The Portas da Cidade (“City Gates” if literally translated) are an ex-libris of the city of Ponta Delgada. They are located in the parish of São Sebastião, former Matriz, in the municipality of Ponta Delgada in São Miguel, in the Azores.
Built in the 18th century next to the extinct pier of Ponta Delgada, the Portas da Cidade were later transferred to Praça Gonçalo Velho Cabral, during the works on Avenida Infante Dom Henrique.
Consisting of three imposing arches delicately decorated with symbolic elements, such as the Royal Coat of Arms and the City Coat of Arms, the City Gates are a historical and cultural landmark of great tourist interest.
What Are the Portas da Cidade
The Portas da Cidade are one of the main tourist attractions in Ponta Delgada. This imposing monument was built in the 18th century and is considered a historical and cultural heritage of the archipelago.
Did you know | Portas da Cidade are classified as a Property of Public Interest, by Decree-Law No. 39,175, of April 17, 1953.
Considered a visiting card of the city of São Miguel, the Portas da Cidade are made up of three arches decorated with sculptural and ornamental elements, including symbols of the city and the archipelago.
The Portas da Cidade gave access to the old city of Ponta Delgada. However, this important architectural work is currently used as a meeting point and/or a point of reference for visitors.
🧭 Recommended Experiences Check all the outstanding Tours you can do in Ponta Delgada!
History and Geography
The Portas da Cidade de Ponta Delgada is an 18th-century monument with strong inspirations in baroque art. This is one of the architectural landmarks of the capital of the island of São Miguel, in the Azores.
They were built in 1783, next to the old pier, on Avenida Infante Dom Henrique – also known as Avenida Marginal de Ponta Delgada. However, in 1952 they were transferred to their current location at Praça Gonçalo Velho Cabral.
The City Gates are made up of three basaltic stone arches, the central one being the largest. They are decorated with baroque elements, such as symbols of the city of Ponta Delgada and the Azorean archipelago.
Over the years, several personalities, presidents of the republic, and even kings have passed through the Portas da Cidade, making this place one of the main tourist attractions in Ponta Delgada.
Did you know | In 2006, a replica of the City Gates was donated to the city of Fall River, USA.
Culture and Festivities
Portas da Cidade is located in a very central area of Ponta Delgada. In this sense, due to its privileged location, this place is the setting and stage of many events and celebrations that take place in the city.
This architectural work of great scale captures the attention of all who see it. Therefore, it is normal that the list of events held in Ponta Delgada that have the Portas da Cidade as a backdrop is quite extensive.
- Azores Airlines Rallye;
- Festivities of the Divine Holy Spirit;
- White Party of the City;
- Christmas and New Year celebrations.
What to do at the Portas da Cidade
The arches of the Portas da Cidade are erected in Praça Gonçalo Velho Cabral. From this place you can see:
- The historical center of the city of Ponta Delgada;
- The Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião, also known as Igreja Matriz;
- The statue of the navigator Gonçalo Velho Cabral;
- The Raiz Bar, a place of excellence for good moments of fun.
Take the opportunity to enjoy the entire area surrounding the Portas da Cidade. Here, you will find several historical and cultural buildings, traditional trade establishments, markets, gardens, and souvenir shops, among others.
🧭 Recommended Experiences Check all the outstanding Tours you can do in Ponta Delgada!
Explore Gonçalo Velho Cabral Square
With great historical and cultural importance, Praça Gonçalo Velho Cabral aims to honor Gonçalo Velho Cabral, one of the first Portuguese navigators to discover and explore the islands of the Azorean archipelago.
In Praça Gonçalo Velho Cabral, in addition to being an outdoor space, with a privileged view over the sea, you will find monuments and sculptures that make this place a point of great interest and popularity among residents and tourists.
- The statue of Captain Donatário Gonçalo Velho Cabral;
- The Portas da Cidade monument, an ex-libris of Ponta Delgada;
- The Mother Church of São Sebastião.
Did you know | Gonçalo Velho Cabral was the first Donatory Captain of the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria, where he disembarked in 1432, and he was also responsible for the settlement of these islands in the 15th century.
Discover the Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião
The Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião, also known as Igreja Matriz de Ponta Delgada, was built between 1531 and 1547 and has a beautiful facade in Manueline style with the presence of decorative elements from the time, such as coats of arms with royal weapons and arrows with arrows of the martyrdom of the saint.
Did you know | The Mother Church was built with the effort of the population, who appealed to the Holy Protector of the Sick, a miracle to put an end to the Plague that ravaged the city between 1523 and 1531.
This architectural work underwent some alterations throughout the 18th century, with the insertion of Baroque elements. As for the interior, the religious building is rich in gilded carving and high-quality local wood.
With regard to furniture, this church has several jacaranda furniture from the 17th century and an extensive collection of gold-embroidered vestments.
Have Fun at Root Club
Raiz Club is located in the historic center of Ponta Delgada, with a privileged view over several monuments. The establishment has been open to the public since 2016 and is located on the 1st floor of a 19th-century house.
If you are looking for a pleasant space to enjoy concerts by Portuguese bands of the most varied musical styles and gatherings, Raiz Club will always be a good option for your Fridays and Saturdays.
Did you know | The architecture and design of Raiz Club have already been highlighted on the ArchDaily website - a reference in the world of architecture.
Plan Your Visit to the Portas da Cidade
The City Gates of Ponta Delgada are an unavoidable cultural landmark of the city. For its history and beauty that deserves to be appreciated with time. Therefore we suggest that you plan an itinerary with all the places you want to visit, in and around the historic center of Ponta Delgada.
Don’t forget to decide which activities and experiences you don’t want to miss out. Look for several options in advance and book in advance to get good prices.
🐳 Recomended Tour Whale Watching from Ponta Delgada. See More!
Where to Eat Near the Portas da Cidade
If you need a place to eat near Portas da Cidade, click here. In this link, you will find the Top 10 restaurants on Tripadvisor.
Where to Stay Near Portas da Cidade
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Best Time to Visit Portas da Cidade
The island of São Miguel is situated in the Eastern Group of the Archipelago. Here you will be able to notice the atypical characteristics of this climate. It’s a result from several factors contributing to its plant exuberance and landscape value.
On average, temperatures vary between:
- 16 degrees in spring
21 degrees in summer
18 degrees in autumn
and 14 degrees in winter.
Thus, if you want to enjoy all the splendor of this island (São Miguel) and this specific place, the best time to visit it will be between May and September when the probability of rain is lower.
On the other hand, if you want to make your trip in this time space, we advise you to organize and book your stay and flights as soon as possible – prices tend to go up a lot.
☁️ Might Interest You The Weather in the Azores in January The Weather in the Azores in February The Weather in the Azores in March The Weather in the Azores in April The Weather in the Azores in May
What to Do Around the Portas da Cidade
In addition to the Portas da Cidade, the Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião and the statue of Gonçalo Velho Cabral, the capital of the island of São Miguel has several places that are equally worthy of your visit.
Therefore, below, we will indicate some of the main points of tourist and cultural interest that should not be excluded from your visit to the island.
🐳 Recomended Tour Whale Watching from Ponta Delgada. See More!
Mercado da Graça (Farmers Market)
Mercado da Graça is located in the parish of São Pedro, in the city and municipality of Ponta Delgada. This market is one of the most emblematic places in the city and is located in a small and busy square.
Did you know | Until the 19th century, there were no specific places to sell agricultural products and livestock in Ponta Delgada. Everything happened on the south side of the Matrix and in Arcadas do Cais - also known as Arcadas da Feira.
With liberalism, the need arose to build a new market, worthy and suitable for merchants. The Mercado da Graça was then built, on Rua do Mercado, in 1848, with the deliberation of the Chamber of March 16, 1847.
Mercado da Graça offers a wide variety of high-quality regional and fresh products, such as fruits, vegetables and roots. In addition, there are also fishmongers, butchers and some shops selling flowers, souvenirs and regional handicrafts.
Discover the Church of Santo Cristo and the Church of Colégio dos Jesuítas
The Igreja do Colégio dos Jesuítas Church, as well as the Santo Cristo Church, were built in the 16th century when the Society of Jesus expanded to the Azores from 1591 onwards.
The Church of Santo Cristo, also known as the Church of Nossa Senhora da Esperança, is located in the heart of the city of Ponta Delgada and underwent some changes in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Inside you can find the house of prayer, the famous image of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, composed of a beautiful set of ornaments in gold and precious stones, as well as sculptural and ornamental decorations of great richness and cultural interest.
Did you know | Also known as the Church of All Saints, the Igreja do Colégio dos Jesuítas began to be erected on November 1, 1592 - All Saints' Day.
The Igreja do Colégio dos Jesuítas church was inspired by the architectural style of baroque art. It is meticulously decorated with exuberant elements on its volcanic stone façade, with gilded carving on the main altar retable and with 18th-century tile panels.
Public Library and Regional Archive of Ponta Delgada
The Ponta Delgada Public Library and Regional Archive was founded in 1841 and opened to the public in 1846 by the City Council. In 1931, it passed to the General Board of the District of Ponta Delgada, creating a district archive of the city in annex.
The Public Library and Regional Archive of Ponta Delgada are responsible for organizing and making available a repository of the historical memory of the Azores – in particular of the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria.
This library keeps documentation from notaries and conservatories dating back over 30 years and also has one of the largest and richest Camonian collections in the world.
Stroll through the António Borges Botanical Garden
The António Borges Botanical Garden is characterized by its romantic and picturesque surroundings that take us back to the 19th century.
This large green space is one of the largest gardens in the city of Ponta Delgada and is considered one of the most pleasant places in São Miguel. Jardim António Borges is also the “stage” for various cultural, recreational, and sporting activities.
The magnificent António Borges Botanical Garden is a municipal park with an endless variety of botanical species. This property has several trees and exotic plants of great interest in the region for its uniqueness.
Did you know | António Borges Medeiros was an Azorean linked to politics and business who always showed great interest in botany and in the insertion of new species in São Miguel.
Explore the Pineapple Plantations of the Azores
The Pineapple plantation in the Azores is done in greenhouses. There are several producers spread across the island of São Miguel.
Did you know | São Miguel is the only place in the world where pineapples are grown in greenhouses, with around 6,000 plantations across the island.
These pineapples are grown in volcanic soils and watered with thermal waters, giving the fruit a unique flavor.
It is one of the main tourist attractions in the region, where visitors have the opportunity to learn about the pineapple growing process, from planting to harvesting. In addition, you can also enjoy guided walks and tastings of pineapple-based products.
Useful Tools and Apps
The weather in the Azores is quite unpredictable. For this reason, there is a very useful App that you can install on your mobile phone before visiting any of the 9 islands: Spotazores. Thanks to the cameras installed in many of the biggest points of tourist interest, you can see the weather in real time and decide where to go.
To check the weather forecast for the next few days, use Windy or Windguru, they are the most accurate.
Cultural Agenda on The Island of São Miguel
The island of São Miguel has many cultural events to offer all year round. You can see the full list of events at the following link. Look at the Agenda!
How to Get to São Miguel Island
There are many routes to get to the island of São Miguel by plane. The main points of entry are via Lisbon, Porto (on the mainland) and Ponta Delgada (São Miguel island), but there are already many direct routes.
The best way to find a flight that works for you is to use a flight search engine like eDreams or Skyscanner. As you may already know, these sites allow you to compare prices and schedules of various airlines in one place.
Once you find a flight you like, all you need to do is book! And in a few hours, you’ll be on your way to one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world.
The Portas da Cidade de Ponta Delgada is a historic monument dating from the 18th century that attracts national and international visitors on a daily basis.
Built in basaltic stone and decorated with Baroque elements and symbols of the city and the archipelago, this monument marked the main entrance to the old city of Ponta Delgada.
This is one of the most emblematic places in the capital of the island of São Miguel, it is the stage for many events and festivities in the city and is included in all tourist routes in the city.
Due to its central location, the surrounding area of the monument will find numerous must-see places in Ponta Delgada.
Take the opportunity to know and explore this beautiful city!
- Mendonça, L. (2017). Perguntas e Respostas sobre a História dos Açores. 2.ª Edição, Letras Lavadas. Ponta Delgada.
- Forjaz, V., Ribeiro, L., Almeida, L., Pereira, N. e Rodrigues, J. (2019). Dos Vulcões dos Açores. (4.ª Edição). Letras Lavadas. Ponta Delgada.