Peru is probably one of South America’s most well-known destinations and the mysterious settlement of Machu Picchu has adorned many a tourist postcard. But while the country is certainly celebrated for the Inca Trail and its ancient archaeological site, Peru has so much more to offer than crumbling ruins. Explore the museums of Lima Soak in the hot springs of high altitude Cusco and fly over the astonishing Nazca Lines. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Peru.

1. Sacred Valley once the heartland of the Inca Empire, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is a valley in the Andes close to Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu. The valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. Whichever route you take, there’s plenty to discover along the way. There are gorgeous colonial towns, remote villages, colorful markets, and fascinating incan sites such as the citadels of Pisac, Chinchero and Ollantaytambo, tucked along this mysterious valley.

2. Colca Canyon there’s a reason, Colca Canyon is the third most visited tourist destination in Peru. Stunning views. The canyon is one of the deepest in the world and more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. If you get tired of scenic views, you can feast your eyes on the sky where you may see andean condors and the biggest hummingbirds you’ve ever seen. Villages are a good place to buy local handcrafts.

3. Lima. As Peru’s capital and largest city, lima is a sprawling metropolis of almost 11 million people. The city was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro and offers a rich history as well as exceptional food and a great sense of culture. Whether you’re taking a stroll through the historic heart of Lima Centro and its craft markets or exploring the more tourist friendly green suburb of Miraflores which overflows with antique shops and bars, you’re in for something special.

4. Lake Titicaca in South America is the largest lake. Straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru. At an elevation of just over 12,500ft it is considered the highest navigable lake in the world. Many of its 41 islands are inhabited including the floating islands the natives make with heavy reeds. About 500 species of aquatic life live in the lake, which has a large population of waterbirds. Local belief says the sun was born at Lake Titicaca.

5. Nazca Lines the puzzle Nasca Lines that crisscross the valleys of PALPA and Nasca have put this part of Peru’s otherwise uninteresting desert on the map. These enormous inscriptions of lines, animals and other geometric patterns were carved into the sandy terrain by the Nazca people and are believed to have been part of a thousand year old holy road. The dry, windless stable climate of the Nazca desert has helped keep the lines uncovered to the present day.

6. Trujillo nestled within lush valley 8 hours north of Lima, Trujillo is celebrated for its photogenic colonial center filled with colorful Spanish mansions and quaint churches. Not far from the Pacific coast, this relatively large city was founded in the 1500 close to the abandoned Chan Chan ruins one of the largest pre Incan empires of ancient Peru. Within its impressive once Walt ruins, this mud city is the largest adobe city in the Americas and boasts a series of religious temples, burial grounds and royal residences.

7. Chachapoyas set in a scenic yet secluded spot far from the Peruvian coast Chachapoyas lies high amid the mountains and is the capital of Amazonas. Founded by the Spanish in fifteen Thirty eight, the small city is home to a couple of interesting monuments and colonial buildings with plenty of restaurants and hotels found around its main plaza. From here you can arrange to visit incredible sites such as the distinctive sarcophagus of Karajia, the pre Inca city of kuellap and the sparkling Gokta waterfall.

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