South of Manila, on Luzon Island, Tagaytay has long been a popular destination for the city's residents. It's just over an hour from the Philippine capital and the cooler climate provides some welcome respite from the city heat. Steep verdant slopes with scenic views of the Taal Volcano crater and lake are dotted with traditional restaurants and artsy cafés, and roadside stalls sell local specialities such as buko (coconut) pie. You can spend a day at Tagaytay's famous coffee plantations, while thrill-seekers can take to the hills and soar over the trees on a zip-line.
A typical hostel in Tagaytay is colourful, modern and close to the centre of Tagaytay City. You can expect features such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour security to keep your luggage safe, plus daily housekeeping services. You'll also find other extras like grocery deliveries, air con and cable TV in Tagaytay hostels. Make new friends in communal social spaces or simply relax on cosy sofas after a day of sightseeing.
Tagaytay Rotonda is the town's centre and main transport hub, with restaurants, shops and four major roads leading out. The Emilio Aguinaldo Highway goes to Manila, and there are plenty of places to eat along the way, while the Tagaytay-Calamba Road goes to Laguna and is lined with boutique accommodation, attractions and chic cafés. The Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway runs to Cavite and Batangas, and this is where you'll find some of the region's most picturesque views, plus amusement parks and hilltop restaurants. Finally, the Tagaytay-Talisay Road winds through lush greenery to Taal Volcano.
The area surrounding Tagaytay is famous for its natural beauty. You can trek to Taal Volcano or head to Tierra de Maria chapel for views from its panoramic deck – there's also a 15-metre-high Virgin Mary statue. For something a little more lively, see Tagaytay's scenery from the rides at Sky Ranch amusement park. There are also quirky museums to discover: the Puzzle Mansion is home to the largest collection of jigsaw puzzles in the world. Or you could just soak up local life at a restaurant serving bulalo (beef marrow stew) at Mahogany Market.
From Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, you can take a taxi to Tagaytay, which takes about an hour. You can also take the airport bus to Park Square Ayala Centre, then a bus to Tagaytay, making three changes (just over 3 hours). From central Manila, you can catch a bus from the MRT Taft station, or a shared van from Alabang. To can get around Tagaytay, use jeepneys and local buses.