Ponta Delgada holidays 2019 / 2020
Opting for Ponta Delgada for your holidays in 2019 / 2020 gives you access to the largest city of the stunning Azores Islands, with a wide range of excellent attractions, a selection of places of interest and lovely sun-drenched weather. From historic buildings to landscapes of exceptional natural beauty, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Ponta Delgada, no matter what your tastes are.
The picturesque Azores Islands are nestled away in the Atlantic Ocean, far from the western coast of Portugal. The city of Ponta Delgada is brimming with culture and heritage, with a number of historic attractions including churches, museums and cultural landmarks to immerse yourself in the history of this fascinating area. From the famous church on the hill to the iconic Three Arches at the entrance of Ponta Delgada, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to days out.
In addition to a wide selection of attractions and places of interest, Ponta Delgada has all the restaurants, bars, clubs, all inclusive hotels and local amenities that you’re looking for in a relaxing Azores holiday, making it a perfect choice for holidaying families, couples and groups of friends.
Most popular hotels in Ponta Delgada
Monte Mar Palace
Ponta Delgada, Madeira
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 30m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Ponta Delgada is home to many of the island’s best hotels and is the ideal base from which to explore the wider area, immersing yourself in the rich heritage of the Azores. There are two scenic churches that exemplify religious symbolism and historic architecture in Ponta Delgada, as well as providing a prime opportunity for some photography. Both Sao Sebastiano and Santo Cristo churches have grand, imposing architecture internally and externally that reflects the deep significance of religion in life in Ponta Delgada throughout the ages.
The city’s most distinctive landmark is the City Gates, with the iconic clock tower and seafront square nearby rounding off an excellent trio of landmarks. The Portas da Cidade gates are often used as a meeting point for tourists and locals alike, with a vibrant colour scheme that embodies the bustling culture of Ponta Delgada.
In addition to these popular attractions, the local scenery is one of the biggest draws of Ponta Delgada. The Caldeira das Sete Cidades is one of the main tourist attractions in the area, with stunning greeny-blue lakes and a mountainous backdrop that make for some seriously envy-inducing holiday photographs. There’s also the captivating group of lakes at Lago das Empanadas, perfect for days when you want to get away from the tourist hotspots and unwind.
The Azores Islands may be part of Portugal, but they have their own distinctive cuisine. Azorean cuisine is hearty and rich, with popular dishes including spicy stews, fresh seafood dishes and sweet desserts. In general, Azorean food is more rustic in style that that of mainland Portugal and focuses on strong overall flavours rather than a more layered spectrum of flavours. The Azores Islands are renowned for their dairy products which are often rich and used liberally in cooking. Some of the most popular dishes in Azorean cuisine include Cozida, a one-pot meal, a pot roast-style dish named alcatra, and seafood, which is often bacalhau, or cod. In Ponta Delgada you’ll find restaurants serving both traditional Azorean cuisine and quick and easy international offerings, so you’re guaranteed to find something to keep everybody happy come mealtime.
Ponta Delgada has a number of family-friendly attractions that are within easy reach of the town’s main resort hotels, including the Avenida Infante Dom Henrique. The town’s harbourfront walkway overlooks the 16th-century Forte de Sao Bras, a fine example of Renaissance architecture that is still used by the Portuguese Navy. Here you can teach your children more about the heritage of the area at the Azores Miltiary Museum. One of the best places to start a day out in the city is at the 18th-century city gates at the Praca Goncalo Velho Cabral, while you can cross the town square to the scenic Igreja Sao Sebastiao to get to the marina. Here you can take embark on whale and dolphin-watching tours, and when you’re done, you can take your family into the town centre for some shopping and a delicious meal.
Action & Adventure
The glorious natural surroundings of Ponta Delgada make it the ideal place to get active and have a go at new sports, whether you’re a gym bunny or couch potato back home. The natural coastline is ideal for water sports, with a wide selection on offer including jet skiing, big-game fishing, whale watching, boat tours, surfing and windsurfing. For an adrenaline-pumping day on the water, join a dolphin and whale-watching boat tour for the chance to catch a glimpse of some of the most popular and iconic marine species as they come up for air.
If you’re looking to keep your feet firmly on dry land, there are a number of areas of spectacular beauty that are also ideal for active days out. At the Lagoa das Sete Cidades, you’ll discover one of the best natural wonders of the Azores Islands, located on the north-west tip of Sao Miguel. With a number of gently rolling hills and verdant surroundings, this is a great place to hike and climb or enjoy a picnic by the water. Lagoa do Fogo, or the ‘Lake of Fire’, is a stunning caldera with a lake at the base. The remote setting here draws in a multitude of wildlife and nature enthusiasts thanks to the winding, steep hiking trails and a secluded sandy beach.
The best beach in the Ponta Delgada area is the Praia das Milicias, a stretch of soft sands with a number of beachside bars. Praia das Milicias has some natural shadow, as well as lifeguards during the peak season, making it ideal for families with young children and inexperienced swimmers. With balmy water temperatures during the summer months, Praia das Milicias is ideal for paddling about in the shallows and swimming.
Praia de Populo has a short stretch of sand with a number of beachside bars and good beach amenities including showers and lifeguards during the peak period. The average water temperatures of Praia de Populo are pleasantly warm, making them ideal for swimming. There are also a number of dolphin and whale-watching tours available in the area, giving you the opportunity to see these majestic creatures in the flesh when they come up for air.
Ponta Delgada is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, which ranges from the more sedate right through to bustling clubs. You can find a good number of laid-back bars around Ponta Delgada, a number of which are located by the seafront in Santa Clara. The Galeria Arco 8 bar is cosy and affordably-priced, with music and large-screen movies on show. As there is no formal dress code and drinks are cheap, this is a good place to go for a quiet night out with friends or family.
The Doris Bar is another example of a more intimate bar with a relaxed ambience, with hot food available, free WiFi access and great views of the harbour. If you’re looking for a more vibrant nightlife experience, try the Portas do Mar cruise ship terminal for a number of high octane clubs, including the Ibiza Club and Baia dos Anjos.
Ponta Delgada offers a taste of the traditional Azorean lifestyle, perfect for couples looking to embrace the authentic way of life, and make the most of their time in Ponta Delgada by visiting a number of attractions. One of the most romantic days out in Ponta Delgada is a dolphin and whale-watching tour, allowing you to get up close with the stunning marine life in the area from the comfort of the tour boat.
The Ponta Delgada area is brimming with beautiful historical sites that are ideal for couples that love history and culture, including the Todos Santos, a church that was formerly a Jesuit college. For a fuss-free romantic walk, head to the University Garden to see the small but perfectly selected selection of trees and plants from around the world.
Another attraction that mixes natural beauty and culture is the Gorreana Tea Estate, the only remaining tea plantation in Europe. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into paradise with a visit to the Terra Nosta Botanical Gardens, a well-maintained botanical oasis with flowers including magnolia, hibiscus, camelia and hydrangea. For a romantic trip that lets you reconnect with nature and unwind at the same time, visit the Lagoa das Furnas, the second biggest lake on Sao Miguel, which also has a functioning spa.
Ponta Delgada offers visitors a slice of traditional Azorean life and has a high concentration of excellent cultural attractions within easy reach. The Gorreana Tea Estate is the only tea plantation in Europe and is situated on the graceful slopes close to Ribeira Grande, producing around 30 tonnes of tea a year. At Furnas and Caldeiras das Furnas, you’ll discover bubbling hot springs and flowing geysers at the formerly active volcanic cluster. Lagoa das Furnas is the second largest of the lakes on Sao Miguel and has also been home to a functioning spa since the 19th century. The spa here is a good example of traditional Azorean culture as tourists have been flocking here for many years to treat their tired muscles and come away reinvigorated. One of the most unusual tourist attractions in the Ponta Delgada region is the pineapple plantation on the outskirts of Ponta Delgada, where you can visit the greenhouses and join a daily tour of the plantation.