Why Morelia is The Most Beautiful City in Mexico…that Nobody Visits

I almost titled this post “Is Morelia the Most Beautiful City in Mexico That Nobody Visits?”, but then I decided that there wasn’t any point in pretending this was a topic that was up for debate because the answer is so obviously yes.

When we were researching potential cities to visit in Mexico, Morelia never made the list of the ones that make travelers weak in the knees, the places people just can’t get enough. They gush about the beauty of cities like San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Oaxaca, and maybe San Cristobál de las Casas, but for all intents and purposes, it’s as though Morelia just doesn’t exist; even for people who are passionate about travel and have made no secret of their love of Mexico, it’s just not on their radar. Morelia has got to be Mexico’s best kept secret… until now!

Morelia's aqueduct

I’m sure part of Morelia’s charm stems from the fact that you don’t exactly have to fight the crowds to soak in its legitimate loveliness—during our entire month in the city, I think we saw a grand total of four fellow gringos—so it might seem counterintuitive that I’d be so willing to publicize it on our site. But I’m not going to feel too bad about spilling the beans about Morelia, because I know that no matter how much praise is poured upon this city, it’s never going to be at risk of being overrun and ruined by tourism. The reason for this is simple:

Morelia is the capital city of the state of Michoacan.

Morelia's historic downtown

That may or may not mean anything to you, but do a cursory search on Michoacan, and you’ll see that it’s a region of Mexico that’s gotten a particularly bad rap. Given that Mexico as a whole tends to suffer from a bit of an image problem with international tourists, that’s saying something. For the past several years, whenever Michoacan has made headlines, it’s been related to drug cartels and narco insurgencies, and the result has been that travel advisories have warned visitors to stay away.

By and large, they have.

Morelia's historic downtown
Morelia's historic downtown

Even people who have traveled relatively extensively throughout Mexico and who have a self-professed love affair with the country expressed skepticism when we mentioned our next month-long stop on our tour de Mexico was in Michoacan. “Isn’t it super dangerous there?” they asked us worriedly.

I don’t want to be dismissive and pretend that everything is hunky dory in Michoacan and that one should travel there without a care in the world.

I don’t want to be dismissive and pretend that everything is hunky dory in Michoacan and that one should travel there without a care in the world. Parts of the state are legitimately dangerous and absolutely should be avoided. But then again, there are other parts of Michoacan—parts like Morelia—that are placid and peaceful; when we looked into basing ourselves in Morelia for a month, we discovered that most of the dicey parts of the state were generally no closer than a 4-hour drive away and tended to be deep in the countryside. So, essentially places that would be of little interest to the average tourist and that one would be unlikely to accidentally stumble upon. Put another way, avoiding Morelia because of fears about “Michoacan” is the equivalent of boycotting the entire state of Illinois because of Chicago’s crime rates (a place many tourists still visit!) or us refusing to visit Tony’s family in Rochester, MN or my family in Toronto, Canada because those places are each respectively about as close to Chicago and Detroit as Morelia is to the volatile parts of Michoacan.

Morelia's historic downtown

When put like that, you can see how ludicrous it is to stay away from Morelia due to safety concerns. But, of course, travel advisories are not known for their subtle nuances and instead excel in issuing blanket statements and warnings and so most travelers read that Michoacan is dangerous and non-essential travel should be avoided and that’s as far as they get.

Morelia's historic downtown

I’ll admit that before we arrived in Morelia, even I was a little bit leery of what we might find. After all, I’m not impervious to the bombardment of negative press that Mexico and its abundant dangers that the American and Canadian newspapers love to publish. And yet, just as we found in other supposedly dangerous destinations—places like the Philippines, for instance—not only did we feel perfectly safe, but the people that we encountered were some of the friendliest and kindest of anywhere we’ve been in our travels. Maybe they aren’t burnt out on tourists, or maybe they’re just so relieved that someone has ignored the warnings and given their home a chance… I can’t say. All I know is that far from making us fear for our lives, people in these places always seem to do the best job of reaffirming our faith in the world and this nomadic lifestyle we have chosen. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating, that it’s for personal moments such as these that we travel.

Morelia's historic downtown
Morelia's historic downtown

During our month in Morelia, we had the owners of a local ice-cream shop chat with us for an hour and offer us cold water, offering us advice on what to see and do in town (as well as the rest of Mexico), while their daughters laughed and fed our dogs cookies. Our landlady invited us over for brunch and arranged for her daughter to give us a tour around town, showing us the best places to eat and drink, and also sharing their family’s personal ties to Morelia and what it is like to live there. When Rory needed to visit a vet, our landlady’s brother told us where we would get the best care and then accompanied us so that he could act as translator and even negotiated us some discounts on medication. And one day, while walking in the park, an older gentleman asked us whether we spoke French and when we said yes, arranged for us to return the next day to help him translate the lyrics to a song he was learning to sing. We sat together in the park, translating his song, line by line, and at the end, he offered us his name and phone number and told us that he and his wife had no children but that whenever we were in Morelia, we should not hesitate to call upon them because they would always help us however they could.

All of these reasons, most of them small and none of them the ones you can capture in a photograph, are what makes Morelia so beautiful. Yes, the city is blessed with gorgeous churches, a perfectly preserved aqueduct, and a picture-perfect historic center that would put many a European capital city to shame. It’s easy on the eyes and incredibly lovely, but its beauty lies in more than brickwork, idyllic leafy green spaces, and spacious sidewalks perfect for strolling. We enjoyed all of those things, sure, but Morelia’s beauty isn’t superficial or skin deep—it’s a city with a soul, where its people will make your heart flutter more than any building ever will.

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73 comments Leave a comment

  1. Morelia sounds fab. And I agree that it can be hard to distinguish real warnings with the inflated kind sometimes. Given that some of my fave US cities are super dangerous according to the media, I err on the side of ignoring all warnings, which is probably not the best approach, I’m starting to realize!

    Jul. 29 2015 @ 3:34 am
    1. Julie author

      We do pay attention to travel warnings to some extent, but we always try to do extra research to see whether blanket statements are being made by trying to find more personal/recent accounts from fellow travelers. The more we travel, the more we realize that travel advisories are pretty ridiculous—for instance, most of the countries we visited in Asia have some kind of advisory attached to them regarding crime or scams, and yet we had not a single incident during nearly 2 years in that part of the world and certainly never felt unsafe! I think that Mexico particularly gets blown out of proportion in American and Canadian media because it is so much closer, physically, to home and so those stories get more attention than places farther away… and yet it’s a HUGE country and isn’t easily painted with a broad brush. We’ve actually been in parts of Mexico while major incidents that were written about in the media warning travelers to stay away took place and we didn’t even realize anything had happened because such a small part of the city or region was affected… everywhere else, it was business as usual!

      Jul. 30 2015 @ 9:31 am
  2. I really enjoyed our time in Morelia (it was so European that it reminded me a lot of Spain), and we ended up visiting on a whim en-route to somewhere else. As always with me, I remember places based on what food I had there and I remember a particularly good cake shop with fantastic hot chocolate and real pastries (hard to find in Mexico when a lot is just cream-filled and looks better than it tastes) and a ridiculously cheap taco joint. It really is rewarding – and refreshing – to visit somewhere that isn’t already overrun with backpackers and tourists and, luckily, Morelia is still that.

    Jul. 29 2015 @ 4:04 am
    1. Julia author

      Oh, I had no idea that you had also visited Morelia! Welcome to the club! 😉

      Morelia definitely prides itself on its sweets (we visited a market dedicated to sweets while there!), although our favorite hot chocolate has definitely been here in Oaxaca. I definitely feel you on the Mexican pastry scene, though… I am always very choosy and wary when selecting pastries as many of them are very dry and crumbly and not very satisfying at all!

      Jul. 30 2015 @ 9:33 am
  3. Charlie

    Beautiful review! Your affection for the place comes through right away but is proven to be well vetted by the time the article is complete. The photos are beautiful.

    Travel warnings really are written by helicopter parents I think. I know they mean well, and should be considered, but all the ‘dangerous’ places I’ve visited have been lovely. Meanwhile my worst travel experience was in Paris. In my opinion tourist scams are the most likely crime for travelers to encounter, and they are most commonly in areas where it is ‘safe.’

    Crime is generally very targeted, either within cultures or areas. If you are in an area with little tourism, nobody is going to target you as a tourist. I think that makes you quite safe. Highly unlikely you stumble upon a drug cartel, or get caught in crossfire, especially if you use common sense.

    Jul. 29 2015 @ 7:54 am
    1. Charlie author

      Ha! You know we feel your pain regarding Paris, Charlie, since it was the scene of our worst experience (getting pickpocketed!) during our entire 2-year trip! Of course, there are no Travel Advisories out for France though, interestingly enough, places like Vietnam are flagged because of opportunistic crimes and things like “bag snatching”. Never saw that once despite living in HCMC for 3 months, and yet within that same amount of time, we heard of three other people (not including ourselves) who were targeted in Paris…

      There are certainly some off-the-beaten-path places here in Mexico that tourists don’t—and shouldn’t—go, but as I said, you’d really have to make it a priority to go there and that would mean researching them which would tell you not to do that! But I do agree that certainly in Mexico tourists really are not targeted (except perhaps in touristy areas, and yet in order to make sure people continue to visit, that is obviously tamped down on quite a lot too!). If you’re not involved in drugs and, as you say, use common sense, then visiting Mexico—even the parts with travel advisories—need not be a risky proposition.

      Jul. 30 2015 @ 9:45 am
  4. Allie

    Wow, this is so interesting! I have to say that I’m one of those Canadians that has stayed away from Mexico due to all the violence that has been publicized, but the beauty of Morelia is making me think twice. I love the architecture–was it all built by Spanish colonialists? Great photos, as always!

    Jul. 29 2015 @ 8:00 am
    1. Allie author

      I definitely think that the Canadian/American media exaggerate/over-emphasize the issues that exist in Mexico. I’m not saying that they DON’T exist, because certainly this country has its issues (and some of them are violent), but I think that far less of the country is affected by the things that make the news than those articles would have you believe. We’ve been here for nearly 5 months now and the worst we’ve had to face at any point is some food poisoning (which we’ve also experienced elsewhere).

      As for Morelia, Michoacan has a lot of indigenous and pre-Hispanic culture, but it was controlled by the Spanish during the 1500s, who remained until the early 1800s. So most of the city and its architecture is most definitely due to the Spanish, which is why we often felt like we were somewhere in Europe rather than Mexico (but with much better prices! 😉 ). The city is actually a UNESCO world heritage site and is unlike any other city we have visited in Mexico, as it has eschewed the brightly painted buildings for a more uniform (though no less beautiful!) color palette.

      Jul. 30 2015 @ 9:53 am
    2. Alan

      Hi everyone! I love your post about my parents’ home city (and my secondary home city), Morelia, Michoacan! I just want to point out that, while yes, some of the buildings are Spanish, others are actually French built during the French intervention, when the French took over the city. And during the Porfiriato era of Mexico, when Porfirio Diaz took many French architects to develop the city. 🙂 Some of these French buildings include the Café Portals, The Palacio de Correos, and the Preparatria Pascual Ortiz designed by French architect Adolfo Tremontels, to name a few. 🙂 Others were built after New Spain, the French intervention, and the Porfirian Era, such as the first portals café building, which is in Art Nouveau style, and Art-Deco.

      May. 1 2016 @ 9:47 pm
  5. Such a heart warming post Steph! I loved that story about the man in the park who needed help with translation the first time i read it on your facebook (or IG?)…and re-reading it really makes me smile and reminds me of why i love travel so much. there is far more kindness, curiosity, and general goodwill out there than there is meanness and deliberate nastiness. at least that’s what the world has shown us 🙂

    Jul. 29 2015 @ 9:04 am
    1. Jenia author

      That man in the park moment is probably one of our favorite experiences in Mexico thus far. We are continually charmed by how friendly and welcoming Mexican folks are, but that really was an experience that takes the cake! I had to share that story on FB when it happened, but I knew I wanted to memorialize it on the blog as well since those are the stories about Mexico (and travel!) that I think more people need to hear!

      Jul. 30 2015 @ 9:54 am
  6. What a wonderful post. I love your stories.

    I’m wary of Mexico, but not because of travel advisories. I taught ESL for several years and still keep in touch with my students, many of whom are from Mexico. So many of them experienced such violence firsthand and definitely know where not to go.

    That said, I haven’t explored any of Mexico and would really love to (though, shallow me, I want to start with Tulum because I’ve never seen a pretty beach – Gulf Coast beaches in Texas are UGLY).

    Jul. 29 2015 @ 10:22 am
    1. jenn aka the picky girl author

      I suppose one thing to keep in mind is that when one is meeting (for all intents and purposes) refugees, their experiences are going to be very different from those people who live in Mexico and have not seen any reason or cause to leave. I would never deny that there are violence and social problems in Mexico, but I do think that the way the problems are presented to us with respect to their severity and pervasiveness is not entirely truthful. It’s true that we’ve only seen bits and pieces of Mexico thus far, yet despite nearly 5 months here, we’ve not once felt our safety was in question. There are absolutely parts of Mexico where I would not feel comfortable visiting (like the hinterlands of Michoacan), but everywhere we have visited thus far has been worry-free.

      As for Tulum, we’re actually heading to the Yucatán next month and are thinking of basing ourselves in Playa del Carmen for a solid chunk of time over the winter. Playa is not too far from Tulum, so perhaps you should plan a trip and come and visit us!

      Jul. 30 2015 @ 10:00 am
      1. Stephenie Harrison

        Ooooh, don’t tempt me! I would love that!

        And just to clarify, these students all did or plan to return to Mexico, so
        they weren’t what I would consider refugees. Several had just experienced
        violence in or near their hometowns. Though I’m working with a group of 45
        students from Mexico right now in the Writing Center, and they’ve shared
        nothing but wonderful stories and pride about their cities and towns! In fact, our conversation group just left, and I had intended to ask them about Morelia. Next week…

        Jul. 30 2015 @ 11:48 am
        1. jenn aka the picky girl author

          Well, we will be in that part of the world very soon, so the offer does stand! 😉

          I wonder if many of the students you have spent time with live close to the U.S. border in Mexico? That part of the country is notoriously fraught and we did our best to power through it as quickly as possible. Obviously there are issues in other parts of the country, but by and large it’s always border regions that are the most volatile.

          Jul. 31 2015 @ 9:11 am
  7. I absolutely love the architecture of Morelia and the fact that it has a perfectly preserved aqueduct, at least judging from your photos it looks like new. We’ve just been to Rome (once again) and explored different and new to us areas, we went to the Aqueducts park and loved it. They weren’t has well maintained as the one in Morelia, but maybe age has something to do with too? Not sure.

    Jul. 30 2015 @ 3:49 am
    1. Franca author

      Morelia’s aqueduct is pretty much impeccable, but it is undoubtedly much younger than Rome’s… I believe it dates back to the 17th century!

      Jul. 30 2015 @ 10:02 am
  8. What a great find! Have you watched the movie “Turista” or “The Ruins”? You guys totally should!

    Jul. 30 2015 @ 11:09 am
    1. James author

      Haven’t watched either of those films, but why do I get the feeling that they are slasher/horror flicks???

      Jul. 31 2015 @ 9:07 am
  9. I love finding just such a place! So often the overly touted destinations seem a bit frazzled and “done” but when you find a true gem such as Morelia it makes it so worth it. It sounds like a lovely city filled with lovely people. Thanks for sharing.

    Jul. 30 2015 @ 3:38 pm
    1. Rhonda author

      I guess we’ve been lucky because so far the only SUPER touristy place we’ve been in Mexico was our day trip to Sayulita which was just bananas. Fun for a short vacation, I suppose, but I would go crazy there long term. Morelia, on the other hand, is a wonderful blend of Mexico but with enough “western” perks that we were really comfortable there but didn’t feel we were getting a watered down experience as a trade off. We could go to the movies or to Costco, but we also HAD to speak in Spanish and there were tons of local specialties to try and many opportunities to delve deeper into the local culture. We’re both really glad we decided to visit and think we might actually head back at some point!

      Jul. 31 2015 @ 9:10 am
  10. That is so true — I had never even considered Morelia either. It is so easy to overlook something that is actually really amazing with the negative focus the news always portrays on everything. I love the architecture! Looks like a great place to check out.

    Aug. 1 2015 @ 4:22 pm
    1. Debbie author

      Despite years of traveling, I admit to being spooked by the abundant negative stories about Mexico before our visit. And everyone we met prior to our road trip said we were crazy for visiting too (though I am fairly certain none of the naysayers had ever visited!). We still research and do our due diligence but generally the foreign press is not the most reliable way to go about doing that! I am so glad that we didn’t let fear stop us from visiting Morelia–it’s a lovely place that is quite unlike anywhere else we have visited in Mexico and we never once felt unsafe.

      Aug. 2 2015 @ 8:30 am
  11. Oh, I’m really glad to hear you had such a positive experience in Morelia… I was there in 2008 as a launching point to go see the mariposas (from Canada, oddly enough!). I didn’t spend a lot of time in Morelia, admittedly, but I remember that I was by no means turned off by the place at all!

    Aug. 3 2015 @ 5:56 pm
    1. Colleen Brynn author

      I wish we had been in the area for butterfly season, but I guess that’s just another reason to return!

      Aug. 4 2015 @ 7:04 pm
  12. What a great insight into Morelia! Can’t wait to explore – thank you for the recommendation! Although… what’s with the guys in the masks?

    Aug. 4 2015 @ 11:05 am
    1. Jenny author

      The guys in the mask are from a regional dance known as “La danza de los viejitos borrachos”, which means “Dance of the Drunk Old Men”. It’s actually this really cool tap-dancing type routine (performed in the traditional huaraches) that you can see performed in Morelia as well as nearby Patzcuaro (where it apparently originated).

      Aug. 4 2015 @ 7:08 pm
  13. Wow, what a beautiful travel experience! The stories about the people of Morelia are so touching – especially hearing more about the man who asked you to translate song lyrics. I’m intrigued how you came to put this city on your list, and stay for a while, when it seems so underrated and off the radar of places to see in Mexico. I have to admit, the way the media portrays Mexico, I naively paint the whole country as being a bit dangerous and risky to visit – even though my common sense tells me that’s not so. I’ve really appreciated seeing the country through your eyes, and seeing it anew and fresh. Keep the posts coming 🙂

    Aug. 6 2015 @ 11:20 am
    1. Sara @ Simply Sara Travel author

      Well, one upside to traveling with the dogs is that they sometimes require us to look in unexpected places for places to base ourselves! Originally, we were thinking of heading to San Miguel de Allende or Guanojuato after our month in Guadalajara but all of the rentals we were able to find online were either already booked or were way too expensive. I started to just search in other nearby cities to Guadalajara on AirBnB and saw that Morelia had quite a few that could work for us as they were within budget and pet-friendly. I had read about Morelia in our guidebook way back before we arrived in Mexico and flagged it as potentially interesting but maybe dangerous due to the location, but I researched it more thoroughly once we realized it was a real possibility to stay there. So, if not for the dogs, we likely would have skipped Morelia just like everyone else… it’s funny how things work out!

      Aug. 8 2015 @ 8:16 am
  14. Yep, we’ve been to a few so-called ‘dangerous’ areas of different countries too but they’ve turned out to be fine; if you believe the travel advice from the UK government, most of the countries we went to in Asia were risky! Morelia looks lovely and it sounds like you meet some amazing people there.

    Aug. 7 2015 @ 9:08 am
    1. Amy author

      Ha ha! Yes, I’ve played that game of looking at all the countries we have visited and comparing our experiences with what various governments warn against. It seems like nearly all of Asia is considered risky and unsafe, whereas most of Europe (where we did have a legitimately bad thing happen to us!) is completely fine to travel to. It’s not that I think government warnings shouldn’t be taken under advisement when making travel plans, but I definitely think that they need to be taken with a grain of salt and should be researched more thoroughly.

      Aug. 8 2015 @ 8:18 am
  15. Morelia looks rather interesting Steph, especially concerning the indigenous people. Now that’s always worth looking for. I haven’t been to Mexico yet but having said that when I do go, it’ll be for the history and culture rather than the beaches of “spring break!”
    As far as security warnings are concerned, one should read, do research but use one’s common sense. I remember seeing an alert warning a few years ago, about not to go to Germany where I live, and where did that security alert come from?
    Why, the United States!

    Aug. 8 2015 @ 12:48 am
    1. Victoria@ The British Berliner author

      Mexico is a really diverse country that really seems to have something for everybody, so if beaches are not your thing (or you find other types of locations more interesting), then you will not be disappointed here. Personally, we have tended to prefer the cities in Mexico over the beachy areas, and Morelia was no exception. We find that the culture is richer, there is a greater variety of things to do, and the food tends to be better too. I’m sure that whenever you visit Mexico you will have a fabulous time!

      Aug. 8 2015 @ 8:20 am
  16. Hi Steph! I’m from Mexico and loved your post. Thanks for your good comments and impression of my beloved country. I’ve too thought that Morelia should be higher ranked as a cultural destination in Mexico. Las time I went to Morelia was about 4 years ago in December and hired a local tour to visit the monarch butterflies. If I’m completely honest, I’ve been very wary of going back. I’m too scared to be driving through the highways in Michoacan to get to Morelia. It’s true once in Morelia you’re perfectly fine. I hope you have a great time!! If you’re still in Morelia be sure to try the “pan de yema” (a bread they make there), visit “La casa real” which is a house that makes traditional candies, eat as many avocados you can, as Uruapan is one of the primary exporter sites. If you guys are already in Oaxaca, you MUST try the “tlayudas” and “nieve de pétalos de rosa” (rose petals ice-cream).

    Aug. 8 2015 @ 11:14 pm
    1. Monica @Pigletandbear.com author

      Hi Monica! Thanks for taking the time to comment and to share your perspective. During our month in Morelia, we pretty much stayed put and stuck the city. The one exception is the day we drove out to Patzcuaro, but apart from the occasional strike/protest on that route, we were assured that was very safe and nothing to worry about (our experience was that it was certainly uneventful). We drove into the city from Guadalajara and then drove east towards the DF when we left for Oaxaca, and we never experienced any kind of trouble. Some people (on online forums) said we would be missing out if we didn’t drive down to the Michoacan coast, which they claimed was beautiful, but we thought that might have been pushing our luck (and was well our of our way), so we ignored that advice. There are definitely parts of Michoacan that should be avoided, but Morelia remains safe and lovely.

      We are actually in Playa del Carmen now… our site is a bit behind! Clearly I need to set aside some time to catch up on our adventures! 😉

      Aug. 9 2015 @ 8:08 am
      1. Stephenie Harrison

        Glad to see someone else asked the question in my head! I was wondering, also, about travel to and from, and how you might have arrived to Morelia, as it doesn’t sound like you are flying around. In any case, it is a beautiful town – I’ve not traveled much in Mexico (outside of touristy beach towns) but would love to explore the homeland of my grandmother some day!

        Aug. 11 2015 @ 6:07 pm
        1. Leigh author

          Hi Leigh! We are driving our car through Mexico, so we arrived in Morelia by road, taking a toll road the entire way from Guadalajara. The drive was BEAUTIFUL and completely uneventful, save for a few scenic stops to snap pictures. 😉 We’re back in a touristy beach town for now, but I would highly recommend travelers take some time to explore Mexico’s interior—we’ve definitely enjoyed exploring its cities (which are BEAUTIFUL) and I’m looking forward to returning to Morelia one day!

          Aug. 12 2015 @ 10:07 am
  17. Mariana

    I’m from Morelia but live in Mexico City and even here my friends are hesitant to visit my hometown. I’m glad to read your impressions about Morelia and hopefully more turists will decide to visit too. I trully believe it is an absolutely beautiful city!

    Aug. 21 2015 @ 2:19 pm
    1. Mariana author

      Your hometown is gorgeous, Mariana! You must be very proud to be from there. 🙂 Also, as we have traveled through Mexico, we have meant many Mexicans who have told us that we are braver than they are as they would not visit some of the places we have gone, nor would they drive through the country by car. Happily, we have been having a wonderful time and don’t hesitate to let them know that they have a beautiful country that is well worth exploring.

      Aug. 26 2015 @ 4:25 pm
  18. Don’t call me ‘nobody’ because I’ve been to Morelia twice! And I agree: it’s a lovely city, maybe not the most outstanding in Mexico, but it should certainly rank in the top 10. And the hot chocolate of Morelia is world famous! You have to try it. Trouble is that so many people are afraid to visit Mexico for the bad news it receives in the media; what they don’t realise is that the violence is happening within criminal gangs and tourists aren’t targeted at all.

    Aug. 22 2015 @ 3:50 pm
    1. Juergen | dare2go.com author

      Ha ha! Sorry, Juergen; didn’t mean to imply you were a nobody! 😉

      I’m curious to know what you do consider to be the most outstanding city in Mexico if it’s not Morelia? We have enjoyed all of the cities in Mexico that we have visited in different ways and for different reasons, but I still think Morelia is it’s most beautiful.

      Aug. 26 2015 @ 4:27 pm
      1. Stephenie Harrison

        I was s´just making a joke about how your statement could be interpreted… 😀

        Hard to say, as with all travel experiences each one is different, shaped mostly by the number of little personal experiences which create the whole picture.
        I guess I would have to toss between three:
        Guanajuato (for its colours and relatively quiet atmosphere),
        Patzcuaro (up there because we we met a lot of interesting people),
        and Oaxaca (partly because we were there during their annual cultural arts festival).

        Furthermore I would add to the top places Puebla (because it’s not really touristy, but has lots of interesting sites – nor is Morelia touristy for that matter) and Merida (mostly for its museum and parts of the centre).

        But as you can see: for each I have a very personal reason! And so will you have for Morelia.

        Aug. 26 2015 @ 8:31 pm
        1. Juergen | dare2go.com

          Ah, and since we’re at it: the place to stay away from would be, in my opinion, Acapulco. Long gone glory, ugly city, too much traffic, only the buses with their colourful LED lights and loud music are worth seeing…

          Aug. 26 2015 @ 8:37 pm
        2. Juergen | dare2go.com author

          We haven’t been to Guanajuato (yet), but I’ve never met a person who visited and wasn’t completely charmed by it. We thought we would really like Patzcuaro, but the day we visited from Morelia, the weather was really terrible, and we also found the central area very touristy. We did enjoy Oaxaca a lot and were also there during the month of July when they do their Guelaguetza festivities, which was really cool. I still think Morelia is prettier than Oaxaca, but Oaxaca is very colorful and charming. I do wonder what it is like outside of July. We had been thinking of staying in Puebla for a month as we heard that the food there is amazing, but we opted for Oaxaca instead. The meal we did enjoy in Puebla en route to Oaxaca, was delicious, and I hope we do get to go back and visit for a longer stretch at some point. Spent 2 days in Merida en route to Playa and… it wasn’t for us. Found it very crowded and not at all dog friendly, though yes, parts of the center are very picturesque!

          Haven’t visited Acapulco and, to be perfectly honest, aren’t really interested in visiting. We’ve heard that part of the country is now very dangerous, and a recent report that I read said the beaches weren’t anything special and the atmosphere there isn’t all that pleasant (if not threatening).

          Aug. 27 2015 @ 8:57 am
  19. Antherkiv

    I think Morelia is the most beutiful city in the world, by simple fact is my home… ha ha…
    Thanks for shared.

    Best regards.

    Dec. 17 2015 @ 3:15 pm
    1. Antherkiv author

      Well, you may be biased, but that doesn’t mean you are wrong! 😉 Morelia really is gorgeous!

      Jan. 19 2016 @ 1:47 pm
  20. Stanley

    Hi. May I ask you where you stayed for the month in Morelia? We would like to explore the city as well for a couple of weeks, but it is very important for us to find a place that doesn’t allow smoking. Any ideas would be super appreciated. Stan

    Jul. 26 2016 @ 12:45 pm
  21. Eduardo

    I loved the way you described Morelia’s beauty isn’t superficial or skin deep—it’s a city with a soul, where its people will make your heart flutter more than any building ever will.


    Dec. 27 2016 @ 10:10 am
  22. I’m in Morelia at the moment and it’s a beautiful town! So glad we visited here and glad that other people have discovered it’s beauty. Thanks for the article – I intend to write one on my blog after our time here!

    Mar. 17 2017 @ 4:36 pm
  23. Proud to be Morelian!
    Despite its small size and the lack of major city attractions, Morelia will never be a boring place. In fact, that’s what makes her a magic place. There’s always something fun for the whole age spectrum.
    If you’re ever in town, call me me hohoho

    Mar. 29 2017 @ 11:05 am
  24. JC Novoa

    Wow! This post brought tears into my eyes. This is the second time I read a foreigner talk this beautiful about my city. I feel proud and grateful for appreciate and enjoy Morelia. Please keep telling people and travels what a jewel Morelia is. Thank you and blessings for you and your family !!

    Mar. 29 2017 @ 1:04 pm
  25. regina

    Thank you a lot for this, as someone who was born and raised in Morelia I’m very happy that you liked and enjoyed our city. Indeed Michoacan has been pointed to be dangerous, but in Morelia/Patzcuaro/Tzintuntzan/Janitzio/quiroga you can have a great time. I think it is just like any other place, you need to use a little bit of common sense no to get robbed.

    Mar. 29 2017 @ 1:41 pm
  26. Hi, I live in Morelia and here we say: “Morelia es el Alma de México!” (Morelia it’s the soul of México) I love your pics thank you for support Morelia.

    Mar. 29 2017 @ 2:23 pm
  27. I live in Morelia and I’m in love with this city. I am a photographer and have a Facebook page dedicated to Morelia: http://www.facebook.com/YovivoenMorelia

    Mar. 29 2017 @ 3:23 pm
  28. Guillermo trejo

    Hey thanks ! For your beautiful words about the city that I call home town! I had the chance to grow up there and it was fantastic, this was in the 80s and 90s, in the 2000 the city started to be theistic but in 2007 things starter to go bad in all Mexico, with the so-called war in drugs…
    By 2010 Morelia and Michoacán became real hot and it was honestly a dangerous time for the last 4 years things are starting to change and now is defiantly a more safe city. But as you mention international tourism has not return yet. Hopefully your post help to bring more people to Morelia!

    Mar. 29 2017 @ 6:47 pm
  29. Fernando Compeán

    An oder reason to visit Valladolid(today Morelia) : Morelia was de bigest colonial city in America when the spanish age at the continent, the towers of the catedral was the highest in America too and a lot of the history of México was wrote in that town, it’s the first place of cultural turist, and have a lot of festivals 😉

    Mar. 29 2017 @ 10:35 pm
  30. Mac

    Hey Stephanie!

    Thanks for writing this amazing piece about my city. I found it very precise and when you said “maybe they are relieved that someone ignored the warnings and visited morelia” THATS exactly how I felt.

    And you know what? Every time a foreign tourist (and nationals too!) come over, they leave with a whole different impression of Morelia and Michoacán.

    I know crime and bad, corrupt government has done no good to our reputation but thanks to people like you, and all that dare to come, we’ll change it. I’ll take time, but we’ll change it.

    Mar. 30 2017 @ 11:50 am
  31. Fernando Gallo P.

    Thank you very much for your beautiful words about Morelia. It is, in deed, a city with a charming spirit, filled with people willing to make tourists feel comfortable and pleased, but above all, cared.
    Please let us know if you ever come back here. People who love Morelia and express it, wins the love of the Morelianos like myself.
    Again. Thank you…

    Mar. 30 2017 @ 4:35 pm
  32. José Ruiz Alvarez

    Thank for for writing this. I am searching for retirement options and Morelia is high on my list of places I’d like to move to.

    Apr. 19 2017 @ 9:31 am
  33. I spent 5 months in Morelia in 1985 taking Spanish and Culture classes at what was CECEMAC. Nice language immersion program and also ran a ESL program for professionals and students right by the aqueduct as it get’s smaller. Met a lot of wonderful people in Morelia. It was quite a good location to explore lots of places reachable by bus. Urapan relatively local I thought was a nice day trip. It was fun to go down to the Immaculada in the evening and get a bit to eat or go to one of many wonderful cafes. Or just grab a bag of Churros. Perhaps have a drink at the Hotel near the cathedral. Really good memories

    May. 4 2017 @ 10:04 am
  34. Taylor

    Im agree with you, morelia its absolutely beatiful, its full of history, with great places to see, and a lot to discover. If people is scared about the security in morelia, its because they dont look for a good place, i recommend the hotel best western plus gran hotel morelia, its really good, service, food, locations and of course, security. I will let the link here


    Jul. 28 2017 @ 1:18 pm

    Thank you, Steph! I have spent a great deal of time in Uruapan, Michoacan as I have family there, but they have warned me for a number of years that it is no longer safe to travel there. Your article convinced me to go to Morelia, and to try to meet them there. Thank you–like you, I am a seasoned international traveler and know to take some of the travel warnings with a grain of salt and a careful dose of precision. I have a family member who is 90 now; I was afraid I would never see her again, as she cannot come to the states. You have helped me figure out how to see her again, and for this fact, I am extremely grateful! Mil gracias!

    Jul. 31 2017 @ 3:34 am
  36. I am happy to find articles of my city, I’m glad that you put into perspective the news against reality. You´re invited and all your readers to know my Instagram account, I´ve create it to show all about Morelia, the good and real stuff, places, people, life in general in one of the many magic mexican cities.
    Greetings and I hope to see you and everyone here.

    Sep. 6 2017 @ 7:02 pm
  37. Christine

    Inspired by your stories and the beautiful photographs! Have not yet visited Mexico; would love to start with Morelia.

    Nov. 9 2017 @ 4:55 pm
  38. bebe laney

    I visited Morelia almost 15 years ago. My husband and I arrived late on a Thursday night. Ate a late dinner and went to our room. We woke up around 5 o’clock Friday morning and had several cups of coffee. I went back to sleep only to be wakened buy a horrible moaning sound. Sadly I found my husband dying on the bathroom floor. By the time the paramedics arrived it was too late. He had died from a brain aneurysm. The hotel staff where I stayed where wonderful to me. They tried their best to get me a flight out the next day but couldn’t. So I had to wait until Sunday to fly back to the US. The staff made sure that I got to the hospital where they did an autopsy, then to the funeral home to have his body sent back to the US. They also moved me to another room, just out of kindness. The purpose of out trip was to visit a small child that had lived with us for a short time. We begged to keep him but the wouldn’t allow it. For the simple reason he had family there. The staff also made sure I was able to see the child. When I checked out on Sunday I owed them nothing. They paid for my room, any food that I ate and all the phone calls I made to my family back in the states. I will forever be grateful for their kindness and love. I often wonder about the child and how he is doing. He was only 8 at the time. Once again I think the staff for all their kindness.

    Feb. 8 2018 @ 4:38 pm
  39. MJ

    Thats one of the most truthful articles I’ve read about my city lovely

    Feb. 11 2018 @ 10:55 am
  40. Jesse

    Hey, nice to see that my dad’s hometown is getting a good praise! I’ve been there many times as a kid, think Mexican family trips, to pay homage to our elders and the incredible festivities for the saints and cultural events. I’ll be visiting Morelia after 10 years of being busy with life. Hopefully this time I can relax, enjoy and see what the town offers now that I can actually explore. I’ll talk to family friends and see what parts aren’t as welcoming to tourists.

    Feb. 14 2018 @ 11:14 pm
  41. What can I say about Morelia, it’s the place that saw me born! I’m deeply in love with my city, with culture, architecture, contrasts and also food! This was a beautiful description of Morelia, thank you for giving us a chance!!!! And I want to invite you all to come! If you have Morelia in your wish list come and let me know!!! I will move oceans and sky to attend you! Welcome!

    Feb. 15 2018 @ 12:17 pm
  42. Esther

    Great article. What you say about travel advisories is very true. While you were there did you go see the monarch migration by any chance? I would like to go down in March and see that with my husband as his birthday present.

    Nov. 17 2018 @ 1:11 pm
  43. Bonnie K Perkins

    Hi Steph! Great article and gorgeous pictures! Thanks for addressing the safety issues in a balanced way. What time of year did you visit? Do you have recommendations regarding a good time? I understand they have a fabulous Dia de Morte festival.

    Dec. 6 2018 @ 10:35 am
  44. Wow,
    Great post. We will have to check out Morelia. Any recommendations on places to stay?

    John and Susan

    Jul. 3 2019 @ 10:13 am
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    Jan. 12 2020 @ 1:53 am
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