Peru is as enchanting a destination as any in South America, offering visitors an impressively rich blend of historic landmarks, colonial-era cities and amazing natural sites, from the stirring beauty of Machu Picchu to the lush landscapes of the Amazon.
Much like Brazil or Colombia, Peru also benefits from an abundance of natural beauty around towns like Puerto Maldonado and Chachapoyas, so there is even more beyond exceptional food and landmarks, whether trips to the Amazon rainforest, hikes in the Andes and sand boarding in the desert.
Peru’s size and the spread of its population hubs means it requires some research to make the most of a trip here. To help you plan, here are the best cities and towns to visit during your holiday.
Peru’s capital showcases a little bit of all the things that make the country a great destination. Starting on the Pacific coastline beside the Miraflores neighbourhood, the city spreads inland towards the historical centre, Lima Centro, where a slew of colonial buildings lead to the Plaza de Armas (these plazas served as the heart of New World cities, with all construction taking place in grids stemming from them).
Many visitors will choose to stay near the coast in Miraflores, where the malecon, Lima’s six-mile promenade, is the star of the show (along with beaches such as Costa Verde, where swimming, paddle boarding, surfing and even paragliding are popular). Alternatively, trendy Barranco is the city’s bohemian nightlife capital, while San Isidro has become a slightly more glitzy area and the safest neighbourhood.
Visitors can strolls through the Art Gallery of Lima and museums such as the Larco (which exhibits artefacts from ancient Peru), but this is a city where culture and history are can easily be absorbed in the streets, plazas and parks. Aside from the architecture, nowhere is this more relevant than in the city’s culinary scene, where some of the world’s best restaurants, like Central (named the top restaurant in the 2023 World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking) sit alongside amazing street food stalls, all of which serve Peruvian and…