5 attractions in Ponta Delgada you cannot miss
If you are a nature lover and a passionate traveler, you definitely have to discover and explore the beautiful exotic Ponta Delgada.
The charming port city, Ponta Delgada, on Sao Miguel island, is the gateway to the Azores archipelago, a string of nine islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
The distinctive architecture of whitewash and black basalt lend Ponta Delgada a monochrome complexion, but its colorful and joyful character will steal your heart from the very first moment you’ll lay your eyes on it.
When you arrive to Ponta Delgada, you have to visit the famous gates, Portas da Cidade, close to São Sebastião parish, a three-arched gate, Ponta Delgada’s postcard image which appears on the city’s coat of arms.
Made out of regional volcanic stone and whitewashed masonry, the gate is symbolising the island’s line of defense. The gates were built in the 18th century next to the old quay, then later transferred to the Gonçalo Velho Cabral Square during the construction of the seaside Prince Henry Avenue.
Located opposite Portas da Cidade is the Parish Church of São Sebastião (Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião), which protectively rises above the passers-by, being admired by numerous visitors.
Built between 1531 and 1547 on the site of a small chapel, this originally Gothic structure also shows Manueline-style traces, distinguished by an ornate Manueline portal carved from limestone.
In the 18th century, the main façade underwent some great changes in the Baroque style of those days. The sumptuous gilded woodwork embellishing the sacristy and most of the furniture was carved from jacaranda and other exotic timber imported from Brazil.
If you want to keep the historical special atmosphere, you can visit the Fort of St. Blaise (Forte de Sao Bras), the biggest fortress on the island, which represented the most important fortification of the city’s defense system.
Despite going through major changes in the 1800s, the fort is still an absorbing relic from the colonial days when Ponta Delgada was under the constant threat of pirate raids, who were after the treasures of passing ships from Africa, India, and Brazil.
You can go onto the upper platforms which are still equipped with cannons and more modern artillery, while in the bowels of the fort there’s a small military museum with heavy guns, vehicles and uniforms.
You will be feeling like acting in the “Blue lagoon” movie while wandering through the grottoes at Antonio Borges Garden, a piece of green heaven.
The desire to turn the Azores into a floating garden of paradise was the ambitions of the Azorean businessman and politician António Borges, who imported hundreds of exotic species to the island of Sao Miguel, transforming his 2.5 hectare property into a private botanical garden.
The 5 gardens today are some of the most visited botanical gardens in all of Portugal, each unique in design and greatly different in the varieties of plants and flowers.
There’s nothing better than going dolphin and whale watching, being approximately twenty-five different resident and migratory species which can be spotted around the archipelago.
The best time to see these majestic mammals is between April and September. High summer attracts the short-finned pilot whale and Sowerby’s beaked whale. The graceful humpback whale is often observed, and if you’re very fortunate, the mightiest animal on the planet may slip into view- the blue whale.
This island is a miraculous spot where everyone should have a sneak peek at least once in their lifetime. Come and visit this beautiful place, always counting on Ponta Delgada Taxi for never-ending adventures!