“Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before.”Dalia Lama
Morelia is a little gem in the state of Michoacán and often referred to as the most ‘Spanish town in México ‘. We have to admit, it hadn’t come up on our radar, until my sister, Liz and her husband, Mark were planning their trip to México earlier this year.
Liz gave this UNESCO World Heritage site stunning reviews, so we knew then that we needed to adjust our plans and ensure we visited this wonderful city. A great decision – if only we had more time there!
Morelia is the capital of the state of Michoacán, with a population of around 600,000. The city boasts historic charm and colonial architecture, and as a tourist it is a lovely city walk around slowly admiring the magnificent architecture.
So, why is it that Morelia doesn’t come up on the hit list of places to visit in México?
Word on the street is that the state of Michoacán is unsafe. I don’t want to sound dismissive but we never felt unsafe in Morelia or driving through the state. We take the usual precautions with our personal safety just like we would in other parts of the world; don’t go down dark lane-ways at night, lock our doors whilst driving, and don’t mess with drug dealers etc. 😜
Yes, there could be unsafe areas in the state of Michoacán, (we don’t know where) but we felt very comfortable in Morelia.
Here’s a list of what you’ll find in this historic city:
Acueducto de Morelia (Aqueduct)
Built in 1785 from limestone, the structure is one of the most popular attractions in Morelia.
In its day, the aqueduct had the important role of bringing water to the city.
Over a mile long and boasting 253 towering arches, this structure cannot be missed as it snakes its way through the Central Historico part of the city, for its age is in very good condition.
If you are feeling energetic, there is a pedestrian walkway that parallels the entire length of the aqueduct.
This amazingly beautiful structure makes a great backdrop for a photo. Or better still, it can be one of your features of this city.
In the heart of Morelia stands this boroque-style Roman Catholic cathedral. Considered by many to be the most beautiful cathedral in the country!
The cathedral was built from pink cantera stone and took 84 years to complete. The construction commenced in 1660 and was finally completed in 1744.
The cathedral features two 70 metre high towers, an elaborate 18th century baroque altar and an organ with 4600 pipes. The organ was imported from Germany in 1905 and was the largest in the Western Hemisphere at the time.
Of an evening the cathedral and its towers are beautifully lit up making it look absolutely stunning.
The cathedral is open to visit, 7 days a week 6am to 9pm.
Close by to the cathedral are some roof top bars/restaurants with views of the cathedral. We enjoyed a cool refreshment at two of the bars, on separate occasions. Here’s the links if you are ever in town. 🙂 El Campanarioa Cafe 1 & El Campanarioa Cafe 2 .
Callejón de Romance (Romance Lane)
Located in the Centro histórico area off Avenida Francisco I Madero (see the map below) is this cute lane-way. The lane-way is pleasant to stroll down, read the poetry on the walls, declare your love on a padlock or take some time out to sit by the fountain at the end of the lane.
Morelia City Sign
One of the ‘things we do’ when visiting a new place is to grab a shot at the sign of the city. 😊
These tourist attractions are a global phenomenon, and México like other countries loves to provide these landmarks for photos.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Modern Art Museum)
We spent a short amount of time here, the museum is compact but the artwork was interesting.
The staff were friendly and entrance is free!
The museum is open 7 days a week from 10am.
There are many Museums in Morelia, however time was not on our side on this visit, so here are the links to some of the museums on offer: Paseo Escultorico De Las Artes, Museo del Dulce De La Calle Real, Museo de Arte Colonial, Museo Casa Natal de Morelos & Museo Regional Michoacano, Dr. Nicolás León Calderón.
Monument to Morelos
Morelia is a colonial city steeped in its Spanish history, you can wander the streets for hours. We wandered around in awe at the amazing buildings and the architecture, there are over 200 protected buildings in the Centro Historico area alone!
When we needed to rest our feet we took rest/bite in Plaza Morelos. Here in the gardens you can take a photo of the statue of Jose De Morelos, take in views of the aqueduct and when you’re ready, cross the street to visit the Shine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church which is not to be missed.
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
Construction began on this grand old lady back in 1708 and was completed in 1716. The church is dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe and is a fine example of neo-gothic style, which arrived in Mexico in the 19th century.
The church is conveniently located across the street from the Monument to Morelos. Its plain brown facade doesn’t look that special from the street, but just wait until you walk inside!
The inside of the church is spectacular, like the inside of a jewellery box and is regarded by many as a national treasure. Inside, there are colours aplenty, along with countless intricate plastered rosettes and gold leaf covering the ceiling. Photos do not do it justice, this church is astonishing and needs to be seen in person.
Morelia flys under the radar for many international tourists. In our opinion it is definitely worth putting on the itinerary when visiting México.
We recommend a visit to discover this hidden gem for yourself.