Guanajuato is maybe the most beautiful city we have seen in Mexico. Colorful houses, steep streets, lovely squares and miradors, the city has a lot of charm and attractivity and is part of UNESCO world heritage. The surroundings have also a lot to offer with amazing climbing spots or historical towns. That’s why we wanted to share with you non-touristy things to do in and around Guanajuato.
Guanajuato, a gorgeous city with a unique style
Guanajuato is a stunning city. Composed of a gorgeous miradores, churches and many small squares, Guanajuato is part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. No doubt you will be charmed by this unique city, maybe the most beautiful of all Mexico.
The must-dos: the funicular and Pipila’s monument mirador
How to start discovering Guanajuato other than with the most spectacular view on the city? El Pípila is a monument about the independence which is located on a mirador with a beautiful view of the the city. From here you will see all the historical center with the most iconic buildings of the city. This is especially stunning at sunset with the buildings lighting up in the twilight. For an even more unique experience, you can use the funicular, linking the Mirador to the city center in front of the Teatro Juárez.
Wander in the UNESCO’s historical center
The historical center of Guanajuato is absolutely gorgeous. Strolling through its small squares, historical buildings and narrow streets will make you forget you are in Mexico. I can recommend the squares San Fernando and San Roque, charming exemples of these numerous small squares. Otherwise, get lost in the colourful and narrow streets of Guanajuato. The most famous one is probably the Callejón del Beso, but also very touristical.
The Tunnels and subterranean streets
The city center, part of the UNESCO world heritage since 1988 is also full of subterranean ways. These tunnels and subterranean streets have been created in the XVIII century to avoid flooding and remain walkable today.
The numerous churches
How not mention the wealth and beauty of the many churches you can see in Guanajuato. We particularly enjoyed the Basilic Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato and the Templo de la Compañía de Jesús Oratorio de San Felipe Neri.
Have a break full of flavours in the Mercado Hidalgo
Just in front of the beautiful Reforma garden, a stunning building can be seen, proof of the glorious past of this colonial city. This is the Mercado Hidalgo, municipal market of Guanajuato. Inside, You will find a great variety of Mexican food. Local handcrafted, vegetables, seafood, Mexican snacks, for sure you will meet your needs here.
A hint in the past, visit mines and the Mummy Museum
Guanajuato made it’s wealth in the XVIII century on the silver mining. You can still encounter some old mines around the city as Valenciana or Guadalupe mines. Another specifity of the city is the presence of a mummy museum! These mummies have been exhumated from a graveyard in Guanajuato around 1850 and represented one of the biggest turistical attractions for decades.
Where to eat
📍Cafe bossanova: charmfull coffee in a pretty small place of the city. Such a romantic spot for a coffee or a cocktail.
📍 Enchiladas de Lupe: a great place advised by a local to enjoy the specialties of the region.
Where to stay?
📍The house of cinema: lovely house with tipical construction methods and a great view on the sunset !
Non-touristy things to do around Guanajuato
The surroundings of Guanajuato offer a lot to see with several Pueblos Mágicos (magic towns), amazing landscapes, and typical food. Not to mention that this area has a huge importance in mexican history!
Cerro de la Bufa, a stunning hidden gem at a walkable distance of Guanajuato
This is our favorite discovery in Guanajuato. At 1h from the city center of Guanajuato, the Cerro de la Bufa is a stunning hill that is really worth the exploration. It is made of many monoliths, giving a unique style to the landscape and cherry on the cake, you can climb them! We really recommend the experience if you have the opportunity. You will also find a nice wildlife with wild goats or horses. There are many beautiful miradors with wide views on the surroundings. Watching the sunset from there is an absolute must-see, one of the most beautiful we saw in Mexico.
Dolores Hidalgo, cradle of the Mexican Independence
Located at 1h from Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo is a pretty town with an important history for Mexico. This Pueblo Mágico is indeed the starting point of the Mexican Independence. On September 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo (considered as the father of the independence) uttered his famous cry for the independence of Mexico (El Grito de Dolores), which triggered the Mexican war of Independence.
What to do ?
We advice you to spend half a day to wander in the town. Yo can explore the main square, its remarkable tree (son of the sad night) and its stands of delicious ice creams. Close by, is the independence museum, the Mercado Hidalgo or the lovely Callejón Casiano Exiga.
How to go to Dolores Hidalgo from Guanajuato by bus?
You can go to the bus central station but this is a bit far from the city center.
Instead, we took a bus close to the roundabout “Glorieta dos Ríos”. The bus stop is a bit further on the Dolores Hidalgo – Guanajuato road. There is a ticket seller at the stop. It took us approximately 1h30 to reach our destination.
Good to mention, try to be at the front of the bus. The road is full of curves, I started to feel dizzy which never happened to me in Mexico!
Where to eat
📍Restaurant el Fruty: lovely patio and good service
San Miguel de Allende, how to get off the beaten path?
San miguel de Allende is located at 40 min from Dolores Hidalgo, or 1h30 from Guanajuato. The town is part of the UNESCO world heritage program since 2008 and is oriented on a international tourism economy.
A city centre spoild with places for tourists
The center is clearly made for US and international tourists. Don’t expect much authenticity. The city attracts a lot of american expacts. As a consequence, the city centre became super expensive, far from the usual prices. This makes us wonder how do locals deal with this ? The answer is that most of them don’t live anymore in the city centre but in the surroundings. Once you know that, you easily understand that there’s not much authenticy in the centre anymore. Nevertheless, the historical center is pleasant to walk around. We especially enjoyed the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, majestic church on the main square.
Get off the city centre of San Miguel de Allende
I recommend to go outside the city centre to enjoy a more authentic experience. If you move away from the city centre, you’ll find nice spots to visit. We strongly recommend El parque el Chorro and the mirador above it. This is a lovely area which escape a bit to the mass tourism of the hyper center. The mirador is a great spot for the sunset.
The city is also famous for its wineyards that you can visit. This can be a nice activity to discover tipical Mexican haciendas. We had a great time visiting old farms and their wineyard in Querétaro.
Where to sleep
We stayed at the Patio Alojamiento, an economical option well located.
Where to eat
We struggled much to find economical options. There are no mercado or supermarkets in the center to do your own food. The restaurants in the center are expensive and oriented on tourists clients. We recommend to avoid the center to find honest options for locals.
📍 Taqueria El Brasero: Great tacos outside the city centre (but still close and easily doable on foot).
How to get there
From Guanajuato : by bus, from the bus central station, it took us approximately 2h.
This was our guide to non-touristy things to do in and around Guanajuato. We strongly invite you to discover this amazing state full of georgous landscapes and with a rich history. Did you visited it? What did you think? Let us know in the comments. And, as usual, don’t forget to follow our Instagram to not miss our latest adventures.