Mexico has many colorful landscapes, storied architecture, and vibrant neighborhoods, but what is the most beautiful town in Mexico? Many towns tout their offerings on websites and brochures, but most travelers will want to find an authentic destination that has been scouted by a fellow traveler or local first.
What are the most beautiful cities in Mexico?
There are thousands of beautiful towns in Mexico, but locals and travelers agree that these are 10 of the most beautiful:
- Guanajuato (Guanajuato)
- San Miguel de Allende (Guanajuato)
- Tulum (Quintana Roo)
- Taxco (Guerrero)
- Izamal (Yucatan)
- Tequila (Jalisco)
- Tlaquepaque (Jalisco)
- Todo Santos (Baja)
- Real de Catorce (San Luis Potosí)
- San Cristóbal de las Casas (Chiapas)
A beautiful Mexican town must have great local food, proximity to the best sites, and be rich in local heritage.
But, above all else, it’s often the people that make the place, and you’ll be hard pressed not to find friendly locals in any of our choices listed below. I will give you the inside scoop on what makes each town worthy of being called one of the most beautiful in all of Mexico.
I’ll also leave insider tips on each place to ensure you don’t miss the good stuff.
As a world traveler and ex-pat who has lived worldwide, I have found many a beautiful town.
However, Mexico might be the most exceptional because it magnifies the natural beauty and heritage of each town rather than re-envisioning it completely to suit the desires of tourists.
A Top 10 List of The Most Beautiful Towns in Mexico
What Makes A Beautiful Town
Mexico is especially adept at creating story tale facades, replete with exquisite landscaping, homages to the roots of each town story, and vibrant facades.
Step into the limits of any Mexican township, and you’ll find a special kind of attention to detail.
The magic is not in the perfectly parallel streets or an abundance of convenience for tourists, but rather the masterful way the towns in our list retain their history and heritage for future generations of Mexicans, not necessarily outsiders.
An abundant amount of pride goes into maintaining these towns, most likely due to deep family roots and a culture of strong national pride. It’s almost as if they are awaiting a special guest every day to show the best of what their town has to offer.
Insider Tip: First created by Mexico in 2001, A Pueblo Magico, meaning “magic town,” is a special designation granted this special status by the Mexican Ministry of Tourism. The title can be made due to cultural significance, historical importance, or the inclusion of a natural wonder. There are currently over 130 Pueblo Magico’s in Mexico, and many happen to be especially beautiful.
1. Guanajuato (Guanajuato)
Immediately upon entering Guanojauto through an old cobblestone tunnel, you’ll realize this town is not only beautiful but also altogether different than just about any other town in Mexico. This town exists both above AND below due to a fortuitous urban planning feature.
An underground network of tunnels built in the early 19th century to prevent flooding was later excavated in the 1960s and used ever since for public transportation.
They are also a lovely and quite literally cool way of exploring the town.
Above ground, Guanajuato is full of colorful alleyways, small terrace dining, and the ever-present sounds of mariachi. The historical city center was built with pink and green sandstone and includes colorful mansions, churches, and many tiendas (shops) left intact to reflect their early day’s heritage.
Insider Tip: Guanajuato possesses what might be both the most interesting and creepy museum experience of Mexico and quite possibly your lifetime. The Mummy Museum is home to dozens of naturally mummified inhabitants of Guanajuato from the Cholera outbreak of 1833. In a place where the dead are very much honored and revered, it is considered an homage to history and contains some interesting details about life in this area hundreds of years ago.
2. San Miguel de Allende (Guanajuato)
If this was not a top ten list, but rather a definitive inquiry about the most beautiful town in all of Mexico, San Miguel de Allende just might be the answer.
UNESCO would agree, designating it a World Heritage Site in 2008. This town has both physical beauty in its vibrant primary color scheme and also added intrinsic beauty in its preciously preserved 17th and 18th-century buildings.
Think door knockers in the shape of brass hands, two-story high wooden doors, and churches that look like a painting come to life.
Insider Tip: Above the city center lies Botanical Garden Charco del Ingenio is a botanical garden designated one of five Mexican sites as a Zone of Peace by the Dali Lama himself. Spanning 173 acres of endangered cacti, succulents, and maguey, this is not to miss on any visit to San Miguel de Allende.
3. Tulum (Quintana Roo)
Tulum is an easy addition to just about any Top 10 list of just about Mexico. Great food, check. Amazing lush tropical jungles, check.
An eclectic mix of people and frequent opportunities for a sound bath or gong healing ceremony, check, check, check.
Tulum’s abundance of cerulean cenotes and powder-like sandy beaches are also undeniably some of the most beautiful in Mexico if not the world over. Beyond the beaches, there is a vibrant culinary scene here with both luxurious five-star dinners and more low-key farm-to-table breakfast and lunches, all Instagram enviable.
Insider Tip: Hoslitika Tulum might be first and foremost a wellness boutique hotel and yoga retreat, but it also has a hidden gem on its property which is open to the public. This outdoor space has yoga shalas, a meditation dome, a plant-based restaurant, and also has a “Jungle Art Walk” that will take you on a sweet outside pathway through rotating art installations around the property.
4. Taxco (Guerrero)
Formally a silver mining town, Taxco now shines brightly as one of Mexico’s crown gems. A celebration of silver in this town means copious amounts of artisan crafts that are virtual art pieces in themselves.
Cobblestone streets and colonial architecture overflowing with brightly covered bougainvillea give this town an abundance of charm. A panoramic view of mountains and cliffs makes this town worthy of being one of Mexico’s most beautiful.
Insider Tip: If you happen to align your trip with Semana Santa (Easter Celebrations) this town really shines. There are events marking every day of this week from sunrise to sunset. One of the greatest in the Procession of the Virgins that sees women in white carrying Virgin Mary statures through the streets.
5. Izamal (Yucatan)
This undeniable photographable charm machine is the liquid sunshine of Mexico. Also known as la Ciudad Amarilla de Yucatán, Izamal means “the yellow city of Yucatan.” Some say it was painted this golden turmeric color to honor a visit from the Pope in 1993.
Known for its golden yellow facades Izamal was one of the very first Pueblo Magicos ever designated. Beyond its vibrant hues, there are also numerous Mayan archeological sites dotted around the city including ancient Mayan ruins dating back to 750BC.
Insider Tip: If you are in search of “all the beautiful things” to take a piece of Izamal’s charm home, Coqui Coqui is the place to go. In short, it is a designer perfumeria full of pink frescos, ornate tapestries, and of course the aromatic scents of Izamal in the shape of perfume bottles and candles.
6. Tequila (Jalisco)
Tequila is more than a hangover waiting to happen. This town was designated a Pueblo Magico not only for its contributions to the spirit industry but also for the majesty of its rolling agave fields and cobblestone charm.
The spacious traditional haciendas are also an experience in themselves offering many secret nooks with bubbling fountains and flowering courtyards. There is also an ever-looming volcano that overlooks the town adding to its multitudes of beauty.
Insider Tip: While it might not be a written law, most people don’t go to Tequila without visiting one of the fine distilleries and Casa Souza will help you tick this to do off your list. This distillery’s history tracks back to 1873 when the founder eventually became the first one to coin the term “tequila”. Learn not the originators and you won’t be disappointed.
7. Tlaquepaque (Jalisco)
Tlaqupaque is noticeably beautiful not only on the outside but quite literally on the inside. This Pueblo Magico town is overflowing with local artisan crafts, pottery, and textiles.
It looks like an interior designer had a hand in each and every shop due to the well-appointed spaces.
The city is very walkable and includes large art installments along the corridors. Tlaquepaque is also in no shortage of art museums, food tours, and workshops, making this town all the more appealing.
Insider Tip: Check out the square at El Parian for live Mariachi nearly every day of the week. This space is famed for its main handstand which hosts traditionally dressed Mariachi players amongst a bevy of restaurants and bars. It is definitely the vibe of Tlaquepaque.
8. Todo Santos (Baja)
Todos Santos is the very essence of modern Mexican vibes drifting over sleepy beach town amenities. Founded as a Mission in 1724, it later became a hub of sugar production.
Today, it is a beautiful spot to walk around with Instagram perfect facades, historic sites, and of course, the Baja coastline. It is active year-round with festivals, local workshops, and opportunities for watersports.
This Pueblo Magico is just 1.5 hours from Los Cabos and is the antithesis of the massive beachside resorts seen elsewhere on this peninsula.
Insider Tip: Hotel California of Eagles fame resides in Todo Santos. It’s picturesque arches, rooftop garden and quaint restaurant are worth a detour on your way to go surfing.
9. Real de Catorce (San Luis Potosí)
Real de Catorce is not your average Pueblo Magico although it certainly ticks off the list of beautiful surroundings; cobblestone streets, gorgeous mountain vantage points, and not to mention; it might be haunted.
Entering the city you can stop at Tunel de Ogarrio, an old subterranean passageway that can be navigated by foot and opens up to breathtaking views of Real de Catorce. Arriving on the other side, you’ll arrive nearly 9000 feet into the mountains and you’ll be greeted with the eerie lost in time remnants of a real Mexican Ghost Town.
The town has a significant amount of abandoned buildings preserved to appear exactly as they did in the old mining days. In the daytime, you’ll be struck by Real de Catorce’s quaint charm, but as the sun sets a spooky aura comes over this uninhabited preserved old mining locale.
Insider Tip: Set aside time to check out Cerro del Quemando (El Quemado Huichol ceremonial center) a ceremonial gathering place known to host magical rituals of the peyote variety. Concentric stones give off an especially mystic vibe where the Wikarika or Huichol indigenous people wait for cosmovisions to guide them.
10. San Cristóbal de las Casas (Chiapas)
San Cristóbal de las Casas (Chiapas) is the perfect blend of a Mexican variety of bohemian and old colonial heritage. The Cathedral of San Cristobal is a perfect homage to the latter, having been built in 1528.
It’s awe-inspiring to feel how well intact this town has kept its history. This town is abundant with artisan markets, quaint cafes, and historical landmarks. The historical center sparkles with wide patios to dine on and picturesque flower balconies that are forever in bloom.
At night bohemian vibes give way to a cosmopolitan atmosphere of late-night activities and leisurely strolls.
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Insider Tip: The Museum of Mayan Medicine is an art museum dedicated to the ancient medicinal practices of the Tzotil-Tzeltal people. It honors the tradition of these medicine men, and likely the dawn of modern medicine as we know it, with a medicinal plant exhibition and also a gift shop packed with herbal remedies made from their local modern descendants.