A fascinating blend of old and new where colonial architecture meets modern skyscrapers, Santafé de Bogota is Colombia’s largest city and capital founded by the conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada in 1538. Surrounded by lush hills, Bogotá sits at 2600m above sea-level on a plateau high in the country’s central Andes. Famed throughout the continent for its libraries and universities, the generously dubbed “Athens of South America”, Bogotá is a wonderful introduction to Colombia and well worth a few days.
At its heart, the historic old town of La Candelaria teems with beautiful architecture, colonial facades and churches awash with old-world charm. The magnificent cathedral looms high over the impressive Plaza Bolivar bound by the imposing buildings of the Palace of Justice, National Congress and Liévano Town Hall. From the plaza, cobbled streets radiate out and house some of the country’s finest museums and galleries including the “Casa de la Moneda” Mint, the Gold Museum and Museo Botero art collection. By contrast, the buzzing suburbs of Zona T, Zona G and La Macarena capture the dynamic energy of modern Colombia and are renowned for their fine dining and vibrant nightlife. Escaping the bustle of central Bogota, a funicular railway and cable car lead up Monserrate Hill for breathtaking views over the city, beautifully lit up at night.