12 Most Beautiful Towns in Colombia (You Absolutely Must Visit)
A Guide to The Most Magical Pueblos in Colombia
Travelers are always in search of the world’s most magnificent places. Dramatic landscapes that leave you in awe of nature and quaint towns far away from your bustling city life back home. You’re searching for a Colombian pueblo.
Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the entire world. On a single trip across the country, you’ll encounter nearly every type of climate imaginable. It’s the perfect destination for those who want to lounge on Carribean beaches as well as potentially scale Andean mountains. Those who want to trek in the Amazon Rainforest but also marvel at vast desert sand dunes. You can visit Colombia and have it all. And all across its tropical rainforests and Andean peaks, you’ll find an assortment of unique Colombian villages all tailored to the environment around them.
One thing all these diversified pueblos have in common – They are insanely picturesque.
Colombia practically invented fairytale towns. Cobblestone streets and colorful Spanish colonial architecture all set upon the stage of Colombia’s stunning natural landscapes.
Medellin, Bogota, and Cartagena get all the attention. But with just a smidge more effort you can relax in one of Colombia’s idyllic towns and get a taste of rural life in Colombia. This guide will break down how to get to each charming pueblo so that you can add a few delightful stops to your itinerary.
Another perk of adding the pleasant pueblos to your itinerary? You’ll leave the majority of the other tourists behind. Instead, you’ll share the streets with the many local Colombians and have the opportunity to see a beautiful side of Colombia few travelers take the time to get to know.
So, what are the most beautiful towns in Colombia?
Here are (in our opinion) the 12 most beautiful towns in Colombia.
If you must only choose one pueblo from this list make sure to visit Salento. Laying atop the rolling green hills filled with the towering wax palms of Cocora Valley, the sleepy little town is the center of coffee production in Colombia. You’ll spend misty mornings horseback riding or hiking past some of Colombia’s most iconic scenery and spend your evenings inside colorfully accented walls playing Tejo, the national sport of Colombia.
As with all these picturesque rural towns, the pace of life is slower but unlike many others on this list, Salento is easily accessible from both Bogota and Medellin via bus.
The most colorful town in all of South America. Perhaps in the world. Disneyland has nothing on Guatapé where the streets are a standing representation of every imaginable color under the Crayola rainbow. Very similar in style and construction to the cobblestone streets of Salento, just more candy-colored.
But perhaps the most impressive sight in Guatape is the Piedra del Penol. Following a breathless hike to the peak of the limestone karst towering high above the bright blue reservoir below, you’ll be rewarded with stunning 360-degree views unrivaled throughout the country.
Just a 2-hour bus ride from Medellin, Guatape is also highly accessible.
Satisfy your craving of an authentic Colombia with Jardin’s cowboy hats and poncho wearing locals. The streets are comparatively barren of tourists although the whitewashed walls of town-square are just as color-splashed as neighboring Salento and Guatapé.
For those looking to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy some stunning views of the countryside, you can take a ride in one of Jardin’s cable cars and gaze down on the lovely green hills and red-roofed town far below. Or you can take a tour on horseback to La Cueva del Esplendor where you can see a cascading waterfall inside a cave.
(Read Also: 35 Interesting Facts About Colombia)
Mix some traditional colonial architecture, some elegant catholic churches, and some world-class paragliding and you get Jericó. Colorful facades are practically a staple of Colombian pueblos and Jericó is no different. Wander from colorful cobblestone streets up the green grassy trails to Cristo Salvador, Jericó’s very own Christ the Redeemer. The surrounding countryside is dotted with impressive waterfalls and family-owned coffee farms growing the robust Colombian beans we all love.
What makes Jerico a unique pueblo however is its reputation as Colombia’s premier paragliding location. You may just find yourself floating over the rolling green hills getting a bird’s eye view of the town below.
Highly acclaimed as “THE most beautiful town in Colombia”, Barichara literally means “place of rest” in the indigenous Guane language. Cobblestone streets, white-washed walls, and plenty of red brick create a fairytale scene that just melts your travel stress away. This sleepy little town is also a major hub for artisanal crafts and a great place to pick up some additions to your wardrobe.
Looking for the best view in all of Barichara? You have to head to Mirador Salto del Mico. This rock outcropping hangs over the lush green valley and is the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic.
For the more active traveler, Hiking the El Camino Real trail–a 9km path between Barichara and Guane gives you the best views of the countryside. If you’re up to a multi-day challenge you can follow the cobblestone road past Chicamocha canyon and through many smaller idyllic towns along the way.
(Read Also: 8 Best Places to Visit in Colombia)
Another region esteemed for its coffee production, Filandia is often thought of as an alternative to visiting neighboring Salento. And Filandia is much like Salento. Colorful town-square, Finca tours (coffee), access to the famous Cocora Valley, and refreshing waterfalls tucked into the rolling green valleys.
The biggest difference between the two is the amount of tourism. Salento sees far more tourists which although adds to the cheery evening ambiance– indulging in local spirits and playing a few rounds of Tejo, but can detract from your daytime exploring. It all depends on what you are looking for.
But Filandia is a true Colombian gem. The Cascada Doble waterfall, Cocora Valley, and town mirador are well worth exploring and with Salento only a short ride away there’s no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
7. Santa Fe de Antioquia
Short white-washed buildings with colorful shutters, wooden balconies, stone churches, and cobblestone streets. These small pueblos all seem to come from a different age. You’ll also find your fair share of men in cowboy hats here.
The markets in Santa Fe de Antioquia are exceptionally good. Try tasty homemade tamarind candies and varieties of tropical fruit you never knew existed. And the fried cheese Buñuelos.
As with most of these small towns, coffee cultivation is a huge part of their day-to-day existence. And there are plenty of places to grab an excellent cup of joe in Santa Fe de Antioquia.
What sets this town apart is the Tunnel de Occidente you’ll travel through to get there. At 2.8 miles it is the longest tunnel in Latin America. In addition, if you decide to take in the scenery and hike around the area, just 2 miles outside of town is also one of the world’s largest suspension bridges – Puente de Occidente.
(Read Also: Solo Female Travel Colombia)
8. Villa de Leyva
When you envision a traditional Spanish village, you’ve just procured a vision of Villa de Leyva. This small town, where time has seemingly stopped, is completely covered in a sea of flat cobblestone stretching across town-square to the blindingly whitewashed walls and red roofs of the Plaza Mayor. The pueblo is framed by rolling green hills turning yellow in the brilliant sun.
It’s a historical hotpot – being the place of death for war hero Antonio Narino and also the location new laws were drafted after Colombia gained independence in 1812.
Learn a bit about Colombian history, horseback ride or hike through the surrounding hills, or just learn to love the slower pace of life in Villa de Leyva.
9. Santa Cruz de Mompox
Santa Cruz de Mompox or just Mompox as it is affectionately referred to has a very rich history. Literally. This remote little town was once a place the Spaniards and traders could hide their gold and because of this the town exploded in wealth and stunning architecture came along with it.
Mompox was also the first colony to declare independence from the Spanish rule. Simon Bolivar himself said he owed his glory to Mompoxs.
Historical significance aside Mompox looks and feels much like Cartagena. A city of warm yellows and massive archways. If your lucky you’ll even get to see some of Colombia’s red howler monkeys or iguanas in this quiet town.
From cheesemaking to ironsmiths artisanal work has been a major part of Mompox’s current economy. If cheese isn’t your thing, you can also take a canoe ride up the marshlands or take a peek at Mompox’s stunning churches.
(Read Also: 2 Week Colombia Itinerary)
10. La Playa de Belen
Perhaps the most unique landscape of all the pueblos listed & also the most difficult to get to. La Playa de Belén is a reward for the truly intrepid & dedicated travelers.
The town itself is microscopic. Just three streets, one gold-capped church, and a whole lot of cobblestone. Unlike many of its colorful counterparts, La Playa de Belén is a red, white, and brown patchwork of homes and buildings.
Surrounding this quaint sleepy town is La Estoraques that make this pueblo worth going out of your way for. Sky-high rugged spires of sandstone and limestone create a sci-fi movie backdrop and provide for some of the most scenic hiking in Colombia. Sheer cliffs and oddly stacked formations create a truly unique landscape that’s equally beautiful when viewed from Los Pinos – a viewpoint just outside of town, or when your trekking around within the spires themselves.
If Ipiales sounds familiar to you, it should. This not so small town is home to one major attraction. Las Lajas Sanctuary. Labeled as the most beautiful cathedral in all of South America this grey and white church is perched on a hillside and provides some impressive viewpoints of the impressive architecture.
This cathedral is located 16km outside of town but aside from those crossing the border into Ecuador, it is the main reason visitors come all this way. Inside the town itself, you’ll find even more churches, albeit not as impressive, and a mountainside cable car.
Ipiales is quite a large town. Bordering on a being city. But it’s lush green landscapes make this border town quite scenic. And it has plenty of cobblestone walkways and picturesque attractions to make this list.
(Read Also: Best Time to Visit Colombia)
The off-the-beaten-path coffee town with the skyward stretching red brick church spire piercing through the otherwise flat skyline. Many of Colombia’s pueblos could be described as sleepy but Pijao earned itself the nickname of “the slow town” with its exceptionally laidback attitude.
You don’t need many days to take in its colorful colonial facades and rolling green mountains but with various viewpoints and bridges, there is plenty to do.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to go chasing waterfalls the Cascadas del Rio Verde is just a short trip away from Pijao and one of the more impressive falls in Colombia.
If you’re looking for small scenic towns, Colombia has no shortage. From the bright and colorful to white-washed walls set in coffee landscapes, they all have their own unique charms. It would be near impossible to visit them all in one trip to Colombia. But visiting one or two favorites from this list will add some lazy days in beautiful towns to your itinerary.
Fancy Visiting Colombia With Other Travellers Aged 25-45?
We’re Other Way Round and we bring together groups of adventurous travellers aged 25-45 for an immersive & authentic experience of travelling Colombia. Here’s some of our most popular Colombia trips.
MOUNTAINS & PUEBLOS
8 Days in and around Colombia’s Andes mountain region covering Medellin, Guatape & Jardin. See Itinerary
BEACHES & JUNGLES
8 Days exploring the most exotic places in Colombia including Cartagena, Bogota & Parque Tayrona. See Itinerary
15 Days covering the very best that Colombia has to offer. See Itinerary