Bogotá: Colombia’s Capital – the Top 10 Places of Interest
Sunny weather, incredibly beautiful beaches, and action! Bogotá offers all that and more. Tourism has greatly increased over the past years – and for good reason. If you want to have a great time, Colombia’s capital is the perfect destination. In this article, we’ll tell you why Bogotá is such an interesting city and introduce you to our top ten places of interest. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Bogotá in a Nutshell
Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia, located in the north-western part of South America. It is home to more than 7 million people, and that number will continue to grow. After all, Colombia’s capital is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The city was high on the list of the world’s largest metropolises as early as 2015.
Due to being close to the equator, Colombia’s climate is tropical. So, be ready for high temperatures and humidity. Bogotá’s climate is mild throughout the year. Colombia’s peak season is from December to March, making it the best time for you to explore the city. If you want to learn more about Colombia and Bogotá’s climate, check out our climate guide.
Bogotá’s local specialties will certainly impress you. Be sure to try ajiaco, a soup made of potatoes, chicken, rice, and avocado. No wonder it’s one of Bogotá’s specialties – it just tastes amazing. Adding capers to your soup will result in an even more intense flavor.
Because of the high population and the many visitors, the city’s transport network is really well-structured. So, you can choose to take advantage of public transportation like buses or trains to get around the city. The bus company TransMilenio will give you a great overview of the bus and train connections and schedules.
In Bogotá, tradition is very important. That’s why we highly recommend you visit the many events that take place here every year. That way, you’ll experience both memorable traditions and modern influences. The most popular events are the Festivals al Parque. It’s a music festival, with each month being dedicated to a particular genre. Starting with rock, the Rock al Parque takes place at the beginning of July. Then comes the Jazz Festival al Parque at the end of September. If you’re a fan of hip-hop, go check out the Hip-Hop al Parque at the beginning of October. During the first days of November, you can dance to rhythmical salsa music. But the biggest event ever is the Colombia al Parque. It takes place at the end of July and offers a unique insight into Colombian music and traditions.
Even though all the events feature famous and respected artists, you can shake a leg and enjoy the great atmosphere here completely free of charge! It looks like music is of great importance in Bogotá. Did you know that UNESCO named Bogotá a City of Music in 2013? The locals were very proud of this distinction.
The Top 10 Places of Interest in Bogotá
Now on to our top 10 places of interest in Bogotá. Have fun!
This is the city’s central square. Its history dates back to the pre-Columbian era, meaning before Christopher Columbus’ expedition in 1492! You can still see traces of its culture and history if you look around. Plaza Bolívar is surrounded by historical buildings, like the cathedral Catedral Primada de Colombia, the Palacio Liévanooder, and the town hall. Moreover, you’ll see the city’s first official monument: a statue of the South American independence fighter Simón Bolívar from 1864.
Museo del Oro
The Museo del Oro, founded in 1939, is Bogotá’s famous gold museum. It counts as the world’s biggest and most precious gold museum. Since its foundation, many treasures have been added, bringing the exhibition to over 35,000 pieces! You’ll not only see gold but also other precious objects like clay pieces or shells. Be sure to check out the gold raft of Eldorado, an 18 cm-long raft made of gold that dates back to the time between 600 and 1600 AD. How special!
Simón Bolívar Park
This is the perfect place to wind down and relax. In the heart of the city, a 400 hectares wide green area is waiting for you – the Simón Bolívar Park. It is not a typical tourist attraction, which will make your stay even more relaxing. Go for a stroll, have a picnic, or rent a boat to swim on the lake. Moreover, many local vendors display their wares here, so maybe you’ll even find some great souvenirs for your loved ones!
The art museum Museo Botero is one of the city’s most beautiful. It is named after the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero. In addition to works by Botero himself, there is also art by many other world-famous painters on display, like Picasso or Dalí. And why is it one of the most beautiful museums? Mostly because of the building itself. It is surrounded by beautiful courtyards, inviting you to linger and take a walk. You can also have a bite to eat in the restaurant. Moreover, admission to the museum is free of charge.
Cerro de Monserrate
If you want to see Bogotá from above, we recommend an excursion to the top of the 3,152 meters high mountain Monserrate. It is considered a landmark of Bogotá because it can be seen from everywhere. At the top of the mountain, an amazing view awaits you, in addition to a basilica that was built in the 17th century. You can reach the mountain either by funicular or cable car. There is also a hiking trail. Be sure to dress appropriately since the weather can be pretty unpredictable.
Barrio La Candelaria, the smallest neighborhood in Bogotá
This city district is a must-see on your trip. It may be the smallest neighborhood in Bogotá, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not much to see. On the contrary, it is one of the city’s most popular areas. This is mostly thanks to the old town’s enchanting flair. Take a stroll near the many colorful houses or stop for a coffee. Moreover, Barrio La Candelaria is considered a cultural center where you can visit numerous libraries, theaters, and museums.
Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao
If you want to enjoy local specialties, then visit the traditional farmers’ market, Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao. Careful though! You may spend the entire day here. Here, you will marvel at the variety of food items and dishes. From fruits and vegetables to fish and meat – you’ll find everything your heart desires!
Museo Nacional de Colombia
The Museo Nacional de Colombia is the oldest museum in Colombia, having been founded by the then president in 1823. There are currently 20,000 pieces in the exhibition, which is divided into four different collections: history, ethnography, art, and archeology. In total, the museum holds more than 30 million artifacts! Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? No wonder does it represent Colombian culture.
Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen
The Catholic church Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen is very special, mostly thanks to the red and white stripes that are visible both on the outside façade and on the inside. The atmosphere is unique, too. The history of the church is palpable here: it was built in the early 20th century in the Gothic style. It’s definitely worth a visit. A real eye-catcher!
Teatro Colon Bogotá
Finally, we highly recommend a visit to the Teatro Colon Bogotá, a national theater built in 1885 in the neoclassical style. Both the outside and the inside will leave you speechless. The auditorium can accommodate a total of 785 people. This visit will certainly enrich your trip to Bogotá. If you are lucky, you might get a seat on the pompous and sought-after balconies. But no matter where you sit, it will certainly be a spectacular experience!
We’d like to just pack our things and travel to Bogotá. Do you feel the same way? How could you not, when this city has so much to offer. We’re talking about the fastest growing city in the world, after all. Try the local specialties, like ajiaco. Or stroll through the farmers’ market Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao and taste some more local food.
But Bogotá also has a lot to offer in terms of culture. Museums like the Museo del Oro or the Museo Nacional de Colombia will give you a great insight into the country’s culture and history. You can also enjoy the city’s nature on many excursions. For instance, go to the Cerro de Monserrate or spend some time at the Simón Bolívar Park. No matter what you decide to do, Bogotá will blow you away. So pack your bags and go! We wish you a lot of fun!