Get ready to discover the 8 Pueblos Magicos in Michoacan, Mexico! These 8 “Magic Towns” are some of the prettiest spots to explore in the state, offering unique cultural experiences that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos showcase the very best of the country; towns rich in culture, natural beauty, or cuisine. It’s always worth visiting a few of the Magic Towns whenever you visit a new state, and with eight to discover in Michoacan you have plenty to choose from. This post rounds up the 8 Magic Towns, along with a few of the best things to see and do when you get there. Feliz viajes…
READ MORE: Michoacan Travel Guide
What are Pueblos Magicos?
Pueblos Mágicos means “Magic Towns”. This is an initiative by the Mexican tourism board to promote a series of the best towns around the country. Towns are carefully selected for the list, based on things like natural beauty, cultural richness, historical relevance, cuisine, or great hospitality.
There are some pretty strict selection criteria, and although hundreds of towns apply annually very few make the list. Being labelled a Pueblo Magico is seriously prestigious, so you know that these towns are all worth visiting!
8 Pueblos Magicos in Michoacan
Possibly the best-known town on this list of Michoacan’s Pueblos Magicos, Patzcuaro lies beside the stunning Patzcuaro Lake.
The town’s architectural style is very typical of the region, especially in the historic centre. One storey adobe houses with red-tiled roofs, all the white exterior walls are painted with a signature red stripe along the bottom. Even the signs, hand-painted beside the doors of shops and business, follow a universal style, with the first letter of every word painted red.
It’s partly this distinctive style that gives Patzcuaro its status as a Magic Town. But the town is also a centre of Purépecha culture, the people indigenous to this region of Mexico. Beyond the 16th-century architecture and colonial city centre, in Patzcuaro you’ll find a rich Indian heritage and fascinating folklore, as well as many skilled Purépechan artisans selling handicrafts unique to the area!
Things to do in Patzcuaro
- Explore the Plaza Grande – the second largest city centre square in Mexico after the Zocalo in CDMX
- Visit the Casa de los Once Patios or “house of eleven patios”.
- Go shopping – because Patzcuaro is well-known for unique handicrafts
- Visit Patzcuaro Lake or take the ferry to Janitizio Island
RELATED POST: Dia de Muertos on Patzcuaro Lake
Once the capital of the Purépechan state of Tarascan, Tzintzuntzun is of huge historical significance. It’s also a seriously pretty colonial town of cobbled streets and traditional white-and-red buildings, lying serenely on the shores of Lake Patzcuaro.
On a hill above the town, the remnants of Tzintzuntzan’s pre-hispanic ceremonial centre still stand. Five rounded pyramids, called yácatas, run in a line overlooking the lake. The yácatas were largely destroyed when the Spanish took over, and many of the stones were repurposed in the building of a church and convent in the new colonial town.
Today, that picturesque former convent has been restored and repurposed as a museum, not only of the convent but also of the town’s Purépecha history.
Things to do in Tzintzuntzan
- Visit the Las Yácatas archaeological site – as well as the attached museum.
- Tour the Ex Convento de Santa Ana
- Explore the handicraft workshops
One of my favourite Pueblos Magicos in Michoacan state was Cuitzeo. It lies on the edge of Cuitzeo Lake, the second-largest freshwater lake in Mexico, the still surface of which reflects the sky perfectly, particularly in the morning.
Driving to Cuitzeo from Morelia passes along a road built over the lake, with water on either side, which is possibly one of the most beautiful roads in Michoacan. The town is surrounded by fertile lands, and the edges of the lakes are abundant with birdlife. It’s a stunning area to explore!
Within the picturesque streets of the town itself, you’ll find a rich history. When the Augustines arrived in the mid 16th century, they built an extraordinary convent in Cuitzeo to evangelize the region. Now a museum, this is considered one of the best-preserved examples of religious architecture from the early years of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.
Things to do in Cuitzeo
- Visit the Convento de Santa María Magdalena Cuitzeo
- Take a glance inside the Templo del Hospitalito
- Explore the Tres Cerritos archaeological site
- Visit Lake Cuitzeo
Santa Clara del Cobre
An interesting quirk of Michoacan state is that many of the small towns specialise in one type of craft. The man to thank for this is Vasco de Quiroga, the first bishop of Michoacán.
Following his Utopian ideals, Quiroga assigned certain crafts to certain towns, such as lacquered goods to Patzcuaro and fishing nets to Janitzio. In the shining Pueblo Magico of Santa Clara del Cobre, the speciality is copper (cobre).
The town is an Aladdin’s cave, where everything that glitters is copper. Endless stores filled with copper kitchenware, copper decorations, copper vases, copper bathtubs, copper everything, line the streets! Towering stacks of jewellery, from simply bangles to extravagant rose coloured crowns, burst forth from shopfronts.
Even the roof of the gazebo in the town’s central square is made from copper, which glints regally in the sunlight. In some shops you can witness artisans at work, heating the metal over an open flame or working it by hand.
Things to do in Santa Clara del Cobre
- Shop for copper!
- Visit the Copper Museum
- Take a trip to nearby Lake Zirahuen – one of the most picturesque areas in Michoacan (in my opinion!).
- Visit the town’s temples: Templo de Nuestra Señora del Sagrario and the Templo de la Inmaculada Concepcion
Wish it could be Christmas every day? Tlalpujahua is known as “Christmas Town” in Mexico, because of the abundance of Christmas ornaments produced there. In this picturesque former mining town, it almost feels like Christmas all year round!
It all began in the sixties. Tlalpujahua was suffering due to the closure of the Dos Estrellas gold mine. A local man, Joaquín Muñoz Orta, had learned the art of glass blowing in the USA.
He returned to his hometown and started a small business producing hand-blown and decorated glass Christmas ornaments. Today, it’s an enormous global business. There are also several other factories, and several hundred small production houses, in town.
Things to do in Tlalpujahua
- Buy Christmas decorations, or visit workshops to see them being made by hand.
- Visit the Museum of Dos Estrellas Mine
- Admire the Viceregal architecture of the Sanctuary of the Virgen del Carmen. The sanctuary also offers stunning views of the town.
The second former mining town among Michoacan’s Pueblos Magicos, Angangueo was once one of the most important in the region. It’s a classic example of a Mexican mining town, where the wealthy families built big houses with colourful facades and flower-laden balconies.
But what makes Angangueo extra special are the nearby butterfly sanctuaries. Every November, millions – or possibly billions – of monarch butterflies fly around 2,800 miles from Canada and the USA to spend the winter in warmer climates. They settle on the tall trees of the forested mountains not far from Angangueo, turning the region orange in time for Autumn.
In 2008, the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding universal value.
Things to do in Angangueo
- Marvel at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Preserve (between November and February)
- Soak up the views from Mirador Cruz de Hierro or the Monument to the Miner
- Check out the mural by Arturo Estrada in the Temple of the Immaculate Conception. It tells the story of the fortunes and tragedies of the town’s mining history.
Nestled into a lush mountain valley, Tacámbaro sits between the mountains and the Tierra Caliente (hot lands). A small, rural town with a provincial atmosphere, Tacámbaro is surrounded by blackberry farms and avocado plantations. This is the perfect place to get away from it all and witness the rich natural beauty of Michoacan.
Surrounding the town is a magical landscape of lagoons, forests, and waterfalls. In the nearby Cerro Hueco Ecological Park, lies the flooded crater of an extinct volcano. Further on, you’ll also discover natural hot springs fed by the volcanic activity of the area.
Things to do in Tacámbaro
- Hike or bike to the viewpoint at the top of the hill over the town
- Swim in the Laguna de la Magdalena – there’s also a zip ride that soars over the water!
- Explore the Cerro Hueco Ecological Park
The last of the Pueblos Magicos in Michoacan, but by no means the least, is Jiquilpan. This enchanting town is painted purple every spring by the ubiquitous jacaranda trees. Also filled with white buildings trimmed in crimson, Jiquilpan is known for its many gardens, as well as its artistic heritage.
Revolutionist and former president General Lázaro Cárdenas was born in Jiquilpan, and maintained a holiday home in the town’s forest. Today, the Casa de Piedra, or House of Stone, is a silk workshop.
Things to do in Jiquilpan
- Explore the many parks and gardens, such as Jardin Colon, Juárez Park and Cuauhtémoc Forest. Especially during springtime when the jacarandas blossom.
- Visit La Aguadora Fountain, the symbol of the town, as well as Fish Fountain.
- Explore the silk workshop within the House of Stone.