New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque, is well located at around the centre of the state, atop a beautiful desert plateau, just asking to be seen from a hot air balloon. (There’s an annual, and very spectacular hot air balloon fiesta every Autumn). Albuquerque feels like a desert crossroads too, the locals are ready to recommend highlights and share their city’s history, and there’s a lot of activity huddled together in the Old Town. This is also one of the best places to stay in Albuquerque if you’re here to experience the city, but if you’re here for the ancient landscape, dotted, surprisingly, with evergreen forests, then you might find one of the inns or farmsteads outside of town to be the best options for you.
The mix of Native Americans, students and Hispanics help give Albuquerque its colour, and the local foodie scene so much diversity. Plus it’s right on Route 66, which brings in a lot of visitor and commercial traffic. So it’s busy and well set up for visitors.
Most visitors will want to take a spin on the Scandia Peak Tramway, the world’s longest aerial tram, and a truly magical way to see the city and its surrounds. It runs all the way from the desert floor on the edge of the city to the summit of Scandia Peak, which is about 3 miles.
While you're out and about you might also want to visit the amazing lava field of the Petroglyph National Monument, which is in a large desert park to the west of the Rio Grande. The National Museum of Nuclear Science is another out of town must-see, with its huge outdoor exhibition housing fighter planes, missiles and similar.
In town the highlights include the Indian Pueblo Centre, a collection which is contributed to by New Mexico’s 19 Pueblos, the National Hispanic Cultural Centre, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, which is a huge modern museum with some fantastic dinosaurs, the museums and galleries on the campus of the University of New Mexico and the American Rattlesnake Museum.
Santa Fe, the state capital, is just 60 miles to the north.
Our pick of the best places to stay is a historic farmstead on the outskirts of the city, so ideally placed for both city and country pursuits.
A picturesque and historic farmstead on the outskirts of Albuquerque, offering homey accommodations with a chic but traditional New Mexico look: fireplaces, patterned rugs and fabrics; earthy colours; and carved wood beams. Organic farm-to-table cuisine is a highlight and there's a pool for relaxing