San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

A relaxed city of cobbled streets, brightly coloured clay buildings, leafy public squares and even a neo-Gothic cathedral that draws Sagrada Familia comparisons, San Miguel de Allende looks like it could fit in as easily in Italy as it does into the central Mexican countryside. Surrounded by verdant rolling hills and other equally picturesque towns, it proves that Mexico is far more than the beaches of Cabo and Cancun. The city originally rose to prominence during the Mexican War of Independence; since its “rediscovery” in the 1930s, it has attracted artists and food-lovers from around the world both to its famous language school, the Instituto Allende, and to rehabilitate villas of their own. Now, it is home to some of the best restaurants in Mexico, a wide range of galleries featuring local artwork and handicrafts and one of the highest qualities of life in the country.

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When to go

There’s never a bad time to go to San Miguel. The weather is temperate year-round, with warm days and cool nights standard. February and March tend to be the driest months, April through August can get hot and June is usually the rainiest month. Around Christmas and New Year is generally considered the high season, but the city is a popular destination throughout the year.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    The closest airport is Del Bajío International (BJX), under two hours’ drive from the hotel. Connecting flights are available from most major cities, though United (www.united.com), American (www.aa.com) and Aeroméxico (www.aeromexico.com) offer direct flights from Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles. Direct flights from most major international cities are available into Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX), around a three-hour drive.
  • Automobiles

    Roads in Guanajuato are well-paved and safe enough, making rental cars a reasonable option. Most major car hire companies have outposts at the airport. Depending upon which route you take, the drive should take under two hours; the hotel offers free valet parking. Note, however, that you don’t need a car in San Miguel and will only want one for excursions outside the city, for which you could easily hire a driver.