Welcome to Ponta Delgada, Portugal!
An expansive verdant landscape against a sea of clear blue waters, the volcanic islands of the Azores is the ultimate destination for worldwide locals who love unspoiled nature. Sample the laid-back island lifestyle with a continental charm in Ponta Delgada on Ilha do Sao Miguel. Known for its pleasant sub-tropical weather and architecture reminiscent of mainland Portugal’s cities, the capital of the island cluster is much more than just a base for an expedition into the rest of the island. Explore Ponta Delgada with this insider’s guide to the largest city in the Azores.
Dive Underground in Ponta Delgada
After you’ve settled in at your Ponta Delgada hotel, you’ll be ready for an adventure. The city’s coal cave, locally known as Gruta do Carvão, is a vast network of ancient lava tubes that spans just under 2 km. The claustrophobic passageways take you through magnificent collections of geological formations, from glistening stalactites and stalagmites to interesting columns along the cavern walls. A local guide will take you through the wooden bridges and give a fascinating insight into how the caves were formed and how the movement of the lava help shape the caves and the island that we see today.
Worldwide Local Tip: Seafood is a huge part of Azorean cuisine. Taste local favorites such as ‘cracas’, a prehistoric looking barnacle, or the sea snail called ‘lapas’. It may not look like the most appetizing dishes, but its flavor is the quintessential taste of the island. Try it at any of the Ponta Delgada restaurants.
Learn about the Island’s Most Popular Fruit
Pineapples commonly grow in more humid tropical conditions, but with careful attention and the island’s fertile volcanic soil, the Azores produces one of the best tasting pineapples in the world. The Arruda Pineapple farm cultivates its pineapples in a huge greenhouse to mimic the conditions of a tropical island and locals boast that while it is smaller than the usual pineapple, it produces a more intense taste and a sweeter finish. The plantation provides a free tour and you can taste freshly picked pineapples in its cafe.
Worldwide Local Tip: Support local vendors and head to Mercado do Graça. From freshly picked fruit to a wide selection of meats, there is a myriad of tabletop stalls that will keep you browsing for a while. Shopping like a local at this market is one of the top things to do in Ponta Delgada.
Spend a Day at the Park
A perfect spot to wind down with fellow visitors and locals is by visiting the leafy park that is the Jose do Canto Botanical Gardens. Home to different species of plant life coming from different parts of the world, from oddly shaped trees to blooms of gorgeous flowers. You can also learn about the island’s history with hand-painted tiles along the path to the charming guest house where you can also stay in. A ticket will cost you 2 Euros but it is worth every penny.
Worldwide Local Tip: Ponta Delgada weather can be unpredictable and can change in an instant. To have an instant view of the current weather, log on to Spot Azores on either your computer or your smartphone. Spot Azores provides a live webcam view of the current weather in the islands.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Never pass up a deal on flights to Ponta Delgada Airport. A quaint coastal town in the midst of unadulterated nature, Ponta Delgada is worth a couple of days in your stay in the Azores. Live among the natives as a worldwide local and feel the rich culture and tradition of what once was a small fishing village.