Updated: Jun 29
This charming town, located about a 4-hour drive from Bogotà should definitely not be missed on your tour of Colombia.
It is one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Colombia, with beautiful architecture, cobbled streets and charming squares.
The immediate surroundings of this fun city also have a lot to offer, you can go on beautiful nature walks and there are some great sights within walking distance.
5 best things to do in Villa de Leyva
#1 Stroll over the Plaza Mayor in the heart of Villa de Leyva
This impressive square is one of the largest in South America. Enjoy the surrounding colonial buildings and sit on a terrace to leisurely take in the relaxing atmosphere.
During cultural events like the Festival de Luces (7-8 December 2023), where thousands of candles light up the streets, and Semana Santa (Holy week around Easter), it is extra special to visit this city and experience the local culture.
#2 Discover artisanal traditions and gastronomy
Villa de Leyva has a thriving artisan community, here you can find unique handmade products such as pottery, textiles and jewellery.
Villa de Leyva is surrounded by fertile land, making it a hub for fresh and organic produce. Several restaurants in the area make use of these local ingredients. You can enjoy dishes prepared with local fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses, ensuring a delicious and sustainable dining experience.
Besides local cuisine, Villa de Leyva also offers international cuisine, you can choose between Italian, French, Mexican and Mediterranean.
What you should definitely not forget is to visit La Galleta Pasteleria , here you just have to taste the milhoja! It's a kind of millefeuille pastry with dulce de leche. Delicious!
#3 Visit the unique and largest Terracotta House in the world
This extraordinary structure, also known as Casa Terracotta is definitely worth a visit. It is certainly not just another house but a real work of art designed down to the smallest details by Colombian architect Octavio Mendoza. Originally, the intention was to actually live in it, but due to global media attention, there were too many visitors and too little privacy to use it as a permanent residence. So it soon became a special attraction in the Villa de Leyva area.
The entire building, from the walls and ceilings to the furniture and decorative elements, is made entirely of terracotta clay. Besides its artistic and architectural beauty, the Terracotta House is also an example of sustainability and eco-friendly design.
More information such as opening hours and entrance fees can be found here.
#4 Go hiking to the Pozos Azules
Pozos Azules means as much as 'blue ponds', these are within walking distance of Villa de Leyva and are also well worth a visit. Note that you cannot swim in these ponds as they contain sulphur. There are 7 of these ponds and around them you can take a nice marked walk. Although they are called 'blue' ponds, the colour is rather green.The last part of the walk is quite steep uphill and there is no shade either, so best to bring a cap or hat and plenty of sun milk.
#5 Admire fossils in the Museo El Fosil
At this museum, you can admire the almost complete fossil of an aquatic dinosaur in addition to numerous fossils. The museum is open daily from 8am to 5.30pm.
Where to stay in Villa de Leyva? This hotel was our favorite!
Highly recommended is the Sie Casa hotel in the centre of Villa de Leyva. You will have spacious rooms in a very cosy setting, there is even a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy breakfast or a cup of delicious Colombian coffee with beautiful views over the city. Very centrally located and close to all sights.
more questions about Colombia? Feel free to ask them in the comments!