Experience blissful isolation on Ponta Delgada

23rd November 2017

Transport yourself back to an age of exploration, trade and discovery – a period when tall ships similar to those operated by Star Clippers used to be the only way to travel the world. Hundreds of these vessels would head across the Atlantic in search of land and products such as gold, tea and spices. Today, the experience is much more relaxing and luxurious, with beautifully-decorated interior spaces and journeys to some of the most tranquil hidden paradises on earth.

While the three Star Clippers vessels - Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and Star Flyer – embark on many journeys within the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Southeast Asia; the line also operates a series of transatlantic itineraries. Spending several days at sea between venturing onto land paves the way for a truly authentic sailing experience. On selected journeys, however, you can break up the itinerary with a call into Ponta Delgada, on the Azorean island of Sao Miguel. Its isolated location has contributed to the unique environment, while there are also many historical palaces and churches to explore. This week, we take a closer look at what you can enjoy during a visit to Ponta Delgada.

Furnas

Ponta Delgada Furnas

Furnas is one of the most spectacular tourist sights on the island – home to an array of hot springs, geothermal pools, brightly-coloured gardens and beautiful small villages. These pools are filled with pleasantly warm water, which makes for a truly relaxing experience. The water has an orange hue, which is the result of high iron content. Within the gardens, you will be able to appreciate an abundance of trees and tropical plants from around the world.

There is also an impressive caldera lake here – Lagoa das Furnas – which offers fantastic views of the surrounding scenery. While at the lake, you may also be able to try a uniquely-flavoured stew, which is buried beneath the ground and cooked via the earth’s heat.

Lagoa do Fogo

Ponta Delgada Lagoa do Fogo

While the caldera lake at Furnas is certainly impressive, it is well worth going to visit the Lagoa do Fogo. Not only will you be able to enjoy the spectacular volcanic landscapes and surrounding beach scenery, but you will also be able to admire a unique nature reserve. This is the highest-located lake on the island of Sao Miguel and provides a home for a range of indigenous birdlife including the Azores wood pigeon and the Azorean kite.

Architecture

Ponta Delgada Architecture

Perhaps one of the first striking factors of Ponta Delgada is the distinctive style of architecture that is present in the historical centre – much of which dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. During this time, many buildings were built with distinctive whitewash and black basalt colours, creating a unique sense of character.

One of the most visited landmarks is the 16th-century Convent and Chapel of Our Lady of Hope, which is still occupied by the nuns of the order of St. Francis to this day. It is filled with many beautiful works of religious artwork including a wonderful 18th-century canvas of azulejos tiles. Another religious building worth visiting is the Church of Sao Sebastio, which was founded in the 16th century and features a portal carved from limestone and many baroque additions.

If you are looking to gain a historical and cultural insight into the city and the island, the Carlos Machado Museum is the best place to go. The museum was founded in the 19th century and is housed within an ornate 16th-century monastery.


You can experience the island of Ponta Delaga for yourself on board either the 28-night or the shorter 16-night Transatlantic Eastbound itinerary – both of which depart out of Bridgetown, Barbados, on 7th April 2018.

If this blog has whetted your appetite to embark on a traditional tall ship sailing with Star Clippers, contact us via the freephone number above or chat with an advisor online.

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