A European style getaway in Mexico. Guanajuato City
Are you craving some Europe vibe but cannot afford a trip? Head to Guanajuato, Mexico instead. This cozy town will make you instantly feel like you made it to Europe! Vibrant colors, Spanish architecture, narrow hilly streets, museums and lots of history! You will find it all here in the heart of Mexico. Certainly, much more affordable and closer trip (well, at least for the US travelers), no visas needed and plenty of things to see. Here are few highlights of Guanajuato City.
- The Alley of The Kiss, Guanajuato (El Callejon del Beso)
A heartbreaking story based on true life event sounds very similar to the Italian Romeo and Juliette. Two young lovers were exchanging kisses from their balconies right here in this tiny alley. Both families were against their romance. A dramatic event took place right underneath of the balconies where the teenagers were killed by the girl’s father who found out about their love. According to the legend if the couple shares the kiss underneath of this balcony. the union will be strong and happy for the next 7 years. Why only 7? I don’t know but I sure followed the love story suggestion ?
If you are up to some history lessons there are so many museums to choose from. I will mention a few, in my opinion, the most interesting ones: Museum of Mummies of Guanajuato, Diego Rivera Museum and Home (Museo Casa Diego Rivera), Don Quixote Iconographic Museum (Museo Iconografico del Quijote), Museo Exhacienda San Gabriel de Barrera.
I am not too much of a museum type person but if you are, you found your paradise here in Guanajuato! It won’t break your bank either, entrance fees were about 1-3 USD.
Don Quixote Iconographic Museum
3. Spanish Architecture
There tiny houses, hilly narrow streets and bright colors will take your breath away! Take a walk down on any of the streets and you will completely immerse into the ancient European culture. Colonial towns hide away plenty of stories, love, historical events. Take a deep dive with your imagination and touch the past. No need a tour guide or GPS. Just walk. No directions, no plans, no agenda. Just go and get lost on these streets!
I was amazed to see locals and tourists were dancing on the street so naturally, so happy! It made me want to dance with the unknown Latin band playing on one of the town’s main squares. A live music added a special vibe to this atmosphere of joy.
5. Food and tequila (well, of course !!!)
Needless to say, there are some amazing and delicious fresh fruits sold on the streets and small markets. You cannot compare even organic fruits bought in the US to those real tasting like heaven fruits and veggies from Mexico!
There are plenty restaurants and all kind of eateries in town. I would stay away from the fancy ones because it is more expensive than you can typically expect in Mexico. We opted out for small cafes, bakeries, markets. I even tried some street food (I normally don’t do it) and was pleasantly surprised.
There are many boutique hotels to pick from. Price range from 50 to 180 USD. We stayed in 3 different hotels just to compare the experience. And let me tell you, that simple rustic hotel for 60 $ was way better and cuter than the upscale one for 130$. Here are 3 things I recommend you ask when choosing a hotel in Guanajuato:
- Try to get a room with the balcony or window view to the city.
It’s all about the view here! Spectacular colorful houses are something that makes the trip so worthy! When you will be drinking hot coffee in the morning or sipping a wine watching the sunset from the balcony, you will thank me later for the tip!
- Parking space if you are traveling by car.
There is absolutely no parking on the streets and it’s a bit pricey to leave your vehicle on the paid parking for few days.
- Figure out your exact destination and maybe print out or download the off-line maps. And here is why. Guanajuato road system has many of underground tunnels which look identical unless you are local here. With no GPS signal or maps, we were driving through dark tunnels for over an hour and still didn’t find the place! Ended up parking at the paid lot and walking to our hotel (with the luggage, uphill under the hot sun!).
This charming colonial town took my heart away. I quick trip from anywhere from West Coast in the USA, not visa hustling and non-stop flight. An absolutely safe place to visit. A Very budget destination with exceptional cultural beauty. Perfect for a romantic or solo getaway.