Quito Old Town - A Guide to the Unesco Heritage Listed Old Town in Ecuador
Experience outstanding Colonial churches, museums and monuments in the Old Town in Quito. Most of the places are within a walking distance.
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Quito Old Town – A Guide to the Unesco Heritage Listed Old Town in Ecuador

07 Mar Quito Old Town – A Guide to the Unesco Heritage Listed Old Town in Ecuador

Experience outstanding Colonial churches, museums and monuments in the Old Town in Quito also known as Centro Historico. After numerous of earthquakes through the Quito’s old town is the best preserved historic centre in Latin America. Quito’s old town is also one of the most important historic areas in Latin America.

Most of the places are within a walking distance.  Entry for the churches in Old Town may vary from $0 to $5. It is recommended to see old town during the day as it is not safe to walk around there at night.

 

La Basílica del Voto Nacional

 The Basilica is a Roman Catholic church and is the largest Geo-gothic basilica in the world. You can start your walking route in Quito’s old town with  La Basílica del Voto Nacional. You can climb to the top and enjoy the beautiful Basílica and the view of the rest of the old town. If you walk south on Garcia Moreno you will also see El Panecillo at the end of the street and when you meet the street Chile you are at the Presidential palace.

 

Carondelet Palace (the Presidential Palace)

A short 10-minute walking distance from Basílica you can see Carondelet Palace (the Presidential Palace) and if you go there on a Monday morning 11 am you can see the change of guards. The palace of the government is believed to be over 300 years. It is also open to visitors. The palace is placed in Plaza de la Independencia where you always will be surrounded with people. 

 

Iglesia la Compañia de Jesus

Close to the Presidental Palace is the most magnificent church you will see in Quito; Iglesia la Compañia de Jesus. This Jesuit church has a very interesting history and is made out of volcanic stone. They began the construction of this church in 1605 and it took around 160 years to build it.This church is one of the most significant works of Spanish Baroque architecture in South America. Sadly it is not allowed to take photos inside this beautiful church.

Related: Top 6 things to do in Quito

 

Iglesia de San Francisco

This beautiful church was built from 1536 and didn’t finish before 1605. The church has a  Renaissance style and  Greco-Roman neoclassicism. There are also some small painted canvas and windows inside. It is placed  Plaza de San Francisco where you will get a be along with locals and tourists as well as street vendors. 

 




El Panecillo

Panecillo got its name because it is the hill it is on has a resemblance of a small bread. Panecillo represents the division of South and North of the city. The original name before the Spanish Colonial time was Yavirac and it was built to worship the sun. El Panecillo is a statue of Virgen stepping on a snake and has angel wings.  You will see Panecillo from Old Town if you look south from La Compañia or the presidential palace. It is walkable, but you can also get there by taxi.

If you have plenty of time before it gets dark I recommend exploring the small streets along old town and you will see colourful buildings, street vendors and locals.

 

Calle De La Ronda 

The same day you can visit the picturesque area in Old Town called La Ronda. It is said to be one of the oldest streets in Quito and it will give you a feeling of Quito during the 18th century. Beginning of 20th Century it was a home of poets, painters, politicians and musicians.  La Ronda is safe and has many cute cafes and restaurants. If you go there at night, you might see a traditional show.

Related: Top Tips for Travelling in Quito

 

Cafe Mosaico 

 

Cafe Mosaico might be the cafe in Quito with the best view. It is a great place to end the day and get a view of what you have seen in Old Town including El Panecillo. Cafe Mosaico is pet-friendly, so if you are travelling with a pet you can bring it. 

If you decide to check out La Ronda and Cafe Mosaico at night it is recommended to get a taxi to those places exactly, it is not safe to walk around of the rest of Old Town at night. 

 

Here is a walking map I used with the order listed above. Feel free to print it, share it and use it 🙂

 

                                           

 

Have you been to Quito’s old town or are you planning to go? 

 


27 Comments
  • Hanka
    Posted at 10:54h, 07 March Reply

    I´d love to visit South America sometime in the future! And Quito is on my travel bucket list too! 🙂

    • thevikingabroad
      thevikingabroad
      Posted at 10:55h, 07 March Reply

      You should, that is awesome 😀 Thank you for stopping by 😀

  • Kash+Mike
    Posted at 11:16h, 07 March Reply

    The oldest street and the cafe will be on our list. You said that it is unsafe to walk at night..is it typically high crime in that area?

    • thevikingabroad
      thevikingabroad
      Posted at 11:20h, 07 March Reply

      That is awesome, not very serious crime, but pickpocketing is common in Quito Old Town.

  • Rossana Wyatt
    Posted at 12:10h, 08 March Reply

    So much beauty and heritage all in one spot… hoping to visit soon!

  • Maria
    Posted at 12:20h, 08 March Reply

    This looks absolutely gorgeous. I would love to travel to Ecuador and visit Quito to see these beautiful buildings for myself. A good friend of mine is from Ecuador and I would love to have him as my tour guide. Always great, if you can travel with a local.

    • thevikingabroad
      thevikingabroad
      Posted at 12:29h, 08 March Reply

      You definitely should, yeah it is so handy to have a local tour guide 😀 Thank you for stopping by 😀

  • Alison Abbott
    Posted at 16:51h, 08 March Reply

    I love visiting old colonial towns. Quito looks like one with so much to offer.

  • Nicole Martinez
    Posted at 18:55h, 08 March Reply

    Wow, those churches are so beautiful!! I need to visit Ecuador one day, it seems so rich in culture and history! Your post gave me travel envy LOL

    • thevikingabroad
      thevikingabroad
      Posted at 19:43h, 08 March Reply

      You should definitely visit. it is quite unique. Thank you for stopping by 😀

  • Jetsetter Jenn
    Posted at 16:21h, 09 March Reply

    Wow, what a historic and vibrant place. I’ve heard great things about Quito and your post confirms it. I’d love to go here soon so I’ll definitely bookmark this for the future. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • thevikingabroad
      thevikingabroad
      Posted at 16:29h, 09 March Reply

      it its, that is good. You should definitely visit 😀 Thank you for stopping by 😀

  • David Elliott
    Posted at 00:48h, 10 March Reply

    I do hope to make it down to South America someday. My grandmother went there and said it was amazing.

  • Carmen's Luxury Travel
    Posted at 08:21h, 10 March Reply

    Seems like a pretty walkable city! I’d love to explore the old town and photograph the historic buildings. It’s amazing how so many have survived earthquakes! I appreciate you sharing the walking map, it’s really helpful. Happy travels 🙂

    • thevikingabroad
      thevikingabroad
      Posted at 11:03h, 10 March Reply

      It is, thank you for stopping by 😀 Happy Travels 😀

  • Charlotte
    Posted at 09:58h, 10 March Reply

    Great post as always Vibeke! Quito looks absolutely gorgeous, especially the Basilica 😀

  • Ruth Earley
    Posted at 11:42h, 10 March Reply

    Love this post. So badly want to visit Quito

  • Anna nuttall
    Posted at 15:42h, 10 March Reply

    Beautiful photos and i would love to visit one day and i’m envious of you. xx

    • thevikingabroad
      thevikingabroad
      Posted at 16:00h, 10 March Reply

      You should definitely visit :). Thank you for stopping by my blog 😀

  • Dhaval Parmar
    Posted at 06:30h, 11 March Reply

    Love this post. u have shared an ordinary pics.

  • Dominique
    Posted at 11:56h, 13 March Reply

    Quito looks so beautiful. Such fabulous architecture!

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