With sweeping mountains, hills and a giant volcano that beautifully looms over the city itself, Quito is full of enchanting scenery that is sure to dazzle and mesmerize newcomers and seasoned (read: enamored) visitors of Ecuador’s capital. Being situated along the Avenue of the Volcanoes is a both scenic blessing and a constant reminder of the forces that molded and created the surrounding geography. A visit to Quito offers explorers the chance to witness unique geography and dramatic landscapes that resemble something out of a Lord of the Rings movie, which often times include awesome waterfalls of clouds descending down the surrounding mountains. Such surroundings create a majestic little niche for visitors and Quiteños (residents of Quito) to seek out a perfect places to sit back, relax and marvel at the all-encompassing natural beauty of the metropolis.
Famous philosopher Immanuel Kant described the sublime as being “the quality of greatness, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual, or artistic.” Quito, in this regard, is sublime.
One of the Best Views in Quito: Teleferico (TelefériQo) – Quito’s Very Own Gondola
Hop aboard one of the highest aerial lifts in the world and head to the near-top of the (now dormant) Pichincha Volcano. Once there, you’ll immediately notice three things: the weather is much colder, you run out of breath a lot quicker and the views of Quito below are simply jaw-dropping. The grand ascent takes about 20 minutes, rising from 3,117 m (10,226 ft) to 3,945 m (12,943 ft).
Capilla del Hombre
Literally “The Chapel of Mankind” and labelled as one of the top things to check out in Quito, this large and incredibly modern-looking yet non-religious Chapel is perched right on the slopes of the eastern side of Quito. The exterior and beautiful views of the city of Quito are the perfect preamble for the emotionally-moving portraits (by famous Ecuadorian painter Guayasamin) that await visitors inside the museum.
NOTE FOR THE READER: If you are into going deeper into a country’s culture and history, Quito has a myriad of museums that will satisfy your curiosity.
Also labelled as one of the top things to do in Quito is the neogothic Church known as Basilica of the National Vow, rising majestically with its two tall towers and large, stained-glass windows. For those that can muster up the courage and aren’t afraid of height, the journey along the ladders (that wind up around the towers and go past the clocks and into a “crow’s nest” of sorts) provide an absolutely fantastic lookout point for visitors in Quito.
Located up the hill that’s east from the iconic and luxurious Casa Gangotena, Café Mosaicos overlooks the greater part of Quito’s colonial downtown. It’s the perfect little space to settle down after a long day of touring and enjoy a warm canelazo (a traditional hot, spiced and alcoholic Ecuadorian drink) to warm your blood as the city cools itself down and all the city lights blink on. Oh, and did we mention it’s probably the best place to enjoy such a view? From the balconies of Café Mosaico, you can easily see El Panecillo Hill with the statue of the Virgin Mary and the Battle of Pichincha Monument up on the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano along with, well… the rest of the beautiful city!
Bonus: Mirador de Guapulo
Alright, alright. So this isn’t necessarily a view of Quito per se, but it is a view from Quito that looks out towards the beautiful valley of Cumbaya below. Extra bonus points if you manage to get there before sunrise, at which points an entire sea of clouds might be awaiting…