What to see in Mexico
Tourist attractions Puebla
Puebla de Zaragoza, better known simply as Puebla City, is the capital of the state of the same name in central Mexico. Just over 110 kilometres from Mexico City, visiting Puebla is recommended for anyone who longs to experience one of the most historically important cities in the country. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and volcanoes, Puebla sits at an elevation of 2162 metres above sea level. Founded in 1532, today it is the fourth largest city in the country and stands out for its eclectic architecture, important monuments and historic centre, the latter of which is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you travel to Puebla you can enjoy a variety of famous Mexican cultural delights. In fact, the city is well-known for culinary classics, including mole sauce and chiles en nogada. Furthermore, colourful Talavera tiles are another cultural icon of Puebla.
Interestingly, Puebla was the first planned city founded by Spanish conquistadors in central Mexico. Its strategic location between Mexico City and the port of Veracruz made it an important centre of trade and military defence. Furthermore, the city played a major role during the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 and is remembered for its successes over French forces during the 1862 Battle of Puebla.
Visit Puebla today and you’ll find a delightfully colourful city. Filled with pastel-painted houses, leafy plazas, antique shops and top-rate museums. It’s also famous for its exuberant Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Home to historic churches, bustling street markets and endless opportunities to get stuck into the local cuisine, it’s easy to see why it is loved by international and Mexican tourists alike. Popular day trips from Puebla include Cholula, home to an incredible archaeological site, and the charming town of Atlixco, known for its production of cut flowers.
Things to see in Puebla
Like any Mexican city, Puebla is home to a spacious central plaza, known as the Zocalo. In the very heart of the historic centre, this beautiful square is the best place in the city to soak up the colonial-era architecture and get a feel for the atmosphere of Puebla. Around its edge, you’ll find restaurants, bars and cafes, along with the historic Puebla Cathedral. Dating back to the 17th-century, it's known for its striking Renaissance-era Baroque architecture. Its twin bell towers are particularly impressive, but in its interior, you’ll find a whole host of treasures, including Doric columns, gilded altars, fantastic religious artworks and statues. It’s one of the most important historical places to visit in Puebla.
To dive deeper into the history of Puebla, be sure to pay a visit to its historic Fort Zone, home to the forts of Loreta and Guadalupe. Sat atop Cerro de Guadalupe, these forts were the site of the famous Battle of Puebla and offer a fascinating insight into the events that shaped modern-day Puebla. Fort Loreto contains a museum, where you can learn all about the events of Cinco de Mayo and enjoy guided tours of the military complex. Undoubtedly, one of the best things to do in Puebla!
Not far from here, you’ll find the vibrant Barrio de Murales, or ‘Mural Neighbourhood’. Also known as Xanenetla, this part of the city is home to a fabulous array of street art. This neighbourhood was once known for its bricklayers and potters, but today, it is the best place in the city to enjoy Puebla’s rich artistic heritage! At least 55 murals can be found on the streets of Xanenetla, making it one of the best places to visit for lovers of street photography and art.
Back in the historic centre, no stay in Puebla would be complete without getting in touch with your literary side at the incredible Biblioteca Palafoxiana. Recognised as the first and oldest library in the Americas, Biblioteca Palafoxiana is home to more than 45,000 books and manuscripts, some of which date back to the 15th-century. Its sumptuous interior decoration and sturdy oak bookcases are a real treat for anyone wanting to lose themselves in the written word. Furthermore, the library is easy to find since its exterior is decorated with vibrant Talavera tiles, characteristic of the city of Puebla!