Mexico’s geographical, spiritual and cultural heartland, the Colonial Highlands are characterised by grand baroque architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, tree-lined shady plazas, dreamy afternoon siestas and a warm temperate climate. A land of mariachi, tequila, festivals, fireworks and sombreros that will ignite your senses and capture your heart.
It’s hard to resist the old-world charm of Mexico’s Colonial Highlands. Built from the wealth of the silver deposits found in the sierras north of Mexico City, this is an area rich in history and culture with a vibrant arts and culinary scene. The mild climate makes it feel like it is spring eternal, providing the perfect year-round environment in which to explore the romantic Spanish colonial cities this area is famous for.
After the Spanish Conquest in the early 16th century, the conquistadors and missionaries set about creating the tree-lined arcaded plazas, grand cathedrals, elaborate churches and cobblestoned streets that would remind them of the great Andalusian cities they had left back home. The legacy is an area of magnificent and well-preserved colonial towns and cities full of colour, style and laidback charm. Strong Catholic beliefs, along with regular celebrations and parades, all add to the atmosphere. Such are the delights of these towns and cities that many are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the former silver mining town of Guanajuato, the pink limestone city of Morelia, the home of Mexico’s national spirit, Tequila and the vibrant arts centre, San Miguel de Allende. Another highlight of this region is Mexico’s second city, Guadalajara birthplace of the sombrero, the Mexican hat dance and Mariachi bands.
All these towns and cities are wonderful to stroll around soaking up the Spanish Baroque architecture, discovering the churches, museums and art galleries, browsing the markets for traditional Mexican handicrafts and sitting in the shade of the plazas watching as life unfolds around you. Another feature of the region is the flourishing culinary scene, from street stalls to upscale restaurants Mexican cuisine appears to be having a moment and while we’d recommend the chance to visit a tequila distillery, the vineyards of the area are also worth exploring and are attracting increasing attention from the international wine industry.