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Medellin Travel Guide - Explore the City of Eternal Springs!

May 5, 2021, 5:45 pm

1- Why Visit Medellin?

Due to its recent resurgence in popularity, Medellin is fast becoming one of the go-to destinations for 2021 and beyond. Located in a valley and surrounded by a mountain range, its landscape is one of the most impressive to witness. A vibrant city with a rich history of art and culture, there is much to see and learn when visiting it. 
The downtown historic centre is home to government buildings and museums. Much of the building's architecture has been preserved through the years, and the best way to explore it is by foot down the beautiful cobblestone streets. Some of the more prominent places include:

  • The Museo El Castillo, an old French castle-cum-museum set atop a hill, offers incredible views of Medellin while beautifully cared for gardens adorn its flanks. A stroll through the gardens will allow you to take in every angle of this enchanting castle and pretend for a moment that you are the King/Queen of the castle wandering its perfect gardens. 
  • Plaza Botero, is a square dedicated to Colombia’s most famous artist, Fernando Botero. The plaza is dedicated to him and his art, with 23 sculptures displayed for all to see. The plaza can get quite busy at times due to its location in the centre of Medellin, but it is well worth braving the crowds to witness these large sculptures in person. The sculptures are varied and quirky, and you can spend a fun afternoon taking pictures with them.
  • The annual ‘Flower Festival’ takes over the streets of Medellin over a week in August. Immense flower creations take part in a procession down the streets of the town. It is one of the most beautiful parades to attend, thanks to the vibrant colours and enticing fragrances from the plants. Live music is also a big part of the festivities and adds a vibrant atmosphere to the parade. Don’t be shy to join the crowds in a dance or two!

Comuna 13 is a prime example of the incredible changes the city has made. Once a central neighbourhood in the drug arena, it has now become one of the key places to visit in Medellin. Its rehabilitation has seen it become a hub of art and urban culture, with graffiti adorning its walls with messages meant to empower and educate. A neighbourhood that will leave a lasting impact on anyone that visits. 

2- The outer reaches of Medellin

On the outskirts of the city lies Guatape, a small town known for its colourful buildings and incredible surrounding landscape. The town is a burst of colour with every building and house a different vibrant colour. It is no doubt the most colourful town you will ever visit, and walking down the alley gives the feeling that you are in the middle of a painting yourself.  The people of Guatape are friendly, and the opportunity to exchange with them is best done over food. Follow the delicious smell of melting cheese and deep-fried goodness to the street food market, where you will be able to share with locals over empanadas and arepas. 

  • El Penol is a 200m-granite monolith that visitors can hike up to and enjoy awe-inspiring views from the top.

Another great day trip from Medellin is the town of Santa Fe de Antioquia, a charming colonial town that will sweep you back in time. Men sit in the main town square with cowboy hats atop their head, discussing the latest news, while a few meters away, market vendors sell their unique fruits such as starfruit, tamarind and guanabana. On a Sunday evening, wander down the streets, and you will be able to hear the music and singing floating from the large number of churches scattered across the town. 

  • The main attraction here is the Puente Occidente, a suspension bridge that bridges the river Cauca and connects the town to the east of the river. 
  • Santa Fe de Antioquia also has a large variety of museums that showcase religious artwork as well as precious antiques that are unique and showcase the important heritage of the town. 
  • For nature lovers, this is also a great location to spend the day as the surroundings offer a lot of opportunities to explore flora and fauna, such as horseback riding, hiking the mountainous region and waterfalls, as well as paragliding. 

3- An epicurean’s dream

Medellin comes alive in the evenings when the large number of restaurants and bars in the city open their door to the night festivities. Food is an important part of any culture but even more so in Medellin, and there is no short supply of restaurants to choose from. 

Traditional food such as Bandeja Paisa, a dish made of ground meat, rice, beans, and a fried egg served alongside an avocado, tomato and speciality sauces, is a must-have when here. 

There are bars to suit every mood, from dancing the night away to chatting with locals about the day's news. For those who enjoy partying, salsa dancing is a big part of Colombian culture and a great way to meet new people and learn a new skill. No doubt you will be spending your evening dancing the night away. 

  • Parque Lleras is the more up and coming area of Medellin, with many of the bars offering live music in a chic and elevated ambience. 
  • Parque Poblado is the exotic counterpart to Parque Lleras, with many students choosing this area to relax and party. The area is informal, with lots of people choosing to sit on the grass in the neighbouring park while enjoying a cool beer and listening to live music.

4- Uncover Colombia tours

An unmissable part of any holiday to Colombia, Medellin is a must-visit while in the country. Uncover Colombia gives travellers the opportunity to see Medellin and its surroundings as a native would as part of a wider Colombia tour as well as through distinct add ons. We offer tours and experiences that cater to specific tastes but also take you to the heart and soul of the city. A true immersion into Colombian culture and life.

Our day tours contain various different experiences and activities to fully discover this wondrous city and its surroundings. 

  • The Comuna 13 tour takes travellers through the history of Comuna 13 and the government’s work to improve the neighbourhood making it the place it is today. Our guides take you through the area and explain the meaning and symbolism behind some of the more important art. 
  • On the other hand, a visit to Santa Elena for our Flower Farm tour will take visitors on the journey of flower cultivation as well as the behind the scenes creation process of the silletas, the flower arrangements that are used during the Flower Festival. It is truly a sight to behold to witness all of these beautiful flowers in different colours and hues spread out in front of you. 
  • The Guatape and El Penol tour is the perfect excursion to discover Medellin’s landscape and take part in some physical activity. This is one of the best ways to appreciate Colombia’s beautiful nature. The tour incorporates a challenging climb up the 600 steps to the top of El Penol as well as a boat trip across the reservoir. 
  • The town of Guatape pays homage to its roots with its colourful houses decorated with zocalos, painted carvings that adorn the entrance to houses. A visit here combines both fun and learning, the best of both worlds.

Medellin is an enchanting city that truly embodies all that makes Colombia a fascinating, warm and interesting destination. After having spent a couple of days learning about its intriguing urban culture and interacting with locals, travellers will undoubtedly fall in love with this beautiful city. It is a destination unlike any other and one not to miss on your Colombian holiday.  

If you have any questions, do get in touch with us as we would be thrilled to discuss the many ways to include Medellin in your trip to Colombia. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandra Coeln

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