Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, boasts a diverse landscape and cultural heritage. From the lush rice paddies and towering mountains to bustling cities and pristine beaches, this northern region offers a mix of natural wonders, historical landmarks, cultural destinations, and commercial hubs. With 8 regions and 697 municipalities, Luzon is a melting pot of sights and experiences that is sure to captivate any traveller.
As you explore this part of the archipelago, you'll discover amazing sunsets, flavourful cuisine, and warm hospitality that feels like home. Whether you're a seasoned adventurer or a first-time visitor, Luzon is the perfect starting point for your travel in the Philippines. To help you make the most of your trip, here are the best tourist spots in Luzon that you simply can't afford to miss.
You can also read: The Ultimate Philippines 10-Day Itineraries
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23 Top Places in Luzon for Travellers
Travelling to different destinations and exploring new places can provide you with a vast array of experiences. Luzon, home to more than a third of the country's population, offers something for everyone, catering to diverse travel needs such as climate, food preferences, and the types of activities one would like to engage in.
Best Tourist Spots in Luzon for Surfers
The Philippines is home to world-class surfing destinations such as Siargao, with its vast seas offering some of the best waves in the world. While much of the surf scene in the country remains relatively undiscovered by international travellers, there are some great spots in Luzon that offer exceptional experiences for surfers. Here are a few top picks to add to your Luzon itinerary.
1. Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora
Sabang Beach in Baler, a charming coastal town in Aurora province, is one of the most accessible and affordable surfing destinations in the Philippines.
With its grey sandy beaches and great swells of waves, it's an ideal spot for surfers looking to catch some waves.
Visitors can easily take a bus from Manila to Baler and then a tricycle to their accommodations in the Sabang Beach area. If you plan to stay overnight, you can book in Bambua Nature Cottages, which offers free parking and a garden.
2. San Juan, La Union
La Union, also known as the surfing capital of the north, is another excellent destination for surfing enthusiasts. If you're seeking a break from your busy schedule and looking for a challenge, San Juan is the perfect place to go. With powerful waves that test your skills, a holiday in this coastal town is sure to leave you feeling exhilarated.
3. Puraran, Baras, Catanduanes
Catanduanes, a secluded island in northwest Luzon, offers an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of commercial tourism and industrialisation.
This hidden gem is quickly becoming a popular destination for surfers looking to ride some of the best waves in the country. While there are limited options for accommodation on the island, JoSurfInn, Puraran Beach offers a beachfront 3-star hotel experience. Alternatively, you can opt for a unique stay at San Miguel River Park (SMRP) Glamping for an unforgettable adventure.
Best Places to Visit in Luzon for History Lovers
There are a variety of historical landmarks in the Philippines that have quite a unique story linked to each other.
4. Intramuros, Manila
Intramuros, known as the old walled city, is a significant town in the Philippines with a rich history that spans hundreds of years. Initially built by the Spaniards as a military stronghold, it served as an entry gate to Manila for three centuries.
Today, Intramuros is a historical site that honours the country's culture and heritage, evident in its architecture, churches, and streets. One of the best ways to learn more about Intramuros is to join the walking tour. Exploring the fascinating ruins and stories within the Fort's walls is a must-see for any visitor to the Philippines. One of the popular activities here is the Intramuros Sunset Tour by bamboo bike.
For the best places to stay, the 5-star Manila Hotel is just 750 yards from the iconic Intramuros and 1,000 yards from Manila Cathedral. Another option is The Bayleaf Intramuros, located within the historic walled city and just a 5-minute walk from SM Manila and 1 mile from Fort Santiago.
5. Corregidor, Bataan
Corregidor is an island fortress situated in the middle of Manila Bay in the Philippines, which was occupied by Japanese forces early in 1941 and was the site of a major battle during World War II.
Best Tourist Spots in Luzon for Culture Enthusiasts
The Philippines has an ancient history and is home to a diverse collection of cultures with a number of provinces, cities, and towns with their own distinct identity.
6. Binondo, Manila
Binondo, the Chinatown of Manila, is a melting pot of Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino cultures. A visit to this vibrant neighbourhood is an excellent way to appreciate the rich heritage of the Philippines. He is highly recommended to take the Manila Food Tour: Chinatown Dimsum Experience, which gives you a chance to try several different local foods.
Historically, Binondo played a defining role in Philippine trade and commerce, and today, it remains a bustling hub of activity where visitors can find bargains on everything from food to clothing.
Binondo is also the heart of traditional Chinese medicine, where visitors can discover a wealth of herbal remedies for almost any ailment.
7. Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifugao
The Banaue Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a testament to the incredible engineering and agricultural ingenuity of the Ifugao people, who created this breathtaking landscape over 2,000 years ago.
A major tourist attraction, the terraces are often described as a 'living cultural landscape of unparalleled beauty.' These awe-inspiring terraces, which have been carved into the mountain slopes, are not only a stunning sight to behold but also a testament to the deep connection between the Ifugao people and the land that sustains them.
A visit to the Banaue Rice Terraces is a must for anyone interested in the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines.
Best tourist spots in Luzon for Nature Lovers
Luzon is a paradise for travellers seeking natural beauty and outdoor adventures. While the island boasts numerous luxurious resorts, it's also home to some of the most stunning landscapes and natural wonders in the Philippines.
8. Mt. Pinatubo, Zambales
Located in the mountainous region of Zambales, Mt. Pinatubo is a popular destination for tourists because of its stunning natural beauty. It offers a perfect backdrop for adventure activities like hiking, volcano boarding, and experiencing its still-active nature.
Once a dormant volcano, it erupted in 1991, and the five-day eruption destroyed large swathes of land and sent ash into the atmosphere. Despite the devastation, the area has now become a natural wonder, attracting visitors from around the world.
9. Vayang Rolling Hills, Batanes
Located in the northern region of the province, this destination boasts breathtaking views of verdant hills and rolling terrains. It is an ideal place for various activities like strolling, bird-watching, taking photos, and hiking.
Best Places in Luzon for Hiking and Camping
Luzon has a diverse topography ranging from high mountains to valleys and bat caves to unexplored forests and limestone cliffs. Luzon is a hiker's and camper's paradise with various destinations accessible by land.
10. Mount Pulag, Benguet
Nestled in the Cordillera mountain range, Mt. Pulag is one of the best hiking destinations in the Philippines, known for its breathtaking scenery and diverse wildlife. At 2,922 meters above sea level, it is the highest peak in the country.
Hikers can enjoy a variety of trails with different levels of difficulty and experience stunning views along the way. For nature lovers, Mt. Pulag is a must-visit destination for its unparalleled beauty and unique biodiversity. You can take the Mt Pulag Private Tour from Manila and watch the sunrise at the summit.
11. Anawangin Cove, Zambales
Anawangin Cove is a hidden gem that has long been cherished by locals for its unspoiled natural beauty and secluded coves and beaches. If you're looking for a camping adventure, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
The serene atmosphere, surrounded by lush mountains and verdant trees, makes it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts seeking to recharge and breathe in the fresh air. Anawangin Cove is the perfect weekend getaway to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the tranquillity of the great outdoors.
Best Destinations in Luzon for Foodies
Food is a crucial aspect of Filipino culture, and Luzon offers a diverse array of culinary experiences. For first-time visitors to the Philippines, exploring these amazing foodie destinations is a must.
12. Binondo, Manila
If you're a foodie and looking for an authentic Chinese food experience, Binondo in Manila is the place to go. From coffee shops to shopping malls and street stalls, there's something for everyone.
You should try out their famous dishes like dumplings, dim sum, congee, hopia, tofu, xiao long bao, siopao, tikoy, lumpia, noodle soup, mooncakes, fried rice, frog legs, Chinese deli, and many others. With its vibrant food scene, Binondo is a must-visit destination for any food lover travelling to Luzon.
13. Batangas City, Batangas
Batangas is also a food lover's paradise where you can indulge in some of the best Filipino dishes. Fresh seafood is abundant in the province due to its proximity to the waters. Make sure to try fried tawilis, sinaing na tulingan, spicy crabs, chilli shrimp, tinapa, and more.
Meat lovers will also enjoy quality meat products from the province's agricultural areas. Be sure to try the famous bulalo, a beef shank soup that is a Batangas signature dish. And if you're looking for more local favourites, don't miss out on the lomi, goto, tapa, and kapeng barako.
Best Places in Luzon for Shopping
Shopping is a beloved pastime in the Philippines, and Luzon is no exception. From world-renowned brands to local boutiques, the region is a haven for thoes who enjoy shopping.
Its bustling commercial areas and modern shopping malls offer a wide array of goods and products, making it a shopper's paradise.
14. Mall of Asia, Manila
If you're looking for a shopping and entertainment hub that has it all, then head over to the Mall of Asia in Pasay City. With a vast selection of shops, entertainment options, and restaurants, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Whether you're into fashion, gadgets, or just browsing, this mall is sure to keep you engaged. You can easily reach it via jeepney or taxi, making it a convenient destination for both locals and tourists alike.
15. Taytay Tiangge, Rizal
The Taytay Tiangge is a must-visit destination for bargain hunters looking for affordable and quality finds such as clothes, shoes, bags, toys, accessories, souvenirs, and other novelty items. As a traditional public market, it offers a unique shopping experience with its wide array of offerings that cater to all your needs. So if you're looking for a budget-friendly shopping spree, Taytay Tiangge is definitely the place to be!
Best Places in Luzon for Business Travellers
If you’re travelling for physical meetings, conferences, or other professional reasons, you may want to consider staying in these places in Luzon. These locations have a business-friendly environment, connectivity, and cost-effectiveness.
16. Clark, Pampanga
Located away from Manila, Clark Pampanga is turning into a popular destination for business travellers and tourists alike. It’s home to a major international airport, the Clark International Airport, which is one of the major gateways of Manila, being well connected to various cities of the country and other key international airports.
17. Makati City
The city of Makati is the Philippines' main business district and home to many of the country's richest, most progressive, and most visionary financial institutions and organisations. If you're planning a trip to Metro Manila, you will surely want to include this thriving area in your activities.
Best Tourist Spots in Luzon for Couples
If you’re planning to escape the harsh winter season in your country, then head to these sunny and warm tourist spots in Luzon.
18. Romblon Island
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by heading down to the pristine beaches of Romblon, located in the southern part of the Philippines. Unlike other tourist destinations, Romblon's beaches are unspoiled and less crowded, offering a peaceful retreat for those seeking relaxation. With sugary white sands and crystal-clear waters, you'll surely find the warmth and tranquillity you need in this stunning spot.
Cool and Fresh Destinations in Luzon
Travel can be a great way to escape the heat and find relief from discomfort. If you're looking for cool destinations in the Philippines, there are plenty of places to choose from. Here are some suggestions for places where you can enjoy cooler temperatures and escape the heat.
19. Bagui, Benguet
Baguio, known as the summer capital of the Philippines, is a popular destination for those seeking respite from the heat. Its location, surrounded by natural beauty, and cool, temperate climate make it a must-visit spot.
20. Tagaytay, Cavite
Known as the cool mountain escape from the busy city of Manila, this is one of the places to go to during the summer months. You can enjoy the gorgeous panorama of Taal Volcano while sipping locally brewed coffee. You can treat yourself to a wellness spa and then head to a restaurant for a nice bowl of soup.
Best Destinations for Backpackers and Soulsearchers
Whether you're taking a gap year, or simply deciding to embark on a solo adventure after college, backpacking in Luzon is a great way to see the country. The northern part of Luzon, in particular, offers a rewarding adventure for solo travellers, with its tropical climate, friendly locals, and unique attractions.
21. Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur
Ilocos is a great hotspot for backpackers and solo travellers because you can explore Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur by bus, jeepney, tricycle, or on foot. There are museums, churches, historical landmarks, street food stalls, and cultural sites.
22. Metro Manila
Being the capital of the country, Manila is the home of unique and diverse flavours, vibrant culture and traditions, festive celebrations, and exciting nightlife. Manila is the foodie's heaven with an amazing array of restaurants. It’s a centre for business, culture, and education.
Best Places in Luzon for Family Holidays
The Philippines has emerged as a top choice for family travellers owing to its hospitable and welcoming atmosphere. Luzon, in particular, is a region that boasts a rich cultural tapestry, an array of mouth-watering cuisine, and a plethora of fascinating attractions that are sure to delight your entire family.
23. Subic, Zambales
Subic offers an extensive selection of thrilling activities suitable for families seeking adventure. The area is renowned for its abundance of water sports, including swimming and scuba diving, among others.
Additionally, Subic provides excellent opportunities for hiking and snorkelling. However, what truly sets Subic apart is its rich historical significance. Visitors are often drawn to this location to learn more about its intriguing place in Filipino history.