Tucked against the foot of spectacular mountains, scenic VILLA DE LEYVA, founded in 1572, is a must-see showcase of colonial architecture. The untroubled ambience and mild, dry climate make it a perfect place to relax – sitting in the 400-year-old plaza drinking sangria, you’ll be able to appreciate why many describe it as Colombia’s most beautiful town. In the mountains around (see Around Villa de Leyva), you can go hunting for fossils, or enjoy the countryside on horseback. The narrow streets throng with day-trippers from Bogotá on weekends, but the rest of the time, this lovely town reverts to its former tranquil, timeless self.

Villa de Leyva looks and feels immaculately preserved, right down to hand-painted tiles prohibiting horseback riding and car traffic along the main plaza. A lively market, mostly featuring fruit, veg and clothing, is held in the Plaza de Mercado on Saturday morning.

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