Mexico City’s second UNESCO heritage site, the picturesque ‘Venice of Mexico’ offers a tranquil escape from the hustle of the city centre. A beautiful network of canals, this spot is famous for its floating gardens, where reed rafts rooted to become islands, with fruits and flowers growing on the waters. This is the only example of traditional pre-Hispanic land use of lagoons remaining in Mexico City. Hop on one of the many colourful gondolas to enjoy the calming waterways, dotted with birdlife.
Constructed over the ruins of ancient Aztec structures, this UNESCO Heritage Site is famous for the beautiful museums, cathedrals and temples which reveal Mexico City’s fascinating and storied past. For stunning views, head to the terrace of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which plays host to the cities most important cultural events. Palacio Nacional is a grand colonial palace and is home to the offices of Mexico’s President, where spectacular murals by Diego Rivera depict Mexico’s history. One of Mexico City’s most iconic landmarks: Catedral Metropolitana, displays a catalogue of architectural styles.
Museo Nacional de Antropologia
There are over 150 museums and galleries in Mexico City, but the largest and most visited is the world-famous Museum of Anthropology. Regarded as the finest museum dedicated to anthropology in the world, this vast museum pays tribute to the indigenous people of Mexico, aiming to safeguard their legacy. Its 12 ground floor halls are dedicated to the civilisations of pre-Hispanic Mexico, whilst the upper floor showcases how indigenous descendants live today. The superb displays are translated into English, whilst there are 4 free English-speaking tours of the museum daily- ideal to make sense of Mexico’s rich and fascinating history. Gather in a clearing in front of the museum to watch the extraordinary Totonac ‘voladores’ rite- ‘flying’ from a 20-meter-high pole.
In a haunting tribute to pre-Hispanic Mexico, the ruins of Templo Mayor were only rediscovered in 1978- beginning an excavation which is ongoing today. This is thought to be the exact spot where Aztec’s saw what is now the symbol of Mexico: an eagle perched on a cactus, with a snake in its beak- believed by the Aztec’s to mean this is the centre of the universe. Visitors to this astonishing site can view the pyramids and complex main temples, whilst the on-site museum houses a model of Tenochtitlan- the Aztec city which became Mexico City- along with some of the incredible artefacts uncovered on this site. Continually intriguing with more being discovered every day, this is a must-visit to understand the wonder of the ancient civilisations of Mesoamerica.
50km north of Mexico City, a complex of magnificent pyramids and temples line the Avenue of the Dead on this ancient archaeological site. Stretched across the valley in geometric patterns, this is an incredible example of the Aztec technology and city planning that has inspired subsequent cultures. With the towering structures representing only 10 percent of the total surface, this is a testament to the largest cultural centre in Mesoamerica. Clamber up the 248 uneven steps of the Piramide de Sol- the world’s third largest pyramid- for an awe-inspiring view of this ancient city. For a day trip away from the busy modern city, Teotihuacan is a must-add to your Mexico City itinerary.
Bosque de Chapultepec
At more than 1600 acres, Mexico City’s largest park offers an oasis in the middle of the busy city. Home to several historical sites, this huge expanse is dotted with dozens of fountains and monuments to discover. Climbing up to the top of the hill, Chapultepec castle houses the fascinating natural history museum, whilst other attractions include the botanical gardens, with the Museo Nacional de Antropologia nestled in this sprawling park.
Fly from London Heathrow Airport directly to Mexico City International Aiport with British Airways (11 hour 55 minute flight)
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
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