Bogotá, the pulsing heart of Colombia, offers an intoxicating blend of history, culture and modern-day allure. Sitting at more than 2,600 meters high in the Andes, this city is much more than Colombia’s capital—it’s a vibrant metropolis brimming with must-see places that cater to every kind of traveler.
From its historic district to its world-class museums, Bogotá promises an unforgettable experience for those ready to explore. Here are the top 10 attractions every visitor to Bogotá should, in my opinion, see while visiting the Colombian Capital!
The top 10 attractions in Bogotá Colombia
Bogotá: The Colombian Capital
Bogotá, the Colombian capital, is a sprawling metropolis nestled between the Guadalupe and Monserrate mountains. Its high-altitude location, coupled with its extensive history, vibrant arts scene and a plethora of dining options, make it an enticing destination for culture lovers and foodies alike.
Adventure-seekers will also find plenty to do in the lush Andean landscapes and surrounding towns. Bogotá and it’s surrounds offer opportunities for paragliding, hiking, eco-tourism and even waterfall sightings.
Explore La Candelaria
Arguably one of the top tourist attractions in Bogotá, the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria is a vibrant district brimming with character. Known for its cobblestone streets, colorful Spanish colonial buildings and a plethora of street art, this area is a sensory feast for any visitor.
La Candelaria is often the first stop for tourists, thanks to its close proximity to most of the city’s main attractions. It has the highest density of museums and hostels in Bogotá.
Wander through La Candelaria’s narrow lanes, admire the stunning murals and step into the past by visiting the many cathedrals scattered throughout the area. For a unique experience, drop by one of the many bars, cafes and restaurants to soak in the local atmosphere.
Discover The Wonders Of The Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)
Bogotá is home to the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world, housed in the world renowned Gold Museum (Museo del Oro). With over 30,000 pieces of gold and other materials, the museum offers an in-depth look into the history and craftsmanship of Colombia’s pre-Hispanic cultures.
Explore the three floors filled with artifacts, each dedicated to a different theme. Learn about the mining process, how these precious metals were crafted into stunning jewelry, masks or armor. And delve into the spiritual significance of gold in everyday Colombian life.
With a small entrance fee, the Gold Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and culture. But for the best experience of this world renowned museum, skip the audio guide which is nearly useless and get yourself a guided tour.
Guides can be obtained from just out front of the museum or by booking ahead. Yet do note that the credentials of the people offering tours out front of the museum can’t be verified. And I would suggest booking a tour ahead of time online. I would also suggest visiting the International Emerald Museum next door while seeing the Gold Museum.
Embark On A Journey To Monserrate
For the best panoramic views of Bogotá, make your way to Monserrate. Located atop the city’s eastern hills, this mountain is a symbol of the Colombian capital and is visited by locals and tourists alike.
A church and monestary, a few restaurants and a market selling local handicrafts can be found at the summit. But the real draw for Monserrate is the breathtaking view of the city and surrounding countryside.
There are several ways to reach the summit, including a funicular railway, a cable car or by walking trail up the side of the mountain. The walking trail is physically demanding and should be left to the more adventurous sightseers.
No matter how you choose to ascend, a visit to Monserrate is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Bogotá. And a visit to Monserrate will give you the most spectacular photo opportunities you’ll find anywhere in the city.
Do note that it’s best to visit Monserrate earlier in the morning. And I would strongly recommend avoiding Monserrate on weekends and public holidays. The lines for the funicular and cable car can be intense on weekends and public holidays.
Explore the Botanical Gardens in Bogotá
Bogotá’s Botanical Gardens offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Opened in 1955, the gardens are home to almost 20,000 plants. And the Botanical Gardens have a particular focus on regional plants endemic to the Andes and other high-alpine regions of the continent.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens, marvel at the exotic flowers and indulge in a quick bite from the nearby food stalls. Be sure to take small change in cash with you, to buy food and drinks from street venders while visiting the gardens.
Visit the Iconic Plaza Bolivar in Bogotá
The Plaza Bolivar serves as the city’s main square, housing key government buildings, the Palace of Justice and the Cathedral of Bogotá. The heart of the city, Plaza Bolivar is a tapestry of history and culture, boasting buildings dating back to the 16th century.
The plaza is a lively spot, often filled with locals and tourists feeding the numerous pigeons that call this square home. You can buy corn to feed the pigeons and they will land all over you for an iconic photo opportunity. But be warned, the pigeons aren’t trained and they will poop on you.
Visit the Catedral Primada in Bogotá
Located on the Plaza Bolivar in the heart of La Candelaria neighborhood, the Catedral Primada is a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts. The cathedral’s stunning neoclassical design dates back to the early 19th century and represents a significant part of the city’s history and heritage.
From intricate stained glass windows to beautiful side chapels, this cathedral is a feast for the eyes. It sits on the Plaza de Bolivar and should be viewed from the square and adjacent streets before you tour inside. Sit on the Catedral Primada’s iconic steps and feed the Plaza de Bolivar pigeons for a relaxing afternoon.
Delve into the Simon Bolivar Park Botanic Garden
For nature lovers, the Simon Bolivar Park Botanic Garden is a must-visit. Slightly larger than New York’s Central Park, this expansive space offers lakes, bike paths, walkways and even a public library.
The adjacent Botanical Garden Jose Celestino Mutis is home to a variety of national flora from different climatic zones, making it a great spot for a peaceful stroll or a leisurely picnic.
Shop at the Usaquen Market
The Usaquen Market is a popular weekend destination in Bogotá, offering visitors a unique blend of traditional crafts, delectable local Colombian cuisine and vibrant street performances. The market is a hub for local artists and food vendors, providing an authentic taste of Colombian culture.
From handmade crafts to mouth-watering street food, the Usaquen Market has something for everyone. Usaquen has a family friendly atmosphere and is awash with boutique cafes. For those on a family vacation, Usaquen offers the best accommodation options if you’re traveling to Bogotá with children.
Discover the City’s Flea Markets
Bogotá’s flea markets are a treasure trove of original and unusual items. From antiques to handicrafts, these markets offer a unique shopping experience. Enjoy live street performances, try out local snacks and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the city’s flea markets.
On any day of the week you can walk along Carrera 7 from Centro Internacional to La Candelaria and enjoy what is a huge open-air flea market. With everything from street venders and buskers through to old men playing chess. Carrera 7 is particularly lively on weekends.
Experience the Nightlife in Northern Bogotá
If you’re looking for a taste of Bogotá’s nightlife, head to the city’s northern area. This part of town is known for its upscale restaurants, craft beer breweries, cafes, shops and nightclubs.
Areas like Zona G, Zona Rosa and Parque 93 are bustling with life. With each of Bogotá’s suburbs offering endless options for a fun night out in the city.
When it comes to must-see places in Bogotá, the city’s rich history, vibrant culture and exciting attractions make Bogotá the perfect destination for anyone looking to explore a Latin American capital.
Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover or an adventurer, Bogotá has something to offer every type of traveler. So why wait? Start planning your trip to Bogotá today!
Where Can I Get More Information On Bogotá?
I’ve made my Bogotá Colombia City Guide available on this website. And I recommend you read it before traveling to Colombia. It will help you navigate Bogotá and Colombian society.
My Bogotá Colombia City Guide will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Colombia. Colombia is not the sort of destination in which you can just arrive unprepared.
Read the Bogotá Colombia City Guide here.