Tourist allure is pretty much like beauty: it is in the eye of the beholder. Some travelers prefer natural sights, while others are keen to visit historical sites. If you are looking for romantic destinations, keep reading to discover the top towns in Colombia which will let you go back in time.
Afterwards you can check our article on other romantic destinations in Colombia.
After years of explorations of the Northern Coast, Colombia’s conquest by the Spanish formally started in 1525. In this year, the city of Santa Marta was founded, followed by Cartagena in 1533.
Five years later, the country’s capital city was established after an expedition into its more inner regions.
From then on, more towns were built. Today, over 480 years later, many of them still look as they did back then. Major cities have preserved colonial areas, like La Candelaria neighborhood in Bogotá or the Walled City in Old Town Cartagena.
But the quaintest ones are small towns (or “pueblos”, in Spanish), nestled across the country. A vacation in Colombia is incomplete unless you visit some of these. Here are our picks of the most beautiful, and timeless, towns in Colombia:
Dubbed “the prettiest town in Colombia”, Barichara (69 °F) is located towards the north-east. Founded in 1537, it means “place to rest” in the local dialect of Guane.
This charming “pueblo” offers cobblestone streets, flanked by whitewashed houses with red-tiled roofs. Here you can enjoy typical Colombian sweets, and beautiful sights from lookouts.
You can also visit the Camino Real, or “Royal Road”, which used to connect Barichara to other towns during colonial times
Another treasure of cobble streets and white walls, Villa de Leyva (64 °F), was founded in 1572. A 3 hour drive from Bogotá, it has the biggest town square in the country (over 45900 square feet).
Villa de Leyva will take you back in time not only because of its architecture, but also its history. Because it was covered by the sea in primitive times, you can see over 400 local fossils at the Paleontological Museum.
The most striking ones are those belonging to 3 different groups of marine reptiles.
Known as the setting of Gabriel García Márquez’s “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”, Mompox (87 °F), was founded in 1537. One of the most famous towns in Colombia, it is isolated on an island in the Magdalena River, up north.
It served as a safe port town for traders, far enough (154 miles) from the ocean and its pirates. Today, Mompox dazzles its visitors with preserved Spanish-style architecture, as well as traditional, indigenous filigree jewelry.
If you are in Medellín, then you cannot miss Jardin (77 °F), located 3 hours away by land. Established in 1863, it is a typical Colombian coffee town.
Most of its constructions are white-walled, with colorful doors and windows. It is also well-known for ecotourism activities, like bird watching, trekking, and rappelling down waterfalls.
A stop at Dulces del Jardín confectionery is mandatory; you will be captivated by chocolates, cookies, jams, and other delights.
This cold pueblo (55 °F), located only 2 hours away from Villa de Leyva, dates back to 1601. Visit 17th century sites, such as the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Monguí church, or the Calicanto Bridge, made in colonial fashion with cow’s blood, limestone, sand and molasses.
Discover the Paramo de Oceta, a moor filled with frailejones— resilient, native plants that grow with almost no water in harsh, cold weather.
A 2 week vacation in Colombia will give you plenty of time to stop by some of these pueblos. A good way to make sure you see them is to know which ones are near to popular tourist sites. Below are some other recommendations, sorted by the cities they are closest to:
You can check other destinations to add to your trip by reading more about how to discover Colombia in 2 weeks.
These are definitely the best towns in Colombia to allow you to travel back in time. Let yourself be charmed by a selection of the country’s most beautiful, and interesting, colonial towns.
If you need help or guidance with the planning process of your trip to Colombia, don´t hesitate to contact us. We have a team of travel experts looking forward to help you have the best holiday of your life.
Or, start planning yourself and use our tips on how to build your Colombia vacation in 8 steps.