Ponta Delgada, located in the island of São Miguel in Azores, Portugal is the archipelago’s administrative capital and the largest city. The Azores form an archipelago of nine beautiful mountainous islands situated well out in the Atlantic; closer to Europe than to North America and due to its positioning the islands chief port in Ponta Delgada has become a popular port of call for cruise ships sailing between Europe and Americas. Ponta Delgado is a modern, cosmopolitan city but still retains a serene island feel and has architectural proof of its historical past. Those visiting the beautiful port city have much to do and see as the island of São Miguel has much to offer its visitors with breathtaking scenery, great whale watching, mountains and nature trails to hike, stunning views of the blue –green lakes from the crater rims and much more. Muslim travelers will find it difficult to locate Muslim-friendly facilities like prayer areas and Halal restaurants in Ponta Delgada.
Visitors to the island should start off by enjoying a relaxing walk through the port city of Ponta Delgada; as it is noted for its squares paved with black and white tiles, attractive white public buildings and houses, and its waterfront promenade. Those interested in history should visit the Carlos Machado Museum.
Other popular attractions in the city are the Town Hall, Santana Palace, Fort Sao Bras and the city gates. In addition to sightseeing, Ponta Delgada is also popular for its extreme sports like kayaking, white water rafting, zip lining, hand gliding and much more. Visitors could also explore the island by taking day trips to the small villages and the surrounding cities to fully appreciate Ponta Delgada.
Although shopping is not one of the cities main attractions, visitors will be able to find malls and small shopping centers as well as small boutiques lining the streets selling a variety of things. The most popular items among tourists are wicker products, lace, woven jewelry, pottery and locally made handicrafts sold at small markets.
The closest airport to the city of Ponta Delgada is the João Paulo II Airport, which is located about 3 kilometres from the city center. It is the busiest airport in Azores, Portugal and its single terminal handles both international and domestic flights. The airport has become quite famous for its art installation and murals of the jungle, volcanoes as well as aviation history. Travelers will find access to both public and private transportation here. Taxis are available round the clock and also popular is the airport bus which leaves every hour to the city of Ponta Delgado.
Muslim travelers will find it difficult to locate halal food in Ponta Delgado as there are no known halal restaurants in the area. However there are a number of seafood restaurants and a couple of vegetarian restaurants that Muslim visitors can dine at. Most of the non-halal restaurants have vegetarian and seafood options as well. Although diners will have to ensure non-halal ingredients are not added into the ordered dish. They should also be aware that these restaurants usually serve alcohol.
There are no known mosques in Ponta Delgado. Muslim travelers will have to offer their prayers in their hotel rooms prior to leaving on their daily activities and will have to return at prayer times. They could also make inquiries at the hotel or ask the tour guide to direct them to a clean and quiet place to offer their prayers when away from the hotel.