The cobbled streets, horse carts and lazy atmosphere of whitewashed San Juan de Girón are a world away in time, but just 9km from bustling Bucaramanga. The pleasant town was founded in 1631 on the banks of the Río de Oro. In 1963 it was declared a national monument. Today it's a magnet for artists and day-trippers, anxious to escape the city but in exchange for an increase in temperature – Girón sits in a breezeless hole in the valley and bakes most of the year.
Stroll Girón's narrow cobblestone streets, looking at whitewashed houses, shaded patios, small stone bridges and the waterfront malecón (promenade). The Catedral del Señor de los Milagros on Parque Principal (the main plaza) was begun in 1646 but not completed until 1876. Don't miss the pleasant plazas, Plazuela Peralta and Plazuela de las Nieves, which features a charming village church, the 18th-century Capilla de las Nieves.