Colombia is bursting with colorful villages that you never want to leave. But white is also widely represented on the streets. Towns and villages where it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Where you walk through the white streets and only want more. Just wanting to sit on a curb to look at the white houses with red roofs. I love white villages and towns and love strolling through the old streets. Even if you are only in Colombia for a few weeks, there is always a white town or village somewhere nearby to experience this atmosphere. Therefore, today I list 10 white cities and towns in Colombia, as well as tips for more white in Colombia!
1. Popayán (Cauca)
Of course, I begin the list with “La Ciudad Blanca,” or: the white city. Located in southern Cauca this is a great start to your trip if you are coming from Ecuador. And don’t skip this white wonder during a round trip Colombia either. Popayán also has one of the largest white inner cities in Colombia, so it is a real pleasure to walk around here. You will find many wonderful museums, delightful teahouses and beautiful churches. Check out this mini-guide for all the information you need to make the most out of a visit to Popayán!
2. Barichara (Santander)
My all-time favorite: Barichara! This village located in Santander is known as the most beautiful in Colombia, and rightly so. I have been there many times for a reason, and you too really shouldn’t skip this gem. Barichara is simply magical. The old streets, the exotic plants growing against the white walls, the beautiful views of the mountains, the delicious food and the wonderful sights. In Barichara you will imagine yourself in another world. In this mini-guide you will read all about Barichara and its surroundings., because this village is an ideal base for the Chicamocha canyon, other villages and extreme sports.
3. Guane (Santander)
Right next to Barichara is the mini-village of Guane. This small village can be reached via the 6-kilometer walk Camino Real from Barichara. After walking through beautiful nature and past impressive views, you end up somewhere in history. The church from the year 1720 and the white streets are a feast for the eyes. Guane is so small that you can walk all the way through it within a few minutes, which makes it even more interesting. Stay a few nights in Barichara so you can also cross the white village of Guane off your list! Here you can read all about the hike to Guane.
4. Girón (Santander)
Santander is bursting with white villages, and you will also find the white town of Girón. Located right next to Bucaramanga, this is a slightly smaller version of Popayán, but no less interesting. The town has many bridges and is a true open-air museum. The colonial center was founded in the year 1631 and a delight to walk through. Also enjoy the delicious food in Girón and the many old squares where weddings are regularly held. Want to know more? Read all about Girón here!
5. Monguí (Boyacá)
Just below Santander is the department of Boyacá, a must-see if you like white villages. The most famous white village and also directly one of the most beautiful in Colombia is Monguí. Monguí is not only wonderful to stroll through, I have rarely seen such a beautiful church as here. And there is more: in fact, this is the ball village of Colombia. Excuse me? The ball village, in other words. You can find all kinds of balls: soccer balls, basketballs, small balls, leather balls, you name it. They hang and lie everywhere. Yes really, seriously. Many balls are homemade here, making it the ideal village to buy a ball as a gift for someone. Monguí is located in the region of Lago de Tota, a beautiful still fairly unknown gem in Colombia.
6. Iza (Boyacá)
Also located in the region of Lago de Tota, but a little closer to the lake, is Iza. Founded in 1556, the village today has just over 1,000 inhabitants. But how small, history is great. Not only is the colonial architecture beautiful, but also the culture in this small village. People still use looms here to make all kinds of things from cotton and wool and celebrate ancient festivals. If you are in the area be sure to visit Iza. I myself have been there about three times. Anyway, this area lends itself very well to touring by car, so consider car rental to explore Lago de Tota and its surroundings.
7. Villa de Leyva (Boyacá).
Like Barichara, Villa de Leyva is also among the most beautiful villages in Colombia. Consequently, this village is overrun by Bogotan tourists who want to spend the weekend here. Not surprisingly, because here you imagine yourself in history. Wander the white streets and enjoy good food. In addition, Plaza Mayor, Villa de Leyva’s central square measuring a whopping 120 by 120 meters, is one of the largest squares in South America. And yes that is actually impressive. Discover the beautiful old white houses inside and don’t forget the surroundings! Click here to learn more about Villa de Leyva and the surrounding area.
8. Santa Fe de Antioquia (Antioquia).
Many travelers in Medellín make a day trip to El Peñol and Guatapé, but did you know that Santa Fe de Antioquia is just as worthwhile? Indeed, this small town from 1541 was once the capital of Antioquiauntil the government handed over the baton to Medellín in 1826. Since then, Santa Fe de Antioquia has gone through life as just another cute little mountain village. Or well just… The village is still known as the oldest settlement in this area. And surely that is saying something. A visit to the scorching hot Santa Fe de Antioquia is a trip back in time. This village is certainly one of the most beautiful I have seen in Colombia. And there are quite a few of them. Wander the centuries-old streets, admire the 18th-century Santa Bárbara Church and drink fresh fruit juice to cool off a bit. This village is definitely recommended! You can read more about Santa Fe de Antioquia here.
9. Guatavita (Cundinamarca).
Another personal favorite: Guatavita. This beautiful white village located on a lake in Cundinamarcais of course not to be missed in this list. Since I lived almost next door I visited it regularly and no it never gets boring. Although there is not a whole lot to do, this is the ideal place to stock up on souvenirs before leaving for home, stroll through the very quaint streets of Guatavita, enjoy a coffee by the lake or as a base for visiting Laguna de Guatavita. Here in Guatavita everything is white and yes that is very beautiful. When I need a gift for a newborn baby, I always come to Guatavita as well: in fact, here is a little store where a lady knits very beautiful woolen clothes with other ladies in Cundinamarca that are too cute not to give as gifts. Click here for lots more fun and information about Guatavita!
10. Cucunubá (Cundinamarca).
Cucunubá can rightly be called the white surprise of Cundinamarca. This off-the-beaten-path village is like Villa de Leyva in miniature, but not touristy at all. There is not that much to do, but what there is to do is extra nice. Think eating the most delicious Greek yogurt desserts, feasting your eyes at the department’s cutest café, drinking Dutch tea or coffee and buying typical Colombian clothing. Curious? Read all about Cucunubá here.
Photo via Shutterstock
There is more!
And Colombia has many more beautiful white villages. San Agustín for example. Not the prettiest white village, but the base for Colombia’s archaeological destination. In addition, there are many white villages that I have yet to discover for myself. Consider Ciénaga (between Barranquilla and Santa Marta), Mompox (Bolívar), Playa de Belén (Norte de Santander), Tinjacá (near Villa de Leyva), Jericó (Boyacá ánd Antioquia), Salamina (Caldas, near Manizales), Guaduas(just before Honda from Bogotá) and Socorro (Santander, near San Gil and Barichara). All of these places are stunningly beautiful and off the beaten path, so be sure to visit if you’re in the area.
Do you also love white villages and towns? What is the most beautiful white village or town you have ever visited?