Posted 25/01/2024 | 25th January, 2024
Puebla de Zaragoza is an enchanting place filled with history and culture, creating a vibrant, beautiful city to enjoy.
Puebla is packed with colonial architecture and surrounded by a rich culinary heritage. It has a fascinating range of activities to keep even the most active traveller busy.
Whether you’re intrigued by the UNESCO World Heritage sites, eager to savour the local gastronomy, or ready to hit the markets, this guide contains all the best things to do in Puebla, Mexico.
Where is Puebla?
Puebla is around 130km southeast of Mexico City, making them a great pairing. The bus between the two cities runs over 15 times per day and is very comfortable and affordable.
The weather in Puebla is pleasant all year round, with the hottest month of the year being May when temperatures reach the low 30s.
13 Best Things to Do in Puebla, Mexico
Relax in the Zocalo
The Puebla Zocalo is the main plaza and park and the first place you should head when looking for things to do in Puebla, Mexico.
Although you will probably pass through this area many times whilst exploring the city on foot, spending a few hours here watching the world go by will give you a great initial feel for the area.
It is bursting with life throughout the afternoon and evening. Expect to see plenty of entertainers, such as musicians, magicians, and clowns. I really enjoyed watching all generations enjoy this beautiful space, with young children and grandparents alike making the most of it.
Marvel at the Cathedral
Just by the Zocalo is the Puebla Cathedral – and wow, it is truly magnificent.
If you’re heading to Puebla as part of a bigger Mexico trip, you’ve likely already seen heaps of beautiful churches. However, there is something unique and special about every single one.
Construction began on this Baroque-style cathedral in 1575, and though financial difficulties meant that it took decades to complete, it is now clearly the heart of this city. It’s no surprise it’s now classed as one of the best things to see in Puebla.
The cathedral is known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, and the inside is just as stunning as the out. I recommend visiting during the day as well as in the evening to enjoy how the building looks in the different light.
Puebla Teleferico (Cable Car) – Fun Things to Do in Puebla
The Teleferico is located in the large park to the northeast of the city centre. We walked to the cable car from the historical centre, and the journey took around 30 minutes (the last ten minutes of the walk are up the side of a busy main road, but there is ample footpath).
The park is pleasant, with plenty of people exercising and walking their dogs in the morning. However, if you’re looking to simply enjoy some green space, I would recommend Parque Ecológico (discussed below).
However, it is worth the journey here for the Teleferico alone; it is certainly one of the best things to do in Puebla.
There are only two cabins, but each one holds up to 35 people. We visited on a weekday morning and were lucky enough to have the whole cabin to ourselves, with the addition of one lovely staff member who pointed out all of the highlights.
You have the option to take the cable car one way or a return trip. ($38 MXN or $65 MXN respectively). A one-way trip was sufficient to enjoy the beautiful view and snap some great photos. The Puebla Teleferico is the best way to get a clear view of the four incredible mountains that surround the magical city of Puebla.
The Puebla Teleferico is open seven days per week – Monday from 2 pm to 10 pm and Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 10 pm.
The Palafoxiana Library is widely considered one of the best things to do in Puebla. UNESCO recognises the Palafoxian Library as being the first and oldest public library in the Americas.
It has a rich and interesting history. It was founded in 1946 with a donation of 5,000 books from the Bishop of Puebla. Palafoxiana currently houses a collection of over 45,000 books and manuscripts published between the 15th and 20th centuries.
The area you get access to is relatively small, so I wouldn’t allocate more than 30 minutes to visiting the Palafoxiana library. Nevertheless, it is extremely beautiful and certainly one of the best places to visit in Puebla.
The Palafoxiana Library is located right in the heart of the historic district, so you will have no trouble walking there. The entrance fee is $40 MXN (with a discount for children and students), and the Palafoxian Library is open Tuesday – Thursday, 10 am – 5 pm, and Friday – Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm.
Wander Callejon del Sapo (Frog Alley)
Callejon del Sapo is considered to be the most beautiful area of Puebla and for a good reason. The brightly coloured buildings, many shops and cafes, and quaint cobblestones street is a delight.
This isn’t a huge area of the city, but I would dedicate an hour or so to snapping some photos, grabbing a coffee, and soaking in the atmosphere.
El Parian Handicraft Market
Just by Callejon del Sapo is the El Parian Handicraft Market is excellent. Unlike many markets we visited in Mexico, this one wasn’t dedicated to food!
Instead, it was packed with many second-hand gems (clothes, cameras, books), as well as lots of handmade souvenirs such as cups, magnets, and plates.
There was also a great range of jewellery here, ranging from inexpensive woven pieces to gold and silver. I really enjoyed this market and it should definitely be on your list of must-visit places in Puebla.
Explore Puebla’s Secret Tunnels – Fun Things to Do in Puebla
The secret tunnels are one of my favourite things to do in Puebla, Mexico.
Hidden beneath the charming streets of Puebla, the secret tunnels are like a whispered tale waiting to be discovered. These subterranean passages, dating back to the 16th century, weave through the city, revealing a world of history and intrigue.
Originally built for defence and escape during times of conflict, these tunnels now offer a fascinating glimpse into Puebla’s past.
The tunnels are very easy to find and take just around 15 minutes to reach on foot from the historical centre. The entrance looks like a metro/subway. Tickets are purchased from the desk, and the staff are very friendly – there was no queue, and we visited mid-afternoon on a Sunday.
I saw a lot of reviews stating that Puela’s tunnels could be explored within ten minutes, which I don’t think is the case. We spent about 45 minutes here exploring the underground system. All the signage is in English and Spanish, which is very useful if your Spanish isn’t quite up to scratch.
The exit of the tunnels will bring you out to the park near the Teleferico, so I would recommend pairing these two attractions together.
The Tunnels are open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm. Tickets are $30 MXN per person, with discounted tickets being $ 15 MXN for students and teachers.
After a couple of days in Puebla, I was craving some open green space – and Parque Ecologico provided just that.
It takes around half an hour to reach Parque Ecologico on foot from the centre. Once you leave the historical centre, the walk is a little dull as you pretty much just follow the main road. However, it was relatively short and allowed us to see the more residential side of Puebla.
Parque Ecológico has a leisure centre, running track, football pitches and tennis courts. It also has a cycling and walking track that follows the loop of the whole park, as well as picnic benches and plenty of spots to relax by the water.
Enjoy Tacos Arabes
Introduced by Middle Eastern immigrants in the 1930s, these savoury delights fuse Mexican and Arabic flavours.
Roasted on vertical spits, the succulent marinated meat, usually pork (but sometimes lamb), is nestled in soft tortillas and adorned with a burst of fresh salsa. The tortillas are different from the typical maiz ones you will find in other areas of Mexico. Instead, they are made with wheat flour; they are much larger and have a fluffy texture.
We enjoyed Taco Arabes in two (very affordable!) locations in Puebla. Las Ranas and Bagdad – they were both exceptional and very reasonably priced.
Indulge in Dulces
A whole street dedicated to dessert? Count me in!
Calle de los Dulces is an absolute must-visit during your trip to Puebla. As the name suggests, the road is packed with traditional sweet shops selling gorgeous Mexican treats at very affordable prices.
The Tortitas de Santa Clara are perhaps the best known and were my favourite. This treat is made from pumpkin seeds, sugar and condensed milk. As you can imagine, they are sweet and delicious and will certainly have you returning for more.
Soak in Coffee Culture
Puebla has a very unique culture. It’s a large city with a population of over two million, yet it manages to capture a beautiful, laid-back atmosphere in its main coffee shops.
You won’t struggle to find great coffee and snacks in Puebla. Just a short stroll from the Zocalo, there are heaps of fantastic coffee shops specialising in local beans.
When you’ve had a busy morning of exploration, treat yourself to a couple of hours of great coffee, relaxation, and people-watching.
Visit the Church of San Francisco – Best Things to Do in Puebla
The Church of San Francisco in Puebla, Mexico, stands as a captivating testament to colonial architecture. Constructed in the 16th century, its Baroque facade adorned with intricate sculptures and carvings reflects the city’s rich history.
The Church of San Francisco in Puebla was originally part of a larger complex that included a convent. The convent was associated with the Franciscan order and played a significant role in the religious and cultural history of the region.
The Church of San Franciso sits right on the border of the main historic district, meaning it is easily walkable from everywhere in the centre. It is extremely close to the Barrio de Artes, so I recommend pairing these attractions together.
Enjoy Mole Poblano
Mole Poblano, a renowned Mexican sauce, is the original mole. (however, those from Oaxaca may dispute this!)
Legend traces it to 17th-century nuns blending indigenous ingredients with Spanish influences. The complex sauce incorporates chilli peppers, chocolate, and spices, symbolising Mexico’s rich cultural fusion.
Mole Poblano is perhaps the most unusual thing I’ve ever tasted. Bold, right?
It’s rich, creamy, thick and spicy all at the same time. We tried it with tortillas and with chicken (pictured below).
To be honest, I still can’t tell you if I loved or hated this dish – but I’m certainly happy I tried it!
Puebla Day Trip From Mexico City
Many people will recommend a day trip from Puebla to Mexico City, which is extremely do-able.
It takes around two hours to travel between the two cities, with buses running over 15 times per day.
With one day in Puebla, you can visit most of the main attractions (the cathedral, Callejon del Sapo, Church of San Fransico, etc), and of course, you can enjoy some of Puebla’s excellent food.
However, to get a real feel for the city and enjoy everything it offers, I recommend at least 3 days in Puebla.