In the beggining, Ponta Delgada was just a small piscatory village and Vila Franca do Campo was the Azorean capital city. Then, an earthquake devastated Vila Franca do Campo in 1522, destroying its main buildings and killing numerous people. After this event, Ponta Delgada became the only place with enough infrastructure to support the Azorean bureaucracy and economy. In 1546, during the reign of King D. João III, the village of Ponta Delgada was elevated to a city status turning into one of the most important Azorean citys. Later on, in 1582, one of the largest Anglo-French forces sailed against Spain to preserve the Portuguese control of the Azores. This event became known as the naval Battle of Ponta Delgada.
Nowadays, Ponta Delgada is the largest municipality of the Autonomous Region of the Azores and also a beautiful city with very interesting cultural and historical sites where you can see and learn more about São Miguel Island heritage, such as: Portas da Cidade, "St. Cristo" Church, "Mãe de Deus" Chapel, "São José" Church, Carlos Machado Museum and "Forte de São Brás".
Vila Franca do Campo was the first capital City of São Miguel Island in 1444, where some of the most important battle events between Don Antonio I of Portugal and Philip II of Spain occurred. Nowadays, it is a big town with an interesting natural and architectural heritage such as, Matriz Church from the XV century, the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Paz, São Pedro Church from the XVIII century and also the town museum.
Vila Franca do Campo is also known for its famous pastry “Queijadas da Vila”, originally created on St. André Convent, which are still made according to a secret recipe preserved throughout the years. Situated in front of the town’s coast, the Islet of Vila Franca do Campo is considered one of São Miguel’s main touristic attractions, especially during Red Bull Cliff Diving world championship event.