Most visitors to the Azores start their trip in Ponta Delgada, the capitol of the archipelago, and with good reason. It's not just home to the island chain's largest airport; it's also the site of a great many wonderful attractions. Let's take a look at some of the best things to see and do in Ponta Delgada.
Visitors to this chapel have plenty of good things to say, while some even claim it's the most beautiful church they've ever seen. There's something in the air here that's hard to explain, a feeling of being on sacred ground that touches the reverent and non-religious, alike.
Most travelers come to the Azores to escape the hectic pace of daily life, but sometimes you just want to kick up your heels and let the music move you. For nights like these, Ponta Delgada has a lot to offer. At Colegio 27, revelers party in style, sipping trendy cocktails to the sound of live jazz. XF is vibrant and urban, a wonderful place to dance to modern fusion while you enjoy a drink with your travel-mates. Peter Café Sport is world-famous for its Gin & Tonics, and is also a hotspot for boaters and tourists.
This lava tunnel is one of the region's longest, and on the Azores, that's saying something. It extends from the subterranean world beneath the city all the way to the coastline, and features impressive stalactites, boldly colored mineral deposits, and strange flora and fauna.
There isn't a bad view on the trail that ascends the mountains to this secluded lake. You could literally stop anywhere and take a breathtaking photograph. Of course, the trip to the lake is only half the fun. Once you're there, you'll forget all about the daily grind, as you find yourself enthralled by the pristine surroundings. It's only a short hike from here to Lagoa Rasa. But if you're not much for hiking, don't worry; you can get here in your rental car just as easily.
Tucked away in the very center of Ponta Delgada is a picture-perfect garden full of towering ficus trees, silent caves, duck ponds, and a massive stand of bamboo. Admission is free, and it is the perfect place to read a book or to sit in quiet contemplation.
Back when most travelers to the island of Sao Miguel arrived by sea, these three 17th-century arches were the first sight they saw. They may no longer be the city of Ponta Delgada's main entry point, but they're interesting and well-maintained landmarks, not to mention a great photo opportunity. Plus, they're within walking distance of some of the city's best museums.
At one time, this museum was the local cannon foundry and armory. These days, it houses an impressive collection of historical military relics, including armaments, uniforms, maps, and vehicles. The view from the top of the fort alone is worth the price of admission.
This water park in Vila Franca do Campo is a wonderful place to escape the heat. Here, you'll find world-class waterslides, a wave pool, a kiddie pool, and more, to help you enjoy the heat on your trip abroad.
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