Mexico is rich in beautiful colonial cities. But topping our table of favorites is San Miguel, which stands out for its vibrant, exciting atmosphere. Go to a gallery opening, watch traditional dance, have cocktails at a trendy new bar, or take a class. It’s all possible in San Miguel—and in beautiful surroundings, too.
Mérida, Oaxaca and Guanajuato are pretty much a three-way tie. Oaxaca and Guanajuato may have the edge in sheer beauty. But Mérida’s grandeur is kept lively by the music in the streets most evenings.
You may not have heard of a few of our picks, such as Pátzcuaro or even nearby Morelia, both in west-central Mexico. Their expat communities are smaller and they’re a bit off the radar…but they offer magnificent colonial living. Really, for beautiful surroundings you can’t go wrong with any on this list—or with a dozen other scenic cities in Mexico.
Below is International Living's top 10 picks for the best colonial cities in Mexico.
1. San Miguel de Allende
5. San Cristóbal de las Casas
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