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What to See and Do in Ponta Delgada?

The archipelago of the Azores located in the Atlantic Ocean is a group of 9 islands with São Miguel being the largest island. Ponta Delgada is the capital and also the location of the main airport (João Paulo II Airport). During our visit to the Azores, we picked Ribeira Grande as our base rather than Ponta Delgada but we did come back to the capital for a day trip. We drove down to Ponta Delgada, parked the car in one of the underground parking places near the seafront and then explored the town on foot. The main attractions in the capital are in close proximity to each other, so the best way to experience the city is on foot. You can opt for bus tours or horse-drawn carriages if walking is not your thing.

Portas da Cidade in Ponta Delgasa, The Azores

Portas da Cidade: The original 'City Gates' on the main square right in the heart of the city with a beautiful church behind it. There is a statue of Goncalo Velho Cabral alongside the city gates. Goncalo was a Portuguese monk and an explorer who has been credited with the re-discovery of the island São Miguel.

Portas da Cidade in Ponta Delgasa, The Azores

Portas da Cidade in Ponta Delgasa, The Azores

Portas da Cidade in Ponta Delgasa, The Azores

The architectural style of the Azores: It is quite unique and rich. Most of the main buildings in Ponta Delgada were in this traditional style with white surfaces alternated with carved volcanic stone. There are lots of shops and restaurants in the lanes around the square. The tourist information centre is also nearby and this was the starting point of our self-guided walking tour of Ponta Delgada.

City Hall (Paços do Concelho de Ponta Delgada)
: The City Hall is a beautiful 17th-century structure located centrally near the main square. The three-storey structure with a bell tower is beautifully decorated and has a small pool and a monument of the Archangel Michael in the front.

City Hall (Paços do Concelho de Ponta Delgada)

City Hall (Paços do Concelho de Ponta Delgada)

Forte de S. Bras: Built in the 16th century to defend the island against invasion by sea, the Forte de São Brás today houses a military museum. If you have an interest in history or artillery, then a visit to the fort is recommended. The view from the top ramparts is lovely. One can easily spend a couple of hours at the fort. Entry fee: 3 Euros

Igreja de Sao Pedro: Another building in the beautiful baroque religious architectural style is the Igreja de Sao Pedro or the Church of Saint Peter which is located in the city centre. The grounds of the church are well kept and the interiors are lovely too. Entry fee: 1 Euro.

Igreja de Sao Pedro in Ponta Delgada

Palacios da Presidencia: Lovely gardens on the grounds of the Presidential Palace. You need an ID proof to get in. While you cannot go inside the palace, you can explore the gardens along a marked path. The palace's exterior is a striking red and stands out nicely against all that vegetation. The gardens were well maintained. You can spend an hour here. Entry fee: 2 Euros

Palacios da Presidencia in Ponta Delgada

Palacios da Presidencia in Ponta Delgada

Palacios da Presidencia in Ponta Delgada

Palacios da Presidencia in Ponta Delgada

Palacios da Presidencia in Ponta Delgada

Palacios da Presidencia in Ponta Delgada

Palacios da Presidencia in Ponta Delgada

Church of the Jesuit College - Igreja do Colegio: A beautiful church in the unique Baroque style of the Azores, the building now houses paintings and sculptures from the 17th and 18th centuries -  the collection of Sacred Art of the Museum Carlos Machado. Entry fee: 2 Euros

Igreja do Colegio - Church of the Jesuit College

Igreja Mae de Deus: Yet another church (hermitage). The baroque style hermitage is situated on the hilltop of Ladeira da Mãe de Deus. The facade is beautiful and while the church was not open when we visited, its elevated hilltop location means that it offers beautiful views of the city and the surroundings.

Igreja Mae de Deus

Igreja Mae de Deus

Igreja Mae de Deus

Igreja Mae de Deus

Other ornate churches in the town include Igreja do Santo Cristo and Igreja Matriz de Sao Sebastiao.

Jardim Antonio Borges: My favourite place in Ponta Delgada was this beautiful and creatively designed garden. Spread just over 2.5 hectares, the António Borges Garden once belonged to the estate of António Borges Medeiros who was a trader and a local politician with an in interest in Botany. António Borges imported exotic varieties of plants from all over the world and got this garden built in the style and ambience of a 19th-century garden. The garden has some massive trees, a large number of grottoes and a couple of ponds as well. The garden was absolutely green and lush with lots of small walking paths and a number of areas to sit and enjoy the beauty. Truly one of the best places in Ponta Delgada. Entry fees: Free.

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada

Jardim Antonio Borges Garden in Ponta Delgada


2 comments:

  1. This is the first time I am hearing about Ponta Delgada and I was obviously missing a lot. I love such charming places. Is it easy to find accommodation there?

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    Replies
    1. It is lovely little town. And yes, accommodation is easy to find - budget, mid-range and luxury - and aplenty. You can pick from centrally located hotels very close to the local attractions or choose one overlooking the beautiful harbour and marina (and still within easy reach of the main sights).

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