El Salvador landmarks are impressive. The most famous landmarks in El Salvador are the Divine Savior of the World Monument, The National Cathedral, The National Palace, the Santa Ana Cathedral, Plaza Gerardo Barrios, Plaza Libertad, Coatepeque Lake, the Cathedral of San Miguel, and El Rosario Church.
El Salvador is a small nation known primarily for its Pacific Ocean beaches, great surf spots, and mountainous scenery. However, the country is home to iconic landmarks located all over the territory.
These landmarks include monuments, places of historical interest, natural parks, colonial churches, colonial towns, and famous buildings.
The following are the top ten most famous landmarks in El Salvador; it is followed by an additional list of natural and man-made landmarks.
1. Divine Savior of the World Monument in San Salvador
By far, one of the most iconic landmarks in El Salvador and also one of the best monuments in El Salvador.
The Divine Savior of the World Monument is a statue of Jesus Christ standing on top of a global sphere of planet earth; it is in the El Salvador del Mundo Plaza in San Salvador.
This famous monument in El Salvador honors the Divine Savior of the World, which is the capital’s patron saint.
The Divine Savior of the World monument is a symbol that identifies and represents both El Salvador and Salvadorans everywhere in the world.
Here is a bit of recent history for this famous landmark in El Salvador. During the 1986 earthquake, the statue collapsed and broke into several pieces.
When the restoration was finished, and the statue was placed back into its original place; it became a symbol of hope and faith for all Salvadorans.
2. The San Salvador National Cathedral
The San Salvador Cathedral is located in the San Salvador historic district; it is the principal Catholic church of El Salvador and home to the San Salvador Archbishop. It is one of the main attractions of the newly renovated downtown area.
The National Cathedral was built at the end of the sixteenth century. Since then, the church has been destroyed twice, the first time by an earthquake in 1873 and then by fire in 1951.
This unique landmark in El Salvador is visited by many people; some do it to appreciate the artwork, design, and history, while others visit because of their religious believes and fate.
As of late, the biggest attraction at this cathedral is the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the most recognizable religious figure in the country, now a saint.
If you are ever in El Salvador, visit the National Cathedral; at this Landmark, you will get to learn a lot about the history and culture of the country.
3. The National Palace of El Salvador
The National Palace is a classical building located in the historic district of San Salvador. During most of the 1900s, the major branches of the Salvadoran government used The National Palace as governmental offices.
The most important rooms or main rooms in the palace were painted in different colors, each color represented a branch of the government.
The Pink Room housed the Supreme Court, the Yellow Room was the president’s office, and the Blue Room was the meeting place of the Legislature of El Salvador.
This historic landmark is a must-see when visiting the historic downtown, it’s full of Salvadoran history. If you want to know more about the National Palace or the historic district, visit the San Salvador historic district page!
4. The Santa Ana Cathedral
When it comes to El Salvador landmarks that involve churches, the Santa Ana Cathedral is near the top. The Cathedral of Our Lady Saint Anne or “La Catedral de la Señora Santa Ana” in Spanish is a spectacular neo-Gothic cathedral located in the city of Santa Ana.
Every year, many local and international tourists visit this magnificent cathedral; some visit because of their faith and others because of the architectural design and history associated with the church.
As a landmark, the Cathedral of Santa Ana is more than a stunning infrastructure; it is a special place that keeps the culture and the religiosity of a city alive.
Furthermore, the cathedral is located at the beautiful historic center of Santa Ana, surrounded by many of the main buildings in the town, such as the Mayor’s office and the Santa Ana theater.
5 Plaza Gerardo Barrios in San Salvador
Plazas are one of the most famous landmarks in El Salvador, they have been around for centuries and have been the epicenter of many memorable events.
Plaza Gerardo Barrios is located at the heart of the historic district in San Salvador. The square is a landmark, not only for the capital city but for the entire country as well.
Some of the most symbolic and famous buildings in El Salvador surround this plaza; for example, there is the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the National Theater.
The monument of Gerardo Barrios and the plaza are in honor of President General Gerardo Barrios. The general is one of the most notable and influential figures in the country’s history.
This Landmark has also witnessed some significant events in its history; the most recent are:
- The riots of 1980 during the funeral of Bishop Oscar Romero, murdered six days earlier during mass by a sniper.
- The celebration of the end of the Civil War in 1992.
- The presidential transfer of power to newly elected president Nayib Bukele in June 2019.
6. Plaza Libertad. A famous Landmark in El Salvador
Plaza Libertad or Liberty Plaza is at the heart of the city of San Salvador. It is a large open space with a statue commemorating the independence of El Salvador.
It was precisely from this site where what is now the nation’s capital of San Salvador began; in the mid-16th century.
The name Liberty Plaza is in honor of the Central American independence from Spain. Currently, this plaza is used to perform many civic events; especially on independence day in El Salvador, which is September 15th.
Furthermore, Liberty Plaza is a pleasant place to take a stroll, sunbathe, hang out, take photos, or simply enjoy the day.
7. Coatepeque Lake. An Astounding Volcanic Caldera in El Salvador
El Salvador landmarks in natural settings are available all over the country, they are impressive all around. At the top of natural wonders is Coatepeque Lake, one of the most famous natural landmarks in El Salvador.
This astonishing volcanic caldera was formed due to volcanic eruptions between 72,000 and 57,000 years ago.
This lake, considered one of the most beautiful in Central America, is located about 18 kilometers south of the city of Santa Ana in the municipality of El Congo.
Coatepeque lake is located near the Cerro Verde National Park, which has two amazing stratovolcanoes, Izalco and Santa Ana.
The lake is an ideal place to practice ecotourism like mountain biking, fishing, diving, camping, and much more.
Coatepeque Lake is one of the most recognized landmarks in the country. To know more about this caldera, visit the Lake Coatepeque page.
8. Izalco Volcano, Impresive Salvadoran Stratavolcano
Izalco volcano, also known as the lighthouse of the Pacific, is a famous landmark in El Salvador, it islocated in the Cerro Verde National Park. This Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America, since 1770 it has erupted more than 50 times.
This volcano is one of the most popular in the country, every year, local and foreign tourists visit this volcano to enjoy its magnitude, hike to the summit, and appreciate the fantastic views.
Some of the best El Salvador landmarks are volcanoes, Izalco volcano is one of the most famous in the country.
9. Cathedral of San Miguel
The San Miguel Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in El Salvador, it is in the eastern part of the country.
The cathedral is located in the city of San Miguel, the second or third largest city in the country. The church is called, the Cathedral Basilica of Queen of Peace or Catedral Basílica Reina de la Paz in Spanish.
Unquestionably, the Cathedral of San Miguel is an architectural jewel and also the pride and joy of the citizens in the city.
If you plan to visit this city for its festivities in November, do not forget to visit and appreciate this Landmark.
10. El Rosario Church in San Salvador
In my opinion, the El Rosario church is a landmark in El Salvador because of it’s non-descriptive concrete exterior and an astonishing interior that makes it unique.
Basically, from the outside, the church looks more like an airplane hangar than a church. However, once you go inside, you will witness the arched roof and natural light rushing in like a rainbow across the altar, and bouncing off the metal and rock. This unusual landmark is part of the main attractions in the San Salvador historic downtown.
El Salvador Landmarks
Simply to emphasize, all of the El Salvador landmarks offer unique features that make them appealing to a large number of people.
The 10 famous landmarks in El Salvador listed above are from my personal criteria, some of you might disagree with the list; nonetheless, please use it as a starting point to learn about El Salvador.
The following are lists of famous landmarks in El Salvador, some of them are naturally made, while others are man-made. I will list the top five for each category.
Natural Landmarks in El Salvador
- Izalco volcano. Also known as the lighthouse of the pacific.
- Santa Ana or Ilamatepec volcano. The tallest volcano in El Salvador, also one of the most popular destinations for foreign tourists.
- Chapparrastique volcano. A rugged stratovolcano, ideal for hiking, but only for those who like extreme conditions.
- Conchagua volcano. Amazing views of the Gulf of Fonseca.
- San Vicente or Chichontepec volcano. Twin peaked volcano near San Salvador.
Visit our sections on volcanoes in El Salvador to get more information about these natural landmarks and other volcanoes in El Salvador.
- Coatepeque Lake. Volcanic caldera near the Cerro Verde National Park.
- Ilopango Lake. Active volcanic caldera ideal for scuba diving.
- Suchitlan Lake. Man.made natural lake near the colorful city of Suchitoto.
- Lake Guija. Historic lake that was of great importance to anciente civilizations.
Visit our Lakes in El Salvador section to get more information on these lakes.
Mountains or Natural Parks
- Cerro Verde National Park. Iconic park with three volcanoes.
- Montecristo National Park. Bi-national park shared with Honduras.
- El Pital Mountain. Coldest part of the country.
- El Imposible national Park. Largest national protected area in the country.
- El Boqueron Park. Beautiful natural area near the capital.
Visit our parks in El Salvador page to get more information about these natural wonders.
Man Made landmarks in El Salvado
- Tazumal. Best preserved Maya site in the country.
- Joya de Ceren. The Popeyof the Americas.
- San Andres. Mayan archaeological site is located in the valley of Zapotitan.
- Casa Blanca. Casa Blanca is part of the comprehensive Chalchuapa archaeological site.
- Cihuatan. Extensive Pre-Columbian archaeological site located in the central part of the country.
Visit our section on Archaelogical sites in El Salvador to learn more.
- The National Cathedral. Home to the Archbishop of San Salvador, the principal figure in the Salvadoran archdioceses.
- Santa Ana Cathedral. Spanish neo-Gothic cathedral located in the city of Santa Ana.
- San Miguel Cathedral. Cathedral with a long and fascinating history that involves local Indians, the Spanish colonists, and pirates that invaded the Gulf of Fonseca.
- El Rosario Church. Conveniently located in the San Salvador Historic District.
- Church of the holy cross of Rome in Panchimalco. One of the most popular colonial churches in the country.
Get to know the 10 Churches in El Salvador you definitely should visit.
- The National Palace. The National Palace combines neo-Gothic, neoclassical, and Renaissance details.
- National Theater. Structure, built in a French Renaissance style.
- The Santa Ana Theater. This theater was built between 1902 and 1910.
- Presidential home or CAPRES. Offices of the Salvadoran president.
- Legislative Assembly building. Home to the Salvadoran congress.
Visit our page on the most famous buildings in El Salvador.
Monuments in El Salvador and Historic Plazas
- Divine Savior of the World Monument. Number one on the top ten famous landmarks in El Salvador.
- Plaza Gerardo Barrios. Monument and plaza in San Salvador.
- Plaza Libertad or Liberty Plaza. Sitting in the heart of the city of San Salvador.
- Monument to the Revolution. Its construction began during the government of Colonel Óscar Osorio to commemorate the uprising that deposed General Salvador Castaneda Castro from power, in 1948.
- Peace Monument. The figure of the Christ of Peace that predominates in the structure, was made with bullet casings, brass and cast bronze.
El Salvador Landmarks. Most famous Landmarks in El Salvador
El Salvador is a small country with plenty of character, some good and some bad. If you are ever thinking about visiting Central America, take a chance and visit the smallest country in the American Continent. I am sure you will have a good time and will enjoy it.