#1 Best Travel Guide To Vigan [2024]

Travel Guide To Vigan

Looking for a travel guide to Vigan? I got you!

As a Filipino travel writer with an insatiable case of wanderlust, I’m constantly exploring hidden gems within my own beautiful country that I can share with fellow adventurers. Recently, while researching lesser-known spots beyond the usual vacation spots, I uncovered the captivating town of Vigan, officially titled the “Heritage City” by numerous travel organizations.

Vigan? Many visitors may not have heard of this under-the-radar destination in Ilocos Sur province. But as soon as you see photos of its romantic, Old World-feel cobblestone streets lined with Spanish colonial houses in shades of yellow, green, and red, you’ll be intrigued. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for good reason, this exceptionally well-preserved settlement transports you back in time to the 16th century.

If you have an appetite for adventure like I do, then immerse yourself in my #1 Travel Guide To Vigan – your key to unlocking the wonders of this mesmerizing town! Let a local like me show you the hidden charms that tourists often miss but make Vigan so unforgettable. I’ll also share some easy words in the Tagalog language to help you out!

Calle Crisologo - travel to vigan

Travel Guide To Vigan For Foreigners

For those unfamiliar, Vigan is located in the northern Philippines on Luzon island in the Ilocos Sur province. Specifically, it sits on the west coast of Luzon along the South China Sea, about 408 kilometers or 6-7 hours by bus northwest of the capital Manila.

Thanks to its strategic seaside setting, Vigan became an important trading outpost between China and Spain during the colonial era. And luckily for us travelers today, it remains wonderfully preserved as the country’s top heritage city.

How To Go To Vigan City

As a frequent traveler within the Philippines, I get asked all the time by foreign friends about the best way to reach those Instagram-famous destinations like Vigan City. And honestly, this is indeed a good thing to ask. After all, its location can stump new travelers on logistics! To help you out, simply choose between these modes: Bus, Private Car, and Flight.

By Bus

Buses offer the cheapest and most common way to reach Vigan from Manila or other parts of Luzon. Take an overnight ride from Manila for only ₱800-1000 to save time and money. Premium buses like Partas have WiFi and bathrooms, while budget lines like Dominion get you there just the same.

By Private Car

Hire a private van tour for door-to-door service from Manila, Clark Airport, or other pickup points in Luzon. More expensive than buses but ideal if you have a group or want a customized experience. Vans drives directly to Vigan in just under 10 hours.

By Flight

Fly from Manila to Laoag Airport in 2 hours, then transfer to a Vigan-bound bus for the quickest trip. You can also route through Manila from other islands first. Flights are the priciest but most time-efficient way to reach Vigan, perfect for short weekend trips.

Bantayan - travel to vigan

Where To Stay In Vigan City

When choosing where to stay in Vigan, it’s critical to consider the neighborhood location that best fits your priorities. You essentially have two options – right in the heart of downtown Vigan City Center, or a bit further out in the neighboring residential barangays.

City Center

I strongly recommend splurging on a hotel right in Vigan City Center, just footsteps from Calle Crisologo and the central plazas. Room rates are higher, but it’s absolutely worth it for the unbeatable location putting you in the middle of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You’ll be surrounded by top attractions like Crisologo Museum, historic architectures like Bantay Bell Tower, plus endless dining and shopping options. Everything is easily walkable, so you don’t need to hassle with transportation.

Neighboring Barangays

To save money, stay in one of the outlying residential barangays instead. Rates get much cheaper the further from downtown you go. While more basic, these inns and transient houses allow you to experience local neighborhoods, too.

Just note locations can be a 15-20 minute trike ride away. You’ll need to budget transportation costs each time you go sightseeing. But a solid budget-friendly option if you don’t mind the commute.

To further help you out, here’s an expense table you can refer to:

Type of AccommodationPrice Range (per night)
Budget HotelsPHP 500 – PHP 1,500
Mid-range HotelsPHP 1,500 – PHP 3,000
Luxury HotelsPHP 3,000 – PHP 6,000
GuesthousesPHP 800 – PHP 2,000
HostelsPHP 300 – PHP 800
ApartmentsPHP 2,000 – PHP 4,000
Bed and BreakfastPHP 1,000 – PHP 2,500

Best Spots In Vigan City Ilocos Sur

So, you’ve made it to gorgeous Vigan City? Cool! Now, I’m pumped to show you around the most captivating attractions. As the country’s top heritage destination, everywhere you look is like stepping back in time.

Revisit History At Calle Crisologo

Take a leisurely stroll down postcard-pretty Calle Crisologo, with its vibrantly painted Spanish colonial houses dating back 300+ years. Wander in and out of charming shops and cafes for the full vintage experience. This cobblestone street is the heartbeat of Vigan!

Attend Mass At Vigan Cathedral

Regardless of your religion, appreciate the towering grandeur of Vigan Cathedral, with its intricate Gothic and Baroque architectural details. Attending Mass allows you to witness this 17th-century landmark.

Visit The Bantay Bell Tower

Climb up this iconic brick bell tower just outside town for sweeping views of Ilocos Sur’s countryside. One of the few original structures left standing after centuries of destruction, it represents Vigan’s resilience.

Watch The Fountain Show At Plaza Salcedo

At night, Plaza Salcedo comes alive with a magical dancing fountain show. Grab street food snacks and mingle with locals while enjoying the lights display perfectly synchronized to music. A perfect nightcap!

Best Souvenirs In Vigan

My favorite part of any trip is the pasalubong concept, or the idea of bringing home unique souvenirs that let me relive the magical memories long after. And Vigan offers endless options for affordable keepsakes to gift friends or keep for yourself. I’ll highlight a few of my top picks for easy shopping.

First up, grab some colorful handwoven blankets, pillows or towels made of cotton inabel fabric. The detailed patterns and quality construction make them so giftable for only ₱250-500. Or snag ladies’ hats and fancy cowboy hats for the gents starting at just ₱100 – so stylish!

For edible treats, you must try Vigan longanisa sausage, famed for its garlicky and spicy zing. At ₱150/pack, they make tasty gifts or road trip snacks on long bus rides back. Don’t forget to sample while you’re visiting too!

And with many talented local artisans in town, I adore the paper mache calesas or miniature metal motorcycle replicas for ₱350+. They look so cool displayed on a shelf to always reminisce about Vigan.

Easy Tagalog Words For Traveling In Vigan

While everyone in tourist areas like Vigan City speaks English, I still encourage visitors to learn a few handy Tagalog phrases. Not only does it show respect for our language, but it often brings smiles and appreciation from locals when they hear you make an effort. And who knows, you might pick up a new Filipino friend or two!

Thank youSalamat
Good morningMagandang umaga
Good nightMagandang gabi
How much?Magkano?
Where is…?Saan ang…?
I’m lostNawawala ako

Learn Tagalog With Ling

I hope this primer gave you the confidence to embrace some basic Tagalog phrases for your upcoming Vigan trip. And I’m sure once you experience how much it means to locals when you make the effort, you’ll be hooked on connecting more!

If you want to take your Tagalog fluency to the next level either before or after your visit, I highly recommend downloading the Ling language learning app.

Created by actual language experts, Ling offers bite-sized lessons and quizzes tailored to travelers’ practical needs. Whether you have 5 minutes waiting for your food or 30 minutes on a long bus ride, you can grow your vocab with over 600 essential phrases at your own pace.

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