Best Places to Visit in Cebu, Philippines

Top 25 Best Places to Visit in Cebu in 2024

Gearing up for your trip to Cebu, Philippines? We have selected the Top 25 Best Places to Visit in Cebu in 2023 so you know where to go and what to do in Cebu.
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Gearing up for your trip to Cebu, Philippines? CEBU INSIDER has selected the Top 25 Best Places to Visit in Cebu in 2023 so you know where to go and what to do in Cebu.

Cebu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines alongside Boracay, El Nido, Coron, and Siargao. It is not only the richest province in the Philippines by a large margin, but Cebu is also mostly known for its innumerable crystal clear white sand beaches, dozens of coral-blue waterfalls, and outdoor activities unique to Cebu.

South Cebu attractions are mostly beaches, mountains, and waterfalls. Meanwhile, North Cebu tourist spots are mostly islands and white sand beaches. In Metro Cebu, you will see various points of interest too, mostly heritage sites and man-made attractions. So no matter your jam, Cebu never disappoints.

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Top 25 Tourist Attractions in Cebu

From white sand beaches and coral blue waterfalls to theme parks and cultural sites, CEBU INSIDER has chosen the best tourist destinations in Cebu that suit various travelers’ tastes. Here are our Top 25 Best Places to Visit in Cebu:

1. Moalboal

Moalboal is one of the most popular places to go in Cebu for divers. For locals, it is known as a party haven with a very lively nightlife scene.

Even if you are not into diving or partying, Moalboal is a good base if you are looking to explore South Cebu. It has the biggest concentration of foreign travelers down south.

Popular attractions in Moalboal include Basdaku or White Beach, a wide white sand beach where visitors set up tents, and Basdiot or Panagsama Beach, which is known for snorkeling with green sea turtles and millions of sardines.

Pescador Island is also worth visiting, which is just a 20 minutes boat ride away from Panagsama Beach. It is known for its colorful coral reefs and various reef species. Go scuba diving to find hammerhead sharks and white-tip sharks underneath. If you like a private tour that will pick you up from the city or airport, check out Pescador Island Hopping Private Tour!

MOALBOAL GUIDES

Green sea turtle in Panagsama Beach Moalboal - Best Places to Visit in Cebu, Philippines
A green sea turtle food hunting at Panagsama Beach in Moalboal, Cebu

2. Badian

Badian is a nature adventure haven in South Cebu. One of the most visited tourist spots in Badian is Kawasan Falls, the endpoint of all canyoneering adventures (highly recommended!) from the Kanlaob River in Alegria.

If you want to do canyoneering, you can access the entirety of the river and the waterfalls from top to bottom. Canyoneering is only possible with accredited tour guides for safety and logistics reasons. Check out Badian Canyoneering Guided Tour! If you want a private experience around Moalboal and Badian, check out Moalboal Island Hopping and Canyoneering Tour!

Badian Island is also worth visiting which you can access via Badian Island Wellness Resort. If you want to do a little more adventure, Zip Stream Aerial Adventures has the longest dual zipline in Asia. Other top attractions in Badian that locals love are Dapdap Floating Cottages, Badian Highlands, and Kansanto Spring.

Kawasan Falls in Badian - Best Places to Visit in Cebu, Philippines
An aerial view of Kawasan Falls in Badian, Cebu

3. Oslob

Oslob is one of the top places to visit in Cebu if you are looking for unique things to do. Home to 9 gigantic whale sharks, Oslob is famous for its whale shark watching. The town has recorded over 208 whale shark visitors.

The opportunity to swim with whale sharks—the largest shark and fish alive—does not come every day. And there are only a few places in the world that they frequent on a regular basis. If you get to Cebu, grab this rare chance!

Whale sharks are friendly. They won’t bite or eat you, although avoid touching them. If you are looking for a private guided tour from Cebu City or Mactan to Oslob, check out Oslob Whale Shark Watching Tour

Whale Shark in Oslob - Best Places to Visit in Cebu, Philippines
A feeding giant whale shark in Oslob, Cebu

4. Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island is one of the most visited tourist spots in North Cebu when it comes to crystal-clear white sand beaches. Home to many of the best beaches in Cebu, Bantayan Island is the perfect tourist spot in Cebu if you are looking for rest and relaxation.

Nevertheless, there are so many fun outdoor adventures in Bantayan Island that you can try. Including skydiving, kitesurfing, and island hopping. Some of the best beaches in Bantayan Island are Kota Beach, Paradise Beach, Bobel Beach, and Balidbid Lagoon Beach.

BANTAYAN ISLAND GUIDES

kota beach bantayan island
An aerial view of Kota Beach in Bantayan Island, Cebu

5. Sumilon Island

Sumilon Island is one of the best places to visit in Cebu for couples. Whether you are newlyweds, honeymooners, or someone celebrating special milestones, Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort, a 4-star hotel and sole commercial facility in the island, is the perfect accommodation.

Even if you are not a couple, a trip to Sumilon Island should be on your itinerary while you are in Oslob. The island is the first marine protected area in the Philippines. You will enjoy its crystal clear white sand beach and shifting sandbar.

There are a couple of things to do in Sumilon Island. On top of its dive sites and shifting white sandbar, Sumilon Island also features a lagoon, caves, hiking trails, a 19th-century watchtower, and a modern lighthouse. 

Tourists can access the island through the resort’s day pass. Walk-in visitors are also allowed subject to availability. Booked guests are the priority. If you want to ensure your visit to Sumilon Island, get the Bluewater Sumilon Day Pass!

Sumilon Island in Oslob - Best Places to Visit in Cebu, Philippines
The shifting sandbar of Sumilon Island in Oslob, Cebu

6. Virgin Island

If Bantayan Island is in your North Cebu itinerary, so should Virgin Island. Also known as Sillon Island, this island is best accessible from Santa Fe in Bantayan Island. Virgin Island is the main highlight of any Bantayan island hopping tour alongside Hilantagaan Island and Balidbid or Baigad Lagoon.

With its crystal-clear blue waters and fine white sand, Virgin Island is one of the must-visit tourist spots in North Cebu. You can spend an entire day here playing beach volleyball, chilling on the hammocks, jumping off cliffs, snorkeling, paddleboarding, or kayaking.

Ask your hotel’s front desk about Virgin Island tours, or go directly to Santa Fe Tourism Office to arrange an accredited boat transfer.

virgin island best beaches in cebu
Aerial shots of Virgin Island (CEBU INSIDER PHOTO)

7. Camotes Islands

Camotes Islands is made up of three major islands Pacijan Island, Poro Island, and Ponson Island and an islet Tulang Island. Camotes is known for white sand beaches and caves with natural cold spring water pools. At least 8 known caves can be visited by tourists, including Bukilat Cave, Paraiso Cave, Amazing Island Cave, and Timubo Cave.

Cliff jumping is also one of the top things to do in Camotes Islands. Tulang Diot Island is worth visiting if you want to experience the crystal clear water of Camotes Islands.

CAMOTES ISLANDS GUIDES

tulang diot - things to do in camotes islands
An aerial view of Tulang Diot in Camotes Islands, Cebu

8. Malapascua Island

Malapascua Island is the top tourist destination in Cebu for diving. This tiny island on the northeastern tip of Cebu is surrounded by world-class dive sites, including Monad Shoal where the rare pelagic thresher shark can be seen 365 days a year, something you can’t find in other dive sites around the world.

It’s a paradise among divers, but there are many things to do in Malapascua Island too outside of diving. You can enjoy the white sand beaches, the fiery sunsets, island hopping, the island nightlife, a trip to Kalanggaman Island, and many other activities.

MALAPASCUA ISLAND GUIDES

bounty beach malapascua island
A sunny day at Bounty Beach in Malapascua Island (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

9. Samboan

Samboan is home to a number of majestic waterfalls in Cebu. If you want to see waterfalls with coral-blue water, Samboan is the best tourist spot in South Cebu and should be on your itinerary.

Some of the well-known waterfalls in Samboan include Dao Falls and Aguinid Waterfalls. Ponong Lake (it’s actually a lagoon) is also worth visiting if you want to meditate or take a breather from your South Cebu adventures. If you are staying in Samboan, Fantasy Lodge is quite a well-known resort famous for its Kawa Bath.

dao falls - samboan falls
Left photo is the topmost tier of Dao Falls in Samboan, Cebu. Right photo is a canyon leading to the main fall.

10. Cebu City

Many tourists skip Cebu City, but if you have more time on your hands, I recommend dropping by the “Queen City of the South.” Cebu City is the cradle of Christianity in the Philippines and has a very rich cultural history.

If you are looking for affordable places to visit in Cebu, visit heritage sites like Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, Fort San Pedro, and Magellan’s Cross Pavilion. They are all located close to each other.

If you are looking for sightseeing in Cebu City, explore the mountainside and places like the Temple of Leah, Tops Lookout, Terrazas De Flores Botanical Garden, and Sirao Garden. Looking for a private guided tour? Check out Cebu City Private Day Tour!

Get a different experience at Cebu Ocean Park, Museum of Emotions, and Jumalon Museum, Butterfly Sanctuary and Art Gallery. For more activities, check out the 20 Things to Do in Cebu City!

Sirao Garden in Busay - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
The colorful flowers at Sirao Garden in Busay, Cebu City

11. Mactan

Mactan Island is the easiest to access from Cebu City which is why many visit it as a quick getaway. Although the beaches in the island are not on par with those in Bantayan Island, Mactan offers water activities your family and friends will enjoy, such as parasailing, banana boating, wakeboarding, and jet skiing.

If you are looking for the best places to visit in Cebu for couples, Mactan is home to the most luxurious hotels in Cebu, including Shangri-La Mactan, Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort, Crimson Resort and Spa, and Dusit Thani Mactan Cebu.

You may also get a day pass from Dusit Thani, Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort, and Plantation Bay Resort and Spa.

Lapu Lapu Monument - Places to Visit in Cebu, Philippines
The Lapu-Lapu Monument in Mactan, Cebu (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

12. Anjo World Theme Park in Minglanilla

Minglanilla is a small town an hour away from Cebu City. It is home to one of the most popular Cebu attractions for families, Anjo World Theme Park

Showcasing 12 world-class rides and an ice-themed attraction, Anjo World Theme Park is one of the few premier amusement parks in Cebu. Its 1.5-hectare area is divided into four zones: Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Some of the most popular rides at Anjo World are the Spinning Roller Coaster, Ferris Wheel, Bumper Boats, Space Shuttle, Boomerang, Drop Tower, and the Viking pirate ship ride. Ice-themed Snow World is a three-story attraction popular among locals to experience what winter feels like. Snow World features attractions like ice sculptures, ice slides, and snow.

Skip the long ticket line and get priority access to Anjo World Theme Park in advance!

Anjo World in Minglanilla - Places to Visit in Cebu, Philippines
An aerial view of Anjo World Theme Park in Minglanilla, Cebu (Photo courtesy of The Island Nomad)

13. Simala Shrine in Sibonga

Simala Shrine in Sibonga is the best attraction in Cebu for Catholic devotees. Officially known as the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, it’s a Roman Catholic pilgrimage church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Inside the complex are an array of souvenir shops selling Catholic goods, a grand church, walls covered in prayer requests, and a miraculous Virgin Mary statue.

This man-made attraction in Cebu is the grandest of its kind and has become the place for Catholics to offer up prayers in hopes to make their desires come true, from getting pregnant to passing licensure exams to healing from diseases. If you want a private Cebu City tour with a side trip to Simala Shrine, check out Cebu City and Simala Shrine Private Tour!

simala shrine sibonga
The grand view of Simala Shrine as you enter (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

14. Cebu Safari and Adventure Park in Carmen

Cebu Safari and Adventure Park is a unique tourist attraction in Cebu being it’s only one of its kind. One of the best Cebu attractions for families, Cebu Safari and Adventure Park is home to over 1,000 animals of 120 different species all coliving on a 170-hectare land.

Some animal species you will see there include Bengal tigers, white lions, hyenas, zebras, African antelopes, hawks, sea eagles, and giraffes. Guests also can do activities like animal feeding, petting domesticated animals, watching bird shows, and an African safari ride.

Cebu Safari also has a few outdoor activities you might enjoy, such as ATV rides, sky biking, a giant swing, ziplining, and spelunking. Safari cabins and glamping are also available. Get your ticket at Cebu Safari and Adventure Park Ticket. Only looking for a private vehicle to Cebu Safari? Get this Private Transfer Between Cebu Safari and Cebu City/Mactan!

Antelope at Cebu Safari - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
An antelope at Cebu Safari and Adventure Park in Carmen, Cebu

15. Alegria

Alegria is a tourist town where all canyoneering activities start. It is home to many natural attractions in Cebu, including waterfalls such as Cambais Falls, Montpellier Falls, Cancalanog Falls, and Kanlaob Falls. You can find many other underrated tourist spots in Alegria such as Cambusay and Salay Caves, Libo Hills, and Mt. Lanaya.

Cambais Falls in Alegria Cebu - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
Cambais Falls in Alegria, Cebu

16. Ginatilan

Once part of Samboan, the town of Ginatilan is the hometown of San Pedro Calungsod, the Catholic martyr and the second Filipino Saint. Besides its rich history, Ginatilan boasts a few tourist spots, many are popular waterfalls in Cebu such as Inambakan Falls, Bugnawan Falls, and Kampael Falls.

Inambakan Falls in Ginatilan - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
An aerial view of Inambakan Falls in Ginatilan, Cebu

17. Mantayupan Falls in Barili

Barili is an agricultural town whose residents depend on farming and fishing for a living. Just 4 kilometers from the town proper is Mantayupan Falls, a three-tier fall known to be the tallest of all falls in Cebu. Mantayupan Falls is also the main source of a mini-hydro power plant and fish ponds in Barili.

Mantayupan Falls in Barili - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
An aerial view of Mantayupan Falls in Barili, Cebu

18. Carcar

Carcar is known for the classic Filipino snack chicharon (deep-fried pork rinds) and ampaw (sweet puffed rice cake). But one thing that makes Carcar a must-visit in Cebu is its lechon (roasted whole pig), another classic Filipino dish present in big events like birthdays, weddings, and thanksgiving celebrations.

Lecho in Carcar is different from Cebu City and the rest of the world. I cannot describe it in words, so you just have to try it yourself.

Carcar Lechon - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
The popular lechon Carcar

19. Gold Sands Destination Resorts in Daanbantayan

Gold Sands Destination Resorts is one of the best places to visit in Cebu for couples. It may be 3-star accommodation, but the experience this hotel delivers is of 5-star quality.

You can drop by Gold Sands before heading to Malapascua Island as it is just 2 kilometers away from Maya Port, the port going to the island.

Gold Sands Destination Resorts became well-known for its long stretch of coastal paradise. It also offers activities like paddle boarding, scuba diving, kayaking, water biking, cycling, and island hopping. Check out Gold Sands room rates here!

Gold Sands - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
An aerial shot of Gold Sands Destination Resorts in Daanbantayan, Cebu

20. Carnaza Island

On the northernmost part of Cebu in the town of Daanbantayan is a 429-acre turtle-shaped island surrounded by white sand beaches, thick mangrove forests, and verdant greeneries. Because it’s quite secluded from mainland Cebu, Carnaza Island remains one of the most idyllic islands in Cebu.

Carnaza Island is one of the best places to visit in Cebu if you want to avoid the usual touristy areas. Some of the most notable tourist attractions in Carnaza Island are Skull Cove, Ka Elena Beach, and Carnaza Eco-Park.

carnaza eco park, carnaza island, cebu
An aerial view of Carnaza Eco-Park in Carnaza Island, Cebu (Photo courtesy of Michael Sagonoy / Proud Bisaya Bai)

21. Kinatarkan Island

Also known as Guintacan Island, this island located northeast of Bantayan Island is part of Daanbantayan. It’s accessible via Santa Fe in Bantayan Island or Maayahay Port in Daanbantayan.

Some tourist attractions in Kinatarkan Island are Laaw Lagoon, Bitoon, Langub, and Pasil beaches, Byaring cliff, and the Kinatarkan Lighthouse. The island has several coves, caves, and cliffs you explore for yourself.

Pasil Beach in Kinatarkan Island - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
An aerial view of Pasil Beach in Kinatarkan Island, Cebu

22. Capitancillo Island

Located off the coast of Bogo City, Capitancillo is a nice place to visit in Cebu. It is an islet and a protected marine sanctuary surrounded by three dive sites, which is why it is popular among scuba divers.

Capitancillo was named after American Navy Captain Cillo who reached the islet during WWII. However, there was already a structure on the island since the 1900s—a lighthouse that is still present to this day.

You can also see concrete benches, ruins, craggy limestone cliffs, and some coconut trees. Snorkeling, kayaking, and overnight camping are some activities you can do on the island.

Capitancillo Island - Things to Do in North Cebu
An aerial shot of Capitancillo Island in Bogo City, Cebu

23. Dalaguete

One of the best things to do in South Cebu is to climb Dalaguete’s mountains. There are three popular peaks in the Mantalangon mountain range: Osmeña Peak (the popular one), Casino Peak (Osmeña Peak’s sister), and Mt. Kadungaw (the hardest trek). You can do what they call the “tri-peak” climb hitting all three peaks.

Osmeña Peak stands 1,013 meters above sea level, making it the highest mountain in Cebu. All three mountains have craggy terrain but are beginner-friendly. Osmeña Peak and Casino Peak are unique having jagged hills with a great view of the ocean, plus the sunrise and sunset views here are amazing!

Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
The craggy hills of Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete, Cebu

24. Olango Island

Olango Island is globally known for bird watching. Over 40 species of migratory birds have been recorded at the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the four RAMSAR sites or wetlands of international importance in the Philippines. The Asiatic Dowitcher and the Chinese Egret are the flagship species found here.

Other attractions in Olango Island include San Vicent Marine Sanctuary, campsites Pag Utlan Camp and Ataneo Florentino Camp Site, Island Eco Tourism Park, and Belo Beach.

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
Migratory birds flock to Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu

25. Catmon

Catmon is blessed with imposing landscapes, whether it be mountains or beaches. When you think of Catmon, beaches come to mind first, and rightfully so.

Locals visit Catmon for its affordable beach resorts. Some of the most popular beach resorts in Catmon are Hinagdanan Beach and Kalubian Beach. Other popular attractions in Catmon include Mt. Kapayas, Tinubdan Falls, Esoy Hot Spring, and Ka-Tinggo Falls.

Rañola Beach Resort in Catmon - Best Places to Visit in Cebu
An aerial view of Rañola Beach Resort in Catmon, Cebu

More Places to Visit in Cebu

With all these many worthy places to visit in Cebu, it can be hard to plan out your itinerary. The best way to travel Travel is to divide it into two legs: North Cebu and South Cebu.

Check out our North Cebu Itinerary and South Cebu Itinerary to get a better understanding of what your trip would look like. Get travel ideas from our range of Cebu itineraries.

That’s it for now. I hope you get something out of our Top 25 Best Places to Visit in Cebu!

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Mario Manlupig
Mario Manlupig

Mario is the Founder of CEBU INSIDER. In March 2018, he left his full-time job at the Philippines' biggest TV network and became a digital nomad, traveling all over the country until the pandemic happened. He now calls Cebu City his home.

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