Bolivia's former silver city is golden getaway

15th May 2013

Bolivia once boasted South America's wealthiest city, including the world's largest 16th century industrial complex.

This was thanks to the silver that once lay beneath its hills.

Today Potosi may not be quite so grand, but it still boasts a golden legacy which makes it a city break destination to treasure.

One of the world's highest cities at 4,090 metres (13,420ft), it still shares the spoils of its grandiose past.

Beautiful buildings, pretty churches and ornate colonial mansions helped secure its Unesco World Heritage site status.

Potosi hosts a wealth of cultural sites, including the 17th century Convento de Santa Teresa, home to Carmelite nuns.

Equally alluring is the Casa Nacional de Moneda, the former Royal Mint which is now home to a brilliant museum packed with gorgeous art and artefacts reflecting a more affluent past. Two-to-three-hour guided English tours are available.

Cerro Rico's mines will also fascinate.

Don your overalls and a hard hat, and if you aren't affected by claustrophobia you'll find it an unforgettable experience.

Potosi is accessible to other Bolivian hotspots.

From here, holidaymakers can head to the laid-back city of Sucre for café-hopping, wandering the cobbled streets and searching for the famous dinosaur footprints in the adjoining countryside.

Or you could move onwards from Potosi to the Uyuni Salt Flat - easily Bolivia's biggest tourist attraction.

Here, you can experience a sensation of blinding white salt beneath your feet, cobalt blue skies and spectacular surrounds.

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