Puebla also known in Spanish as Puebla de Zaragoza, formally Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza and in colonial times as Puebla de Los Ángeles is the capital and largest city of the state of Puebla. We have arrived here after spending 3 days in Ciudad de Mexico with listening Mariachis on Plaza Garibaldi. Read here our Mexico City Bucket List! We were a bit tired, we have seen a lot and couldn’t wait to relax and wander around the city of Puebla. Here’s our guide to Puebla City with the best things and activities.
How to get to Puebla
Puebla has a strategic location, it is only 130 km from Ciudad de Mexico, also easily accessable from here both Veracruz and Oaxaca states.
- The easiest to choose the 150D Mexico – Puebla highway, as it connects the two cities. Of course you need to pay for the usage of the road, like on every cuota roads in Mexico. Read here our article about the road conditions in Mexico.
- 150D is the same road on which you can continue to Orizaba direction as well.
What to see in Puebla
Due to its history and architectural styles ranging from Renaissance to Mexican Baroque, the city was named a World Heritage Site in 1987.
Established in 1646, the Biblioteca Palafoxiana was colonial Mexico’s first public library, and may well be the oldest in the entire Americas. In one long hall with cross vaults in its ceiling are carved wooden shelves, three storeys high, laden with 41,000 books, manuscripts and documents like original maps from the days of the conquistador Hernán Cortés in the 16th century.
The library was founded by Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, the illegitimate son of Aragonese nobility, who joined the clergy and rose to become Bishop of Puebla from 1640-1655.
Puebla Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Puebla’s historic centre. It is the second largest cathedral in Mexico and has a fairly austere exterior, but the spacious interior includes 14 chapels and an interesting octagonal altar. It was built in the Renassiance and Baroque styles, with some transition to the Neoclassical style visible on the facade. Despite the typically effusive decoration, the exterior is rather austere due to its dark grey stone.
- Its twin bell towers are the tallest in Mexico at 69m. One of them can be climbed for excellent views of the city and surrounding volcanoes.
- The entrance, like to all churches and cathedrals in Mexico is completely free.
Zócalo de Puebla
Right next to the cathedral we can find the main square: Zócalo de Puebla. The Zócalo, or main square, remains the cultural, political and religious center of the city. It was the first block to be laid out, with the rest of the historic center traced out from it in the form of a checkerboard. This main plaza originally was rectangular, but later made square because the earlier version was considered to be ugly. Until the end of the 18th century, this was the main market for the town. For much of the colonial period, it was the main source of potable water via a fountain that had been installed in the center in the mid-16th century. Many political and cultural events have been and continue to be held here. Bullfights were held in the main square from 1566 to 1722.
Callejón de los Sapos
The Callejón del los Sapos apparently owes its name to the fact that in colonial times, the rising of the San Francisco River caused numerous floods on South 6th Street, due to this, the residents of the town, chose to give a useful use to this phenomenon, installing mills to take advantage of this natural water supply, but these activities brought with them a great proliferation of toads in the area. Today the only vestige of those friendly amphibians remains, a fountain that stands right in the middle of the Plazuela de los Sapos. And that serves as a testimony of those times.
Today the Callejón de los Sapos street and market is a reference for those who like colours, art, curiosities, hand-made goods, and good books. You can find lots of treasures in its permanent and temporary bazaars, as in the market that is staked there and that we can enjoy on weekends, especially on Sunday that offers us a musicalised tour.
- Don’t miss out on their amazingly tasty and rich Cantarito cocktail accompanied with super delicious local food.
Calle de los Dulces
Besides mole poblano 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.
Where to stay in Puebla
Puebla offers many options for travellers. Also, it’s worth to check the last-minute options too, as this way we also got into a luxurious suit for pocket money (on European terms), click here to book our favourite: Hotel 5 de Mayo!
For more options, check the below map!