Ponta Delgada, Portugal is the capital city of Sao Miguel, the largest island in the Azores. In this guide, we’ll look at 19 fun things to do in Ponta Delgada, Portugal to help you plan an amazing trip!
Plan Your Trip To Sao Miguel Azores
About Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores
Located on São Miguel Island about 1,500 kilometers from Lisbon, Ponta Delgada is the largest city in the Azores archipelago. Ponta Delgada has a long history. It was first settled in the 1400s and today you can see narrow streets, unique architecture, and beautiful, volcanic rock churches.
Ponta Delgada is an excellent hub for visiting the island of Sao Miguel. With plenty of accommodation options, restaurants, and conveniences like a major airport, you’ll definitely want to add this city to your Azores travel bucket list.
Let’s take a look at some of the best things to do in Ponta Delgada.
19 Fun Things to do in Ponta Delgada Portugal
- Ponta Delgada Walking Tour
- Portas da Cidade
- Convento de Nossa Senhora da Esperança
- Igreja de São Sebastião
- Museu Carlos Machado
- Ponta Delgada Harbor and Marina
- Mercado da Graca
- Forte de Sao Bras
- Azorean Pineapple Plantation
- Gelato at La Gelateria
- Ponta Delgada Food Tour
- Cake at Louvre Michaelense
- Jardim Antonio Borges
- Jardim Jose do Canto
- Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour
- Sete Cidades ATV Tour
- Gruta do Carvão
- Dinner at A Tasca
- Cocktails at Ta Gente
Take a Ponta Delgada Walking Tour
What better way to get to know a new place than by walking the city streets. This 3-hour walking tour through Ponta Delgada begins at the tourist office in Ponta Delgada and you’ll learn about the history of the city and the people who call it home.
Portas da Cidade
The Portas da Cidade are stately historic gates in the center of Ponta Delgada. This striking black and white structure has three arches and dates back to the 1700s. Right in front of this iconic Ponta Delgada landmark, you’ll find the Gonçalo Velho Cabral statue which depicts a Portuguese explorer from the 15th century.
Visit The Convento de Nossa Senhora da Esperança
The Convento de Nossa Senhora da Esperança is a beautiful monastery with a black and white exterior and an impressive interior with artwork dating back to the 1600s. It’s still an active convent today and guided tours are available every day of the week except Sunday.
Igreja de São Sebastião
You won’t have to look far to find the impressive Igreja de São Sebastião in Ponta Delgada. This is the main church in the center of town, right near the Portas da Cidade. It dates back to the 16th century and has a prominent clock tower.
Museu Carlos Machado
Dive into the history of Sao Miguel at the Museu Carlos Machado, an art and natural history museum located in Ponta Delgada. It’s open every day except Monday and you can explore exhibits dedicated to sacred artwork, zoology, geology, fine arts, and more.
They also have an exhibit called the Convent Memory Circuit where you can see what daily life looked like for members of the Poor Clares.
Portas do Mar, the Ponta Delgada Harbor and Marina
Go for a little stroll down by the marina to enjoy Portas do Mar, the area around the Ponta Delgada harbor. Along the water, there’s a path where you can walk with a view of the boats on the water.
There are also restaurants, cafes, tourist attractions, and playgrounds along this pathway where you can relax while feeling the sea breezes. Down by the harbor, make sure to check out the graffiti-style artwork created by sailors and travelers along the concrete seawall.
Mercado da Graca
Make sure to stop by the Mercado da Graca, a farmers market with locally grown fruits and vegetables and other Azorean products. It’s open every day except Sunday, so make sure to stop by and get your cheeses, jams, and other culinary delights.
Forte de Sao Bras
The Forte de Sao Bras is a military fortification in Ponta Delgada that dates back to the 1500s. There’s also a small Azores military museum where you can see historical military artifacts and other unique pieces.
The fort is small and it won’t take long to see everything, but it’s worth a visit if you like learning about military history.
Related Post: Best Places to Stay on Sao Miguel Island
Visit a Pineapple Plantation
Did you know that the Azores are famous for their pineapples? Located just a few minutes outside of Ponta Delgada, Portugal, you can try these yummy fruits for yourself at the Azorean Pineapple Plantation.
Here, you can walk through greenhouses with informational signs to learn all about their cultivation and history.
Located a bit further outside of town is the Arruda Pineapple Plantation offering a similar educational experience.
At both places, you can sample pineapple dishes and drinks at their cafe after you’ve toured the greenhouses.
Grab gelato at La Gelateria
Looking for a sweet treat? Head to La Gelateria! This gelato store was so good we wanted to go back every day, for every meal.
With a welcoming atmosphere and excellent flavors made from locally grown ingredients, it’s no wonder La Gelateria gets rave reviews across the board. Our Italian friends approved, this Gelato is the real deal!
Take a Ponta Delgada Food Tour
The food in the Azores is something special. On this Ponta Delgada food tour, you’ll walk with an experienced guide to some of the best restaurants, markets, and cafes in the city, learning and tasting along the way.
This food tour has excellent reviews and several participants recommend doing this excursion early in your Azores trip. That way, you’ll learn your way around the city and discover local cuisines to try throughout your trip.
Related Post: Food and Restaurant Guide To Sao Miguel, Azores
Try the chocolate cake at Louvre Michaelense
Louvre Michaelense is a cafe and bistro known for its chocolate cake, brunch, tea, and coffee. It’s beautifully decorated with indoor and outdoor seating right in the old town, so you can enjoy a delicious meal while watching the city pass by.
Jardim Antonio Borges
Jardim Antonio Borges was created in the mid-1800s and features a variety of rare plants. This small botanical garden in Ponta Delgada has trees from around the world, a playground for children, and a cafe.
It’s free to visit and it’s just a short walk from downtown and the cruise terminal, making this a great place to get lost in nature for a while.
Jardim Jose do Canto
Jardin Antonio Borges isn’t the only botanical garden in Ponta Delgada, Azores. Just a few blocks away you can take a stroll through Jardim Jose do Canto, a park with plants from around the world.
You’ll pay a small entrance fee to get in, and once you’re inside you can learn about different trees and flowers, stroll along shady paths, and stop for a bite at the garden cafe. It’s best known for its enormous, majestic trees.
Whale Watching Tour
Sao Miguel Island is known for being one of the best places to take whale and dolphin watching tours. The Azores Whale Watching Expedition and Islet Boat Tour is eco-certified and takes you around the coast to whale and dolphin sighting areas.
You’ll also see the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo, a picturesque island off the coast of Sao Miguel. This tour leaves from the Marina of Vila Franca do Campo, which is a half-hour drive from Ponta Delgada.
Take ATV Tour Around Sete Cidades
Sete Cidades is a short distance from Ponta Delgada and a must-see attraction in Sao Miguel! This volcanic area is a paradise for hiking and nature enthusiasts and it has sweeping viewpoints that look like they came out of a postcard.
What better way to experience this spot than with an ATV Quad! This ATV Tour of Sete Cidades includes hotel pickup in Ponta Delgada and an experienced guide, allowing you to enjoy this beautiful landscape with a dose of adrenaline.
Explore the caves of Gruta do Carvão
At Gruta do Carvão, you can explore the longest lava tunnel on the island of Sao Miguel. If setting foot in a rare volcanic cave sounds like your idea of an adventure, you can book a guided tour on their website.
They offer two tours, a shorter hike as well as a longer and more challenging option. It’s recommended that all visitors wear closed-toe shoes since the caves can have uneven footing.
Get Dinner at A Tasca
While visiting Ponta Delgada, you’ll definitely want to have a meal at A Tasca! Serving classic Azorean dishes in a cozy, casual atmosphere, A Tasca is considered by many to be one of the best places to eat on the island.
You can’t go wrong with a meat and cheese tasting board and you’ve GOT to try the pineapple cake for dessert. A word of warning though, A Tasca doesn’t take reservations and I’ve seen the line wrap around the block to get a table.
We went earlier in the evening, around 7:30 pm, and were able to get a table quickly, but we were told that if we came back later it would be difficult. Make sure to go early and don’t save this for the last night in case it’s too crowded. I’m not kidding when I say you can’t miss that pineapple cake.
Go out for drinks at Ta Gente
Finally, make sure to visit Ta Gente, a quirky upscale tapas and cocktail bar with tons of outdoor seating. We tried two of the specialty cocktails and enjoyed watching the bartender whip up any kind of cool drink we could imagine.
Final Thoughts: Things To do In Ponta Delgada Sao Miguel Azores
When visiting Sao Miguel Azores, Ponta Delgada is an awesome spot to spend the day exploring. With history, food, and nature all in one compact location, Ponta Delgada has something for everyone.
Azores Portugal Travel Guides:
- Ultimate Travel Guide: Things to do in São Miguel
- Furnas Azores Visiting Guide and Things To Do
- Best Restaurants and Foods in Sao Miguel
- 21 Best Hotels in Sao Miguel Portugal