Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada

The island's capital offers a historic centre, an impressive harbour, many shopping opportunities, parks that are more like botanical gardens (e.g. Jardim Antonio Borges) and many other attractions.

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With an international airport, Ponta Delgada will be your first contact with the island and definitely a worthy one. The city is beautifully landscaped and provides all the comforts of the modern world against the backdrop of Portuguese colonial architecture. With over 68,000 inhabitants, Ponta Delgada is by far the largest city in the Azores.

Sights and attractions

Ponta Delgada's beautiful historic centre takes you back several centuries to the glory days of Portugal's colonial discoveries. The streets of the centre are dominated by the typical architecture of the time, white houses with black basalt walls, sometimes painted yellow, blue or red. Let's highlight a few sights you shouldn't miss:

  • Portas da Cidade - an elegant gate in the style of typical architecture with three arches dating from 1783 now stands in the main square of Praça de Gonçalo Velho alongside the local town hall.
  • Mãe de Deus Chapel - an elegant chapel standing on a hill near the university with a beautiful view of the city dating from the 19th century and preserving the traditional Azorean architectural style
  • Church of São Sebastião - the main local church of São Sebastião, located right in the centre, dates back to 1533 and is also an example of typical colonial architecture
  • São Brás Fortress - a massive 16th century stone fortress occupies a strategic location next to the harbour and close to the centre, today it houses a military museum

On the outskirts of the city, in the Faja De Baixo housing estate, we find one of the most special attractions: the pineapple plantation. The Azores is the only place in Europe where pineapples are grown. As well as an unusual experience, you can take away a number of unusual products, such as pineapple mustard. Detailed information can be found on the plantation's official website.

Accommodation Ponta Delgada

The town is an ideal base for exploring the island if you want to spend all your time in one place and have everything you need close at hand. However, most travelers only use Ponta Delgada for one overnight stay after arrival or before departure. Either way, Ponta Delgada will most likely be your retreat for at least part of your stay.

It offers the largest range of accommodation from private apartments to large hotels. Due to the intense competition here, you'll find prices starting from 37 eur per night in smaller apartments, with prices in traditional hotels starting at 73 eur per night for two.

Among the smaller accommodations, we would choose the popular Azores Dream Hostel with separate rooms right in the centre and just a few steps from the marina.

If you prefer more classic hotels, the cheapest nice accommodations with good ratings include Hotel Alcides ** right in the centre, and of the better establishments we'd choose Hotel Do Colegio **** on the north side of the centre.

Transport and parking

What's the best way to get around the city?

By car

Most tourists get around São Miguel by car, so the question is "Where to park?" probably the most common if you're heading to larger cities like Ponta Delgada.

In the historic center and surrounding streets, parking is charged during the day on weekdays (about 1,50 eur per hour), but on streets a few blocks from the center (about 400-500 meters) that don't have a "P - Zona" sign at the beginning, parking is free. Remember to tilt your mirrors, the streets are very narrow!

Larger free parking lots can be found for example at the following locations:

  • In the east of the centre by the seafront promenade (location on en.mapy.cz) - approx. 600 metres to the centre
  • 2 car parks at the Botanical Gardens in the north-west (location at en.mapy.cz) - approx. 700 metres to the centre

Rent a car directly at the airport, where most car rental companies are located.

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Public bus

You can probably get around Ponta Delgada on foot, the centre isn't large and you'll usually get there quicker on foot than local public transport anyway. The city is served by 4 lines of PDL Mini Buses (vans) on lines A, B, C, D. The stops are quite clearly marked and have timetables.

The minibuses run on weekdays between 7:30 and 19:30, on Saturdays between 8:30 and 13:00, and on Sundays and public holidays. You can buy a ticket from the driver for 0,50 eur, you can also use a weekly ticket for 5 eur, which you can buy in newsagents.

Information and a map of the routes (Rede de Mini Bus) can be found on the city's website: cm-pontadelgada.pt

Intercity buses

Although getting around the island is best done by car, buses also operate here, although they are limited to places of tourist interest, usually 2-4 times a day. Unfortunately, online timetables have not been updated for years, so there's little choice but to check details locally.

There is no central bus station in Ponta Delgada, but all lines run along the main coastal promenade, Avenida Marginal, where they stop at many points. The main stop is considered to be the one at Praça de Gonçalo Velho.

What to see around

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