Villa de Leyva was one of my favorite towns in Colombia. Yes, it can be touristy, but for good reason. Declared a national monument in 1954, this quaint and charming town really felt like a small Spanish village. It reminded me of Nerja in Andalucia, Spain with it’s beautifully maintained white washed buildings, clay tile roofs, and cobblestoned streets.
At a three-hour drive north of Bogota, weekends here can get pretty crowded, but if you can linger during the week, you will love it.
For me, it was the perfect respite from Medellin’s noise and pollution. I spent most of my time simply wandering around the cobbled lanes, ducking into cute cafés and old mansions turned into public courtyards with open-air restaurants ringing their perimeter, and just not pressuring myself to see or do too much. Its center is Plaza Mayor, one of the largest plazas in the whole of the Americas.