The attractive zócalo is the heart of life in Veracruz in every sense – the place where everyone gathers, for morning coffee, lunch, afternoon strolls and at night. After dark, especially, it has an extraordinary energy, with tables set out under the portales, non-stop music and strolling crowds. The imposing Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Asunción, consecrated in 1721, dominates the square. Its most striking features are its solid, whitewashed exterior and tiled dome; inside, there’s little to see other than endless restoration works. On the plaza too is the elegant Palacio Municipal, one of the oldest in Mexico, originally built between 1609 and 1627, though it assumed its current form in the eighteenth century. The Fototeca de Veracruz, alongside, hosts beautifully presented photography exhibitions.