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Surrounded by snow-capped volcanic peaks, only 24 kilometres away from the equator, the world’s second highest capital doesn’t need to beg for your attention; it deserves to earn it! Hundreds of travellers search for cheap air tickets to Quito annually, to meet a South American capital that has no rival. Built upon a lost Incas city that disappeared without a trace and boasting a vast Spanish colonial heritage, Quito stands on the borderline, between the traditional and the modern. The world's first ever UNESCO capital, Quito’s charm is one of a kind and will captivate your heart and mind forever. History, museums, galleries and countless churches, delicious food, fantastic people and the most fascinating backdrop you could ever imagine, dominated by the volcano of mount Pichincha. Not motivated to book your accommodation in Quito yet? No way! Plan your trip to Quito now!
Quito is a very old town – it dates back to the era before the Spanish Invasion and colonisation of South America. The first residents belonged to the peaceful tribe Quitu, the descendants of whom had to face the mighty Incas in the 15th century, thus giving birth to a large and important power of their empire.
In 1535 the Spanish came and the city’s leader, Rumiñahui, chose to bring down the whole city, rather than give it to the Spanish; this is the reason why you won’t find any Incas remnants across the region of Quito.
Today’s capital of Ecuador is situated in the foot of Mount Pichincha, at an altitude of 2,800 metres – making it the world’s second highest capital, after La Paz. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a top tourist destination for travellers around the world.
Traditional, charming and extra welcoming, Quito is a destination you should definitely try out!
Quito’s airport (Mariscal Sucre International Airport) is located 18 kilometres east of the city centre and can be reached by taxi and buses.
Getting around Quito
You can get around Quito using the three-line bus network, Trole, Ecovía and Metrobus. Fares start at 0.25 USD and minimum taxi fare costs 1.00 USD.
Quito’s Old Town (Centro Histórico) is the place where you’d want to start your exploration; and it has something special to it:
Quito’s historic centre was the first city ever to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Poland’s Krakow.
And it sure is beautiful! Churches, monasteries, chapels and temples make up a backdrop of sacred beauty; but it’s not all. It’s a lively city we’re talking about, after all! Markets, shops, cafes and crowded streets are an indispensable part of Quito’s charm.
- Make your first stop at the church known as La Compañía de Jesús (The Jesus Society), one of South America’s most important baroque churches. Built within 160 years and inaugurated in 1765, the church is decorated in the most detailed possible way, with main characteristics being typical Incas symbols and artefacts.
- The San Francisco Church was the first church ever built in Quito, right after the Spanish Invasion in 1535 and it took almost a century for its construction to be complete. Decorated with Incas symbols and artefacts too, the church is famous for housing the original statue of “La Virgen de Quito”, by Bernardo de Legarda.
The sun is one of the main Incas symbols and it was widely used by the Spanish to Christianise the pre-Columbian nations they came across when they colonised the region.
Head south of the city and look up; you will see the monumental copy of the “La Virgen de Quito” statue, looming at an altitude of 3,000 metres, at the top of the Panecillo hill. The location is of great importance, said to have been an Incas worship place and a Spanish fort.
Continue your way to modern Quito and be sure to check out the Museo Nacional de Banco Central del Ecuador, a gigantic, excellent museum that offers everything you’d like to know about Ecuador’s history and culture. Collections are immense and vary from natural history, anthropology and art to folklore, history and archaeology.
Give your experience in Quito the perfect ending with a ride on the world’s second highest cable car!
The TelefériQo climbs up the top of Mount Pichincha, at an altitude of 4,000 minutes, within 8 minutes. Be prepared for the most dramatic panoramic view of your life. Afraid of the thin air? Oxygen masks are available!Quito’s official language is Spanish, but Shuar, Quichua and other indigenous languages are also officially recognised.
To enter Quito, you need to have a valid passport, with validity until at least 6 months after your travel dates. Greek citizens do not need a Visa, for a maximum stay of 90 days.
When to Go
Quito is located in the equator, thus enjoys a marine subtropical climate with temperatures not exceeding 21º C and not falling below 8º C all year round.
Quito has two distinctive seasons, the dry (June-September) and the wet one (October-May) and, while you can visit Quito during both of them, the best time to travel to Quito and be able to enjoy the city at its best is the dry period, from June to September.