In addition to being the capital city of the Azores archipelago, Ponta Delgada has much to recommend it. In fact, many visitors enjoying a trip to Ponta Delgada claim it's one of the best-kept secrets in international travel. Here, we'll take a look at some of the finest tours and attractions this historic yet cosmopolitan city has to offer.
Whether you're a seasoned hiker or someone who prefers the movie theater to the great outdoors, you really owe it to yourself to experience parts of Ponta Delgada, and the surrounding island of Sao Miguel, on foot. When walking, you'll see the sights up close and personal, and you'll have plenty of time to stop and smell the hydrangeas (which this region is famous for).
Whether you're looking for a rigorous hike to a mountaintop lake or a leisurely stroll to a relaxing hot spring, Ponta Delgada and the surrounding area has just what you're looking for.
The village of Furnas is one of the most popular attractions on the island of Sao Miguel, and it's only a short trip from Sao Miguel. On the way there, you'll see striking evidence of this quiet island's volcanic origins, such as mineral pools, lava walls, and geysers.
Once you've arrived, you can pamper yourself with a warm, relaxing mud bath, or sample the local cuisine. One favorite is cozido, a stew of veggies and meat, which is slow-cooked in ovens that are heated by the warm ground.
Whale watching tours typically embark from the main marina in Ponta Delgada. The Azores archipelago is very rich in sea life, making it prime hunting grounds for these majestic creatures. The best time of the year to catch whales in action is the summer, but tours are available year-round. More than twenty different types of whales have been seen near the islands, from blue whales to orcas.
The narrow streets of historic Ponta Delgada make it a great place to experience by bicycle; you won't need to look for parking, and you won't have to worry about breaking your rental car's side-view mirror on a road sign. Of course, bike travel isn't limited to the city. Bicycle tours are available just about everywhere on the island. You can pedal your way along the coast, or test your fitness by riding up steep volcanoes.
In addition to being a haven for whales, the Azores islands are home to several species of dolphins. Dolphins are intelligent, playful, and intriguing creatures, and no nature documentary can prepare you for the feeling of swimming alongside them in the clear, blue waters off the coast of Sao Miguel. Look for excursions in the Ponta Delgada Harbor when you're there.
The same ample supply of marine life that makes the Azores ideal hunting grounds for whales also makes them a wonderful place to go sport fishing. Several deep-sea fishing guides operate out of the port of Ponta Delgada, and the experienced guides know all the best spots for catching tuna, marlin, and mackerel.
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