Any trip to Mexico should include a visit to San Miguel de Allende. Chosen best city in the world in 2013 by Condé Nast Traveler, this small and intimate town is located in the state of Guanajuato, 265 miles northeast of Mexico City. Declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its role in the struggle for Mexican independence and for its cultural and architectural contributions, San Miguel de Allende is a post card destination full of beautiful landscapes, intact colonial buildings and streets rich with history. No wonder many consider it the most beautiful city in the country.
Set in a mountainous terrain with a temperate climate and famous for its hot springs, San Miguel de Allende is an ideal escape or relaxation. The boutique hotels and restful spas, magnificent Mexican cuisine based on the finest organic produce and its many cultural and artistic venues always invite visitors to return. In fact, more and more foreign tourists select San Miguel de Allende as the perfect place for a permanent retirement.
To delve into its baroque atmosphere and visit sites such as the Parish of Saint Michael Archangel—Patron Saint of the city—take us back to the 17th and 18th centuries with the impressive Neo-gothic style of its architecture. Countless couples choose this parish to celebrate their weddings and take advantage of the numerous hotels, ranches, farms and gardens in the area for their receptions and honeymoons.
Thousands of people— including Catholics, locals and visitors— participate in the Holy Week and Easter festivities, one of the longest established traditions in town. The solemn processions are especially memorable. During the celebration of “The holy burial”, among sacred chants and music performed by the Valle de Santiago Orchestra, participants dress up to accompany to the grave the body of Jesus lying on a glass case carried by 36 men. And if you are particularly interested in history, San Miguel de Allende offers an extensive calendar of yearly events.
Take the time to explore the old City Hall built in 1736, where the first council of independent Mexico was installed, or the Casa de Allende, a neoclassical palace from the mid 18th century, that was witness to the birth of the illustrious Ignacio Allende and has been converted into a historical museum.
In San Miguel de Allende, history and culture join forces with the cosmopolitan spirit of its international restaurants, luxury hotels, stately colonial homes, gardens and terraced bars, boutiques and craft shops. Undoubtedly, this magical city is a great retreat for artists, musicians, celebrities and travelers who love art and the bohemian lifestyle. Those who know it never tire of calling it “the best city in the world.” ■