once there you will feel and witness the rigid beauty of Sao Miguel island.

Aruda Pineapple Plantation Azores

Aruda Pineapple Plantation

Have you ever been to a pineapple plantation?! Let me guess! You have NOT! Well, if you are having some free time from strolling the streets of Ponta Delgada, I would suggest you visit this cute pineapple plantation.

Aruda Pineapple Plantation has been established in the 19th century and is growing a unique type of tiny pineapples. The way of producing the pineapples is even more curious than the fruits themselves. The pineapples are grown in greenhouses filled with the finest soils named “hot beds”. After the 4th month of planting the pineapples comes the process of “smoking” them. This makes the pineapples bloom altogether and helps the pineapples grow faster. The result of this process is the sweetest pineapple that exists! 🍍

Aruda Pineapple Plantation Overview:

🎟️ Price: FREE

⌚️ Working Hours:

Every day: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Restaurante da Associação Agrícola de São Miguel

This non-vegetarian restaurant is offering the absolute finest beef steaks!

What is making this restaurant so special is the fact that it is using only locally produced beef. In fact, you can enjoy anything from sirloin steak to burgers, soups and some special deserts with locally produced jelly 🥰

Restaurante da Associação Agrícola Overview:

⌚️ Working Hours:

Every day: 12:00 AM – 3:00 PM/ 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Whale watching Ponta Delgada

Whale Watching in Ponta Delgada

One of the best things to do while in Ponta Delgada is to go for a whale watching tour. The Azores islands are one of the best places in the world to catch these mighty sea creatures. If you get lucky you can see a couple of dolphin species, sea turtles, sperm and blue whales that pass through the Azores islands.

The best time to catch these incredible creatures is from April until October. However, to be guaranteed such a sight, it is best to go from April until June when most of them are passing through.

Wine and food tour in Ponta Delgada

Wine and Food Tour in Ponta Delgada

There is no way that you will miss a good wine and food tour in Ponta Delgada!  This is one of the fun things to do in Ponta Delgada!

Wherever you go in Ponta Delgada check for the fine wine produced on Pico island. When it comes to good food, it is best to try the “Lapas”, the Azorean grilled limpets or any type of seafood that is offered. For dessert, you can always ask for the sweetest pineapple 🍍

The best time to catch these incredible creatures is from April until October. However, to be guaranteed such a sight, it is best to go from April until June when most of them are passing through.

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EarthOSea
EarthOSea

Hi, I'm Alex. For the past years, I have extensively travelled around Europe. In 2019 I have moved to Portugal where I spent a couple of months learning about the Portuguese culture, traditions and language.
My speciality is mainly in travelling in a sustainable and less harmful to the environment way. I am focusing more on ways to travel on a budget or money-for-value.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this article about visiting the Ponta Delgada, Azores! Let me know if you found it useful or would like to add something below 😉

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