Intramuros Tour Guide: 10 Places That Will Let You Travel Back in Time
Known as the “Walled City,” Intramuros is a place rich in history and culture. With its cobbled streets and preserved architecture dated hundreds of years ago, it will have you second-guessing whether you are still in the Philippines or not. That is why many foreigners and locals never miss an Intramuros tour when in the city.
In between the walls of Intramuros is the mark that 300 years of Spanish rule have left in the form of grand churches and colonial houses. While you can just wander the streets on your own, the best way to get a deeper understanding of the country’s history is with a historic Intramuros walking tour.
Top 10 Amazing Spots to Visit for Your Intramuros Tour
Intramuros is a beautiful place every traveler must visit. Here are some of the best Intramuros tourist spots to check out:
- Fort Santiago – The place in Intramuros where Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned before his execution
- Manila Cathedral – This Intramuros Manila tourist spot is the first cathedral in the Philippines
- San Agustin Church – The oldest church in the Philippines
- Casa Manila – An IG-worthy Intramuros Manila attraction
- Silahis Center – An Intramuros Manila attraction where Filipinos’ creativity is showcased
- Baluarte De San Diego – It used to be a drowning chamber during the Spanish era
- Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant – An Intramuros restaurant that serves authentic Filipino food
- Light and Sound Museum – Where you can learn music and Intramuros history
- Museo de Intramuros – The best place to discover the Intramuros history
- Bahay Tsinoy – Features life-sized dioramas of Chinese traders, goldsmiths, and more
What’s inside this blog?
- Intramuros Tourism Guidelines 2021 | COVID-19 Updates
- Top 10 Amazing Spots to Visit for Your Intramuros Tour
- Best Time to Visit
- How to Go to Intramuros
- Sample Itinerary: Intramuros Manila Trip
- Travel Tips for those Visiting Intramuros
- Frequently Asked Questions About Intramuros Tourist Spot
In this Intramuros guide, we will tell you the top famous and offbeat spots that will definitely give you chills and make your heart skip a beat!
Intramuros Tourism Guidelines 2021 | COVID-19 Updates
As of April 12, 2021, Intramuros is under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). Before you visit the Walled City in the Philippines, make sure to check the latest updates to avoid hassles.
- Intramuros is open 24 hours but only authorized persons outside their residence (APOR) and workers will be allowed to access Intramuros during curfew hours (8pm-5am).
- Gates in Intramuros will only be passable to residents and constituents with quarantine pass, to APOR with activities/business in Intramuros, to those accessing essential goods or services, and to workers permitted inside Intramuros.
- Quarantine Pass, ID, or authorization shall be required when entering the Intramuros gates.
- Al fresco dining is allowed at 50% capacity, diagonal seating arrangements or with acrylic dividers.
For more Intramuros Manila travel updates, visit Intramuros Administration’s Facebook Page.
Places to visit in Intramuros
Given the many astounding places to visit in Intramuros, it could take us a day to list them down so we will just give you our top picks for an easy guide!
1. Fort Santiago
Fort Santiago Intramuros is the oldest Hispanic stone fortress in the Philippines, making it a notable Intramuros tourist spot. There are kalesa or carriages, old dungeons, an old theater, and gardens surrounding Fort Santiago Intramuros to keep your eyes and ears busy as you take in all the history. The good news here is, the government has opened its dungeons for the public so visitors can explore the dungeons that were used as storage vaults and powder magazines of the Baluarte de Santa Barbara, a stone structure constructed in 1592. During World War II, the dungeons were used by Japanese troops to imprison resistance fighters and political prisoners. Make sure to not miss this when you’re in Intramuros.
2. Manila Cathedral
The Manila Cathedral in Intramuros is the Premier Church of the Philippines as it was the first-ever cathedral in the country. This Intramuros tourist spot we see today is not the original structure. Actually, the cathedral has been through a lot but stands still. It has been a witness to a history that is worthy to tell to every generation— from ups and downs to wars and love stories. The Manila Cathedral is surely one of the best places to visit in Manila.
3. San Agustin Church
Another must-visit place in Intramuros is the San Agustin Church. It is the oldest stone church in the Philippines and the only church which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Manila. You’ll be amazed at the masterpiece painted on its ceilings. Built in 1595, San Agustin Manila, officially known as the Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin, makes a great Intramuros tourist spot. It exhibits remarkable features such as retablos (altars) of high Baroque style and wall buttresses separating cripto collateral chapels. What makes it unique is its ceiling paintings in the tromp l’oeil style. It is also the only church that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Manila. And one amazing fact to know about San Agustin Church is that the Philippines’ first governor-general, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, is buried there. To know more about San Agustin Church’s history, read this blog.
4. Casa Manila
Ever wondered how the rich lived during the Spanish era in the Philippines? Go to Casa Manila and you’ll find out. The main attraction of this Intramuros tourist spot is a fully-furnished home-turned-museum that shows how Filipinos lived during the colonial era. While every corner is beautiful and Instagrammable, visitors are not allowed to take photos. When inside, walk only on the carpeted areas so that you do not damage the wooden floors. Of all the luxurious furniture in Casa Manila, the most notable are the toilets. Apparently, in the old days, toilets were built in twos or more to allow people to sit beside each other and chat while they did their business. Casa Manila also shows how beautiful Intramuros at night is. This spot is also one of the most romantic destinations in Intramuros.
5. Silahis Center
Make sure to also include Silahis in your Intramuros tour! It is a place that emphasizes the Filipino’s creativity showcased through various products made from wood, shells, and other native materials that you can buy as souvenirs. There are also antiques, artifacts, and other Filipino artworks available in the store. So if you fancy antiques, drop by at this Intramuros tourist spot.
6. Baluarte De San Diego
Another attraction that shows the beautiful facade of the Intramuros Philippines is Baluarte de San Diego. This used to be a drowning chamber during the Spanish era. It was built and designed by the Jesuit priest Antonio Sedeno in the late 1580s. Its main feature is the circular dungeon called Fort Nuestra Señora de Guia. Today, Baluarte de San Diego is surrounded by beautiful gardens, adorned with lush plants, pathways, fountains, and an attractive pergola that will remind you of fantasy land. That is why it has become a popular place for weddings, family parties, and other special occasions.
7. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant
Intramuros Manila never disappoints our history and sightseeing cravings but other than these, it’s also a good place to find the top restaurants in Manila. One of these is Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant Intramuros. If you’re looking for authentic Filipino food to add to your historical day trip, Barbara’s is the perfect place to go to. Try all of the dishes from their grand buffet, while enjoying cultural dance performances. Plus, Barbara’s is a perfect place for a romantic date that will give you the best vibe of Intramuros at night.
8. Light and Sound Museum
Unlike other museums in and out of Intramuros Manila that cater to hundreds of visitors at the same time, only groups of 10 people are allowed into the Bagumbayan Light and Sound Museum. For someone who loves history or just fancy adding knowledge, this Intramuros attraction is perfect. Its one-hour show about the story of Jose Rizal from his early life to his execution, which combines different visual effects, soundtracks, and other technologies is a perfect treat for you.
9. Museo de Intramuros
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons
If you want to indulge in more history about Intramuros, make sure to visit Museo de Intramuros that was built to share more about the Walled City’s past. It houses about 500 religious artifacts found in old churches near and around the Walled City in the Philippines. It is located in two important reconstructions inside the walled city: the San Ignacio Church and Convent and the Mission House of the Society of Jesus.
10. Bahay Tsinoy
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons
It’s not just the Spanish that had great influences in the Philippines but also the Chinese have had a rich history. In Bahay Tsinoy located in the Walled City in the Philippines a.k.a. Intramuros, you can see the life-sized dioramas of Chinese traders, goldsmiths, and more. The most interesting masterpiece in the museum is a sari-sari store that played an important role in the lives of early Chinese settlers in the Philippines.
Best Time to Visit
Dry Season | December to May
Like other destinations in the country, Intramuros is best visited during the dry season when it’s sunny. This is so you can explore the attractions and learn more about the Intramuros history without any distractions.
Holiday Season | September to December
The holiday season in the Philippines is among the most fun in the world because as you know, the Philippines celebrate the longest Christmas in the world. To have an amazing experience, you wouldn’t regret visiting Intramuros during the holiday season where the roads at night are bright and lively carols and locals are everywhere.
How to go to Intramuros
If you’re asking how to go to Intramuros, we got you covered! Intramuros location is very easy to access given the many transportation options available. To get to Intramuros, you can either take the LRT-1 (light-rail transit) or the jeepney going in.
When choosing the LRT-1, alight at the Central Terminal Station, then walk five minutes to Manila City Hall. From there, walk to the pedestrian underpass that takes you across Padre de Burgos Street. Immediately upon exiting the underpass, you’ll see Victoria Street, which curves right through the Intramuros walls.
The easiest way on how to go to Intramuros is by taxi or Grab; however, it’s pricier than commuting.
When inside Intramuros, it will be easy to explore it as most of the sights are within a 10- to 15-minute walk away. You can do an Intramuros tour by riding a horse carriage, pedicab, walking, or bamboo bike Intramuros.
Intramuros is truly a one-of-a-kind place that every traveler must visit in the Philippines. Not only it boasts stunning attractions that are definitely captivating but it also bridges as to the past that allows us to discover what it’s like to live in the Philippines hundreds of years ago.
Sample Itinerary: Intramuros Manila Trip
08:00 am – Fort Santiago
08:30 am – Baluarte De San Diego
09:00 am – Manila Cathedral
09:30 am – San Agustin Church
10:00 am – Casa Manila
11:00 am – Silahis Center
12:00 pm – Lunch at Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant
01:00 pm – Light and Sound Museum
02:00 pm – Museo de Intramuros
03:00 pm Bahay Tsinoy
Travel Tips for those Visiting Intramuros
- Don’t wear too many flashy things that attract the eyes or snatchers such as expensive jewelry.
- Always mind your belongings especially when you’re taking photos of the attractions.
- Check for weather updates before exploring the Intramuros location.
- Always allot time allowance for every destination you’re visiting.
- Wear sunscreen!
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Some roads in Intramuros are cobblestone so it might be challenging to walk on high heels.
- Bond with the locals. They are kind!
- Have fun!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Intramuros Tour
Q: Is there an entrance fee in Intramuros?
A: There is no admission fee to enter the Intramuros district, but note that some attractions, such as Fort Santiago and San Agustin, charge a small entrance fee.
Q: Is Intramuros open today?
A: Yes Intramuros is open today. The gates open 24 hours but only authorized persons outside their residence (APOR) and workers will be allowed to access Intramuros during curfew hours (8pm-5am).
Q: Is Intramuros open at night?
A: Intramuros is open at night and in fact, offers a romantic vibe. But note that some attractions are closed from 6pm onwards. Intramuros at night is a sight not to miss!
Q: What are the best places to visit in Intramuros?
A: Intramuros is a beautiful place every traveler must visit. Here are some of the best Intramuros tourist spots to check out:
- Fort Santiago
- Manila Cathedral
- San Agustin Church
- Casa Manila
- Silahis Center
- Baluarte De San Diego
- Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant
- Light and Sound Museum
- Museo de Intramuros
- Bahay Tsinoy
Q: Why should we visit Intramuros?
A: Many travelers never miss Intramuros when in Manila because of its rich history and the amazing preserved areas that were affected by World war II.
Q: What is the Walled City in the Philippines?
A: Intramuros. The Intramuros Manila description is “The Walled City”
Q: What is the LRT station near Intramuros?
A: The LRT station near Intramuros is Central Terminal Station. From there, it’s just a five-minute walk to the walled city Philippines. Start discovering the best Intramuros tourist spot.
Q: What does Intramuros mean?
A: Intramuros Manila history dates back hundreds of years ago but for starters, you just have to know the Intramuros meaning which is “within walls” that’s why it’s called the Walled City.
Q: How much is the Kalesa ride in Intramuros?
A: A Kalesa ride in Intramuros costs around PHP 350 to PHP 500 for 30 minutes. The trip will take you to a number of historical landmarks in the former seat of government of colonial Philippines, including Baluarte de San Diego, Plaza Mexico, and Puerto Real. A walking tour is also a great way to see what Intramuros is offering you.
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