Splashing colour and culture into the arid Peruvian landscape, Lima is a city bedecked with grand colonial splendour. Founded in 1535, this sprawling capital enjoys a breezy oceanfront location and forms one of the world's largest desert cities. A place of sharp contrasts, almost 10 million people are packed into the city, occupying vastly different living conditions. Visit for an unfiltered experience of this richly layered place of ancient history, colonial relics and dazzling flavours.
Rising from the misty blanket of the garua - a persistent fog that cloaks Lima during winter - you'll find one of South America's most culturally vibrant cities. The former capital of the Spanish colonists - head to Plaza de Armas to immerse yourself in the heart of the old city. The Basilica Cathedral of Lima watches over Plaza Mayor - listen out for the stomps of boots outside, as the pomp and ceremony of the Changing of the Guards draws crowds to the Government Palace. The history of this area runs much deeper, however, and pre-Colombian cities and temples emerge from the dusty earth nearby. Grand museums showcase unearthed treasures from the extraordinary civilisations who built vast mud adobe cities across Peru's coastline, and incredible settlements in the country's valleys and mountains.
The Barranco district is Lima's artsy area, and you can walk from modern art galleries to see the local muse, the Bridge of Sighs. This wooden bridge is an artist's favourite, and one of the city's most romantic spots. Afterwards, sample some of Lima's cuisine, and the zingy flavours of spicy, lime-marinated fish ceviche. So revered in these parts, ceviche even has its own national day on June 28th. Sipping a Pisco Sour is the perfect way to round off your visit to this engrossing, multi-layered city.