Tagaytay is located south of the city of Manila on Luzon Island in the Philippines. It is only an hour drive from the capital, making it a top-rated destination for locals to escape the bustling metropolis. If you’re travelling to the city and have a few days to fill in, you might want to consider this often-missed destination!
Tagaytay offers you plenty of wonderful cafes and restaurants, traditional food from the roadside, the impressive Ta’al Volcano, great budget hostel accommodation, and plenty of activities to see and do. This region is slightly cooler in temperature than the city due to being at a higher elevation (around 600 m), so you can happily wander the streets and explore.
Tagaytay is most crowded over the weekend thanks to being a favourite road trip location, so try and get there during the week if you have the chance. You’ll find plenty of scenic viewing points, new malls, trending coffee spots, and cultural sites to enjoy.
Best Places to Stay in Tagaytay
Tagaytay offers travellers a variety of options when it comes to finding accommodation, though it is easy to see that apartments are the most common. There are still a few great backpackers hostels in the city offering affordable rooms with all the necessary inclusions. Close to the city centre, you can find lovely bed and breakfast options without spending too much money. Every style of traveller is taken care of here: you can find rooms suited to solo travellers, couples, and families. Here are three awesome and affordable places to stay when visiting Tagaytay:
The Country Living Hostel provides guests with a choice of private rooms, family-style rooms, and dorm rooms, with the use of a shared kitchen, luggage storage, and free WiFi. Located just 1.3 km from the city centre, this hostel is one of the best options for travellers to Tagaytay. The hostel offers 24-hour security, daily housekeeping, cable TV, and air-conditioning, all at an affordable price.
Offering private rooms and dorms, the Mountain Breeze Hostel is a great choice thanks to the central location! Everything you need is within walking distance, such as the mall, restaurants, bars, and the main business district. There is a 24-hour front desk, and the staff are willing to help guests with tourist attraction bookings and organising onward travel. There is free WiFi, BBQ facilities, an outdoor area, and a shared kitchen.
This unique property is a wonderful option if you are looking for something a little special that is still within budget. The Jacobs Hill B&B provides a comfortable and peaceful stay in your choice of budget, standard, superior, or deluxe rooms. Each room includes air-conditioning, free WiFi, hot showers in your private bathroom, and additional luxuries such as complimentary toiletries and cable TV. Your stay at Jacobs Hill includes an excellent breakfast, so you can enjoy your morning outside on the terrace before a day of exploring!
These are the BEST Places to Visit in Tagaytay!
#1 – Taal Volcano and Lake
Why it’s awesome: This is the second most active volcano in the Philippines! It has a vast crater and plenty of scenic spots to view its beauty. The crazy part of Taal is that it is actually a volcano on a lake that also has a lake inside of it – you might just have to see it to believe it! If it’s considered safe to do so, you can hike the volcano hills, which takes around one hour. Take a boat from Talisay Bay to the base of the area, which has a path to walk to the top. If you’re up for an adventure, this is a great Tagaytay activity.
What to do there: Get your hiking boots on and go for a walk! Depending on your fitness level (and how many photos you stop to take), it’ll take you from 30 to 60 minutes to complete the hike around the island. The views will be totally worth it!
A few things worth noting. Pack water! It is hot and dusty on the walking path. There are horses that are used to take tourists to the top of the mountain for an additional fee, so at times, this area doesn’t smell great. For the sake of the horses, walking is encouraged. If you want to sit back and relax, the volcano can be viewed at a distance over coffee in a cafe.
#2 – Picnic Grove
Why it’s awesome: Picnic Grove is one of the places you can go to get a great view of the volcano; it is a very popular attraction for visitors in Tagaytay. Picnic Grove is also called the People’s Park in the Sky, as it is the highest point in the city with breathtaking views!
What to do there: At Picnic Grove, you can find an eco-walking trail, a zip-line, a restaurant, plenty of parks and spaces to play, and areas to have a picnic lunch. Or just relax in one of the huts and take in the view. This area is also popular for horseback riding, though there are mixed reviews about the welfare of the horses.
If you’re looking for a way to have fun and fill in the day, Picnic Grove has you covered. Taking public transport is possible. From the city, you can ride the bus to the closest stop then hire a tricycle to the entrance. Aim to visit in the dry season when the view over the highlands is clearest.
#3 – Museo Orlina
Why it’s awesome: Filled with art exhibitions and galleries showcasing art and culture in the heart of Tagaytay, the Museo Orlina is a must-see for lovers of glass sculptures. This is the place where the famous Ramon Orlina showcases his internationally acclaimed work.
What to do there: View the stunning glass artwork across four levels by Ramon Orlina; check out the current art showcases at the time (check the website for regular updates), and see if there’s a special event or festival on while you’re in the city. There are coffee and souvenir shops on-site too!
#4 – Our Lady of Manaoag Chapel
Why it’s awesome: Featuring a 50-foot tall statue of Mother Mary, this beautiful Catholic Church is a place of prayer and worship. Some people come for religious events, and others to witness the local people’s devotion to their faith.
What to do there: Many visitors wander past to see the statue, take a photo, or simply gaze at this unique chapel for themselves. Dating back to the 17th century, it was brought over to the Philippines from Spain. Other tourists may choose to attend Mass or other religious events that take place at the church. There is a small flea market next door where you can do a spot of shopping.
#5 – Cultural Show & Buffet Lunch
Why it’s awesome: The Cafe Veranda is located within the Hotel Taal Vista. It offers guests the opportunity to see a traditional dance show while enjoying a wonderful buffet lunch. You can choose to visit for dinner instead; you will have a 4-course meal and watch a show in the evening.
What to do there: Book a seat at Cafe Veranda for lunch or dinner and watch the cultural show. The show is considered to be a ‘must-see’ when visiting Tagaytay, and the restaurant serves a traditional Filipino lunch and dinner.
#6 – Sky Ranch
Why it’s awesome: Sky Ranch is an amusement park featuring one of the biggest Ferris Wheels in the country!
What to do there: Hang out and have fun on the rides. The Ferris Wheel ride is called the Sky Eye. It takes you 63m above the ground for a great view over the city and the Taal Volcano. Each of the 32 air-conditioned gondolas can carry 3-4 passengers for 10 minutes of viewing time. There’s also an open-seat gondola swing called the Super Viking, and a Sky Cruiser. The park has a zip-line and a roller coaster, plus a giant drop, making sure all levels of ‘thrills’ are catered for. You can dine at the restaurants and shop in the gift store.
#7 – The Flower Farm
Why it’s awesome: A simple yet enjoyable trip to the Flower Farm might be just what you need to snap some new Instagram-worthy photos or escape the exhaustion of city living. This farm was started in Tagaytay in 1984 and is now the largest flower supplier to the flower market in Manila.
What to do there: With over 7 hectares of land and 15 different greenhouses, you can be sure to see some amazing varieties of flowers. Some of the species here are totally unique to this area, and the farm is well-known as being the original place to produce cut flowers for the industry.
Please note: As this is a wholesale farm and not a store, you’ll need to arrange a visit by filling in a form on their website. Additionally, you may be able to enquire with your hostel about a tour of the farm.
Quick Note – Staying Safe in Tagaytay
Natural Disasters: Ta’al Volcano has experienced recent unrest this year (January 2020), and the city has suffered from ash-fall from the active volcano. It is important to monitor the ongoing activity of the volcano if you are planning to travel to Tagaytay. Be sure to only go on a guided tour to the volcano with a registered guide. Check that their ID that is registered with the Philippine Tourist Board.
Theft: Although Tagaytay is not as populated as Manila, it’s still important to be careful of your personal belongings wherever you are and be mindful of pickpocketing.
If you are a backpacker, you are probably aware of how blending in and minimising expensive items such as jewellery can help you draw less attention to yourself. It’s a good idea to carry a copy of your passport at all times, just in case!
Food: Trying traditional cuisine is one of the best parts of travelling. Use common sense when it comes to food safety: avoid drinking tap water, purchase from stalls that make the food fresh to order, eat well-cooked food – especially meat and seafood, and aim to eat at a place that is bustling with customers.
Why it’s awesome: The peak season for Tagaytay is March-May. Tourists visit during this time to avoid the rainy weather from June-October. The locals tend to visit this city often in the summer months to escape the heat of Metro Manila. Tagaytay is awesome for this reason alone: it is cooler in climate and surrounded by natural beauty that anyone from the city will be craving from time to time. It is considered a good choice for anyone who wants a relaxing getaway!
What to do there: You won’t be disappointed with the choice of activities, and you shouldn’t run out of things to do over a few days in this city. The most popular tourist attraction is the Ta’al Volcano and Lake. The local food scene here is also thriving, so you must try some of the traditional dishes such as Buko Pie or Tarts (also called Coconut Pie) and the locally farmed pineapples! In Tagaytay, the pineapple farms are abundant, making the fruit some of the sweetest and juiciest in the region.
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#8 – Enjoy a Coffee Break
Why it’s awesome: One of the main reasons people travel out of Manila for a road trip is to enjoy some of the best cafes in Tagaytay in the cooler weather with a hot coffee. Every backpacker knows the importance of a nice cafe break with good food, and, of course, WiFi. Check out some of the best spots to enjoy a locally brewed cup of coffee or tea.
What to do there: Check out these popular coffee shops and cafes for you to visit during your time in Tagaytay. As this area is commonly used for a weekend escape or a day trip out of the city, you’ll find plenty of people relaxing over a cup of local coffee with a good book or new friends!
Bag of Beans: Popular for their all-day breakfast and local coffee, Bag of Beans has multiple locations in Tagaytay, with the main cafe located in the central part of the city. Bag of Beans has been running for over 18 years and is considered by many to be somewhat of a tourist attraction. The cafe features beautiful, cosy decor and garden areas for you to enjoy. The menu includes pancakes, Filipino specialities such as the Beef Steak Tagalog and Lechon Kawali, plus a wide variety of desserts! The main cafe is so popular it also hosts large scale corporate events. Bag of Beans is a definite must-see coffee spot when you visit this city!
Dreamland Arts & Craft Cafe: A quirky, artistic cafe selling all kinds of souvenirs and artsy gifts like dreamcatchers and tattoo stickers, this charming place is located in the San Jose area. They serve up a bunch of healthy meal options, including fresh salads and combo meal deals, as well as coffee, smoothies, frappes, and more!
Filibeans: This wonderfully ‘Filipino Themed’ cafe is a charming place for coffee and sweet treats. Their house coffee is made with local beans called Pinoy beans, which come from the regions of Cordillera and Maragusan.
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Summarising the best places to see in Tagaytay
So that’s Tagaytay! It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in the colder climate of the highlands. If you have a day or two and want to take a break from city life in Manila, take a short road trip out to Tagaytay and experience all it has to offer, including some of our must-see tourist attractions.