Car rental in Ponta Delgada
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Ponta Delgada is the capital of the San Miguel municipality in the Azores, a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean belonging to Portugal. A practical way to visit the capital and the island is to rent a car in Ponta Delgada, so that it is easy to move around the anytime you want. Relax on the beach in the morning, go on a boat trip in the afternoon, and discover the nightlife in the evening. Not only does car rental offer convenience, but it gives you the independence to travel around stress-free during a well-deserved break.

It's your choice: Where to go in Ponta Delgada

Head to Ribeira Grande in the northern part of San Miguel to visit the Arquipelago – Arts Centre and Casa do Arcano museum. In Nordeste, meanwhile, you'll find verdant fields, stunning cliffs, and dramatic waterfalls. The traditional whitewashed buildings with black corners and window frames that the area is known for also make for a pretty sight. If you like quiet coves and bays, drive to Lagoa and spend a few days at Caloura. Enjoy folklore festivals and nautical events or head to Monte Santo Outlook for gorgeous views of the island. A trip to the islet of Vila Franca do Ocampo is also highly recommended. The nature reserve here is ideal for walks and its crystal clear waters excellent for swimming and snorkelling.

Things to do in Ponta Delgada

Sign-up for a guided cave tour of Gruta do Carvao, an ancient lava-formed cave system with many striking geological formations. Another attraction that you can easily visit when you rent a car in Ponta Delgada is Pineapple A Arruda, a historic pineapple plantation with a gift shop. In town, walk to the Portas da Cidade (City Gate) and admire its historic 18th-century archway in a beautiful public square. Visit the Museu Carlos Machado to look at the various artworks and taxidermy exhibitions and if you're interested in history, don't miss the Forte de Sao Bras de Ponta Delgada, a Renaissance fortress with a military history museum. In need a break after all that sightseeing? Take refuge at the Igreja de Sao Jose church or relax at Jardim Antonio Borges botanical garden. Before heading back to one of the hotels in Ponta Delgada, check out the fresh produce at Mercado da Graca.

Important info about Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada in the Azores sits on a volcanic area which is composed of the Picos Region and the Sete Cidades Massif. The landscape is lush due to its dense vegetation and pasture lands whilst several lakes complement its beauty. The climate is classified as humid subtropical and Mediterranean with high precipitation levels throughout the year. Being a capital city has its advantages. You’ll find lots of choices when it comes to dining. And because a lot of the food served in Ponta Delgada is produced locally, everything is fresh and delicious. It is said that 50% of the fresh cheese in Portugal comes from the Azores, so you might want to try some during your holiday. Seafood dishes are also highly recommended, including the limpets or lapas in Portuguese. Fried or grilled, these molluscs taste heavenly when flavoured with garlic, butter or pepper.

Weather in Ponta Delgada
Facts
Country Ponta Delgada
Language Portuguese
Currency Euro
Time-Zones GMT-1
Country Code +351

Good to know

Flights from mainland Portugal arrive at Ponta Delgada PDL Airport or Joao Paulo II International Airport, the main airport in the Azores. If you choose to rent a car in Ponta Delgada, you can easily pick it up from here. The minimum age to rent a car in Ponta Delgada is 21 years. If you’re under 25 or more than 70 years, you might have to pay a surcharge. You’ll be driving on the right side of the road and overtaking from the left. Note that the roads are narrow in Ponta Delgada so it’s best to respect the speed limits which are 120km/h on motorways, 100km/h on A-roads, 90km/h on B-roads, and 50km/h on built-up roads. Seat belts must be worn at all times and children aged 12 or below must be in a booster seat. Keep in mind that the blood alcohol limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood. Hefty fines and licence suspension are penalties for anyone caught with a blood-alcohol level above the threshold.

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What to taste in Ponta Delgada

Cozida das furnas or furnas stew is probably the most popular food in San Miguel. Made with pork, chicken, sausage, and vegetables, it is traditionally cooked to perfection underground by volcanic steam. Another dish that you must absolutely eat is the local steak seasoned with garlic, pepper, and an egg on top. Don’t miss alcatra which is essentially a pot roast, while soups are also a big part of the local cuisine including fish and octopus soups. A locally-produced white wine, made flavoursome by the volcanic soil, is the perfect accompaniment. There are also plenty of things for your sweet cravings. Try Dona Amelia, a custard tart with honey, raisins, and cinnamon. Filled with tropical fruits, mini cornucopias are another unmissable sweet treat, while massa sovada and bolo levedo are delicious sweet breads.

What to bring to your friends from Ponta Delgada

Handcrafted tiles and artisanal ceramics are fantastic souvenirs for friends and loved ones. You can also buy small bottles of local liqueur made by the Fabrica de Licores Mulher de Capote - try the passion fruit brandy and sweet rice liquor. Tea from the tea plantation in Maia is another option if you’re thinking of a gift to bring back home whilst jams made from pineapple and other local fruits will also be appreciated. If you’re in the European Union (EU), you can even bring fresh pineapples back home. At the airport in Ponta Delgada, it’s also possible to buy tinned skipjack tuna as presents. Otherwise, local pastries and breads will always bring a smile to people's faces.