In a valley between four volcanoes is Puebla, a Spanish colonial site with more than 2,000 historic buildings. Look for vintage façades covered in Talavera tiles, baroque churches adorned with statues of angels, elaborate towers and colonial mansions.
Puebla was founded in 1531. At the heart of the historic center is the Zócalo, the rectangular main plaza that’s been here from the beginning. Start your visit in the lively square. Every day thousands of locals come here to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Street musicians perform folk tunes, hawkers vend their wares, and cafés and shops do brisk business.
Contemplate the architecture of the impressive Puebla Cathedral on the Zócalo’s south side. It is a mix of baroque, Renaissance and neoclassical styles. Look around the spacious interior with its richly decorated chapels. Climb one of the bell towers for impressive views of the city and volcanoes.
Wander through the historic center to discover more old buildings. Visit the Chapel of the Rosary to admire its opulent baroque interior. See pre-Columbian and colonial art at Museo Amparo, housed in 16th-century buildings.
Puebla is also popular for its gastronomy. The city is credited with the invention of mole poblano, a thick, spicy sauce. Try fine dining throughout Puebla, as well as convenient street vendors offering empanadas and molotes.
For art and crafts, visit Barrio del Artista where you can watch artists in their studios and buy their work. On the weekends, look for more art, locally made jewelry, rugs, clothes and lucky charms at the flea market in Plazuela de los Sapos.
When you’ve filled your shopping bags and finished admiring Puebla’s architecture, travel 20 minutes west to the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
Puebla is 82 miles (132 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City. Both are served by international airports. You can get around Puebla by bus, although there aren’t any route maps or scheduled stops. Alternatively, hail a taxi or rent a car. Plan for moderate temperatures year-round and a somewhat rainy summer.