Ponta Delgada Airport, also known as João Paulo II Airport, named after Pope John Paul II, is located on the island of São Miguel.
São Miguel is referred to locally as The Green Island. It’s the largest and most populated island in the Azores archipelago. Ponta Delgada itself is an elegant town with cobbled streets that meander down to a lovely marina surrounded by excellent restaurants.
What is There to See?
The major tourist attraction on Sao Miguel is whale and dolphin watching. Several companies offer boat tours and at certain times of year you’ll likely see several species of migrating whales besides the resident sperm whales.
In addition to the enormous blue and white marlins that swim offshore, dolphin-fish and Atlantic bluefin tuna can also be found which makes big game fishing a popular pastime. Again, there are a number of local companies offering trips or you can hire a boat yourself and go solo.
If you fancy a break from the water, why not visit the 16th Century Forte de Sao Bras? Originally built to defend Ponta Delgada against pirate attacks, it remains in service as a base of the Portuguese Navy but is open to the public.
If you’ve ever wondered how cigarettes are made, there’s a tobacco factory which produces cigarettes using locally grown tobacco. They also have a cigar production line where they use tobacco leaves from Indonesia, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Tours of the factory are available to the public and last about 40-60 minutes.
Day Trips on São Miguel
Lagoa, a nearby coastal town is a short drive from Ponta Delgada. Its sheltered coves and volcanic rock bays are popular with locals and tourists alike for their clear blue-green waters which have been awarded a Blue Flag.
The Sete Cidades crater to the western end of the island is perhaps the best known site in the Azores. Follow the roads around this extinct volcano before heading down into the crater itself. Home to two lakes, one blue, one green, the Sete Cidades are guaranteed to take your breath away.
Furnas a small town to the eastern end of the island is located near Lagoa das Furnas. Famed locally for its hot springs, beautiful countryside, and historic architecture, it’s a popular spot for tourists looking to experience it all.