Feb 8, 2017|
Last updated on March 23rd, 2021 at 10:47 am
Top 6 Things to do in Montevideo, Uruguay
Home to a beautiful coastline, charming towns, green countryside dotted with cattle, and a welcoming, laid-back atmosphere is South America’s best-kept secret, Montevideo. There are plenty of things to do in Montevideo for every traveler. Whether you enjoy lounging on the beach, exploring the city streets, or sampling some of the best local food, there is something for you in Montevideo. In our list of the top 6 things to do in Montevideo, we will explore the Tristán Narvaja Street Market, Plaza Virgilio, Market (Ciudad Vieja y Mercado del Puerto), and more. Follow along!
1. Shop at the Tristán Narvaja Street Market
First up on our list of the top 6 things to do in Montevideo is go shopping at the Tristan Narvaja Street Market. If you find yourself in Montevideo on a Sunday you can’t miss this famous market in the neighborhood of ‘Cordón.’ This huge flea market is home to everything you never knew you needed and stretches from the city’s main avenue ’18 de Julio’ and runs for seven blocks. For locals, the market is a Sunday ritual for simply browsing, or for picking up fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta, or cheese.
Other than the essentials, you can find anything from clothes to books, to CDs, records, antiques, electronics, and even pets! Delicious, freshly cooked street food in many forms is on almost every corner. Strolling through the market also gives you a glimpse of authentic Montevideo, with terrace houses lining the streets, often with locals passing the time on balconies, or elderly faces peering from windows. The market runs every Sunday from 9 am until 4 pm.
2. Find the Plaza Virgilio
Next up on the list of Things 6 to Do in Montevideo is Plaza Virgilio. Possibly the best-kept secret from tourists is this quiet plaza located in the Punta Gorda neighborhood. While a fair distance away from downtown, it’s easily reachable by bus or taxi. Spend an afternoon or evening here, as the sunsets are not to be missed!
The Plaza extends outward and rewards visitors with uninterrupted views of the city’s main beaches, river, and upscale neighborhoods. The plaza is popular with locals who spend time on the grass conversing over the traditional Uruguayan drink, mate. Uruguayans love to make time for each other, meeting in plazas throughout the city to discuss life, soccer and everything in between.
3. Visit the Market (Ciudad Vieja y Mercado del Puerto)
Taking a walk through Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja has always a top thing to do during any visit to Montevideo. While this is the most touristy part of the city, its worth a walk to experience the unique mix of the Spanish and Portuguese architecture of yesterday’s Montevideo. People watching aficionados will love the various Plazas where you can see locals passing the time, mate in hand. Stop at the port market and feast your eyes on a full ‘Parrilla’ grill of various meats sizzling over coals.
If you’re hungry, pull up a chair at the bar and order yourself a piece of ‘Pulpon.’ Pulpon is the traditional Uruguayan cut of beef (which many, including myself, say rivals Argentina’s famous beef). Accompany it with a ‘copa de vino tinto’ (a glass of red wine), and you’ll be more than satisfied. Then, walk it off by continuing out through the old town to the Sarandí breakwater by the port. Catch a view of the Montevideo Bay, back over the old city, and down the coast towards the new Montevideo.
4. Explore the Pocitos Neighborhood
The beachside neighborhood of Pocitos is one of the trendier, more beautiful, and upscale parts of Montevideo. The streets are tree-lined, and the sidewalks are full of cafes, bars, and restaurants. Along the ‘Rambla’ (Boulevard) which lines the coast, low-rise apartment buildings and palm trees bring a real beachside city feel. It’s not unusual to see locals exercising and stopping to chat in the parks and plazas. This is a fantastic place to spend a morning or afternoon walking around, especially on the weekend.
Pocitos is also home to the famous Montevideo sign to take the obligatory tourist photo, with the Pocitos beach in the background. It is the best neighborhood to stay in, as it’s centrally located, and the perfect distance for walking around.
5. Go to the Beach
Finally, as we cover the last thing of the Top Things to do in Montevideo, we explore Montevideo’s beaches. The beaches in Uruguay are perfect for relaxing on a hot day in the city. The city beaches extend from just outside downtown, along with the ‘Rambla’ to way out of town. The general rule is the further from downtown you are, the whiter the sand, and the bluer the water.
Malvin Beach, Honda Beach, and Carrasco Beach are amongst the nicest but are further away from the center of town. When choosing a spot to spend the whole day, look to Pocitos Beach. Pocitos Beach is a beautiful beach, with plenty of shops nearby for a picnic lunch if you’re so inclined.
6. Take the Ferry to Buenos Aires
Uruguay offers so much to its visitors, and its proximity to Argentina and Brazil makes it the perfect add-on to any itinerary. Seamlessly combine your trip to Montevideo with a tour of Buenos Aires. After enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery, head back to the big city. See a Tango show, visit the colorful La Boca neighborhood, and see the city’s important buildings and landmarks. Check out our popular Buenos Aires and Montevideo tour or our Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo tour for some inspiration. Argentina and Uruguay make for one extraordinary South America tour.
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