Visiting the capital of the Azores is simple, with regular flights to Ponta-Delgada from various UK airports. Low-cost tickets, plenty of departures and relatively short journey times make flying the ideal way to reach one of Portugal's tourist gems.
The main airport in Ponta-Delgada is Joao Paulo II Airport, which is located just over a mile west of the city centre. There's no direct bus from the airport to the centre of town, but car hire outlets are available at the Arrivals Terminal, and shuttle bus services will take visitors to the major hotels. Taxis are also available outside the terminal and take 20 minutes to reach all parts of the city.
Airlines offering flights to Ponta-Delgada include Ryanair, which flies a regular service from London Stansted and Manchester – these carriers can be relied on to provide low-cost fares. Seasonal services are also provided by Azores Airlines, who fly from London Gatwick, and indirect connections with TAP offer a handy alternative.
Flying is almost always the best way to reach Ponta-Delgada. Geography is the major reason. As the Azores lie 1,000 miles off Portugal's western coast, there often is simply no other way to reach the island group's capital city. Cruise ships are available, but will take days to reach the Azores, compared with flight times of three to four hours from UK airports. So flying is easily the fastest possible route to Ponta-Delgada. And when you add in frequent departures from multiple UK airports, and low-cost journeys with airlines like Ryanair, there really is no other viable way to travel.
Ponta Delgada is the capital of the Azores Islands, which are part of Portugal. The city itself has a lot to offer, with educational experiences like the Azores Military Museum and the 16th-century Convent and Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Esperança taking centre stage. But it's not all about history. Visitors can go deep beneath the city in the volcanic Gruta do Carvão, a remarkable 1,600 metre long "lava tube". And in the evening, the Teatro Micaelense stages world-class dance performances. But tours of the island of Sao Miguel are also recommended, with a blend of magical dolphin watching cruises, dramatic crater lakes and thermal springs all waiting to be discovered.