The main entry point is João Paul II (Nordela) International Airport (PDL/LPPD) which handles domestic/regional traffic to São Miguel island, as well as international flights from Europe and North America. Although several European and North American carriers fly to São Miguel, SATA International and TAP Air Portugal are the primary Portuguese air carriers serving the island. Ryanair operates daily flights from and to Lisbon and Porto.
In addition, several cruise lines make Ponta Delgada a waypoint when journeying across the Atlantic. Some cruise ships spend a day at the port, often as they reposition themselves between cruising Europe and the Western Hemisphere. The marina at Ponta Delgada also welcomes many yachts and private boatsman from around the world making São Miguel point of call along their trans-Atlantic travels.
Arriving at João Paulo II Airport, the traveler has access to taxi and rent-a-car services at the terminal. Bus and taxi services are also available in Ponta Delgada, along the main avenue, as well as conveniently accessible from major sites in the city.
Travelers are advised to be aware that in-town bus services are handled by small mini-buses with the larger touring buses handling community-to-community travel on the island. Both services are accessible along Avenida D. Infante Henriques in Ponta Delgada and can confuse the unfamiliar traveler. Schedules are available at bus stops and Tourism delegation.
Tours of the town are based along the Avenida where the traveler can find several services to experience the city, including horse-drawn carriage, panoramic bus tours and the "Lagarta" Tourist Train that travels along the streets.
But, apart from the travel from the airport, the local visitor can best experience the sites of the city by foot, as travel distances are relatively short. For day trips to other parts of the island you may consider buses, taxi or rent-a-car services.
Bus routes that cover pretty much the entire island are probably the quickest, cheapest, and most eco friendly way to get around the island. They tend to not be too crowded and they are kept very clean for the tourists.
Sightseeing is a major tourist attraction in Ponta Delgada. The sightseeing is normally organized in tours which can last up to 3 hours long. One of the top places to sight see is Furnas, where you can find natural hot springs and also the Gorreana Tea Factory. The second most popular destination is the Lagoa do Fogo, which are beautiful volcanic landscapes and beautiful scenery of the beaches. This is also part of a nature reserve so it's a nature lovers paradise. Another great place to visit is the Nordeste. This is where you can find the 10th Island of Azores. Here you can find waterfalls, watermills, well cared for Belvederes, ethnography, gastronomy and landscape. It is a breathtaking view and is the highest part of the Island of Sao Miguel.
You may also want to pay a visit to Sete Cidades. Here you will find breathtaking scenery of Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul. Their names mean green and blue, which are the primary colors you will see on your tour to Sete. The overwhelming vegetation and beautiful blue seas are a must-see on your trip to Ponta Delgada. Tourist also marvel at the Crater Lakes and the Botanical Gardens of the beautiful island.
The Church of Sao Jose is also a good place to visit. It is in the center of the city of Sao Jose and is a historical landmark in Ponta Delgada. If you are more interested in history, you may also want to pay a visit to the Carlos Machado Museum. This museum is in the Convento de Santo Andre and was created to reflect the scientific mentality of the 19th century. Most of the information is by naturalists of the second half of the 19th century after the publication of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and the Oceanographic expeditions. The more adventurous like to go whale watching at Blue Talassa. For the people who like the night life and being at the bar, the night clue Bombom Bihlares is a great place to hang out, especially on rainy days in the island! In addition to touring and sightseeing, extreme sports are also popular in Ponta Delgada. Activities such as biking, boating, motor sports, water skiing, surfing, four wheeling, hand gliding, kayaking, white water rafting, yachting, zip lining, scuba diving, wind surfing, rock climbing, and much more, are enjoyed by locals and tourists. The most popular attractions in Ponta Delgada seem to be the Town Hall, Carlos Machado Museum, Santa Catarina Palace, Fort Sao Bras and the Parish Church of Sao Sebastiao.
The islands produce surprisingly good wines and cheese. The most common souvenirs for tourist are scrimshaw, wicker products, lace, embroderies, liqueurs, and flags. Ponta delgada also had many local civilians making handmade crafts that are sold on the street and in small markets and boutiques by the main avenue. Many people find small ceramic bowls or plates, woven jewelry, and many other items that are specially hand made and one of a kind
Ponta Delgada is known for their harvesting of pineapples, so trying fresh pineapples from a local market is a must! Also, if you are into seafood, pay a visit to Mercado do Peixe. They serve excellent local seafood, and is one of the top seafood restaurants on the island. Another good place to visit is Corisco. They are known for scrumptous Continental cuisine. If you enjoy sushi, a good place to eat would be Osaka, a local sushi bar with great variety and generous portions. If you are looking for a quick eat, Skippers Tavern is a great place to stop for a delicious sandwich. You can also visit the San Miguel Park Hotel which has a restaurant that serves international, regional, and vegetarian dishes. Casa Marisca is a great small restaurant with really good seafood and has friendly service and a nice atmosphere.
Ponta Delgada is very popular and well known for their different types of liqueurs and alcohols. For unusual drinks, visit Baia dos Anjos, It is one of the more interesting bars that serves theme based drinks and food based on the local festivals and cultural events. Portas do Maris Marina by the port has a number of bars that have live bands almost every night and provide a relaxing form of entertainment for the visitors. Another good place for mixed drinks and local wines is the San Miguel Park Hotel Ponta Delgada is famous for their liqueurs but one of their most famous liqueurs is the Passion Fruit Liqueur which most guests and tourists are encouraged to try before they leave the island.
Visit Terceira island/city of Angra, a World heritage patrimony.
Ponta Delgada’s Marina has recently increased tremendously. The Marina is part of the Gateways of the Sea project. This project also includes a cruise ships’ quay, a pavilion and a hallway of shops. Ponta Delgada is an expanding port for cruise ships and mega-yatchs. Also at the Marina, tourists can go speedboat racing and Big Game Fishing here. The Marina is also known for its pools, including a big natural pool.