With its charming cobblestone streets, whitewashed colonial buildings and climbing bougainvillea vines, Villa de Leyva is enchanting, to say the least. The pint-sized Colombian town is anchored by the grand Plaza Mayor, which is considered one of South America’s finest squares. Boutique shops line the streets, selling everything from organic coffee and handmade chocolate to artisan soaps and designer jewellery.
Now declared a national monument, the entire city offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era. It’s home to a string of fabulous boutique hotels, as well as gourmet restaurants, chic cafes and handicrafts stores. For a glimpse at Colombia’s beautiful countryside, escape the crowds and sign up for a horse ride.
At 160 kilometres from the Colombian capital, Villa de Leyva is always popular with day trippers from Bogota. The drive takes around two to three hours, with plenty of private tour operators offering trips. To really enjoy the charming colonial town, staying a night or two is a must.
With its mild climate, scenic setting and colonial charm, Villa de Leyva has always been a beautiful town. It was founded in 1572 by Hernán Suárez de Villalobos, as a luxury retreat for military officers, clergy and nobility. It continues to enchant visitors to this day and is celebrated as one of Colombia’s loveliest destinations.