JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH BRUNO BARRASO FROM PONTA DELGADA, AZORES !
Bruno is a proud Azorean. He has a constant itchy feet to travel the world and shares hacks, guides, curated itineraries and lots of insider travel tips to make everyone travel a bit smarter!
Which is the best month to visit Ponta Delgada and why?
Winter can be rainy and stormy and summer unbearably humid and hot, so I’d have to go with Spring. Plus, April-June is the best time for whale-watching in Azores!
What are the different modes of transport available from the airport to Ponta Delgada apart from cab? Would you advise a cab over other suggested modes?
There’s an Aerobus running directly to the city center, but schedules are quite erratic. The other option is a taxi, but depending where you go in the island can be expensive, so I highly recommend getting your own wheels right from the moment you arrive.
What is the most convenient and favored transport of Ponta Delgada?
Public transportation is not Ponta Delgada’s forte. Fortunately, the city is small so you can walk pretty much anywhere.
What are the top 3 must visit places in Ponta Delgada?
Mercado da Graça is the local farmers’ market. If you want to dive in the local culture, go to a market. Ponta Delgada is no exception. Explore the local fruits, vegetables, and arts & crafts of the island. Best time to go is on Saturday morning when all the vendors are there!
Igreja da Mãe de Deus is the beautiful church on a hilltop. Apart from the unique Azorean architecture, head here during sunset to appreciate the open panoramic views over the ocean and the rest of the city.
Portas do Mar. This rather eclectic oceanside complex of open-air amphitheater, a pool and bars/restaurants can be visited during any time of the day. In weekend nights, Baía dos Anjos is a popular spot to grab a drink with live music!
Which are the best places to explore near Ponta Delgada? Do you recommend any local tour operators who can help the visitors arrange so?
São Miguel is not that big – to get to the farthest point of the island you’ll only need about 1h30. My top recommendations are Sete Cidades (breathtaking set of lakes inside an old volcanic crater) and Furnas (a quaint village in a volcanic valley with open-air hot springs)
I recommend exploring the island on your own without any tours or agencies – much more exciting!
Is Ponta Delgada vegetarian friendly? Is there any dish one should try in particular there ?
Short answer is no. Most azorean dishes are meat or fish-based so there is little room for vegetarian cuisine.
The best dish in São Miguel is definitely Bife À Regional, made from grass-fed cows – I call them happy cows – that you can find everywhere on the island.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Ponta Delgada? Do you suggest a place to try it?
Bife à Regional is the most loved local food.
Alcides Restaurant in downtown Ponta Delgada is a great place to try it!
Which is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Ponta Delgada?
That would have to be Santo Cristo dos Milagres. It’s one of the biggest religious celebrations in Portugal and every year, thousands of Azorean emigrants that live in Canada and US come back home to live it all over again. Apart from the religious side, there’s also more profane events with open-air concerts, exhibits, and even parties!
Where to head for shopping? Which is the local craft, product or souvenir in Ponta Delgada?
There’s not any luxury shopping in Ponta Delgada. It’s a casual and chilled place.
For the local crafts and products the best place to go is Mercado da Graça, where you can find anything from local sweets and pastries to the local unique ananás (pineapple).
Where to get the best exchange rates in Ponta Delgada? Do you recommend any particular bank for it?
Bypass exchange bureaus and withdraw money directly from the ATMs. Any is fine, except for Caixa Geral dos Depositos which usually charges higher taxes and fees.
Do you recommend any walking tours or travel photography tours in Ponta Delgada to the visitors?
Ponta Delgada and the rest of São Miguel island is better to be explored independently. A sense of adventure is needed!
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Ponta Delgada?
Personally, I am a fan of Foursquare which has never let me down anywhere to find hidden gems! Wikiloc is cool to find hiking trails in the island.