One of travel’s newer discoveries
High cliffs, which take a battering from the Atlantic, give way to a verdant and lush inland full of lakes, hot springs and extinct volcanoes. Go now, and you’ll be a true mid-Atlantic pioneer.
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While shopping isn’t a big attraction of the Azores, visitors can still find some lovely linen, lace, woollen items, engravings, hand-rolled cigars and ceramics. It’s also possible to purchase organic brews from Gorreana, the oldest tea plantations in Europe. Ponta Delgada has a smattering of shopping centres, including Parque Atlântico (Rua da Juventude) and Sol-Mar Avenida Center (Avenida Infante D. Henrique 71). The Mercado da Graça (Rua do Mercado) is a good little food market, while nearby shops stock other regional products such as honey, cheeses, tropical fruit liqueurs and sweets.
Food & Drink
Freshly caught fish and seafood, juicy tropical fruits, sticky honey and flavoursome cheeses are some of Ponta Delgada’s principle delicacies. These can be washed down by local wines, liqueurs and brandy. Ponta Delgada has a fair selection of eateries, mostly serving Portuguese cuisine with a regional twist, including Restaurante Sao Pedro (Largo Almirante Dunn 23A) that serves traditional fare at reasonable prices. For the freshest seafood – from lobster to barnacles – the best bet is to head to local favourite Casa Marisca (Rua Engenheiro José Cordeiro 127). Among the non-local specialists, O Corisco (Rua Manuel da Ponte 28) specialises in Continental cuisine in a cosy atmosphere.
Ponta Delgada Carnival
If you’d rather not get wet, then give Ponta Delgada a very wide berth at carnival time. Crazed water fights, called batalhas das limas, erupt all over town. These are accompanied by flamboyant parades, music and dancing at this lively event.
SATA Rally Azores
The grunts of finely tuned engines and crunch of wheels on gravel tracks fill the air in April, when the FIA European Rally Championship comes to town. Pre-rally events include a show and team presentations, before thousands of spectators line the streets to cheer on the competitors.
Festas do Senhor Santo Cristo
Religious events dominate in the Azores, and this is the biggest of the bunch. A procession along the flower-strewn streets and balconies of Ponta Delgada is accompanied by stalls, fairground attractions, illuminations and high jinks.
St Peter's Cavalcades
The nearby town of Ribeira Seca is transported back to medieval times, with a convoy consisting of a king and knights galloping through the streets. The procession, which honours St Peter, ends at São Pedro Church.
ASP Azores Islands Pro
The world’s top surfers take to their boards on Praia de Santa Bárbara, a short drive north of Ponta Delgada, to compete in this acclaimed international competition.
As would be expected of the Azores capital, Ponta Delgada has the best range of hotels in the archipelago. Boutique, mid-range Hotel do Colégio (Rua Carvalho Araujo 39) is a reliable choice housed in a former school and music academy. Another solid option at the town’s historic heart is Hotel Talisman (Rua Marques da Praia e Monforte 40), which overlooks a leafy park. To splurge on somewhere a bit special, travel 5km outside Ponta Delgada to 300-year-old manor house Solar da Glória ao Carmo (Rua da Glória ao Carmo 5), which is a short walk from the beach in Livramento.