Although Ponta Delgada has been described as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it doesn't see nearly as many tourists as its neighbor country, Portugal. While Portugal gets all the attention, the Azores is a stunning coastal country with exquisite food, views around every town, and a much more rural, country feel to it. While Ponta Delgada is unmistakably influenced by Portugal, it still has a magic of its own, and it's one that can be seen even in photos of this gorgeous city. Its classic, old-world architectural style and volcanic rock surroundings have influenced a city that's charming and nothing short of wonderful.
Getting To Ponta Delgada Is Pretty Easy
It might seem like a challenge to get to a place that's somewhat remote such as the Azores but it's actually fairly easy. When travel opens up worldwide and it's safe to fly again, many will be delighted to know that the Azores is easily reachable from many European cities. Many suggest that for those visiting Portugal, the Azores is a must-stop, even for only a few days. The flights heading to the Azores will land in the capital anyway, so spending time in Ponta Delgada is a no-brainer.
Walking Around The City
The Azores catch many off guard because it's quite unlike Portugal in the sense that much of the country resembles the greenery of the Northern parts of the UK, rather than sandy shorelines and beachy coves. Much of the island is green and from the air, it's dotted with various Portugal-style houses and buildings, all of which lie outside the cliffs, crevices, and mountains that make up much of the topography of the Azores. That's not to say that there are no beaches or water access on the island - there are plenty of harbors and slopes where the land sits casually along the coastline. However, this isn't about the beaches in the Azores, it's about the city!
The Old Town Center is where most people will want to head once they've landed in Ponta Delgada. It's the true center of the city and easily walkable, and walking is the best way to observe the city and all of its architectural glory. Many of the city's features date back to the 16th century, such as the Church of St. Sebastian, which also has the tallest clock tower in all of the city. This tower is so high that it can be seen from nearly every part of the city, making it a common landmark by which to determine where visitors are, even if they don't have a map. Speaking of which, near Praça de Gonçalo Velho, visitors can find a tourist information office which is where maps, directions, and city info can be obtained easily.
There are plenty of historical sites to see in Porta Delgada and visitors will likely happen upon many of them by accident by just taking a stroll around the city center. The west end of the city, however, is full of even more history, including the military museum and the Convent of Our Lady of Hope, which also dates back to the 16th century.
The East end of the city is where visitors will find places such as the marina with its perfect seaside views. This is also a great spot for foodies wanting to sit down for a divine seafood dinner, as the harbor is lit up at night in a spectacular display of lights, with passing boats adding a bit of romance and nostalgia to the atmosphere.
For even more Azores history, visitors should head to the Museum of Carlos Machado, which is filled with displays and exhibitions regarding the past history of the Azores and is definitely a must-stop for all history lovers. This historical part of the Azores is also full of architectural charm, with churches that span back to the 16th century in their construction as well as vantage points by which to see the view over the entirety of Porta Delgada. The Hermitage of the Mother of God is particularly beautiful, offering views as far as the eye can see of both the surrounding countryside as well as the city. It's a perfect spot for photos and since the church was constructed in the 16th century, it's full of history, as well - no building here comes without a story. Overall, the best way to explore Porta Delgada is by foot, with so many sights to take in and places to explore, it's best to spend a few days getting to know this city and its history.