The city of Puebla de los Ángeles, in the state of the same name, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico, not least because of the delicious culinary heritage, ornate and magnificent colonial architecture, and ease of access from Mexico City. Even Unesco has recognised its cultural value. Here’s our guide to the unmissable sights and activities in Puebla City.
Besides mole poblano and the seasonal delight that is chile en nogada, Puebla is also well known for producing delicious sugary treats. The best place to sample all the culinary specialties this city has to offer is the so-called Calle de los Dulces (Sweet Street) – also known as La Calle de Santa Clara. Make sure to try some of the region’s most representative candies – camote, muégano and las tortitas de Santa Clara.
Once you’ve had your fill of browsing the artisanal stores that line the Puebla streets, you’ll be ready for a new perspective on the colonial city: a ride in the teleférico, or cable car. You’re suspended high above the city on the 2,231ft (680m) traverse, so you can see all the beauty in one go. If the thought of dangling from a wire doesn’t appeal, ride the Estrella de Puebla, a 262ft (80m) high ferris wheel that delivers views of Izta and Popo volcanoes as you circle slowly.
In Puebla they like their food – and they adore their libations. The city is the home of many fantastic drinks more or less exclusive to the state. You could sip a Mexican mojito, also known as a menyul – there are many varieties but essentially it’s a mint julep made with rum instead of bourbon. You might like a super-strong pasita, a much-loved liqueur made from a local, raisin-esque fruit. Also try the eggnog-like rompope.
Many people think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, when in fact that is on 16 September. Still, one state in Mexico does celebrate 5 May and that state is Puebla. On 5 May 1862, Ignacio Zaragoza and his troops defeated the attacking French army on the Cerro de Loreto y Guadalupe, the hilltop home to the Loreto and Guadalupe forts. You can – and should – explore the old military stronghold, now home to a museum rather than an army. The view from the forts is spectacular, too, down over the city below.
Callejón de los Sapos (Frog Alley), is a treasure trove of antiques dealers, artisanal vendors and furniture hawkers. At the weekends, it hosts a flea market, where you can pick up some Talavera pottery or some vintage movie paraphernalia to take home as a colourful souvenir of your time in Puebla.
Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.