Ponta Delgada is an all-season destination thanks to a fairly mild climate so you can visit any time without needing to pack for cold weather. During the cooler months of November through March you’ll need a light jacket. The peak season in the city runs from June through October, with those aforementioned cooler months being slightly less popular. You may have better luck with cheaper flights if you book a trip outside of the high season.
Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel is the largest city on what happens to be the largest island in the Azores. San Miguel is known as the “green island” due to its lush landscape, which means there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors when visiting Ponta Delgada. The city itself has lots of charm and character and makes an ideal place to spend a few days exploring. A plethora of cafes, bars, and restaurants await the hungry traveller, and there is no shortage of places to stay. Beautiful architecture, interesting shops for souvenir hunting, churches, cobblestone streets, and beaches within 2 to 3 miles (3-4 km) from the city give visitors a wide variety of things to see and do.
The Azores are known as a good whale watching destination and one of the best places to book a whale (and dolphin) watching expedition is from Ponta Delgada. Anyone staying more than a few days will also want to look into touring some of San Miguel’s other natural attractions like the Caldeira das Sete Cidades, twin lakes in a crater of a volcano; Lagoa do Fogo (Fire lake), or the nearby tea plantation (the only tea plantation in Europe). Within the city don’t miss the ornate city gates, military museum, shopping for local pottery, or a walk along the waterfront.
Flights to Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Portugal from the United Kingdom range from about 6h-9.5h. The length of your flight will be determined by several different factors, such as departure city and the number and length of any stopovers. If you’re flying from as far south as London, you’ll likely have one of the shortest flying times, thanks to the number of flights to Sao Miguel as well as London’s prime location. On the other hand, if you’re flying out of the north, such as from Newcastle or Edinburgh, you’ll likely have a flight time that is a couple of hours longer, due to both geographic location and the increased likelihood of more stopovers.
Unfortunately, there are no direct flights to Ponta Delgada or the island of Sao Miguel generally from any city in the UK. To decrease your flight time, you may want to consider the airlines that regularly fly into Sao Miguel from the UK, which are TAP AIR PORTUGAL, Azores Airlines, and British Airways, and then check to see if your nearest airport services these airlines. That way, you’re more likely to have just one layover rather than two or more. If you do experience a stopover along the way to Sao Miguel, you likely do so in common stopover cities for these routes, like Dublin, London, Frankfurt, Lisbon, and/or Porto.
When you fly to Sao Miguel Island, you’ll alight at Aeroporto Joao Paulo II (PDL) in Ponta Delgada, the Azores major international airport. Most travellers to Sao Miguel will stay in its capital city, Ponta Delgada, which is about 5km east of the airport. To reach the city centre from the airport, you can take a taxi for about £14 and a quick 10-minute journey. There are no ride-sharing options. You can also rent a car while at the airport from some of the largest international rental car agencies, though you should do so well in advance of your trip. There are no public transportation options from this airport, so taxi and car rentals are your best, and only, choices.
Sao Miguel is the most popular destination in the Azores peninsula, with plenty to see and do. Walk through the stalls of Graca Market to shop for fruits, veg, and more with the locals. Ponta Delgada’s hippest neighbourhood, Projeto Quarteirao, is the place to go for chic cafes, indie bookstores, and juicy burgers. Hike Hell’s Mouth, known as Boca De Inferno locally, for beautiful views of several lakes, forests, and farmland, all from 1,000-metres above sea level.
British citizens need a passport to enter Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Portugal, with at least six months of validity remaining on it by the date of your arrival. You will not need a visa for short holidays, however.
Ponta Delgada is a city that was made for exploring on foot. Avenida D. Infante Henriques is the main road where you’ll find a wide array of shops, restaurants and attractions. This is also a good spot to grab a taxi if you want to explore further afield. There are also minibuses that service Ponta Delgada, which are an affordable way to get around if you don’t want to walk everywhere.
The João Paulo II Airport (PDL) is only a short distance from Ponta Delgada so it’s a quick trip into the city. You can opt for a taxi, which takes about five minutes, rent a car from a kiosk in the airport (but note that it’s not easy to find parking in the city so if you plan to rent a car make sure your hotel has parking), or you can take a shuttle bus. The shuttle runs approximately every 20 minutes and tickets can be purchased inside the airport. Taking the bus is cheaper than a taxi by around half so it’s a good budget-friendly option.