Famous Places to Visit in Peru | Top Attractions and Landmarks
Peru is a mystical land of rainforests and ruins, lost civilisations and ancient cultures. There’s even an element of enigma shrouding its misty peaks, hidden cities, and carved deserts.
Does this sound like the kind of place you need to see? Then take a look at our cultivated list of the most famous landmarks in Peru to spend your next holiday.
While you’re planning which of these places to visit in Peru, remember that the country requires you to bring your proof of Onward Travel.
Peru Tourist Attractions
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These famous locations may be packed with tourists at certain times of the year, but it’s with good reason. They’re undoubtedly unmissable experiences. If you can, try going in the off-season when the crowds thin out.
You’ll need to be relatively fit to visit Machu Picchu, one of the most famous and popular tourist attractions in Peru.
In a time when Incan cities were being ravaged by the Spanish conquest, Machu Picchu escaped the destruction because of its unique location high in the mountains. As such, it was left in a state of preservation the likes of which is rare to find in South America.
This means that it offers an unblemished view into ancient South American history and civilisation, making it worthy of its title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders. It’s a mesmerising maze of over 150 stone structures and 100 flights of stairs, including an astronomical observatory that reveals two equinoxes.
Once you’ve had your fill of fragmented ruins, you can also gaze over the gorgeous views offered up through the Sun Gate, the main entrance into Machu Picchu.
Often used as an easy access gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, Cuzco looks like a sea of terracotta tiles from above.
The Plaza de Armas square, built by the Spanish amidst the Incan ruins, is the heart of this sprawling city in the sky. You’ll find plenty of cafés, restaurants, and gorgeous architectural works to gaze upon here.
If you want to fully embrace the culture in Peru, things to do may include sampling the South American delicacy Cuy (guinea pig) at the nearby San Pedro Market. It’s a hub for local cuisine, including tangy meat broths and fruit smoothies. It’s easy to get lost traversing the many stalls in search of an authentic food experience.
You’ll also be able to find take-home trinkets amongst a kaleidoscope of colourful items at the market, from alpaca souvenirs to Peruvian dolls. For those that want to get more in touch with nature, there are multiple hiking trails and hot springs to satisfy.
Famous Peru Landmarks
Peru is home to some pretty amazing places, so if you haven’t been to the country before, you’re in for a treat. Take a look at these famous Peru landmarks.
There’s hardly anything remarkable about the windless deserts in the Palpa and Nazca valleys. However, from the air you’ll be able to see one of the most mystifying — and quite frankly massive — landmarks of Peru, namely the Nazca Lines.
The sun has been gazing upon these incredible manufactured creations for almost 2,000 years, baking them into the changeless ground and preserving them as they are today. Although there are all manner of shapes carved into the dirt, the monkey and the spider are probably two of the most famous geometrical wonders.
The best way to see them is undoubtedly by charter flight, however, there is the Mirador observational tower which can be accessed as well. It’s worthwhile to know that only a handful of the lesser-known geoglyphs are visible from the tower, though.
When travelling to Peru, places to visit should include the beautiful Colca Canyon. The canyon is home to local wildlife, hot springs, and magnificent views.
In the morning light, stately Andean condors glide through ethereal mists, and alpacas graze on terraced meadows. You may even see a puma or vizcacha.
The views are genuinely some of the most beautiful in Peru. Take a break at Calera and relax in the warm embrace of its thermal waters, or visit any one of the villages in the area. This nature lover’s experience will leave you feeling rested and relaxed in one of the most beautiful spots in Peru.
Sacred Valley of the Incas
While the Sacred Valley of the Incas is one of the most remarkable landmarks in Peru, it is also home to a myriad of smaller villages and attractions.
Pisac is the closest to Cuzco and hosts one of the best markets in the area where you can buy food and locally made souvenirs. There are also the ruins of a substantial Incan village to explore.
Ollantaytambo and its quaint cobbled streets boast little cafés, gorgeous Incan architecture — some of the best outside of Machu Picchu — and even a chocolate museum. The temple and fortress ruins are particularly noteworthy.
You’ll also see the ethereal salt pans of Maras as well as the intriguing circular ruins of Moray as you continue your journey.
If you want an adrenaline-driven experience of the Valley, there are plenty of options to choose from. You can tandem paraglide for a dramatic overhead view of the splendours beneath, or go white water rafting at different spots along the river. It’s easy to see why the Valley is one of the most popular places of interest in Peru.
Places to Visit in Peru – Final Thoughts
Peru is a bucket list destination for archaeological enthusiasts and casual travellers alike. Whether you decide to hang out with the llamas at Machu Picchu or paraglide down the Sacred Valley, you’re sure to make some incredible memories at these (literally) breathtaking places in Peru.
If Peru is on your bucket list but you’re feeling the urge to explore further, take a look at some of our favourite South American countries to visit and see what they have to offer.