Ponta Delgada is the economic capital of Azores in Portugal. Located on the Sao Miguel Island, this historic city is one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal. If you want to get a feel of the real spirit of Portugal, then head over to Ponta Delgada to see the Portuguese touch in its architecture and narrow alleyways. The town has a distinct appearance, with whitewashed buildings decorated with black volcanic basalt rock.
One of the best ways to tour Ponta Delgada is to hire a car, read more here. There are many car hire companies in this quaint port city, including Autaatlantis Ponta Delgada, Azores Easy Rent, Dollar Rent a Car, Kayak, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, and many others. Tourists prefer to compare car hire plans and offers before arriving in Ponta Delgada. You can also carry out a quick car hire comparison at the airport once you land in Portugal.
With a rental car in place, here are the top 5 reasons to visit the port town of Ponta Delgada.
1. Go whale watching and swim with the dolphins
Ponta Delgada is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching and, if you are lucky, to take a swim with the dolphins. Around this beautiful town, there are around 25 different resident and migratory species of whales that you can spot. The sperm whale is the most common one, while both the fin and blue whales can also be regularly spotted in the waters.
You can also swim along with the Atlantic dolphins in their natural habitat. The best place to go for dolphin swimming and whale watching is Picos de Aventura.
2. A visit to the Ponta Delgada City Hall
Located in the heart of the town is the elegant 17th-century building that houses the town’s municipal council. In the 20th century, the original city hall was restored and modernized. It is a good idea to park your rental car nearby the city hall and explore the heart of the city on foot. The narrow alleyways here will give you the perfect opportunity to explore this historical city.
3. Check out the magnificent City Gates or Portas da Cidade
Welcome to the gateway to the Azores. Ponta Delgada will not be the city it is today without its famous city gates. Portas da Cidade, meaning the City Gates, is one of the most iconic monuments of Ponta Delgada. These gates were built in the 18th century.
Portas da Cidade comprises of three majestic arches and features the royal and city’s coat of arms. These gates serve as the city’s biggest symbol.
4. Pay a visit to the Parish Church of Sao Sebastiao
Once you park your rental car near the City Gates, make sure you also pay a visit to the Parish Church of Sao Sebastiao, which is located just opposite the Portas da Cidade. The majestic Baroque and Manueline doorways are a unique feature of this church.
5. Rejuvenate in Campo de Sao Francisco
Located opposite the port, Campo de Sao Francisco is a beautiful tree-lined square with a gazebo in the center. This is the best sport to sit, relax, and rejuvenate in the city’s stunning whitewashed beauty. Since all the monuments are located near each other, it is best to park your rental car in the city center and explore all these monuments on the same day.