October 1, 2021, 5:04 pm
Out of all the Colombian cities, Medellin is my favorite place. Colombia’s second-largest city is so green, has a great public transportation system, boasts fantastic weather and the people couldn’t be nicer. “The City of Eternal Spring” also has so many fun activities that will make you want to stay far longer than you originally planned. Keep reading to see the top things to do in Medellin, Colombia:
1. Plaza de Botero and the Museo de Antioquia
Both of these places are well-worth seeing and are right next to each other in the historic centre of Medellin. Plaza de Botero is a medium sized plaza full of sculptures created by the famous Colombian sculptor, Fernando Botero (originally from Medellin). He is famous for his style of painting, which makes everything look “chubby.” The sculptures in Plaza de Botero are no different. You’ll get to see chubby sculptures of animals, men, women, and children as you walk through this plaza. This is a great place to take children as well—you’ll find street vendors here selling sweets and toys and sometimes will see street performers putting on a show!
At one end of the Plaza de Botero, you’ll find the Museo de Antioquia. This is a fantastic art museum that houses both Colombian as well as international works of art. If you are a fan of Botero, or would like to get a taste of his painted “chubby”works after seeing his sculptures in the Plaza de Botero, I’d highly recommend you to tour the Museo de Antioquia. The museum also has an impressive and unique collection of Colombian modern art —to my surprise, it was also a much larger collection than of the Museo de Arte Moderno (MAMM), also in Medellin.
2. Parque Arvi and the Metrocable
If you aren’t into a museum plan, then maybe you should catch the Metrocable and head to Parque Arvi. It's another great thing to do in Medellin for anyone who likes nature. The Metrocable is an extension of the Metro system in Medellin and was designed to carry people to communities on the mountains surrounding the Valle de Aburra (Aburra Valley) where Medellin is located. As a tourist, the Metrocable can give you an incredible panoramic view of the city as you are lifted up and carried to and through mountainside neighborhoods and communities.
If you take the Metrocable far enough, it will take you to Parque Arvi, a park founded in 1987 by the government of Medellin. Now, the park is divided into several sectors, each one offering a unique outdoor experience. When you exit the Metrocable station, the first thing you come across is a tarp covered area full of vendors selling delicious traditional fruits, sweets, freshly made juices, and savory items—be sure to come hungry to take advantage of these handmade goodies. You’ll also find vendors selling unique handmade jewelry, bags, and clothing among other handicrafts.
Behind the vendors section is the official welcome area to the park, where park employees and guides can help you decide which sector of the park you’d like to visit, depending on what you’d like to do. In Parque Arvi, you can do everything from swimming to zip lining to visiting butterfly houses, and taking nature walks. If you like being in nature, this is the perfect plan for you. Be sure, though, to leave an entire day for Parque Arvi—you’ll need it!
3. Comuna 13
Comuna 13 used to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Medellin. After the government and community committed to improvements, the area is now a vibrant spot to see large works of graffiti and learn about Colombian urban culture. The neighborhood is located high above the city, which is great for taking beautiful pictures of Medellin from above. Comuna 13 tours introduce you to some of the local artists and hear firsthand (with a translator’s help) how this area of Medellin turned itself around.
4. Museo el Castillo (Castle Museum)
If you’re thinking, “Is there really a castle in Medellin?” the answer is YES! The Castle Museum is housed inside of a French style castle perched on a hill above the city. It’s surrounded by beautiful gardens and is home to several Cypress trees brought all the way from Italy.
Inside the museum, you’ll find an impressive collection of furniture, china, paintings, and books brought from Europe by the family that used to inhabit this incredible castle. The Castle Museum is only seen by group tour, which begins every hour, on the hour (as of the last time I was there). As you walk through the museum, your guide will also tell you the unique story of the generous family that constructed the castle and how the family home was turned into the unique museum it is today.
Also, here you can find the perfect guide to plan your trip to Medellin!
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