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Lima: Peru’s Capital – the Top 10 Places of Interest

¡Buenos días! Have you already booked your next trip? If not, we would highly recommend making it one to Lima! Peru in general is the perfect destination for backpackers, because it allows you to experience history up close. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about the Inca, try some delicious Peruvian food, enjoy the country’s natural world, and discover its wonderful capital Lima. We instantly fell in love the first time we set foot into this city, and we’re certain that you will too!

In this article, we’ll get you up to speed with everything you need to know about Lima and introduce you to all of our favorite sights there. The list could have gone on forever, but we finally managed to narrow it down to 10 entries.

Lima in a Nutshell

As the third-largest country in South America, Peru is hard to miss, despite its many neighbors. The country borders Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile, as well as the Pacific Ocean. It’s home to 32 million people and can look back at an absolutely fascinating history. Long before our era, people were already settling in Peru, and the 15th century saw the creation of the country’s most famous landmark – the now ruined city of Machu Picchu. It was built by the Inca in the Peruvian Andes and is an incredibly impressive sight!

However, we should mention that Machu Picchu isn’t just a stone’s throw away from Lima. More than 1,000 kilometers of road separate the two places, and even if you could drive in a straight line, you would still have to cover a distance of more than 500 kilometers. When we said Peru is a big country, we really weren’t lying!

The capital of Peru lies on the country’s west coast and is called Lima. As Peru’s largest city, with a population of around 8.5 million people, it’s also the economic, cultural, and logistical center of the country. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish adventurer Francisco Pizarro, who named it “Ciudad de los Reyes,” meaning the “City of Kings.” Are you wondering why it was a Spaniard who founded Lima? The answer is easy – Spain started occupying the region in 1532 and created the Viceroyalty of Peru shortly thereafter. This process led to the death of millions of indigenous people, either through military force or by diseases brought over from Europe. Peru finally gained independence in 1821.

Spanish culture has had a strong effect on Peru’s cuisine, although there are other influences as well. We highly recommend trying the Peruvian national dish while you’re in Lima. Ceviche consists of raw white fish, which has been pickled in lime juice and spices and is then served with sweet potatoes, corn, and yucca. It might sound like an unusual combination at first, but we’re sure you’ll grow to love this dish just as much as we do! In general, Peruvian food varies a lot depending on which region you’re in. For example, people in the Andes eat guinea pigs, whereas people in the Amazon basin like to eat river snails and frogs.

Lima is home to many exciting events. Every February, for example, you have the chance to experience the traditional Peruvian carnival. During this time, the city is particularly colorful and there is a lot of music and dancing. You’re also likely to come across some water and flour fights during the festival. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? There are also quite a few religious celebrations throughout the year, including a Catholic one in October in honor of the “Lord of Miracles” (Señor de los Milagros). We also recommend visiting the Mistura Food Festival in September, where you can taste all of Peru’s most delicious dishes.

One of the easiest ways to get around in Lima is with the metro, which has 26 stops. Alternatively, you can also travel by minibus or cab. In this case, you should be careful and keep your guard up, though. So, are you ready for the best sights this city has to offer? Let’s go!

The Top 10 Places of Interest in Lima

Now that we’ve covered the basic facts about Peru and Lima, let us introduce you to our 10 favorite places in the city.

Plaza de Armas

You should put the Plaza de Armas at the top of your bucket list, especially if you’ve only got a few days in Lima. The square is the oldest part of the city and has been here since 1535. We’ve already mentioned the man who laid its foundation – Francisco Pizarro. The Plaza de Armas is also where the proclamation of Peru’s independence took place in 1821. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.

One of the square’s main features is its beautiful fountain, which was built by a former viceroy. But there is, of course, a lot more to discover here. We highly recommend checking out the government palace, the city’s famous cathedral, and the archbishop’s palace, which is only about 100 years old. The square is also home to the city hall and the Club de la Unión. We won’t go into more detail here, as a lot of these sights have their own separate spot on our list.

Lima Cathedral

The Catholic Cathedral of Lima is dedicated to St. John the Apostle. According to legend, Francisco Pizarro not only founded the city of Lima but also this church. The cathedral’s construction began in 1535. Don’t forget to visit Pizarro’s tomb while you’re here! He is, after all, an important figure in Lima’s history.

Unfortunately, earthquakes have damaged the cathedral in the past, and it had to be rebuilt again and again. This process also has some advantages, though. The cathedral’s magnificent Neoclassical towers, for example, are a later addition. The continuous reconstruction also means that you can discover a lot of different architectural styles in the cathedral. The altar, for example, is Baroque, while the choir is a great example of Rococo architecture.

Government Palace of Lima

As already mentioned, the Neo-Baroque Government Palace is located at the Plaza de Armas as well. Locals also call it the “House of Pizarro” – a rather unsurprising nickname, considering that Pizarro was the one who placed the current palace on top of an earlier one belonging to the Inca.

Although the Government Palace’s exterior is very impressive, we would also recommend exploring its glamorous interior. Sign up for a guided tour to see the Golden Hall, the Peace Room, and the Jorge Basadre Room.

Basilica and Convent of San Francisco

The impressive Basilica and Convent of San Francisco is another sight you shouldn’t miss out on while exploring the Plaza de Armas. “San Francisco el Grande” is a more recent construction than the other entries on our list and has seen numerous extensions and alterations.

The church is famous for its beautiful Baroque features as well as its gorgeous domes. We highly recommend booking a tour of the fascinating catacombs underneath the church. They are the resting place of thousands of people, whose bones have been arranged in a very artistic way.

Plaza San Martín

Of course, there are other squares than the Plaza de Armas in Lima. One of our favorite ones is the Plaza San Martín, which serves as a memorial to José de San Martín, Peru’s liberator. The square features an impressive equestrian statue of the man who fought for Peru’s independence. The Plaza San Martín is also a popular place for street performances, and you can find a lot of great cafés and restaurants here.

Larco Museum

If you want to learn more about the history of Peru, we would highly recommend visiting the Larco Museum. It’s home to more than 45,000 exhibits, which include gold jewelry, Andean clothing, as well as many works of art. After exploring the museum, check out the souvenir shop, relax at the museum’s café, or take a walk through its beautiful garden!

Huaca Pucllana

To get a close look at the history of the Peruvian people, take a tour to Huaca Pucllana. It’s a pyramid located in the middle of the Miraflores district – to be honest, the sight is hard to imagine without having been there. The Huaca Pucllana is about 1,500 years old, and archeologists are still excavating it to this day.

Parque del Amor

While you’re in Miraflores, why not visit the Park of Love? Its main feature is a sculpture by Victor Delfín, which depicts the artist kissing his wife. This work of art has sparked a funny contest. Couples come here and compete to see who can kiss their partner the longest. The romantic atmosphere reaches its peak when the sun sets over the ocean behind the statue. The Park of Love really is the place to be for anyone who’s longing for some romance!

Parque de la Exposición

Another beautiful park is the Park of the Exposition, which was designed by an Italian architect. You can visit several pavilions as well as the Lima Art Museum here. The Neo-Renaissance building in which the latter is housed has existed since 1871 and is an eye-catcher in and of itself. The inside, with its thousands of exhibits covering three millennia of Peruvian art, is very impressive as well.

Magic Water Circuit

We highly recommend spending one of your evenings in Lima at the Park of the Reserve. There are several water fountains here, which already look very beautiful during the day but become an absolutely spectacular sight at night, when they’re illuminated in bright colors. The Magic Water Circuit even has an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.


Lima is one of Peru’s most fascinating cultural centers. Many of its most famous sights are related to the capital’s founder, Pizarro. These include the Plaza de Armas, Lima Cathedral, and the Government Palace – and we highly recommend visiting all three of them while you’re here. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about Peru’s history, either, and check out the Larco Museum, the Art Museum, and the Huaca Pucllana pyramid. Lima is just full of fantastic sights!

Another great asset of the city is its large number of parks. Our favorite ones are the Park of Love and the Park of the Reserve, which are especially beautiful in the evening around sunset. Whatever you decide to do, your trip to Lima will be an unforgettable experience, and we’re sure you’ll fall in love with the city just as quickly as we did!

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