Our eyes are naturally drawn to beautiful sights and amazing sceneries. That is why travelers are always on the lookout for the next scenic travel destination. If you are one of those people with an active travel bug, then you must definitely put Portugal on your list as the culture and
- 1 Getting to Know Ponta Delgada in the Early Days
- 2 A Guide to Getting to Ponta Delgada
- 3 What is the Climate in Ponta Delgada?
- 4 When is the Best Time to Visit Ponta Delgada?
- 5 Does Ponta Delgada Have Spots Perfect for Picture Taking?
- 5.1 Ponta Delgada City Hall
- 5.2 Portas da Cidade (City Gates)
- 5.3 Parish Church of Sao Sebastiao
- 5.4 Hermitage of Mae de Deus (Hermitage of the Mother of God)
- 5.5 Antonio Borges Garden
- 5.6 Travessa do Arco, Rua da Mae de Deus, Largo 2 de Marco, and Rua de Lisboa
- 5.7 Igreja de Todos os Santos (Church of All Saints)
- 5.8 Terra Nostra Botanic Gardens
Getting to Know Ponta Delgada in the Early Days
Serving as the largest municipality and economic capital of Azores in Portugal, Ponta Delgada is a densely populated area rich with culture and adventures. It is located on São Miguel Island, which is also the largest and most populated island in the archipelago that is Azores. As a municipality, Ponta Delgada thrives on the industrial and agricultural sectors but it does keep tourism active as well.
Its origin name Ponta Delgada is Portuguese for Delicate or Thin Point. According to famed historian Father Gaspar Frutuoso, the city got its name as it lies along volcanic lands and it is thin in nature. He adds that Ponta Delgada is not too considerable like on other islands, that lead to the sea.
The cities origins date back to as early as 1444. São Miguel Island was a large territory that was riddled with small settlements, one of the smallest was Ponta Delgada. For an extended period of time, Vila Franca do Campo was considered as the economic center of São Miguel Island. However, nobles from Ponta Delgada sent a contingent to meet with King Manuel in Lisbon. The purpose of the meeting was to propel Ponta Delgada’s status. Sure enough, it was considered as a village by King Manuel in 1507. Thus began the rise of Ponta Delgada as one of the major economies in the island of São Miguel.
In the following centuries, Ponta Delgada suffered from struggles brought about by war and natural disasters. Still, the city remained strong and prominent in São Miguel Island. It began to recover from the tragedies during the 19th century. Also during this time, Ponta Delgada received its biggest boost in economic activity as it became the centre of foreign trade. During this period, Ponta Delgada’s appearance began to change drastically. It grew with greenery, ornate homes and estates, markets and more. Because of this, Ponta Delgada became the third largest town in Portugal.
During the 20th century, Ponta Delgada’s economic status became stable but it did no longer grow as fast as it used to. Political turmoil also stunted the growth of the city but today, it still stands strong. Its history is filled with agricultural marvels and advancements which remain visible to this day.
Before you pack your bags and visit this amazing city, here are some of the things you should now first so that you come prepared.
A Guide to Getting to Ponta Delgada
When traveling to Ponta Delgada, you should not expect to book a flight directly going to this small city. Even so, you do have a fast and convenient entry point at João Paul II (Nordela) International Airport (PDL/LPPD). This airline handles domestic and regional flights to São Miguel Island. It also has international flights from Europe and North America. From there, you could take buses or a taxi to get to Ponta Delgada itself. The primary Portuguese airlines you should book flights with are SATA International and TAP Air Portugal. Alternatively, you can also book flights with Ryanair.
If you are feeling a bit adventurous and you have all the time in the world, you can also get to Ponta Delgada via cruise ships. A lot of cruises make a stop at Ponta Delgada for a day. If you have a private boat, you can dock at the marina at Ponta Delgada which welcomes private ships as well.
These cruise ships are the premiere traveling option when getting to Ponta Delgada. While the trip itself will take longer than usual, you’ll be surprised at how comfortable and exciting cruise ships are. If you are a traveler by heart, you’ll need to try going on a cruise ship at least once in your life. This luxury travel option will include your accommodation, food, and of course, entertainment.
When you are in Ponta Delgada itself, it is best to just take a walk in between the spots you want to visit. Though it is one of the largest cities in São Miguel Island, most of the areas can be walked. This gives you the opportunity to experience the island at its fullest.
What is the Climate in Ponta Delgada?
If you are going to check out the climate in Ponta Delgada, its best to consider the climate in the Azores Islands as a whole. The archipelago is subtropical oceanic. This means it is warm in the summer and it is cool for the rest of the year. The weather is perfect for walks and dates but do not expect to be sunbathing in Ponta Delgada.
The weather may be pretty tame all throughout the year but do remember that precipitation is still a possibility. Rain is most common on the north-western islands of Azores. If you want to avoid the rain, then you’ll need to schedule your visit during the months of June to August.
When is the Best Time to Visit Ponta Delgada?
It may be a hidden gem in Portugal but do not be mistaken, Ponta Delgada does become crowded with tourists yearly. If you want to avoid crowded streets and expensive flights and hotels, then you may want to avoid January, February,
If you want a relaxing trip in Ponta Delgada, then the month you should visit it should be November. Aside from being the least busy month, you will also find great deals on hotels and flights during this month. This month might feel a bit dull though as Ponta Delgada will be very empty. You may want to opt for another month to visit if you aren’t up for empty streets.
However, do keep in mind that Ponta Delgada is one of those places that is best visited when there are crowds to mingle with. Ponta Delgada is a place for parties, hangouts, get-togethers, and of course, meeting new people. While the streets are crowded, there will always be a place to visit during the first months of the year. You’ll also be able to partake in quite a few parties during this time of the year. These parties are mostly free to participate in but if you want drinks and food, you’ll have to pay up.
You are now almost ready to visit Ponta Delgada. Before heading out, check out some of the things you can do and see in the municipality.
Does Ponta Delgada Have Spots Perfect for Picture Taking?
There are a lot of beautiful places in the world and Portugal is one of it, particularly its municipality, Ponta Delgada, in Sao Miguel Island. Known as the largest city in the Azores, Ponta Delgada also boasts of its tourist spots that are picture-perfect. If you’re traveling to Azores, Portugal and is looking for some Instagrammable places, here are some tourist spots that we can recommend. You’ll not just be able to fill your feed with these beautiful sites but you’ll also get to fill your eyes with the aesthetics that these places have.
1Ponta Delgada City Hall
There are plenty of city halls around the world that are made with the best architectural design. Of course, like many city halls that have impressive designs and landscapes around the globe, Ponta Delgada’s City Hall is worth talking about too.
Located in the heart of the city, Ponta Delgada City Hall boasts of its elegant 17th-century design. However, it deteriorated that it almost got demolished. It wasn’t until Alberto Oliveira, the president of the City Hall, ordered its restoration. Now, it stands tall, beautiful and elegant that’s all the more qualified as one of the Instagrammable places in Ponta Delgada.
The exterior and interior of this city hall is unlike any other you’ve seen. You’ll be surprised at how much pictures you can take in the Ponta Delgada City Hall. Try to visit during the wee hours of the morning as there could be visitors around the afternoon. While spacious, the city hall can feel a bit cramped when more people are walking by.
2Portas da Cidade (City Gates)
Portas da Cidade (literally translated as “City Gates”) is also one of the most Instagrammable places in Ponta Delgada. Just as how your Ponta Delgada tip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the city gates, this city in the Azores wouldn’t also be complete without it. This is because it’s the most iconic monument in the city as it symbolizes this island’s line of defense. The City Gates is composed of three arches that feature the royal, as well as the Ponta Delgada’s coat of arms.
This one-of-a-kind symbolic monument is built in the 18th century and was initially built next to the old Pier. However, when the Avenida Marginal was built, the arches were then moved to the Goncalo Velho Cabral Square where it still stands today.
If you want to take a picture here when there are least visitors possible, go during the early hours of the morning or more preferably, just as when the sun is about to set. You’ll be surprised at how beautiful this place is during dawn. Understandably, you wouldn’t want others barging in on your photos so try to visit when there aren’t enough people to ruin your shots.
Regional volcanic stones were used to build these arches. The square in front of it is made up of Portuguese pavement in an ornamental design which makes the place even more picture-perfect.
3Parish Church of Sao Sebastiao
If you want to see more Instagrammable places in Ponta Delgada, don’t look further than where the City Gates are yet. Just opposite to the arches is the Parish Church of Sao Sebastiao and it’s also one of the most Instagrammable places in Ponta de Delgada too.
The Parish Church of Sao Sebastiao has magnificent Baroque and Manueline doorways that you shouldn’t miss gazing at. In addition to that, its windows, adorned with stained glasses with images of saints, are also not to be missed. The cobblestones that are designed with star patterns surrounding the church makes it even more beautiful as well, making it one of the places in Ponta Delgada that are perfect for photo ops.
The Parish Church of Sao Sebastiao is not as large as what many would initially think. Moreover, it doesn’t get as much tourists as other places on this list. You’d want to visit this church at around the afternoon as it is typically empty during that period. It will be perfect for picture taking, and of course, calm recollection.
4Hermitage of Mae de Deus (Hermitage of the Mother of God)
The hermitage of Mae de Deus is known for its intricately detailed cornerstones made with black basalt that are coated in plaster and painted in white. Its architectural design is one of the beautiful ones in the city, making it one of the most Instagrammable places in Ponta Delgada as well. But the beauty of its architectural design isn’t the only thing that makes it qualified as one of the most Instagrammable places in Ponta Delgada. The view from this area is worth noting too.
Hermitage of Mae de Deus is, apparently, perched on top of Ladeira de Mae de Deus. And because of that, once you’re here, you will see a gorgeous view of the whole Ponta Delgada.
We find that this is the perfect way to end your trip at Ponta Delgada. Before you go home, standing at the outside of the Hermitage of Mae de Deus is every bit as relaxing as it sounds. If you time it properly, you’ll be able to watch the sun set on Ponta Delgada and trust us when we say that it will be one of the best things you’ll see in this lifetime.
5Antonio Borges Garden
If you want an Instagrammable place in Ponta Delgada and at the same time stay closer to nature, Antonio Borges Garden is the place that you should visit. Here, you can get to enjoy a 2.5 hectare of land filled with hundreds of rare and exotic species of plants. It’s one of the largest green spaces in the city. Wander through its grottoes, get to know the various exotic species of plants that it has, relax, breathe in clean air, and take a lot of photos. The best part of visiting this place is that these aren’t just the activities that the Antonio Borges Garden has to offer. There are multiple cultural, sporting and recreational activities available as well.
The Antonio Borges Garden makes you feel at one with nature. The trip here may be a bit rough as the roads are uneven and inclined but trust us, it will be very worth it. Just be sure to visit when the weather isn’t too scalding as the heat could feel intense especially if you are taking a trek.
6Travessa do Arco, Rua da Mae de Deus, Largo 2 de Marco, and Rua de Lisboa
If you’re not really into architectural structures and more into street art, then don’t forget to wander through the city’s streets (particularly in Travessa do Arco, Rua da Mae de Deus, Largo 2 de Marco, and Rua de Lisboa) as you’ll see several street art. These streets are probably the hippest and Instagrammable spots among all of the tourist spots in Ponta Delgada. This is because, in these streets, you’ll see a lot of impressive murals.
In Travessa do Arco, you’ll see a huge mural of a whale made with black and white paint. Just a few steps away, there is also a colored mural of a clownfish.
If you’re heading to Hermitage of the Mother of God, take Rua da Mae de Deus. As you stroll the street, don’t forget to look for murals of a sacred heart. There is also a realistic painting of two men who seems in a waist-deep water.
If you’re going to Antonio Borges Garden, there is a mural of a kid dressed in a superhero costume riding a supermarket cart. You’ll see it if you head straight to Av. Roberto Ivens.
There is also a realistic wall painting of an old woman’s lower half of face at the end of Largo 2 de Marco made with black and white paint.
This portion of the trip, we recommend that you go on a guided tour. There’s more to these murals and paintings than just bright colors and amazing artistry. There’s a story behind each and every one of them that only the locals know of. Understanding these backstories will help you appreciate the art even further.
7Igreja de Todos os Santos (Church of All Saints)
Igreja de Todos os Santos or Church of All Saints is more ornate than the other areas in Ponta Delgada. Its exteriors are made up with warm gray and black stones. Some parts of it are also painted in white which made its exteriors all the more impressive and stand out among the other architectural structures in Ponta Delgada. It’s a beautiful sight to see plus it’s a perfect spot to for some photo op. But its exteriors aren’t the only thing that’s impressive but its interior as well. So if you happen to stop by in this area, don’t forget to take lots of photos of both of its exterior and interior. It surely is one of the most Instagrammable places in Ponta Delgada that you shouldn’t miss.
8Terra Nostra Botanic Gardens
Also one of the Instagrammable places in Ponta Delgada and around it is the Terra Nostra Botanic Gardens. Like the Antonio Borges Garden, this place lets you get a bit more closer with nature as you savor the beautiful and tranquil sight of nature that it has to offer. However, Terra Nostra Botanic Gardens is much smaller than the former. Still, you can get to enjoy the view of tropical plants such as the Australian king palm trees and the Canarian palms. Terra Nosta Botanic Gardens has serpentine canal, grotto, beautiful water gardens as well for you to enjoy. What’s even better is that you can get to swim in its geothermal lake.
There are, indeed, countless of places on earth that are worth visiting and are perfect for photo ops. Ponta Delgada is one of such places and these spots in the city are just some of them. Ponta Delgada, of course, still has a lot more to offer for those who are looking for the best photo locations. And what’s even better about this place is that it has several activities to offer too. You’ll never get bored exploring this place.
That being said, if you’re planning for a trip to Azore, Portugal, don’t forget to include Ponta Delgada in your travel itinerary. You’ll definitely love it here, especially if you’re looking for some of the most picturesque places in Portugal that are perfect for photo ops.