San Miguel de Allende is one of the most beautiful colonial towns. In fact, in 2017 and 2018, Travel + Leisure, a highly rated travel magazine, rated San Miguel de Allende as the best city in the world. The results were based on a survey that included responses from thousands of verified visitors.
With San Miguel de Allende, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, you will find charming streets that perfectly blend the small-town life with the cosmopolitan pleasures of a big city. The architecture of this town in particular dates back to the colonial era and current legal restrictions ensure that all new buildings conform to the existing architecture. You can hardly tell them apart.
The significant history and modern culture of this wonderful town make San Miguel de Allende a famous, fun, and sophisticated destination.
Here’s a Bit of History
San Miguel de Allende was established in the 14th century as protection for the royal road in the interior of the country. The name of this town comes from the Franciscan monk Juan de San Miguel, who supported the Indians. Allende was later added in 1826 to honor a native son, Ignacio Allende, a former royal army officer in the revolution against Spain. His birthplace and home is now a house museum near El Jardin, the leafy main square.
Like many pre-colonial towns ravaged by war, this town came to its peak in the 18th century, a time when many religious and civil buildings embraced the Mexican Baroque style. Most of the buildings used a transitional style between the Baroque and Neoclassical.
However, at the beginning of the 20th century, San Miguel de Allende was at risk of becoming a ghost town after an influenza pandemic. Fortunately, the wonderful architecture started attracting foreign artists who moved in and began art and cultural institutes like the Escuela de Bella Artes.
In recent years, the town has transformed from a sleepy Colonial hill town without traffic to a magnet for international visitors.
If you have not been here before, here are other cool and interesting facts about San Miguel:
Speaking of great places to take a photo, San Miguel de Allende consists of many preserved and colonial architecture. Something you don’t find everywhere. A picture in front of Parroquia de San Miguel, the tallest building in the city is a local church that looks like a cathedral with a façade of pink limestone looks great any way you see it.
In fact, the view from the center looks like something straight from a fairytale.
The City is Full of Flowers
Flowering violet-colored jacaranda trees are native to this region. During the months of April and March, the streets are full of an even carpet of purple flowers adding to the already existing aesthetics of the town.
The Food is Amazing
San Miguel de Allende is slowly becoming a haven for gourmet specialties as well as many international options. From the scrumptious “chilaquiles con arrachera” to French toast and pastries, you can find everything here.
But you did not come all this way to eat what you are used to, right? Many local restaurants in the area use local ingredients whenever possible. Make sure to visit for a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine.
The shops in San Miguel de Allende have a mix of art galleries, souvenir shops, old stores, and modern boutiques.
Most tourists spend hours just walking through these stores and never get bored thanks to the wonderful items they contain. Along the streets, you can also find local artisans selling handmade Mexican souvenirs.
Fun for Everyone
There are many excursions at San Miguel de Allende. From horseback riding through the canyons, tours of the historical sites and ruins, local vineyard visits to hot air balloon rides, there is never a dull moment when visiting.
The nightlife is also not too bad. After 11 a. m night owls can enjoy cocktails on the many rooftop bars. How much fun you have, depends on you.
Before You Go
Above are some interesting things you might not have known about the beautiful town of San Miguel de Allende. If you plan on visiting make sure you try everything out, you might find some interesting things of your own.