The colourful culture and architectural artistry of San Miguel de Allende have long lured international travellers to its charming centre—and for good reason. The energy in San Miguel is palpable. Euphoric. It lures you in, befriends you, and beseeches you to stay.

Set like a crown jewel in the centre of Mexico’s green highlands of the Guanajuato state, San Miguel is a four-hour drive northwest of Mexico City. Its cobbled, hilly streets and colonial-era buildings painted in hues of rose, crimson and ochre lead visitors past artisanal shops, boutiques, art galleries, bars, and an impressive selection of stylish restaurants and hotels. Many of which are housed in centuries-old haciendas encircling Spanish-style courtyards overflowing with lush green foliage, reminders of San Miguel’s days as an affluent mining town.

In a world where globalization and commercial developments have robbed many cities of their lustre, this 500-year-old gem magically remains unscathed. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, San Miguel’s historical beauty is carefully preserved.  No new buildings. No traffic lights. And with just 200,000 residents it serves as a testament to the calm that envelopes this picturesque mountain town. 

San Miguel’s main attraction is the impressive Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, a pink Neo-gothic church with limestone spires that rise above the historic town centre in lovely El Jardín plaza. El Jardín is the heart of San Miguel; the grand hostess to a myriad of lively fiestas and processions, where any given day is a celebration and everyone is invited to the party.        

Built on the hills of an extinct volcano, comfortable walking shoes are a must in San Miguel. Every turn along its scenic streets provides an Instagram-worthy moment, but it’s the uphill climb to El Mirador viewpoint that will reward you with the most incredible view. If Mexico had a Florence, San Miguel de Allende would be it. 

San Miguel is a truly romantic place; its fairy tale setting a favourite among weekenders and wealthy Mexicans who descend upon the festive town to exchange vows. San Miguel weddings take on cinematic flourish with the colourful callejonada, a pre-wedding parade led by a brightly-decorated donkey pulling a tequila cart, mariachi band and dancing Mojigangas (giant papier-mâché marionettes that represent the bride and groom). 

Dining alfresco in San Miguel is also a magical experience of story book proportions. Some of the most magnificent city views are tucked inside the charming rooftops of San Miguel de Allende’s finest restaurants. Enter La Posadita, where patrons sip wine and dine on traditional Mexican dishes beneath a starlit sky just a stone’s throw from the cathedral. 

San Miguel’s beauty is intoxicating, garnering it international attention and numerous accolades. Thanks to its eternal spring weather, yearlong festivities and array of excursions, it is as popular with Mexicans as it is foreigners. The kind of destination you seek out, and think of as your own little secret hideaway.