Top Peru Attractions
From mysterious Inca sites to cities with South American flair.
There is so much to see when visiting Peru, it would be hard to squeeze it all into a single Peru trip. Here's a rundown of the most popular Peru attractions, from lively cities to ancient sites that still have the archaeologists scratching their heads.
Have a look at our Peru itineraries for ideas on planning your Peru holiday. Our 14, 10 or 7-day Jaguar: Peru adventure, includes hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and is our most adventurous itinerary packed with hiking, biking, backpacking, jungle hikes, a village home stay and plenty of multi-activity options. Our 11-day Capybara: Family trip in Peru, is a fantastic way to see Peru on an unforgettable family vacation. Packed with adventure for both young and not so young, we'll see wildlife in the Amazon rainforest, visit Machu Picchu, explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas and sea kayak on Lake Titicaca.
Read more about Peru in your FREE brochure, featuring heaps of travel photos, more detailed maps and tips for planning your Peru adventure.
Machu Picchu is both the most well known and least known of the Inca sites. Since its discovery in 1911, Machu Picchu has been considered one of the world's greatest architectural and archaeological monuments, but to this day, experts cannot agree on why or exactly how this city of stone was built.
Founded in 1540, Arequipa is Peru's second largest city after Lima. Arequipa gets its moniker "La Ciudad Blanca" (The White City) from its gleaming white buildings made of sillar, which is a light volcanic rock. The city is surrounded by three volcanoes, including El Misti, which is still active. Some of the world's deepest and most spectacular canyons can also be found nearby.
Cuzco (also known as Cusco)
Once the capital of the Inca empire in the 14th century, Cuzco is a fascinating town in Southern Peru full of ancient treasures and modern gems. See the Cuzco Travel Planner for our picks of what to see and where to go.
With about half a million residents, Iquitos is the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road. Located on the banks of the Amazon river in the Northern Amazon basin, it's the perfect base for exploring the unique wildlife and largely untouched jungle in the national parks.
Lake Titicaca is the largest lake, by volume of water, in South America and sits 3812 metres (12,500 feet) above sea level on the border of Bolivia and Peru. Read more about Lake Titicaca, Peru.
Lima is the capital as well as the industrial and financial centre of Peru, so you'll likely start or finish your Peru trip here. Read our Lima Travel Guide for suggestions on where to go and what to see.
Miraflores is the side of Lima the government wants tourists to see and it's not a bad place to spend the afternoon while you're waiting for your flight or have just arrived. This tidy neighbourhood in the capital city of Lima features urban beaches, flower-filled parks as well as upscale shopping and dining.
Nazca Lines (also known as Nasca Lines)
The Nazca Lines are one of the great mysteries that keeps scientists around the world buzzing. No one is quite sure how the Nazca people etched about 300 enormous geoglyphs - line drawings of figures, animals, birds and geometric shapes - into the surface of the red desert rock sometime between 200 BC and 700 AD. Many of the lines are several kilometres long creating precise patterns that are clearly discernible from the air. Why and how continues to defy explanation, but theories have ranged from aliens to art since they were discovered in 1927. Located about six hours by road from Lima.
Puno "Folklore capital of Peru"
Puno is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the area surrounding the city of Puno was where the Aymara civilisation, descendents of the Inca, started in Peru. This is an important agricultural and livestock region of Peru where you'll find llamas and alpacas grazing on the immense plateaus and plains. It's also a cultural centre for artistic expression, especially for dance.