5 Things to Do in Bernal in one day

In continuation of a series of articles about small magical towns (villages) in Mexico – a review of the village of Bernal (full name San Sebastián Bernal) not far from the city of Queretaro.

Bernal is a colonial village in the Mexican state of Queretaro, founded in 1642 by several families of Spanish soldiers, including Alonso Cabrero. Bernal’s population is just under 3,000. In September 2006, the Secretariat of Tourism of Mexico officially designated this village as “magical” (Pueblo Mágico).

We came to Bernal for a day from the state capital, Queretaro, which I will tell you about later. Bernal is fascinating as soon as you approach it and see the famous Peña de Bernal monolith rock against the bright blue sky from the bus window.

At the entrance to the town, the ever-hungry tourists are offered boiled corn. I could sing odes to Mexican corn – it’s so delicious. For those who like it “hotter” there is chili corn. I tried it once and thought I would never be able to put out the fire in my throat.

But back to the trip. As with many small towns, all of Bernal’s major attractions are concentrated in the center.

Basically, to visit this town, if you are not coming for festivals or national holidays, in my opinion, one day is enough.

The greatest impression on me personally were the Cathedral of St. Sebastian and, oddly enough, the devil with wings like an angel who stood in the square behind a tree. And if the cathedral struck me with its beauty, the devil, the size of a human being, scared me a little. He looked, frankly, creepy.

6 places to visit in Bernal first

  • The Church of Saint Sebastian (Templo San Sebastián Mártir) in the central square, built between 1700 and 1725. Its external appearance as well as its interior, full of stained glass, are truly breathtaking. Next to the cathedral there is a small but beautiful park with flowers and palm trees.
  • The Bernal Fortress is an architectural marvel that has been preserved since the 17th century.
  • The Chapel of Mood (Capilla de las Ánimas), which dates back to the XVIII century.
  • The Museo del Cine Nacional Rosalío Solano, located in the central square. The museum, named after the famous cameraman-director of the “Golden Age” of Mexican cinema, has been open since February 2014.
  • Rosalio Solano National Film Museum
    • The Rosalio Solano National Film Museum is open daily, except Mondays
    • Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (break 2 to 3 p.m.)
    • Saturday and Sunday – from 11.00 to 18.00 (without break).
    • Adults: 10 pesos; children: 5 pesos
  • Masked Museum (El Museo de la Máscara). The museum has two collections of masks. The first collection includes masks made of wood by Bernal masters (the oldest of which is from 1987). The second collection is a collection of masks Irma Chávez brought back from her trips around the world: Africa, America, Latin America, Europe, Brazil, New Zealand. Irma has been collecting masks for 40 years (and continues to do so to this day). She donated 923 masks from her personal collection to the museum.
    • Mode of operation of the museum: Every day except Monday.
    • Weekdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (lunch break 2 to 3 p.m.)
    • At weekends – from 11.00 to 18.00.
    • The cost of admission is 10 pesos.

5 things to do in Bernal

  • Try to climb the monolith of volcanic origin – Peña de Bernal, 350 meters high (La Peña de Bernal) – the third largest in the world after Gibraltar and the Brazilian Pan de Azúcar (incidentally, the name of the Brazilian monolith translates as “Sugarbread”). There is a version that Peña de Bernal was formed in the Mesozoic era (during the Jurassic period). Climbing to the top is not difficult, the main thing is to have comfortable shoes. You can come here in March to the 21 th day of the vernal equinox along with thousands of people from around the world to take part in a religious festival with a mystical bias. It is said that here you can “energize” from the monolith. The Festival of the vernal equinox itself is celebrated in Bernal for 3 days: from March 19 to 21.
  • Take a safari around the rock and admire the nature – exotic plants.
  • Walk through the narrow, colorful streets of Bernal; see the houses that have been preserved since the 17th century. The tourist office in Bernal offers 2 walking tours of the town: the first tells the history and geology of the Peña Rock Monolith; the second, the creation and history of the town of Bernal.
  • Taste different varieties of local cheese, wine and even… wine ice cream at the local market La Aurora. Bernal is the heart of the famous Mexican wine and cheese trail. Be sure to try the blackberry cheese bread (“pan de queso con sarsamora”); freshly baked amaranth bread stuffed with guava, coconut and nuts (“pan de amaranto reyeno de guava, coco y nuez”); specially prepared “holy” cactus (“nopales santos”), sweets made of milk and caramelized fruit (“dulce de leche and frutas crystallizadas”).
  • Come here in May for the Feast of the Holy Cross Fiestas de Santa Cruz (May 1-5) and with a merry festive procession climb to the top of Mount Peña to place the cross there.

How to get to San Sebastian Bernal

From Mexico City. From the north bus station (Terminal de Autobuses Central del Norte) take any bus to Ezequiel Bernal. Get off at the last stop and take a bus towards Toliman. Ask the driver to stop at Bernal.

Been to Bernal? Tell us what you liked best in the comments!

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Melnyk Nykolai

Hi! I'm python-developer from the Ukraine. I often fly to different countries for work and also explore different interesting places. Glad you read my post on this site. If you find an error in the text, let me know!

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