Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, blends a distinct European flavor with a welcoming small-town feel. Enjoy the many aspects of this coastal city: 18th- and 19th-century edifices in its historic center, a vibrant arts scene and upmarket beachside suburbs.
Start your visit in the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town), the historical area that sits on a western peninsula of the city. Here you’ll find major attractions, such as the Mercado del Puerto, a market area with parrillas (steakhouses), craft shops and street performers. Spot European art and furniture at the Museum of Decorative Arts, set inside the French-style Palacio Taranco.
Stroll along pedestrianized Sarandi street and browse galleries, antique stores and stands selling artisanal items. Stop at Plaza Constitución to admire the 18th-century Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral and the 19th-century neoclassical old city hall, the MontevideoCabildo.
Take time to explore Plaza Independencia, which connects the Ciudad Vieja with central Montevideo. Look for the Puerta de la Ciudadela (Gateway of the Citadel), the last-surviving landmark of fortified Montevideo. See work by Uruguayan artist Joaquin Torres Garcia at the Museo Torres Garcia. Watch an opera or take a backstage tour at Teatro Solís.
Make your way over to Parque Batlle and experience the passion of a South American soccer match at the Centenary Stadium. Soccer fans will appreciate the displays of memorabilia at the Museum of Football.
Be sure to walk along picturesque La Rambla, a riverside promenade that stretches from the city port through exclusive beach suburbs such as Pocitos and Carrasco. The promenade is lined with public parks, beaches, bars and restaurants. It’s also home to the open-air Teatro de Verano, a main venue during the city’s carnival celebrations. Come here to watch traditional murga and candombé song and dance performances.
Reach Montevideo by plane, bus or ferry. Once in the city, use the efficient and low-cost public buses to get around. Consider using long-haul bus services or renting a car to see more of this small country known for its wine-growing regions, beautiful beaches and friendly locals.