162km (100 miles) NE of Bogotá
The perfectly preserved colonial town of Villa de Leyva (pop. 16,500) was named a national heritage site by the Colombian government in 1954, and ever since, it has become a popular weekend hangout for Bogotanos looking for a break from hectic city life. The town was founded in 1572 as a retreat for Spanish clerics and viceroys. Today the cobblestone streets, Spanish-style villas, and small-town pace give the town a charming, lost-in-time feel. Villa de Leyva and the surrounding countryside are among the safest places in Colombia to wander off the beaten track and do a bit of exploring—and with multiple waterfalls, a nearby desert, adventure-sport opportunities, and even a couple of vineyards, there's plenty of exploring to do.
Even though the Villa de Leyva’s main sights can easily be explored in 1 day, most visitors end up staying at least 2 to 3 days, drawn in by the town’s irresistible charm.