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Ponta Delgada
Concelho de Ponta Delgada
Coat of arms
Name origin: Portuguese for the "thin point"
Country  Portugal
State  Azores
Group Eastern
Island São Miguel
Civil Parishes Ajuda da Bretanha, Arrifes, Candelária, Capelas, Covoada, Fajã de Baixo, Fajã de Cima, Fenais da Luz, Feteiras, Ginetes, Livramento, Mosteiros, Pilar da Bretanha, Relva, Remédios, Santa Bárbara (Ponta Delgada), Santa Clara, Santo António, São José (Ponta Delgada), São Pedro (Ponta Delgada), São Roque, São Sebastião (Ponta Delgada), São Vicente Ferreira, Sete Cidades
Center Ponta Delgada
 - coordinates 37°44′N 25°40′W / 37.733°N 25.667°W / 37.733; -25.667
Highest point Sete Cidades Massif
 - elevation 856 m (2,808 ft)
Lowest point Sea Level
 - location Atlantic Ocean
 - elevation m (0 ft)
Area 233 km2 (90 sq mi)
Population 64,516 (2001)
Density 277 /km2 (717 /sq mi)
Municipality Executive & Assembly
President/Mayor Berta Maria Correia de Almeida de Melo Cabral (PSD)
 - Assembly Chair Dionísio Leite
Timezone Azores (UTC-1)
 - summer (DST) Azores (UTC-2)
Código Postal & Codex 9504-523 Ponta Delgada
Country Code & Fix Line +351 292
Denonym Micalense; Ponta-delgadense
Patron Saint Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres
Municipal Holiday Monday, following the Sunday of Sr. Santo Cristo
Municipal Offices Praça do Município
Location of the municipality in the archipelago of the Azores

Ponta Delgada (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpõtɐ dɛɫˈɡadɐ]) is a city and municipality on the island of São Miguel in the archipelago of the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal. It includes 46,102 residents in the urban area, and approximately 20,113 inhabitants in the three central parishes that comprise the historical city: São Pedro, São Sebastião, São José. Ponta Delgada is the administrative capital of the Autonomos Region of the Azores, following the revised constitution of 1976; it is seat of the Regional Presidency (the Regional Assembly is located in Horta, Faial, while the judiciary and diocese are located in Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira).



On the origin of the place's name, the famous Portuguese chronicler, Father Gaspar Frutuoso, wrote:

"This city of Ponta Delgada is named for its situation located along volcanic lands, thin and not too considerable like on other islands, that lead to the sea, and where later, was constructed the chapel of Santa Clara (Saint Clare of Assisi), which was named the Santa Clara point..."

Around 1450, Pero de Teive, established a small fishing village that eventually grew until Santa Clara.

Ponta Delgada elevated to status of city, during the reign of King John III, by decreed dated April 2, 1546, after the original capital of the island (Vila Franca do Campo) was devastated by th 1522 earthquake.

The naval Battle of Ponta Delgada or Battle of São Miguel took place on July 26, 1582, off the coast, as part of the 1580 Portuguese succession crisis. An Anglo-French corsair expedition sailed against Spain to preserve Portuguese control of the Azores under pretender António, Prior of Crato and to defend the islands from the incorporation into the Spanish Empire (it was the largest French force sent overseas before the age of Louis XIV).

It was during the 19th Century, that the municipality experienced its greatest boost of economic activity, with the funnelling of citrus exports to United Kingdom, the growth of foreign-owned businesses in the historic center, many of them Jewish merchants after 1818. The town of Ponta Delgada influenced many of the trends across the archipelago, including the greening of communities (with the construction of the gardens of António Borges, José do Canto, Jácome Correia and Viscount Porto Formoso, which would become part of the University of the Azore), the construction of many of the ornate homes, the clearing animals from the towns, the opening of newer, larger, roadways, the moving of cemeteries to the periphery, and relocation of markets for fish, meat and fruits. Due to these changes, and growth of the mercantile class, Ponta Delgada became the third largest town in Portugal, in economic riches and the number of residents. The poet Bulhão Pato, writing of Ponta Delgada, was surprised by the extrodinary riches of the plantation owners, the "gentlemen farmers" that lived within the urbanized core: exporters of oranges and corn, bankers, investors, industrialists and shippers, all contributing to a privileged class of economic and social thinkers and philanthropists.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, Ponta Delgada's position was relatively high (eighth largest), although the changing importance of rural economies steadily chipped-away at its growth. But it remained the central place in the economy and hierarchy of the Azorean archipelago.


Panorama of the Sete Cidades Massif, showing the Green and Blue Lakes of the civil parish Sete Cidades

Physical geography

The municipality of Ponta Delgada is one of the larger administrative divisions in the archipelago, extending from the center of the island to the western coast. Ponta Delgada is bordered on the northeast by the municipality of Riberia Grande, and southeast by relatively new municipality of Lagoa.

Geomorphologically, Ponta Delgada covers a volcanic area composed of two structures: the Picos Region and Sete Cidades Massif. The Picos Region extends from the shadow of the ancient volcano of the Água de Pau Massif (known locally for the lake that rests within its volcanic crater: Lagoa do Fogo) until the area around the Sete Cidades caldera. It is a volcanic axial zone oriented generally in a northwest-southeast direction, essentially defined by several spatter cones and lava flows and predominantly covered by dense vegetation and pasture-lands. Its relief is relatively planar, especially along the northern and southern coasts, where many of the urban communities are located. The Sete Cidades Massif, the other geomorphological structure that comprises the municipality of Ponta Delgada is comprised of a central volcanic caldera and lake-filled cones which surround the crater. It occupies the extreme western part of the island, oriented along a similar northwest-southwest orientation, with many regional radial fractures marked by lava domes and spatter cones. The Sete Cidades Volcano at the center of the Massif is comprised of a caldera and a polygenetic volcanic field within it, that includes four lakes (two of which Lagoa Azul (Blue Lake) and Lagoa Verde (Green Lake) are linked). The caldera is almost circular and has evolved over the course of three phases. The first occurred 36,000 years ago forming the collapsed principal structure. The second phase conforms to a period approximately 29,000 years ago, when volcanic eruptions collapsed the northwest part of the structure. Finally, the third phase (about 16,000 years ago) caused the collapse of the north and northeastern portions of the caldera. Geologically, within the last 5,000 years, the central cone has been active (17 eruptions) and responsible for causing most of the activity in the archipelago, during that period. These geological eruptions were essentially trachyte eruptions of the sub-Plinian or Plinian type, with hydromagmatic characteristics. The last eruption, at about 500 years ago, gave rise to the Caldeira Seca cone. Although there has been no historical activity today, its active status continues to be debated by the scientific community.

Most recently, its diverse geography is comprised of various types of basaltic volcanism, both effusive and less explosive (essentially Strombolian and Hawaiian) along its flanks, usually conditioned by local and radial faults. The Mosteiros Graban is also a important feature in this area, representing collapse of lands on the northwestern flank of the caldera. Although there are no active aerial volcanic characteristics (like the fumaroles of Furnas), submarine vents around the region of Ponta da Ferraria and the beach at Mosteiros have been identified.


The municipality's climate, much like the rest of the Azores, is shaped by the Gulf Stream allowing a small variation in temperatures, with annual temperatures oscillating between 14°C and 25°C. The Gulf Stream also contributes to a unstable weather that varies greatly during the Autumn and Spring, making weather forecasting on a daily basis difficult. Levels of humidity are significant enough (usually 90-100%) that temperatures fluctuations feel comparable to those experienced in locations on similar latitudes.

Climate data for Ponta Delgada, Azores
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 17.0
Average low °C (°F) 11.6
Precipitation cm (inches) 13.34
Avg. precipitation days 22 19 18 17 15 14 13 11 16 18 20 21 204
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[1].

Human geography

Much like other communities in the archipelago of the Azores, the municipality is shaped by its geography; most homes are clustered along the regional road network that circles the island, although many roads bisect the central portion of the island (along the Picos Region)along a north-south axis. Along the southern coast is the urbanized core of historic Ponta Delgada, which includes the principal civic infrastructures, principal high-capacity motorway, tourist and culture attractions, as well as the businesses and government services.

Ponta Delgada's sister city in the United States is Fall River, Massachusetts.

Ponta Delgada: historic town (left in the background), public swimming pool and Marina Pero de Teive (meeting point for whale watching boat trips/center), the church Ermida da mae de Deus (on the hill/right)


  • Marina[2].
  • Airport Ponta Delgada(PDL)[3]; lies on the western edge of the city, with flights to the other islands, mainland Portugal, other European cities and North America (USA and Canada).
  • Universidade dos Açores[4] (University of Azores) is in Ponta Delgada.
  • Soccer teams for Ponta Delgada are Clube Desportivo Santa Clara[5] (Divisão de Honra (Honor League)), Clube União Micaelense[6] (2ª Divisão B (2nd league)) and Marítimo da Calheta (Campeonato de S.Miguel (regional league)).

The municipality is composed of 24 parishes.


Square in Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada is the tourist heart of the Azores.

To the north of Ponta Delgada are the suburbs of Fajã de Baixo and Fajã de Cima. Fajã de Baixo is agricultural with pineapple cultivation. Fajã de Cima is famous for its festivities. To the eastern side of Ponta Delgada is the suburb of "São Roque" which is gradually becoming part of the city itself as it expands along the coast with the construction of a new marina and a seaside walk with leisure facilities.

Several newspapers are published in Ponta Delgada including Acoriano Oriental, the oldest continuing daily newspaper in the country, and Diario dos Acores.

Notable natives


  1. ^ "Weather Information for Ponta Delgada, Azores". 
  2. ^ Marina of Pêro de Teive
  3. ^ SATA Air Azores
  4. ^ Universidade dos Açores
  5. ^ Clube Desportivo Santa Clara
  6. ^ Clube União Micaelense
  7. ^ "Instituto Camões web-site.". Antero de Quental. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 


  • Booth, B.; Croasdale, R., and G. Walker (1978). A quantitative study of five thousand years of volcanism on S. Miguel, Azores.. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 228. pp. 271–319. 
  • Fructuoso, G. (1966). Saudades da Terra (Vol.1-6), 1873. Instituto Cultural de Ponta Delgada, Ponta Delgada. 
  • Queiroz, G. (1997). A Vulcão das Sete Cidades (S. Miguel, Açores): História eruptiva e avaliação do Hazard. Tese de doutoramento no ramo de Geologia, especialidade de Vulcanologia.. Universidade dos Açores, Departamento Geociências. p. 226. 
  • Queiroz, G.; Pacheco, J.M., Gaspar, J.L., Aspinall, W., Guest, J.E., and T. Ferreira (1978). he last 5000 years of activity at Sete Cidades volcano (S. Miguel Island, Azores): implications for hazard assessment.. The Journal of Vulcanology and Geothermal Research. pp. 562–573. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Iberia : Portugal : Azores : São Miguel : Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada is the largest city in the Azores and on the island of São Miguel.

Get in

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.

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.

Get around

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.


Lagoa das Sete Cidades Furnas


The islands produce surprisingly good wines and cheese.

  • The Lince Azores Great Hotel, Conference, Golf & Spa, Avenida Dom João, 29, 9500-310 Ponta Delgada, Azores, +351 296 630 000, [1]. The Lince Hotel in Azores the perfect hotel for your holidays, honeymoon or business meetings in Azores. A wide range of services at your disposal: Outdoor swimming pool, garden, 24h front desk, luggage service, concierge service (newspapers, tours, rental), Living Room, Gift Shop, Free Parking.   edit

Get out

Visit Terceira island/city of Angra,a World heritage patrimony.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PONTA DELGADA, the capital of an administrative district, comprising the islands of St Michael's and St Mary in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. Pop. (1900), 17,620. Ponta Delgada is built on the south coast of St Michael's, in 37° 40' N. and 25° 36' W. Its mild climate, and the fine scenery of its mountain background, render it very attractive to visitors; it is the commercial centre, and the most populous city of the archipelago. Besides the cathedral, it contains several interesting churches and monasteries, and an observatory. Formerly its natural inner harbour only admitted vessels of light draught, while larger ships were compelled to anchor in an open roadstead, which was inaccessible during the prevalence of southerly gales. But great improvements were effected after 1860 by the construction of a breakwater 2800 ft. long.

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