A view of Machu Picchu with flowers and greenery in the foreground. Huayna Picchu is visible in the background.

If you’re in search of magical Machu Picchu pictures, you’ve arrived at your destination. Known as one of the most mystical wonders of the world, Machu Picchu means Old Mountain in the local Quechua language. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins are located just four hours from Cusco in the cloud forest of Aguas Calientes, and they are situated at 7,972 ft (2,430 m) above sea level. It is a destination beloved by both tourists and locals alike.

On July 24, 1911, locals brought American historian and explorer, Hiram Bingham, to this ancient wonder. After seeing it’s immense beauty, he brought his findings back to the United States and shared them with the world. Today Machu Picchu is one of the most famous places to visit in the world, earning more than 1.5 million visitors a year. Keep reading to see gorgeous pictures of Machu Picchu. You’ll surely see what makes these ancient ruins in Peru so fascinating.

The Iconic Photos

Nearly everyone has come across a Machu Picchu photo at least once in their lives. Maybe it was with the Machu Picchu sunrise or shot with the late afternoon sun. Regardless of when it was taken, it’s recognized as an iconic view. These photos are both memorable and moving – almost like paintings. Here’s to all the classic Machu Picchu images that still take our breath away.

#1

A dark and moody view of the Machu Picchu ruins on a cloudy day. The Inca terraces are covered in bright green grass and the Hauyna Picchu Mountain looms in the background.
One of the iconic views of Machu Picchu on a dark and cloudy day. Photo by Eduardo Flores on Unsplash

#2

One of the iconic views of Machu Picchu that includes Huayna Picchu, the main ruins, the Guardhouse and the Inca terraces.
One of the iconic views of Machu Picchu that includes Huayna Picchu, the main ruins, the Guardhouse and the Inca terraces

#3

A super-wide angle panoramic view of Machu Picchu. It shows the bright blue sky and shining sun. The ruins and surrounding mountains are lit up.
A sweeping panoramic view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains

#4

A vibrant, colorful view of Machu Picchu at sunset. The main ruins and Huayna Picchu are in view.
One of the iconic views of Machu Picchu at sunset. Photo by Evan Sanchez on Unsplash

The Guardhouse

The Guardhouse is one of the first stops along the route within the ruins. This thatched-roof building housed the soldiers guarding one of the two main entrances to Machu Picchu. 

#5

A vertical photograph of the ruins leading up the Guardhouse in Machu Picchu. The Guardhouse is surrounded by tourists and the mountain above has low cloud cover.
Looking up at the Guardhouse. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

#6

A view looking up at the Guardhouse sitting atop the ruins. Many tourists have their cameras out and are taking photographs. It is a cloud day.
A view of the Guardhouse sitting atop the ruins surrounded by tourists. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

#7

A wide shot of the stone architecture and Inca walls leading up to the Guardhouse. The fog is sitting in the ruins.
The Guardhouse pictured on a foggy day in Machu Picchu. Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

The Main Ruins

The main ruins expand throughout the entirety of the Machu Picchu sanctuary. They include the famous Inca stones that show the sheer beauty of Machu Picchu architecture. Some of the Inca walls tower above the average person, making the structures within the citadel all the more awe-inspiring.

#8

The ruins of Machu Picchu on a bright sunny day. The Inca terraces and Sun Temple are in view.
The main ruins of Machu Picchu including a view of the Sun Temple and Inca terraces. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

#9

A close up of the main ruins and a view of Putucusi mountain on a very cloudy day.
A close-up of the main ruins with Putucusi Mountain in the background. Photo by fife76 on Pixabay

#10

A zoomed-in photo of the main ruins in Machu Picchu. The Inca stonework is visible including the perfect walls and windows.
A view of the main ruins and structures. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

#11

The sun shines on the ruins in Machu Picchu. The sky is a bright blue and the mountains are in shadow.
A sunny view of the main ruins on the side of the mountain. Photo by Jaesung An on Pixabay

#12

A detailed photograph of the Machu Picchu stonework. The stones are very close in view and are perfectly carved to fit together.
A detailed shot of the Machu Picchu stonework. Photo by Blaine McKinney on Unsplash

Huayna Picchu Mountain

Huayna Picchu Mountain is arguably the most popular hike in Machu Picchu. It is also present in the majority of Machu Picchu pictures due to its location behind the main ruins. The Huayna Picchu “Stairs of Death” scare away some people, but the view from Huayna Picchu peak is unparalleled. Make sure to add climbing Huayna Picchu, one of the most famous mountains in Peru, to your bucket list.

#13

A view looking through the main ruins of Huayna Picchu mountain covered in fog. The sun is bright and illuminating the ruins.
A view of Huayna Picchu covered in fog, shot from the main ruins. Photo by Fábio Hanashiro on Unsplash

#14

A view of the famous Huayna Picchu Mountain and the ruins atop it. The main ruins of Machu Picchu are also visible in the lower half of the photo.
Huayna Picchu Mountain photographed from the main ruins. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

#15

The view looking out from Huayna Picchu peak. The surrounding mountains and river below are visible. The weather is partly cloudy.
The view from the Huayna Picchu summit. Photo by Ana Castañeda Cano

#16

Huayna Picchu at sunset. Photo by Sean Thoman on Unsplash

#17

A view of Huayna Picchu on a rainy day. The main ruins of Machu Picchu are visible in the foreground lit up by some sunlight while the mountain is in shadow.
Huayna Picchu photographed on a rainy day in Machu Picchu. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

Machu Picchu Mountain

Machu Picchu Mountain, known as Montaña Machu Picchu in Spanish, is the higher, more difficult of the two hikes. Climbing Machu Picchu Mountain can be quite a challenge, but when you reach the top, you’ll experience the 360° Machu Picchu aerial view with the surrounding mountains and river below. 

#18

The view looking out from Machu Picchu mountain summit on a partly cloudy day. The main ruins look small in the distance and the Urubamba river is winding below.
The view from Machu Picchu Mountain summit. Photo by Lizzie Thomas

#19

A foggy view of the main ruins visible from Machu Picchu Mountain summit. The ruins are lit up by a small few rays of sunlight.
A foggy view of the main ruins from Machu Picchu Mountain. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

#20

A view looking out from the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain. The sun cast a shadow of the mountain on the lower mountains and river below.
The shadow of Machu Picchu Mountain visible from the summit. Photo by tacowitte on Flickr

Putucusi Mountain

Putucusi Mountain, also known as Happy Mountain, is a lesser known hike on an adjacent mountain. This hike puts Huayna Picchu’s stairs of death to shame with its own seven sets of near-vertical ladders. Once you climb them though, the views of Machu Picchu are unlike anything you’ve seen.

#21

A dark and cloudy view of Putucusi seen from Machu Picchu. The clouds are sitting low in the valley.
A view of Putucusi Mountain from Machu Picchu on cloudy day. Photo by Ben Miller on Flickr

#22

People climb the near vertical ladders leading up the summit of Putucusi Mountain. The ladders are built into the mountain.
The near-vertical ladders leading up to the summit of Putucusi Moutnain. Photo by Ben Miller on Flickr

#23

Putucusi Mountain situated adjacent to Machu Picchu. It is lower in elevation, but easily visible from the main ruins.
Putucusi Mountain seen from the main ruins with a view of the Urubamaba river. Photo by Bruce Tuten on Flickr

#24

The view from Putucusi Mountain looking down on the town of Aguas Calientes. The houses and buildings are painted bright colors and the river is visible.
The view looking down from Putucusi Mountain of the town of Aguas Calientes. Photo by Jimmy Harris on Flickr.

Machu Picchu Weather

With two main seasons in Peru – sunny and rainy – the views of Machu Picchu can change significantly. Sometimes the mist and fog hang low in the ruins creating a mysterious and magical experience. Other times, the sun shines bright, illuminating the stonework and history. In all types of weather, Machu Picchu still looks incredible.

#25

A scene of Machu Picchu and the blue sky with sun beams shining down on the ruins. A low hanging bit of fog rests in the ruins.
Machu Picchu shines bright in a shroud of mist and sun. Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

#26

The main ruins are illuminated by the setting sun. A bit of fog rests in the mountains giving the photo a bright but eery look.
A bit of fog lingers as the sun set on Machu Picchu. Photo by Nimmi Solomon on Flickr

#27

The sun sets on Machu Picchu on a perfectly clear day. The ruins are glowing in the golden sunlight.
A stunningly clear day in Machu Picchu. Photo by Leo Gonzales on Flickr

#28

Fog and mist surround the ruins in Machu Picchu on a cloudy day. The ruins stand tall and grey.
Fog and mist surround the ruins in Machu Picchu. Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash

The Inca Bridge

One of the lesser known things to do in Machu Picchu is visit the Inca Bridge. Even though it is prohibited to walk across it due to the extreme narrowness, you can take the short 15-min hike to view this architectural marvel from afar. 

#29

A view of the Inca Bridge built into the cliff face with only stone and some wood. The bridge is closed off to visitors but can be viewed on the short hike from the main ruins.
A view of the Inca Bridge, one of the short hikes you can do within Machu Picchu. Photo by Lizzie Thomas

#30

The hiking trail constructed by the Incas that leads to the Inca Bridge. The stone steps are narrow and directly beside the cliff.
The hike to the Inca bridge. Photo by Lizzie Thomas

The Sun Temple

Of all the Inca temples, the Sun Temple in Machu Picchu is one of the most interesting. Built to worship the sun god Inti, the Sun Temple, or Templo del Sol, is one of many temples in the sanctuary. 

#31

The round, circular Inca stonework found at the Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu. The stones are perfectly cut and shaped to fit together.
The Sun Temple, or Templo del Sol, in the main ruins. Photo by skeeze on Pixabay

#32

A view looking inside the Temple of the Sun. The stones are perfectly placed in a circular pattern to enclose the temple.
A view looking inside the Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu. Photo by Lizzie Thomas

#33

A view looking down on the Sun Temple in Machu Picchu. It is situated in the heart of the ruins.
The Temple of the Sun situated in the heart of Machu Picchu. Photo by Dragisa Braunovic on Unsplash

The Inca Terraces

One of the most interesting facts about Machu Picchu is that the Inca terraces are some of the Incas’ best constructions. Visible on the sides of the sanctuary, they were built to prevent landslides and provide a sustainable watering system. For this reason, these same terraces can be found in many ruins in Peru including the stone ruins in the Sacred Valley.

#34

The descending Inca terraces in Machu Picchu. Each one is built perfectly straight across with stones and leveled. They each have gras growing on them.
The famous Inca terraces built to help prevent landslides and create a practical watering system. Photo by jorgecandia on Pixabay

#35

A view looking at the descending terraces in Machu Picchu. Each one is perfectly built beneath the other with stones and covered in grass.
The intricately-made Inca terraces. Photo by Simon Schwyter on Unsplash

#36

The Inca terraces in Machu Picchu lit up by the afternoon light. Machu Picchu Mountain is visible in the background.
The terraces in Machu Picchu lit by the afternoon light. Photo by derekchng on Pixabay

#37

A bright beam of sunlight shines down on the main ruins of Machu Picchu. The Inca terraces are visible in the background.
The Inca terraces and housing seen through the main ruins. Photo by Backpackerin on Pixabay

The Sun Gate

For those who choose to hike to the Sun Gate, or for those who pass through it on the Inca trail, the views are spectacular. The Sun Gate, known as Inti Punku in the Quechua language, was once the main entrance to Machu Picchu. It is located just 1 hour walking from the main ruins, and it’s a perfect place to take in the views.

#38

The Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu illuminated by the sun. The ruins are surrounded by a rocky path.
The Sun Gate, or Inti Punku, illuminated by the sun. Photo by Alexandra Aguinaga

#39

Stone pillars rise up from the stairs leading up to the Sun Gate. The stones are perfectly fit together.
The stone pillars at the Sun Gate. Photo by Brian Jeffery Beggerly on Flick.

#40

A partly cloudy view from the trail to the Sun Gate. The winding bus route to the main entrance can be seen in the lower half of the photo. The clouds loom over the ruins.
A partly-cloudy view from the trail to the Sun Gate. Photo by Steve Upton on Flickr

#41

A panoramic view of the ruins and Huayna Picchu from the Sun Gate. The sky is partly cloudy.
A panoramic view of the ruins from the Sun Gate. Photo by icelight on Flickr

#42

A detailed view of the Inca stonework at the Sun Gate on a very sunny day. The pillars are almost geometric as they rise from the wall.
The Sun Gate stonework on a sunny day. Photo by bobistraveling on Wikimedia Commons

#43

A zoomed in view of the ruins from the Sun Gate. The Inca terraces and buildings are visible on the bright and sunny day.
The Machu Picchu ruins seen from the Sun Gate. Photo by Mckay Savage on Wikimedia Commons

#44

A clear view of Machu Picchu and Hauyna Picchu at sunset. The mountains are lit up by the golden light.
The view of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu from the Sun Gate at sunset. Photo by Matthew Hay

#45

A view of Huayna Picchu and the main ruins taken halfway to the Sun Gate.
A view of Huayna Picchu and the main ruins taken halfway to the Sun Gate. Photo by bobistraveling on Wikimedia Commons

Machu Picchu Llamas

Saving the best for last, the Machu Picchu llamas are some of the most fun photos to come out of the famous Inca ruins. Whether it’s baby llama pictures or llama selfies, they never cease to warm the heart.

#46

A white llama is grazing on the green grass on a partly cloudy day in Machu Picchu. The llama is directly in front of the ruins in the frame.
A llama grazes on the grass in Machu Picchu. Photo by mlproject on Pixabay

#47

A llama walks around the ruins in an fenced off area. The llama is dark and light colored. The view of Machu Picchu is cloudy but visible.
A multi-colored llama walks around in a Machu Picchu. Photo by Junior Moran on Unsplash.

#48

Tourists take photos with the llamas in Machu Picchu on a very cold and rainy day. The llamas are grazing on the grass in front of the ruins.
Tourists enjoy taking photos with the llamas on a rainy day in Machu Picchu. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

#49

A large brown llama walks through the main ruins in Machu Picchu. Huayna Picchu is visible in the background on a partly cloudy day.
A llama walking through the ruins. Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash.

#50

A tourist smiles while taking a selfie with a llama in Machu Picchu. The group of tourists around him are also taking pictures and enjoying the scenery.
A tourist takes a selfie with a llama. Photo by Daniella Beccaria

Now, See it for Yourself

Why is Machu Picchu so special? These Machu Picchu pictures pay homage to one of the most interesting ancient ruins of the world. It is a top destination for travelers seeking history, beauty and mystery. A place where history can be seen and experienced almost exactly as it was.

If you’re planning on visiting Machu Picchu, connect with one of our travel experts to customize your trip and create the best Machu Picchu experience. 

Share: