The largest city on São Miguel Island, Ponta Delgada is the lively hub of the Azores archipelago, home to striking Azorean architecture and a fascinating convent museum. It’s also within easy access of the crater lakes and geothermal springs scattered across the island.
Things to do in Ponta Delgada
Fronted by the iconic arches of the Portas da Cidade, St. Sebastian’s Mother Church is one of Ponta Delgada’s most striking examples of traditional Azorean architecture. Admire its white walls trimmed with black basalt that reflect Manueline, Baroque and Gothic influences, before stepping inside to see its magnificent altar of carved and gilded wood.
Delve into the natural and cultural history of the Azores at the Carlos Machado Museum, which features taxidermy animals, historic artefacts and sacred art. It’s housed within the 16th-century Santo André Convent, which also boasts a beautifully painted vaulted ceiling and ornate tombstones.
Ponta Delgada serves as the gateway to the twin lakes of Sete Cidades, which are surrounded by lush vegetation in the crater of a dormant volcano. Follow the walking trail around the perimeter and cross the bridge that divides the aptly-named Green Lake and Blue Lake.
Make a day trip to the village of Furnas, located near the caldera lake of Lagoa das Furnas and its geothermal springs. Wander through its whitewashed streets and visit the magnificent Terra Nostra gardens to bathe in hot spring pools surrounded by international flora.
Getting around Ponta Delgada
João Paulo II International Airport is a 10-minute drive from the centre of Ponta Delgada. Large buses connect the airport to communities around São Miguel Island and mini buses travel throughout Ponta Delgada, while many attractions are accessible on foot.