15 Best Tourist Spots in the Philippines: Beaches, Diving Spots, Rivers, Waterfalls, Historic Sites
- 15. Calle Crisologo, Vigan
- 14. Nacpan Beach, El Nido
- 13. Tubbataha Reef, Palawan
- 12. Mayon Volcano, Albay, Bicol
- 11. Intramuros and Fort Santiago, Manila
- 10. Taal Volcano and Lake, Tagaytay, and Batangas
- 9. Kawasan Falls, Cebu
- 8. Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan
- 7. Rizal Park, Manila
- 6. Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifugao
- 5. Cebu’s Beaches and Diving Spots
- 4. Cloud 9, Siargao
- 3. Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan
- 2. Chocolate Hills, Bohol
- 1. White Beach, Boracay
If tropical islands, beautiful landscapes, and unending adventure are in your bucket list for a holiday trip, then you have found a gem of a destination with the Philippines.
The Philippines has over 7,000 islands and is the perfect getaway to experience a mix of nature, culture, and fun. The geographical features of the Philippines ensure that there are natural attractions wherever you go. Whether you're headed to Luzon tourist spots, Visayas tourist spots, or Mindanao tourist spots, expect beautiful sights, unique attractions, friendly locals, and memorable experiences.
The best beaches in the Philippines, idyllic islands in turquoise waters, the world’s most perfect cone volcano, the smallest primate, world-class surfing spots, and centuries-old Spanish fortresses—these are but some of the attractions awaiting you on your Philippine holiday.
- Explore a wide selection of island hopping in the Philippines and other tours in the Philippines for your trip
- Read our guide on getting around the Philippines
- See the requirements to rent a car in the Philippines
- Read our article on the best golf courses in the Philippines
With all the destinations and experiences the Philippines offers, creating an itinerary may be daunting, especially for first-time visitors. To help out, we have listed down the best places to visit in the Philippines.
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Read on to find out which top tourist destinations in the Philippines you should not miss on this trip of a lifetime!
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15. Calle Crisologo, Vigan
Travel back in time as you stroll along the streets of Calle Crisologo in Vigan as part of your Ilocos itinerary. This 16th-century town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist spot in the Philippines, quietly boasts old-world charm and Spanish colonial architecture and is the top attraction in Vigan, Ilocos tours and one of the top historical landmarks in the Philippines.
The town famous for its Calle Crisologo tour has successfully managed to preserve the historic district where you can still find calesas (horse-drawn carriages). Sample the famous and delicious Ilocos empanada, and walk along cobbled streets lined up with souvenir shops selling pottery and Abel Iloko weaves, among the many things to see and do when in Vigan.
- Check out our list of the best hotels in Vigan and the top Vigan tours
- See destinations for solo travel in the Philippines
The best time to visit for Calle Crisologo tours is during the first week of May when the town celebrates the Vigan Festival of the Arts, one of the festivals in the Philippines.
See our popular Ilocos Vacation Packages
14. Nacpan Beach, El Nido
El Nido in Palawan is most famous for its paradise-like islands and lagoons, but a 45-minute ride away through a land tour from its main town takes you to another idyllic destination: Nacpan Beach.
Island hopping escapades in El Nido including a visit to El Nido Big Lagoon and other top Palawan beaches should not be missed. But after a jam-packed day of visiting coves, white-sand beaches in El Nido, limestone cliffs, and other El Nido Palawan tourist spots a trip to relaxing Nacpan Beach is highly recommended and deserves a spot in your itinerary.
- Browse our list of the best hotels and resorts in El Nido, El Nido tour packages, and El Nido island hopping tours
The main attraction is its 4-kilometer shoreline with golden sand and endless palm trees lining up, perfect for just bumming around. Calitang Beach sits on the other side, and the two beaches form what is now popularly known as the Twin Beaches of El Nido.
Visitors are not advised to swim far away from shore in Nacpan as currents tend to become strong and rough with little warning.
If you're looking for budget-friendly accommodations in El Nido, check out our collection of El Nido hostels.
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13. Tubbataha Reef, Palawan
Tubbataha Reef is regarded as one of the top diving spots in the Philippines, and perhaps, the world. Located at the heart of the Sulu Sea, it is considered a center of marine biodiversity and a haven not just for divers but marine conservationists as well. The only way to get to this marine sanctuary is through a liveaboard vessel from Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
The access may be challenging, but it is probably what is keeping the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park teeming with some of the most unique underwater life in the world. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was nominated as part of the “New Seven Wonders of the Natural World.”
- Check out our guide to diving in Tubbataha Reef
Among the species that call Tubbataha home include reef sharks, manta rays, Napoleon wrasses, and more than half of all the world's coral species. One of its islets is also a breeding site for birds and marine turtles.
Tubbataha reef diving requires months or even years of planning, but experiencing the staggering wealth underneath is more than worth it.
See our popular Diving Packages & Resorts in the Philippines
12. Mayon Volcano, Albay, Bicol
As soon as your flight lands at the airport in Bicol International Airport of Albay province, the world’s most perfect volcanic cone, and the most active volcano in the Philippines, greets you with its majesty. Mayon Volcano is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Philippines and is a top attraction in any Bicol tour.
Its sheer beauty (the name Mayon comes from the Bicolano word ‘magayon,’ which means beautiful) hides a violent core, with past eruptions that flattened several towns.
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One of the top natural landmarks in the Philippines and one of the most-visited tourist spots in Albay, it is already a wonderful experience seeing the volcano from afar. But if you are an adrenaline junkie, you can soak up all its beauty while gliding through a zipline in Lignon Hill or going on a Mayon Volcano tour via a Mayon ATV ride in Bicol. Visit the Cagsawa Ruins for another unique and historic viewing point of the Mayon Volcano.
As a bonus, from Legazpi, you can take a side trip to Donsol, where you can see whale sharks peacefully basking in their natural habitat.
See our popular Albay Vacation Packages
11. Intramuros and Fort Santiago, Manila
Take a stroll through history lane within the walled city of Intramuros in Manila, one of the top landmarks in the Philippines. This 64-hectare Spanish fortress was erected by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and was destroyed by the end of World War II.
However, the ruins remain very alive today and are some of the top Instagrammable places in Manila. The area can be explored via Intramuros tours or a Manila bike tour. The area has become home to several universities and establishments. Here, you can find centuries-old churches which are architectural landmarks in the Philippines, and historical places in Manila like the grand Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church, the oldest church in the Philippines, making the area a great place for a Philippines staycation.
- Book Manila hotels or serviced apartments in Metro Manila for your trip
- Read our article on the best buffets in Manila
Another Intramuros attraction is Fort Santiago, a citadel that served as headquarters for armies and foreign powers. It is a historically significant site where the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was imprisoned before his execution.
You can learn more about its history when you go on trips to Fort Santiago. You can also go on a guided bamboo bike tour or ride a horse-drawn carriage to explore Intramuros' historic walls.
Cap off your trip with a meal or drink at some of the finest Filipino restaurants inside Intramuros. One popular establishment is Barbara’s, where you can enjoy traditional Filipino cuisine buffet-style while being treated to a cultural show.
See our popular Manila Vacation Packages
10. Taal Volcano and Lake, Tagaytay, and Batangas
Locals and foreign visitors from Manila often take a quick escape from the megacity and make their way down south to Tagaytay, a relaxing town famous for its cool weather, magnificent views, and many tourist spots popular for being one of the best kid-friendly places near Manila.
The best Tagaytay hotels view faces Taal Volcano, one of the world’s smallest active volcano and beautiful landmarks in the Philippines. The volcano sits on an island within a lake within an island.
Since hikes to the crater are no longer allowed, it's best enjoyed in Tagaytay restaurants, Tagaytay cafes, or Tagaytay hotels with a view of Taal. While in Tagaytay and Batangas, heat up your trip with a delectable bowl of Bulalo, a clear broth with beef shanks, bone marrow, and corn swimming in all its savory glory.
- Check out our list of the best Tagaytay hotels with Taal Volcano views
- Book a Tagaytay City tour from Manila
- Check out our list of the best farm resorts near Manila, best beach resorts near Manila, and top affordable resorts near Manila
- Browse our list of resorts in Batangas
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9. Kawasan Falls, Cebu
If you like jumping into or swimming in cool cascading waters, Kawasan Falls in Cebu hits the sweet spot. It is a multi-layered waterfall in the town of Badian and is best known for its turquoise waters.
With a height of 40 meters, the first cascade, or level, is where most visitors stay, swim, and enjoy a natural water massage on board a bamboo raft. A 10-minute trek takes you up to the quieter second cascade.
- Find and book the best Cebu hotels from our collection
- Check out other top Cebu tours you can try on your next visit
Kawasan Falls is also the endpoint of the popular adventure activity, the Kawasan Falls canyoneering tour package. This tour starts in Kanlaob River in the town of Alegria, where you make your way to Kawasan, swimming along streams, rappelling through natural rock walls, and finally jumping off mini-waterfalls.
Nearby is the town of Moalboal, famous for its sardine run experience, where you swim with millions of sardines just offshore.
See our popular Cebu Vacation Packages
8. Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan
Undoubtedly one of the most photographed and iconic destinations in the Philippines is Kayangan Lake in Coron, Palawan. Going on a Kayangan Lake Coron tour will allow you to see its lagoon that is a dreamy mix of blues and greens glistening on a bright, sunny day. It should definitely be on your Coron Palawan itinerary.
- Check out our Coron tour packages and other things to see and do in Coron
- Read our guide on diving in Coron
- Browse our list of the best hotels and resorts in Coron
Kayangan Lake tours will take you to the jagged limestone cliffs and islets surrounding the lake. All these add up to a dramatic landscape, best seen from a 10-minute climb up a hill. Curiously, this view is not of the actual Kayangan Lake but the area where the tour boats park, but it is still breathtaking nonetheless.
As spectacular as the views are above ground, the real gem is hidden underneath the lake’s glass-like waters. Rock formations and schools of fish abound, making the area a favorite snorkeling and free-diving spot for visitors and one of the most popular Coron Palawan tourist spots.
The island destination is also famous for island-hopping in Coron and Coron wreck diving, among many other must-try Coron tours. It's also a romantic destination and is a popular location for vacation packages for couples.
See our popular Coron Vacation Packages
7. Rizal Park, Manila
Many travelers skip Manila and make their way to the Philippines' other islands but a day or two in the country’s capital to go on Manila tours is still highly recommended, especially for those looking for the best places in the Philippines for a family vacation.
The hustle and bustle aside, Manila features a lot of tourist spots of historical landmarks in the Philippines. One of which is the Rizal Park, or more commonly known as Luneta.
- Check out our list of the best private resorts near Manila
This 60-hectare urban park is where you will see the Rizal Monument, marking the execution site of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Manila Bay’s breeze keeps the Philippine flag waving from a 46-meter flagpole fronting his monument.
The park also features manicured gardens, ponds, and a wide water fountain that lights up and dances to Filipino tunes by sunset. The park area is also home to a network of National Museums that you can visit.
- Find local flights to Manila
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6. Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifugao
Hand-chiseled some 2000 years ago, the Banaue Rice Terraces in Banaue of Ifugao, North Luzon, is a remarkable destination and is truly one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines and regarded as one of the Philippines' iconic landmarks.
Sit in a colorful jeepney as it cruises along winding roads in Banaue, and views of dramatic mud-walled rice terraces leave you in awe.
The Ifugao people were highly skilled in carving both wood and mountainsides. The Banaue Rice Terraces is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It offers spectacular views of emerald hues during the rice-growing seasons of April-May and October-November.
- Check out our list of things to do in Baguio and our Baguio tour packages
Banaue and its many natural attractions may pack a lot of tourists so you can make your way further to quieter Batad Rice Terraces and take a quick dip at its mighty Tappiya waterfalls. You can also explore nearby Baguio City or pick fresh strawberries in La Trinidad, Benguet. Check out Baguio hotels that you can book for your trip.
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5. Cebu’s Beaches and Diving Spots
Cebu has been recently awarded as part of UNESCO’s Network of Creative Cities, but its main treasure lies deep down. The island draws over two million foreign travelers every year, greeted by rich waters teeming with abundant marine life. There are also many Cebu hotels that you can book for your trip that can cater to any budget.
Diving in Cebu is also a great experience as the island boasts many beautiful Cebu diving spots in the entire country and even the world, featuring underwater caves, shallow shipwrecks, and marine sanctuaries.
- Browse our list of the best beachfront resorts in Cebu and the top Cebu tourist spots
- Check out our Cebu tour packages with airfare and our Mactan Island tours
- Explore other islands in the Visayas region. Check out our Bacolod Iloilo Guimaras itinerary.
- Check out other Cebu tours that you can add to your itinerary.
Cebu island hopping tours are popular, thanks to the beaches of Cebu, Mactan, Camotes, and Bantayan Island. Moalboal island hopping tours are also available for those who want to explore more of Cebu. Off the northernmost tip of Cebu, tiny Malapascua Island packs many surprises, including diving with thresher sharks. Apart from diving in Malapascua, you can also go on a sardine run tour.
4. Cloud 9, Siargao
Siargao’s rise as a top tourist destination in the Philippines is nothing short of meteoric. Once a sleepy island in Surigao del Norte, it has become one of the favorite destinations and playgrounds for travelers, and it is primarily because of one activity: surfing.
It is now known as the Philippines' surfing capital, and some even regard it as the surfing mecca of Asia.
- Check out our Siargao private tours
- Read our article on the best resorts in Siargao
- Aside from surfing, check out other rainy season activities in the Philippines
Surfers are drawn to Cloud 9, the most famous surfing spot in the entire country and a must in any visitor's Siargao itinerary. From November until April, all is well with Cloud 9’s thick tubes, making it a perfect place to get stoked (note: it is recommended for advanced surfers only).
But you do not need to go surfing in Siargao to enjoy this island destination as there are also other Siargao tourist spots to visit like rock pools, waterfalls, and the nearby Sohoton Lagoon, where you can swim with thousands of non-sting jellyfish. You can go island hopping in Siargao to visit some of its natural attractions including Sugba Lagoon, Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island.
Find other Siargao experiences and Siargao tour packages that you can add to your travel plans.
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3. Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan
The gateway to the Philippines’ Last Frontier, Palawan, is its capital Puerto Princesa. It is here that you can find the world’s longest navigable underground river and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Puerto Princesa Underground River or the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. To explore this world-famous attraction and one of the best Philippine caves, book a Puerto Princesa underground river tour.
Paddleboats of the Puerto Princesa underground river tours cruise through scenic limestone cliffs as they makes their way through the 1.5-kilometer underground river cave.
- Find the best Puerto Princesa hotels for your trip
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- Check out other Puerto Princesa activities that you can do aside from cruising in the underground river.
- Read our article on Port Barton resorts
The park is also teeming with wildlife like crab-eating monkeys, monitor lizards, and bats. Island hopping escapades in Honda Bay and a visit to the Crocodile Farm are also highly recommended among the many things to do in Puerto Princesa.
See our popular Puerto Princesa Tours and Activities
2. Chocolate Hills, Bohol
Included in the UNESCO World Heritage Natural Monuments list, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol are a geomorphic wonder and truly a sight to behold. It is one of the amazing tourist spots in the Philippines to offer a unique landscape, with its 1,268 cone-shaped hills that turn chocolatey brown during the dry season, hence its name.
The limestone hills in this iconic Philippine landmark vary in size but almost look similar in shape and range from 30 to 120 meters in height. It’s a must-add in any itinerary for Bohol trips.
Make your way to the town of Carmen, where the Chocolate Hills Main Viewpoint can be found. You can also see the hills via Bohol countryside tours. Aside from the Chocolate Hills, there is also a treasure chest of natural wonders and other fun things to do in Bohol, including a relaxing Loboc river cruise and exploring Balicasag Island, a popular Bohol diving spot. You can also go on Panglao Island tours, and the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary visits, where you can see the world’s second smallest primate.
- Read our article on the best resorts in Bohol, including Bohol beachfront resorts
- Check out our Bohol tour packages
- Book Panglao resorts in Bohol for your trip
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1. White Beach, Boracay
Long hailed as one of the best white sand beaches in the Philippines and the entire world, Boracay’s claim to fame is its 4-kilometer stretch of pure white, powdery sand called White Beach.
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Cliche as it sounds, White Beach is truly postcard-perfect, with tall coconut trees lined up and crystal-clear calm waters rounding up its unmatched beauty, making it the top attraction in Boracay tours and the best tourist destination in the Philippines. Those who want to indulge during their holiday can also do so as Boracay is home to some of the best 5 star hotels in the Philippines, as well as several honeymoon resorts and some of the best beach resorts in the Philippines. You can also have a workation here.
Its prominence in global publications has drawn in an influx of tourists over the last decades, and there is no shortage of hotels, restaurants, and Boracay bars on the entire island.
As its gorgeous sunsets (the skies turn from mellow pink to fiery red) come to an end, this tiny island comes alive with its busy nightlife, earning a reputation of being a party destination where you can also join pub crawl tours.
- Check out our lists of the best beachfront resorts in Boracay Island and hotels in Boracay for family
- Browse our Boracay tour packages and Malay hotels
- Read our article on the best golf courses in the Philippines including one in Boracay
There are plenty of things to do in Boracay, and you can add other spots to your Boracay itinerary, including Puka Beach and Diniwid Beach, both of which offer a quiet respite and some of the best relaxing vibes during the daytime. Other things you can do in Boracay include White Beach tours and activities like Boracay banana boat riding, Boracay jetskiing, paddleboarding, paraw sailing in Boracay, snorkeling in Boracay, helmet diving in Boracay, and parasailing in Boracay.
See our popular Boracay Tours and Activities
Plan Your Ultimate Escape to the Philippines
It is impossible to visit all the best tourist spots in the Philippines in one go unless you have all the time in the world. But carefully planning out your Philippines itinerary will surely take you to some of the most unforgettable landscapes and fun-filled adventures you will ever see and experience. If you want a pampered experience, book a stay at one of the luxury resorts in the Philippines or the best wellness resorts in the Philippines, or try glamping in the Philippines.
- Find flights to the Philippines:
- Read our guide on airports in the Philippines
Aside from its spectacular views, the Philippines is also home to one of the most hospitable, warm, and free-spirited people you will ever meet. Before you finalize your online trip booking or your Philippines holiday packages, read more of our Philippines travel guides to help you plan the ultimate escape and learn the reasons why you should visit the Philippines.
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