Quito’s Best Kept Secrets: Unmissable Stops on Your Walking Tour


Embarking on a free walking tour in Quito is one of the best ways to uncover the hidden gems of this vibrant city. Quito’s historic center is a treasure trove of cultural, historical, and architectural wonders, many of which remain off the typical tourist radar. In this blog, we’ll take you through some of the unmissable stops on your walking tour, each offering a unique glimpse into the heart of Quito’s heritage.

Plaza Grande: The Heart of the City

Start your tour at Plaza Grande, also known as Independence Square. This central plaza is the perfect introduction to Quito’s rich history. Surrounded by important buildings like the Presidential Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Archbishop’s Palace, Plaza Grande is a hub of political and religious significance. Take a moment to soak in the atmosphere and watch the world go by from one of the plaza’s many benches.

La Compañía de Jesús: Baroque Brilliance

A short walk from Plaza Grande will bring you to La Compañía de Jesús, one of the most stunning churches in Latin America. Known for its intricate Baroque architecture and lavish gold-leaf interior, this Jesuit church is a masterpiece of art and devotion. The detailed carvings and ornate decorations are a testament to the skill and dedication of the craftsmen who built it.

San Francisco Square: A Step Back in Time

Continue your journey to San Francisco Square, home to the impressive San Francisco Church and Convent. This historic complex dates back to the 16th century and is one of the oldest and most significant religious sites in Quito. The church’s blend of Moorish, Baroque, and indigenous influences makes it a fascinating study in architectural history. Don’t miss the chance to explore the convent’s museum, which houses a rich collection of religious art and artifacts.

El Panecillo: A View from Above

For a breathtaking view of Quito, make your way to El Panecillo, a hill topped with a towering statue of the Virgin Mary. The walk up to El Panecillo is a bit challenging, but the panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains are well worth the effort. The statue itself is a striking landmark, depicting the Virgin Mary with wings, a unique representation in Ecuadorian art.

Calle La Ronda: A Stroll Through History

No walking tour of Quito is complete without a visit to Calle La Ronda. This charming street is one of the oldest in the city and has been beautifully preserved. As you stroll down its cobblestone path, you’ll encounter traditional shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. La Ronda comes alive in the evening, with live music and street performances adding to its vibrant atmosphere.

Basilica del Voto Nacional: Gothic Grandeur

End your tour at the Basilica del Voto Nacional, an impressive neo-Gothic church that rivals the great cathedrals of Europe. Its towering spires and intricate façade are a sight to behold. For the adventurous, climbing the basilica’s towers offers stunning views of Quito and the surrounding landscape. The interior is equally magnificent, with its stained glass windows and detailed stone carvings.


A free walking tour of Quito is more than just a stroll through the city; it’s a journey through time and culture. Each stop on this tour reveals a different facet of Quito’s rich heritage, from its colonial architecture and religious landmarks to its vibrant streets and scenic viewpoints. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply a curious traveler, these unmissable stops will make your walking tour of Quito an unforgettable experience.