10 Most Beautiful Cities in Mexico

March 18, 2024

most beautiful cities in mexico

It may be one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the world, but there is so much more to this country beyond its exquisite coasts, including the most beautiful cities in Mexico.

Known for its vibrant indigenous culture, Spanish influence, rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious food, Mexico’s vibrant colonial cities are a treasure waiting to be explored.


Let’s be clear about what this list is not. Note the word “cities” in the title. This list is not about and does not include:

Those categories have been covered in the links above.

Here are the ten most beautiful cities in Mexico.

10 Puebla

most beautiful cities in mexico

Mexico’s 5th largest and one of its oldest cities is a two-hour drive from Mexico City. Puebla’s setting in breathtaking mountainous terrain only adds to its attraction. The city square is dominated by a massive two-tower cathedral with a tiled dome roof inspired by UNESCO St. Peter’s Basilica. The square is surrounded by over 70 attractive colonial-era churches, pastel buildings with flowers spilling over second-floor balconies, outdoor cafes, and vibrant artisan markets.

Puebla’s gastronomy is arguably considered to be the best in Mexico, with dishes like mole poblano – a rich, thick, chili-chocolate flavor sauce, originating here. The city’s relaxed, friendly atmosphere attracts visitors from both Mexico and abroad.

9 Huatulco


Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the foothills of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains, Huatulco (pronounced wa-TOOL-co) is worth checking out if you’re considering visiting the Mexican Riviera or the Mexican state of Oaxaca (wah-HAAK-kah). Unspoiled beauty, eco-friendly, near-perfect weather, epic sunsets, ancient ruins, scrumptious food, and of course, crystal clear Huatulco playas (beaches) make it a great escape for couples, solo travelers, or families.

Oh, did I mention the jungle landscapes, waterfalls, colonial town revival, coffee plantations, and friendly locals? There are so many things to love in Huatulco besides the golden beaches!

Click here to read 10 Best Reasons to Visit Huatulco.

8 La Paz

La Paz

On the shores of Mexico’s southern Baja peninsula is La Paz, an authentic and colorful Mexican city whose name translates as “the Peace.”  For travelers interested in Mexican culture, but want to be away from the hustle of touristy Cabo, La Paz is the perfect.

Boasting 340 days of sunshine a year, beaches that rival the Caribbean, and a desert climate that keeps the days warm and dry and the nights cool, you are spoiled for choice of what to do in La Paz.

Its low-key waterfront malécon with shops and restaurants is one of the best in Mexico. Balandra Beach is stunning, there’s great snorkeling and diving on the Sea of Cortez where you can get up close and personal with wild sea lions.

Click here to read 12 Amazing Activities in La Paz.

7 Mexico City

mexico city

With tourists flocking to Mexico’s two coasts, Mexico City is something of a special secret to those of us who love it. The city is made up of several diverse neighborhoods that you can explore.

Home to 26 million people, the colossal capital metropolis is the 5th-largest city in the world. It was built on the dried-out bed of Lake Texcoco and is encircled on three sides by mountains and volcanoes.

The UNESCO El Centro area is bustling with pre-Hispanic history and culture, where ancient Aztec ruins coexist with majestic colonial buildings such as Templo Mayor, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Palace of Fine Arts. You can feel the frenetic energy at every corner, from the striking colonial architecture, the vibrant street art, the traditional cantinas, the eclectic markets, and a plethora of world-class museums. Cosmopolitan folklore, bohemian, or kitschy, this exciting city has it all!

Nearby are the lovely neighborhoods of Roma, Condesa, and Coyocan, Chapultepec Park, and the must-see Teotihuacán pyramid complex.

Click here to read How to Spend 3 Days in Mexico City.

6 Merida

famous things in mexico

Under the radar Mérida is one of Mexico’s greatest cultural cities with a rich Mayan heritage. As the capital and center of the Yucatan Peninsula, this thriving Mayan city also serves as the best hub to explore nearby colorful colonial-era cities, beautiful tropical beaches, cenotes, and ancient Mayan ruins, all within a two-hour drive in any direction. Twice named “the American Capital of Culture,” you will likely run out of time before you run out of things to do as you tour Merida.

A perfect mix of big city and provincial town, Merida has a fantastic historic center boasting stately colonial henequen mansions on Paseo de Montejo, ornate cathedrals, museums, and shady, picturesque plazas that showcase the city’s rich architectural heritage. Indulge in shopping and dining along Calle 60, and live music every Thursday night in Park de Santa Lucia.

Click here for the Ultimate Guide to Merida.

5 Puerto Vallarta

puerto vallarta

Nestled between the aquamarine waves of the Pacific and the lofty Sierra Madre Mountains is Puerto Vallarta. This popular tourist destination, once named la ciudad más amigable del mundo (“the friendliest city in the world”), beckons visitors with its colorful architecture, rich culture, friendly locals, and world-class beaches.

While the shimmering beach is the main draw, one of the best things about this beach destination is that it has a lovely (albeit expensive) colonial city crisscrossed with cobblestone streets that lead to the shore. The Mexican seaside city offers myriad dining experiences, soft and extreme adventure options, and eco-diversity.

Click here to read The Best Puerto Vallarta Beach & Activities.

INSIDER TIP: Click here for the ONLY Mexico packing list you’ll ever need!

4 Guanajuato


Guanajuato has been called the most colorful city in Mexico and is listed in the top 10 colorful cities of the world. The UNESCO World Heritage city was founded in the late 16th century as a mining town and still has navigational tunnels beneath the city. This pastel-laden colonial city is built into the side of the surrounding mountains, especially magnificent when viewed from above at the iconic viewpoint of El Pipila where you can ascend via a funicular.

A veritable feast for your eyes, Guanajuato is best experienced by just wandering around the vibrant facades and charming alleys of the historic center. Explore the Basilica Colegiata de Nuestra Senora de Guanajuato with its baroque and neoclassical styles, whose wooden icon was the first to be brought to the New World from Spain, the stunning Teatro Juarez, a historical 19th-century structure with a Roman-style facade, Plaza de La Paz, and Mercado Hildago.

Guanajuato has an interesting legend surrounding Callejón del Beso (Kissing Alley) – a tragic love story. Be sure to get your Instagram photo with your sweetie in the two balconies!

Just outside of the historic district is the gruesome Museum of the Mummies to check out – if you dare.

Click here to read What to Do in El Centro Guanajuato.

3 Playa del Carmen

playa del carmen

Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, Playa del Carmen, once a small fishing village, is now a lively and popular destination due to its proximity between Cancun and Tulum.

In addition to chilling on the palm-lined beaches, snorkeling the offshore reefs, and exploring nearby jungles, there is easy access to several amazing Mayan ruins and cenotes – two unique activities that make the Yucatan so desirable.

Based around the central street, Quinta Avenida (Avenue 5) has lots of cafes, bars, souvenir stands, and upscale boutique shops.

Click here to read What to Do on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast.

2 Oaxaca

famous things in mexico

UNESCO Oaxaca City is said by many to be the cultural heart and prime destination for culture lovers, with a rich heritage that blends Spanish colonial with indigenous Zapotec tribal.

Splashed with a cacophony of color and sound, the old city center is best experienced along the pedestrian streets and Plaza de la Constitucion. The charming plazas and well-preserved churches of the colonial center mix its pre-Hispanic past seamlessly with indigenous markets and the regional flavors of the city. There are lots of festivals and parades along the main drag and visitors are welcome to participate.

Wandering its streets is the best way to experience Oaxaca City. Be sure to duck into the small local mezcal bars and cafes selling the local favorite tlayudas – large crispy tortillas stuffed with melted cheese and marinated meat.

Click here to read Best Things to Do in Oaxaca.

1 San Miguel de Allende

san miguel de allende

One of the most popular destinations in Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is an utterly enchanting gem! Looking out over the Rio Laja, the city is strikingly located on a steep hillside; its cobbled streets and delightful colonial architecture make it a treat to behold.

The romantic old-world charm of the beautiful colonial civil and religious buildings makes UNESCO San Miguel de Allende the leader of the the most beautiful cities in Mexico; indeed, it may well be the most beautiful city in North America.

The pièce de résistance is the awe-inspiring, pale pink neo-Gothic cathedral sitting in splendor at its center, the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. It’s often said to resemble the La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona).

From the center, charming cobblestone streets spread up and down the valley and highlands. Just outside of the historic center is the neighborhood of Colonia Guadalupe, known for its colorful street murals (which cannot be painted within the historic center).

San Miguel de Allende is one of the few cities in Mexico with first-world amenities and lots of English-speaking people, both tourists and merchants.

Click here to read What to Do in San Miguel de Allende.

Click below to PIN so you can find the most beautiful cities in Mexico again:

PIN mexican cities

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer.

About the Author

Patti MorrowPatti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and the southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of the “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the next few months.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Go top