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Villa de Leyva, a few hours from the fine capital of Bogotá, is a must for all visitors going to this dramatic country and is sure to leave an impression on you.

The whole town was declared a national monument in 1954 and has remained perfectly preserved with no modern architecture and beautifully whitewashed buildings, as well as lovely plazas to sit in and enjoy the sunshine or you could go horse riding to the close by indigenous Muisca ruins or visit the waterfalls.

The town was founded in 1572 by Hernán Suárez de Villalobos and is just 177 km from Bogotá, but could not be further removed from the modern streets of the capital.


The main square is unforgettable, and at 120 m by 120 m, it is reputedly the largest of its kind in the country. The cobbled expanse is interrupted by only one small fountain in the middle which was the water source for the village some four centuries ago.

The little settlement boasts four churches all dating back to the 16th and early 17th centuries. The Iglesia Parroquial on the main square houses a most marvelous baroque ecclesiastical retable, additionally, it is located in a high altitude valley at 2,144 m altitude where fossils from the Mesozoic and the Cretaceous abound.


Villa de Leyva is a unique place in a stunning setting and Audley has found some great places to stay for your time there where you can enjoy the amazing Colombian hospitality.

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who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Tamatha

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Villa de Leyva by contacting one of our Colombia specialists

Suggested itinerary featuring Villa de Leyva

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Villa de Leyva, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Villa de Leyva

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Villa de Leyva

    Our expert guides to exploring Villa de Leyva

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Villa de Leyva, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Villa de Leyva at its best.

    • What to do in Colombia: our highlights guide
      Colorful façades, Bogotá

      What to do in Colombia: our highlights guide

      What to do in Colombia: our highlights guide

      From cultured Cartagena to youthful Medellín, you can witness how Colombia is reinventing itself on a tailor-made Audley trip.

      11 min read

      Read this guide

    Accommodation choices for Villa de Leyva

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Villa de Leyva. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Villa de Leyva

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Villa de Leyva, and which use the best local guides.

    • El Infiernito and El Fosil Museum
      In the countryside around Villa de Leyva

      El Infiernito and El Fosil Museum

      El Infiernito and El Fosil Museum

      You will be met by your guide and drive out to see the archaeological ruins at the Muisca observatory (Muiscas were an indigenous Indian tribe that the Spanish wiped-out).

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    • Tour on Horse Back
      Local in Villa de Leyva, Colombia

      Tour on Horse Back

      Tour on Horse Back

      After walking to the center of town you are escorted to the horses to have an afternoon out to see the archaeological ruins at the Muisca observatory (Muiscas were an indigenous Indian tribe that the Spanish wiped-out). It was partially destroyed by the Spanish but enough remains intact for your visit.

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