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Machu Picchu, the impressive ruined city of the Incas in Peru, is definitely worth a visit! The city, which is located on a mountain at an a...

Machu Picchu, the impressive ruined city of the Incas in Peru, is definitely worth a visit! The city, which is located on a mountain at an altitude of 2,430 meters, is visited by millions of visitors every year, but what is actually so fascinating about the world-famous ruin?

Pictures can capture moments, give impressions of an environment. But the real magic, the historical atmosphere of a place can only be experienced live. Machu Picchu is one of those places from which one has already seen hundreds of pictures and yet none comes close to the real experience of the centuries-old city of the Incas. Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the seven new wonders of the world and is one of the largest tourist attractions in South America. Up to 2,000 people visit this sight in Peru every day. I will tell you now what the ruined city in the middle of the mountains is all about and how you can make a day trip here on your trip.

Impressive Machu Picchu

History and architecture

In the 15th century, the Inca - an indigenous South American people from hundreds of ethnic groups - built a city in the middle of the Peruvian Andes at an altitude of 2,430 meters . It was built on a ridge between the peaks of Huayna Picchu and Mount Machu Picchu, 75 kilometers northwest of the city of Cusco , which is in southeastern Peru . The 216 structures of the Inca city were connected with an extensive system of stairs, consisting of around 3,000 steps, all of which are still preserved today. Also the outer walls of the temples, the partly multi-storey residential buildings as well as fountain basins and canal connectionsare in good condition to this day. Some of the buildings have been gradually restored and reconstructed true to the original in recent years.

The Inca ruler PachacĂștec Yupanqui, who ruled from 1438 to 1471, directed the construction of this city - the basis for the expansion of the mighty Inca Empire in South America. Research assumes that at that time up to 1,000 people lived there and were self-sufficient. The reasons why the city was built in the middle of the Andes is still unclear. The original name of the plant has not been transmitted either. The city was named after the nearby mountain peak “Machu Picchu”.

Fun fact: Although Machu Picchu only has one correct spelling , funny offshoots of the name are circulating again and again. But let me tell you: Macchu Picchu, Mach Picchu, Machi Picu, Machu Picco, Machu Piccu, Machu Pichu, Machupicchu, Macnhu Picchu, Matchu Pitchu and Matchupichu are by no means alternative spellings, but simply wrong.

After the inhabitants died out or were relocated, Machu Picchu remained undiscovered for years. The official time for the rediscovery is the year 1911. In fact, there have been numerous explorers who have visited the city before, almost every century after it was built.

Tourism at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu became known and famous all over the world when National Geographic magazine devoted its entire issue to the ruined city in April 1913. In 1983 it was recognized as a World Heritage Site, and in 2007 it was named one of the seven new wonders of the world. Since then, Machu Picchu, with its green rocks and stone walls, has been one of the largest tourist attractions in South America . An average of 2,000 people from all over the world visit the historic attraction every day.

Machu Picchu tour: how to get there

Machu Picchu is located in the middle of the Peruvian Andes, in an area that is difficult to access. There are no roads here. For this reason a railway line from Cusco to Aguas Calientes was  constructed. The journey in the panorama train takes you along picturesque mountain backdrops and wild streams and thus straight to our list of the most beautiful train journeys in the world .

One of the most beautiful train routes in the world, in the middle of the Andes

When you arrive in the small village at the foot of the mountain of Machu Picchu, you either take the bus that drives the eight-kilometer serpentine route up to the Machu Picchu citadel, or you walk the route. It's best to set off early in the morning . In this way you avoid the large streams of tourists and you might be rewarded with a spectacular sunrise.

Inca Trail, the coveted classic

Probably the most exciting and adventurous way to Machu Picchu can be explored on the Inca Trail. For four days you hike along the former Inca trade route from Cusco to Machu Picchu - 44 kilometers and a total of 8,670 steps . Hike past small, ancient ruins and climb up to 4,200 meters to the highest point of the trail, the “Pass of the Dead Woman”. Make your way to the Sun Gate, from where you can finally catch your first glimpse of the picturesque Machu Picchu.

The daily starting places on the picturesque Inca Trail are strictly limited

In order to embark on your journey on the Inca Trail, you have to take care of it early on: only 500 people are allowed on the path towards Machu Picchu every day , so the places are booked months in advance.

In addition, the trail is closed to tourists every February for cleaning up . How good that there are alternative routes that also offer you wonderful views and are nowhere near as crowded.

Alternative routes to Machu Picchu

Go on a four to five day hike on the Salkantay Trek , which is in no way inferior to the Inca Trail. It takes you to over 4,600 meters with a view of the adjacent mountain Salkantay. Spend the night in tents or with local families and enjoy the fabulous, pristine landscape.

Guru tip:

Be sure to pack sturdy shoes and warm clothing. Temperatures in the Andes fluctuate a lot, especially at night it can get very cold in the mountains.

If you don't just want to set out on foot, you will get your money's worth on the Inca Jungle Trek . Ride a mountain bike through the Andes and ride their torrential streams while river rafting . Swing along the zip line and enjoy the hot thermal springs in Aguas Calientes. On the four-day trekking tour towards Machu Picchu, some adventures await you.

Discovered Machu Picchu in Peru

Make your way to South America and experience one of the new seven wonders of the world up close. Convince yourself personally of the magic of Machu Picchu,  hike along adventurous paths and take a journey back in time to the empire of the Inca! Have you been to Machu Picchu yourself? Then please leave a comment and tell me how you liked it.