It’s under this title that the World Travel Awards recently recognized Cuenca, which has so much to offer travelers on a tight schedule. Exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site on foot is a great way to see its countless gems: colonial and neoclassical buildings, artisanal workshops frozen in time, a flower market known as one of the most beautiful in the world, the colorful clothing worn by indigenous farmers who amble along the streets, and picturesque squares full of lush nature right in the heart of the city.

The city’s four rivers add to its remarkable countryside. A special mention goes to banks of the Tomebamba River, which cross the city from West to East along a ravine, where the architecture magically blends in with the surrounding nature. You can admire the pre- Hispanic archeological remains that contribute to Cuenca’s rich cultural mix.

To get a full dose of Cuenca’s nature, head to the subtropical valleys, mountainous forests and páramos, or plateaus, where quaint villages are nestled with markets and artisanal crafts. Take your pick between extreme sports or a soft adventure in the middle of the Andean landscape, or simply relax in the thermal springs.

The city comes to life at night with orchestral concerts, live music, theater, dance and other artistic events, not to mention a rich gastronomic tradition, offering a fusion of Andean and European cuisine.

On the hotel front, there’s an option for every style and budget. The city also boasts magnificent, restored mansions to add a touch of charm and originality for all types of events.

Cuenca is the ideal spot to get the best of Ecuador in just a few days: ancestral culture, majestic natural surroundings and especially the warm hospitality from the locals who love their customs and are eager to give their visitors an unforgettable experience.

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