Unmissable Landscapes in Peru

Unmissable Landscapes in Peru

From the dramatic peaks of the Andes to the lush vastness of the Amazon rainforest, Peru’s scenery makes a holiday here truly special. Natural beauty is something this South American destination does incredibly well, so it’s no wonder that it regularly appears on travellers’ wish lists. Multicoloured mountains, mysterious ruins and (of course) the majestic Machu Picchu are just a few of our favourite unmissable landscapes in Peru. Read on to discover some more…

  1. The Mountain of Seven Colours
  2. The Nazca Lines
  3. The Peruvian Amazon
  4. Moray
  5. Lake Titicaca
  6. Colca Canyon
  7. Machu Picchu


The Mountain of Seven Colours

Also known as Rainbow Mountain or the Mountain of Seven Colours for its colourful chevrons, the picturesque peak of Vinicunca is a much-Instagrammed icon of Peru. Yet until 2013, it was covered in ice. When the ice melted, the water mixed with minerals in the ground to create the red, yellow, green and purple stripes seen today. And while social media shots are often edited to make the rainbow layers more vivid, in person the natural hues are softer – but just as pretty. To see the multicoloured peak for yourself, hike the popular trail that leads to the best vantage point of the mountain. The out-and-back route takes three to four hours, at altitude and with tricky terrain. But for experienced hikers, it’s a rewarding adventure in one of the most photographed landscapes in Peru.


The Nazca Lines

One of the most famous landscapes in Peru can only be seen from the air. The Nazca Lines are a mind-boggling mystery: cryptic lines drawn in geometric patterns and animal shapes across the desert. The swirls and zigzags are virtually impossible to spot from the ground, so were only discovered when commercial planes began crossing Peru in the 1930s. Spanning the red desert sand for around 30 miles, these enigmatic geoglyphs are massive in scale – but where did they come from? Scientists believe the desert drawings were made by the Nazca people, however wild theories of aliens and ancient astronauts abound. Whether you agree with the archaeologists or support a more supernatural hypotheses, seeing these ancient wonders from a plane window is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


The Peruvian Amazon

While the largest rainforest in the world – the Amazon – covers nearly two-thirds of Peru, it’s home to only five per cent of the country’s population. The frontier town of Puerto Maldonado is the southern gateway to this lush and vibrant landscape; the starting point for jungle excursions, river cruises and wildlife-spotting tours in a region that many naturalists call the most biodiverse on Earth. Meanwhile, Iquitos in the north is the world’s largest city that’s unreachable by road. This prosperous metropolis provides a base camp for travellers taking boat trips down the Amazon, but its blend of elegant riverside restaurants, bustling floating markets and colourful nightlife might tempt you to extend your stay. Whether your tastes lean towards back-to-nature trekking or a few nights in a luxury lodge (or both), it’s hard to resist the call of the rainforest when planning an adventure in Peru.



Best known as the location of Machu Picchu (more on that later), Peru’s Sacred Valley also encompasses the Inca ruins of Moray. Nestled among the towering Andes, this archaeological site consists of three groups of circular terraces. The bowl-shaped hollows with their stepped sides look a little like Roman amphitheatres. But the ruins remain an enigma. The Incas had no written language, so the purpose of Moray is unknown. Some evidence suggests the ruins may have been used for agricultural experiments, as a place to cultivate crops. Gazing across the awe-inspiring complex of terraces carved into a mountain slope, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the ingenuity of the Incas. And the unresolved mystery of Moray makes the landscape seem even more magical.


Lake Titicaca

The largest lake in South America, the world’s highest navigable body of water and ‘the birthplace of the Incas’ – Lake Titicaca is all of this and more. The lake straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru; a seemingly infinite expanse of tranquil water that stretches seamlessly towards the horizon. Lake Titicaca is also home to the Uros Floating Islands; an ancient settlement made entirely of totora reeds. Here, the indigenous Uros people live as they have for centuries in one of the most captivating landscapes in Peru. Join a guided tour to meet the islanders and learn more about their way of life.


Colca Canyon

Hikers and birdwatchers alike agree that Colca Canyon is a must-see. Double the depth of the Grand Canyon, this natural wonder might well take your breath away – an apt metaphor given that every hike here takes place at altitude. A multi-day trek is the best way to immerse yourself in the ruggedly beautiful scenery and involves venturing into the depths of the canyon, where small rural communities continue to thrive amid the arid landscape. And for the birdwatchers? As well as being heaven on earth for hikers, the Colca Canyon is a spectacular place to spot majestic Andean condors. Don’t miss the picturesque Mirador Cruz del Cóndor, an observation deck offering unbeatable views of the canyon’s resident condors soaring on the thermal winds.


Machu Picchu

It wouldn’t be a round-up of unmissable landscapes in Peru without Machu Picchu. Encircled by verdant vegetation and mist-shrouded peaks, it’s one of the most famous and fascinating archaeological sites in the world. Many might think it’s best to reach the sprawling citadel early, ahead of the crowds, but this wisdom has become so widespread that the advice is now counterintuitive. Instead, we recommend a one-day hike along the Inca Trail. Setting out in the morning through the mountainous landscape, you hike around five miles to finally reach the marvel of Machu Picchu in the afternoon, when many visitors have headed home. How’s that for an incentive to lace up your walking boots? One of the Seven Wonders of the World waiting at the end of the trail.