The city of Puebla was founded in 1531 and has grown to become Mexico's fifth-largest city in the time since. Home to no less than 2 million inhabitants, the city lies in a strategic location between Veracruz and the Mexican capital, Mexico City. Puebla is most well-known for being Mexico's gastronomic capital, satisfying many a hungry traveler passing through its streets. A culinary highlight is mole poblano, a chicken-based dish that is said to have been invented in the city. Also be sure to take in the Catedral de Puebla (pictured), which boasts onyx statues and a domed ceiling that's patterned after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Merida, often referred to as the "White City", was actually built upon an ancient Mayan city. Numerous colonial buildings sprang up following its founding in 1542, including a palace where a former Conquistador leader once resided. El Zocalo, the city's main plaza, is a must-visit - take in a 16th-Century cathedral, the Governor's Palace and the Old City Hall, to name but a few of its highlights. In the evening, take a stroll along El Pasea Montejo, which is lined with beautiful mansions harking back to the city's glory days as the rope-making capital of the world.
This colonial town lies in the heart of Guerrero state, which once was the most important mining region in the New World. Taxco is renowned for its silverworks, especially jewelry. Its stone-paved streets are lined with huge colonial houses bursting with color, small squares and many a silver workshop. If architecture is your thing, have a look around the Santa Prisca, a church that stands as a fine example of Baroque architecture. The best time to visit Taxco is during Holy Week, when the All Souls processions take place.
7. Copper Canyon
This canyon, which is actually a series of canyons that are larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon in the US, can be found in the Tarahumara Mountains of Chihuahua state. A great way of taking in the breathtaking vistas is by traveling on the Chihuahua al Pacifico railway. Along its route, your train will take you over 37 bridges and through 86 tunnels on its way to a peak altitude of 7,900 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level. Aside from the stunning views - and depending on how adventurous you are - suspension bridges, zip lines and hiking trails abound in this region.
The pretty, multicolored buildings of Guanajuato are the first things that draw people in to this beautiful city, which is also notable for its distinctly European atmosphere. It also features a unique network of underground tunnels that serve as roadways. The wealth garnered by the city's inhabitants from nearby gold and silver mines during the colonial era is evidenced by the lavish Baroque architecture sprinkled throughout its confines. You can even view what's left of the La Valencia mine, one of the world's richest silver mines. The church of San Cayetano, which was built by the mine's owner to give thanks to god for the wealth he accumulated, stands at its entrance.
Located in a valley below the Sierra Madre mountains, Oaxaca is notable for its colonial architecture, archeological sites and one of the best Day of the Dead festivals in all of Mexico. Start your visit to the city by heading straight for its core, namely Zocalo square. From here, you can take in the beautiful Santo Domingo church, tour museums or sip on something tasty at one of the many outdoor cafes. Oaxaca is also a good starting point for a visit to Monte Alban, which is the site of the ancient capital city of the Zapotec civilization.
4. Mexico City
Mexico City, which is home to over 20 million people, is one of the world's largest cities. It stands on the site of an ancient city called Tenochtitlan, which was once the capital city of the mighty Aztec Empire. It is an important financial center in Latin America, and has an abundance of places to explore, such as the Plaza de la Constitucion, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace. The city is also the most important political, cultural and educational center in Mexico.
At its height, around 1000AD, the ancient city of Teotihuacan was home to 125,000 people, making it the largest city in the Americas and one of the largest cities in the world at the time. The name itself means "birthplace of the gods". The vast archeological site is home to many step pyramids, as well as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (pictured). This place inspired modern urban planning thanks to its highly-organized layout. You can visit Teotihuacan on a day trip from Mexico City - the Mexican capital is a mere 30 miles (50 kilometers) away from the site.
2. Mexico Beach Destinations
Our second must-see place isn't actually an individual place, but a collective. Mexico is home to many beautiful beaches, from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, to the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Many Mexican beach resorts were once towns that gained popularity as tourist destinations over the decades. Others, such as Cancun, were conceived as resorts from their inception. The turquoise waters of Tulum (pictured) can be enjoyed with an ancient Mayan city providing one of the most spectacular seaside backdrops you'll ever see.
1. Chichen Itza
This city is the most famous Mayan city of all. Ironically, many of its structures don't feature Classic Mayan architecture, but incorporate strong influences from other Mesoamerican civilizations instead. The grand structures built in the city in combination with the inclusion of precise astronomical calculations in their construction make for fascinating viewing. A downside to Chichen Itza is that it's the most developed of the Mayan ruins in Mexico, and can get crowded as a result. Nevertheless, it's absolutely worth a visit.