Ponta Delgada is the largest city on the island of São Miguel, one of the nine islands that make up the Azores archipelago. Ponta Delgada is known for its historic architecture, beautiful parks, and natural beauty. The city has a rich history, and many of its buildings date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The city also serves as a hub for tourism on the islands, as it has an international airport and a wide range of accommodations, restaurants, and shops. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Ponta Delgada that are within walking distance or a short taxi ride.
São Brás Fort
The Fort of São Brás is a historic fortress in the old town center. The fort was built in the late 16th century as part of a system of defenses to protect the island against pirate attacks. Today, the Fort of São Brás is a cultural and historical landmark and a military museum open to the public. Visitors can explore the fort's interior, including a museum showcasing the fort's history and its role in defending the island. The fort also offers panoramic views of Ponta Delgada and the surrounding coastline.
Antonio Borges Botanical Garden
The António Borges Garden is a public park in Ponta Delgada's center. Once a private garden, it was acquired by the government of the Azores in 1957 and opened as a public park. The park features a variety of trees, plants, and flowers, including some species unique to the Azores. Several walking paths wind through the park, as well as benches and picnic areas for visitors to relax and enjoy the scenery. Entrance to the park is free, and it is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Gruta do Carvão Lava Caves
Lava Tubes are natural caves formed by lava flowing beneath the hardened surface of previous lava flows. The Gruta do Carvão cave was created by a volcanic eruption about 2,000 years ago, and it is one of the largest and most visited lava caves in the Azores. Guided tours of the Gruta do Carvão are available, allowing visitors to explore the cave and learn about its history and geology. The tours typically last about an hour and include visiting several chambers within the cave system. Visitors are advised to wear comfortable shoes and warm clothing, as the temperature inside the cave is cool and humid. Reservations are required.
The King of Cheeses
O Rei dos Queijos is a cheese shop located in the historic city center of Ponta Delgada. The name translates to "The King of Cheeses" in English. The shop specializes in a wide variety of locally-produced cheeses, including traditional Azorean cheeses such as São Jorge, Pico, and Terra Nostra, as well as other artisanal cheeses from across Portugal and Europe. They also offer a selection of cured meats, wines, and other gourmet products. The staff are knowledgeable and passionate about their products and happy to offer customers tastings, recommendations and advice. The shop is a popular destination for food lovers and tourists interested in sampling the unique flavors of the Azores.
The Gin Library
Europe's most extensive gin collection can be found at the aptly named Gin Library, located about 15 mins outside Ponta Delgada. The Gin Library houses over 1000 bottles from 45 countries, including their in-estate made gin, Baleia. The Baleia gin is unique as it’s distilled with local Azorean seaweed. For every bottle purchased, a donation is made to the Azores Whale Foundation. Admission to the library is €15 and includes your first Gin & Tonic. They also offer a class on making the perfect Gin & Tonic, various tasting experiences, and Gin Masterclasses. The Gin Library is a must-visit destination for gin lovers visiting Ponta Delgada, offering a unique and memorable drinking experience in a stylish and welcoming setting. Reservations for the various classes are required, and children under 16 are not permitted. Call or check online for their hours of operation as they are not open every day.
With so much to do in Ponta Delgada, let us create a custom travel itinerary for your next adventure. Some of our most popular trips include Taste of the Azores, Azores Culinary Exploration, Two Island Azores Winter Getaway and Best of the Azores.