A Rainy Day in Ponta Delgada

When I recently visted the Azorean island of Sao Miguel I was unfortunate enough to end my week long trip with 2 days of almost solid rain. I’d returned my hire car the previous day and was therefore stuck in the city, although as it turned out all was not lost. After a few hours trawling through TripAdvisor and Lonley Planets Thorntree I managed to find a few rainy day activites which could keep me occupied.

So if like me you find yourself stuck in Ponta Delgada on a wet day have a look at the list below for some inspiration:

 

Self-guided Street Art Tour:

A large whale mural on a wall

Whale Street Art in Ponta Delgada

Walk&Talk Azores is an annual Public Art festival which takes place in Ponta Delgada. During the week long festival a bunch of Street Artists are invited to the island, given a patch of wall and let loose. The good thing is that almost all this art is permanent and you can still see much of it around the city as you walk around.

Many of the artists are Portuguese but there are also visiting artists from the UK, Romania and Italy to name a few. Some of these such as Phlegm are internationally known whereas others are more obsure.

Using this map found on their website its quite easy to create a simple walking tour based around these pieces of art.

Obviously not the best thing to do in the pouring rain but if you include some pitstops in local bars or coffee shops it’s not all doom and gloom.

 

Tobacco Factory – Fabrica de Tabacos Estrela

A local women rolling a cigar

A local women rolling a cigar

If you’re rainy day happens to be on a Thursday you have the great opportunity to visit Fabrica de Tabacos Estrela. This working tobacco factory produces cigarettes from the tobacco grown on the island and cigars using leaves from various other coutnries including Honduras, The Domincan Republic and Indonesia.

The factory is only accessible as part of a free tour which around 45mins and is very interesting. The tour guide is very knowledgable and will helpfully answer any questions you may have. The tour mostly consists of the production of cigars but also touches on the history of tobacco production on the island.

At the end of the tour you are taken to a room where you are able purchase some cigars or cigarettes if you wish to take home a souvenir. Due to licencing you have to buy packs and cannot buy individual cigars.

The tours are completely free buy only take place on Thursdays at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. Ask the man at the front gate when you arrive and he will point you in the right direction.

A google map showing the factory location can be found here:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/R.+de+Santa+Catarina+71,+9500+Ponta+Delgada,+Portugal/@37.7390921,-25.678745,18z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0xb432ac71619fca3:0xec2b5517029b7202

 

Gruta do Carvão – (Lava caves)

A small group of people inside a cave

Inside Gruta do Carvão with the tour group

Gruta do Carvão is the largest lava tunnel on Sao Miguel island, extending for nearly 2km into the earth. Conviently it is also only located around 30mins walk from the Ponta Delgada town centre, making it easily accessible if you don’t you have a car.

The caves are visited via a group tour which in peak season may need to be booked in advance.

After a short introductory video you are guided down into the lava cave itself. The knowledgable guide leads you through the caves, stopping every 20 meters or so to point out an interesting feature or explain some more about its formation.

For more details visit their website below:
http://amigosdosacores.pt/grutadocarvao/?lang=en

 

If you know of any other great things to do on a rainy day in Ponta Delgada I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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