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10 Best Places to Visit in Uruguay

By Alex Schultz · Last updated on October 3, 2023

Despite being dwarfed by neighboring Argentina and Brazil , visitors to Uruguay will be surprised and impressed at all of the incredible things that there are to see and do in South America’s second smallest state. One of the safest countries on the continent, Uruguay’s sophisticated cities are fascinating to explore as delightful colonial-era centers, pulsating tango clubs and a wide range of historic and cultural landmarks entice you onwards.

The beautiful beaches that border the Atlantic Ocean offer up sun, sea, sand and surf as well as fun and friendly beach resorts while in the interior stunning nature reserves lie side by side next to expansive cattle ranches. Very easy to travel around, Uruguay is a laidback country that has a lot to offer and so don’t be surprised to find yourself yearning to return as soon as you’ve left its shores.

10. La Paloma [SEE MAP]

La Paloma

A small city, La Paloma lies on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular summer beach resort amongst South Americans and Uruguayans themselves, who flock here to enjoy the sun, sea and sand. With spectacular beaches, this laid-back city is great to visit and there are lots of fun watersports for you to try out such as surfing, sailing and windsurfing.

One of the best beaches for sunbathing is Anaconda Beach, where watching the sun set over the ocean is absolutely divine. Perfect for those who are looking to kick back and relax, La Paloma’s remote location makes it ideal for a quiet and peaceful holiday by the beach.

9. Santa Teresa National Park [SEE MAP]

Santa Teresa National Park

Bordering the laid-back Punta del Diablo is the marvelous Santa Teresa National Park which nature lovers will absolutely adore as it encompasses a diverse array of landscapes, ecosystems and fauna and flora. Much of the park is made up of lovely forests and seasides areas.

There are loads of great hiking trails that cut through the dunes and woods where visitors may catch a glimpse of some of the wildlife that resides within the park. It is actually here that a large battle took place when Uruguay was striving to win its independence.

One of the major historical sites here is the impressive Fortress of Santa Teresa which dates all the way back to 1762 and is located in between the wetlands in the park and the Atlantic Ocean. Definitely worth visiting, the nature and history on offer in Santa Teresa National Park will live long in the memory.

8. Punta del Diablo [SEE MAP]

Punta del Diablo

A popular place to visit among Argentines and Uruguayans looking to head to the beach and bask in the rays, Punta del Diablo is a lovely place to visit and despite recent development projects still has the feel of a picturesque and charming little fishing village.

With beautiful beaches and a laid-back way of life, it is a relaxing place to simply kick back and watch the world go by. As you can imagine, there is also some delicious seafood for visitors to enjoy.

With loads of outdoor activities on offer, you can be horseback riding over the dunes one minute, learning to surf the next and trying your hand at dune boarding later on in the day. Not far from Punta del Diablo are some fantastic nature reserves such as Santa Teresa and Cerro Verde, which are also well worth visiting.

7. Carmelo [SEE MAP]

Carmelo

Located near the spot where the Rio de la Plata and the Rio Uruguay join, Carmelo is an increasingly popular tourist destination and with good reason, as it is dripping with charm, as wonderful old buildings and cobbled streets make up much of the town.

The waterfront is lovely to wander along and from here you can take boat trips to the magical Parana Delta which is fantastic to explore. There is also a variety of activities for visitors to check out such as fishing, yachting and other watersports.

With some lovely beaches, brilliant wineries in the surrounding countryside, and a casino to boot; Carmelo covers a wide range of bases and has something for everyone to enjoy.

6. Salto [SEE MAP]

Salto

The second largest city in Uruguay, many people stop off here on their way to Argentina. This is certainly is a picturesque place as it borders the majestic Rio Uruguay. Salto is actually named after the falls which make a ‘big jump’ down near the city.

There are lots of lovely little riverside walks for visitors to enjoy, and the leafy streets and plazas delightfully combine with the wonderful architecture to make Salto a relaxing and laid-back city to visit.

In addition to this, there are soothing thermal springs at Dayman for you to unwind in. They are in stark contrast to the town’s huge hydroelectric dam which is bizarrely a popular destination for tourists.

5. Piriapolis [SEE MAP]

Piriapolis

With a very Mediterranean feel to it, Piriapolis’ wonderful beaches are great for lounging on, and the long promenade that hugs the waterfront is perfect for relaxing strolls while taking in the sun and river views.

One of the most popular beach resort towns in the country, it was actually created for that reason and so has a number of great hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos and shops, particularly as you get nearer to the coastline.

While the waterfront Rambla is the most popular spot in the city, the delightful Pira’s Castle is well worth checking out, and the Hotel Colon is magical to behold. With lovely views of the coast on offer nearby, Piriapolis is a great spot at which to relax after a busy trip’s sightseeing.

4. Tacuarembo [SEE MAP]

Tacuarembo

Located in the north of the country, Tacuarembo is as gaucho as they come and the rolling hills that surround the city are full of cattle and sprawling fields. As such, there is a distinctive cowboy feel about the place, and the culture, language and food here is very different from the rest of Uruguay.

With lovely leafy plazas and tree-filled avenues for you to enjoy, wandering around about town is a delightful experience. It is here that the legendary tango star Carlos Gardel is reputed to have been born.

The main sights on offer include a beautiful cathedral, the picturesque 19th of April Plaza and a couple of interesting museums, while the surrounding area has some nice waterfalls and grottoes for you to visit.

3. Punta del Este [SEE MAP]

Punta del Este

This upmarket beach resort town is so luxurious and fancy that it is often called the Monaco or Saint-Tropez of South America, where yachts, casinos and trendy cocktail bars abound in this playground of the rich.

With loads of bars, restaurants and clubs hugging the beautiful beachfront, it is a fun place to visit although it is quite expensive in comparison with the rest of the country.

The mansions along the seafront really need to be seen to be believed. Watching the sun go down over the ocean at either Jose Ignacio or La Barra is absolutely divine, and there are lots of great watersports for you to try and fantastic museums for you to visit. Alternatively, you can just lounge on the wonderful beaches and simply watch the world go by.

2. Colonia del Sacramento [SEE MAP]

Colonia del Sacramento

The historic quarter of Colonia del Sacramento is absolutely stunning to wander around as it is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay and wonderful colonial architecture and picturesque old cobbled streets are everywhere you look.

Having been ruled at various times by the Spanish and Portuguese who fought over it, there is an interesting mix of architectural styles. A city wall that once protected the city from invaders still runs around the old quarter. Lying next to the Rio de la Plata there some great museums for visitors to enjoy.

Two of the main tourist attractions are the towering lighthouse which offers up great views of the city, and the Basilica del Sanctisimo Sacramento which is wonderful to behold. A charming place to visit, Colonia del Sacramento is well worth checking out when you’re in Uruguay and there are lots of great restaurants and trendy boutiques to boot.

1. Montevideo [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Uruguay

The capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is a fascinating place to explore, and visitors to the city invariably come away having loved everything that they’ve seen and done. Home to nearly half of the country’s entire population, it is a bustling place which is full of life, with loads of theaters, art galleries and music venues on offer.

In addition to the lively cultural scene, there is a happening nightlife, with lots of tango bars, trendy cocktail lounges and discos scattered about the city. As the capital of the country, Montevideo has something for everyone to enjoy and the historic downtown area is captivating to explore, with beautiful neoclassical buildings dotted about here and there.

The Teatro Solis which borders the impressive Plaza Independencia is particularly breathtaking to behold. For an authentic look at life in Montevideo, head to the Mercado del Puerto which is full of shops and restaurants selling delicious local cuisine. Then, go for a stroll along the scenic La Rambla which borders the bay. With beautiful beaches nearby and the stupendous Estadio Centenario for football fans to check out; Montevideo really does have it all.

Map of Uruguay

Uruguay Map

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The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » 15 Best Places to Visit in Uruguay

15 Best Places to Visit in Uruguay

Uruguay has always lived in the shadows of Brazil and Argentina , it’s bigger and faster neighbours.  But in recent decades, this little country is finally getting some of the recognition it deserves.

It’s everything you want a holiday country to be:  progressive, culturally sophisticated, stable, jam packed with nature and outdoor adventure, and accessible.  Because it’s not yet heavy on the tourist circuit, you’ll get lots of “local experience,” which comes with great memories and stories to retell back home.

Come and discover for yourself why it’s called the Switzerland of South America. Here’s the best places to visit in Uruguay !

1. Montevideo

Montevideo

Montevideo is the seat of the nation’s capital and home to almost half of its population.  This eclectic own is high on fun and steeped in cultural life.  There are lots of different aspects to discover here.

Start with the historic downtown where you’ll find neoclassic buildings right next to towering skyscrapers.  You can visit the port and industrial side, spending the day shopping, or check out the beach communities of places like Pocitos and Carretas.

In the evening enjoy theatre, galleries, and concerts.  You’ll love the tango bars and seaside discos. Be sure to check out La Feria Tristán Narvaja flea market, The Rambla, and Plaza de Independecia.

Hydroelectric Dam, Salto

Salto is the country’s second biggest city and is named after the point where the Rio Uruguay makes a “big jump.”  People make their way here for the hot springs and the outdoor activities offered.

You’ll find a pretty riverfront town that’s relaxed and lets you easily unwind. Oddly enough, the town’s hydroelectric dam, located 2ok from the city, is a very popular tourist site.

Check out the hot springs at Daymán which has three pools of varying temperatures, different showers and fountains, and great area to enjoy a picnic lunch.

3. Paysandú

Paysandú

The third-largest city is Paysandú and it’s joined to Colón, Argentina by the Puente Internacional General Artigas.

Founded as an outpost for cattle herders in the regions, the town has grown to be the source of most of the meat for all of Uruguay.  These days, the action is on Plaza Constitución so plan to spend an afternoon strolling around.

If you time it right, you can join in the city’s annual week long beer festival and see a wilder side of laid-back Paysandú.

Carmelo

Filled with low old houses and cobblestone streets, Carmelo is the place for stress-free water activities. Fishing, yachting and exploring the Paraná Delta are the major pastimes here.

Situated near the convergence of the Rio Uruguay and the Rio de la Plata, there’s a lovely sheltered harbour here.  Cross the bridge to Playa Sere beach with great space for camping in the adjoining park.

Bring some extra cash on hand to enjoy the casino.

Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, Chuy

Chuy sits on the Atlantic coast in Uruguay and right across the street is its twin sister Chui, in Brazil.  The main street between these two towns is the actual border between Brazil and Uruguay.

Half the town will call out, “Bienvenido,” as you pass, and the other half will say, “Bem vinda.”

Don’t miss Fuerte San Miguel, an 18th century fort integral in the formation of Uruguay as an independent country, and Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, a National Historic Monument located in a national park.

6. Colonia (Colonia del Sacramento)

Colonia del Sacramento

Founded in the 17th century, Colonia is now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll love the old colonial buildings and cobblestone streets that provide so much character.

The city itself was, for a long time, a smuggling port and changed hands several times between the Portuguese and the Spanish. As you’d imagine, the main attraction is the old historic centre.  There are eight small museums here (all for the price of one ticket). The town lighthouse provides a lovely view of the city and the river.

Visit the abandoned Basilica del Sanctísimo Sacramento, an old bullfighting ring and enjoy some of Colonia’s asado, a favourite among the locals.

Durazno

Situated on the Yi River, Durazno is a small town originally built in the 19th century and named after the Brazilian Emperor Pedro I.

There is a great regional art museum, Casa del General, with exhibits on Uruguayan archaeology, Gaucho art, and local history. Sports fans will enjoy the local sports museum and kids will love the Durazno zoo.

There’s also the wonderful Iglesia San Pedro De Durazno, designed by well-known architect Eladio Diesde.

8. Punta del Diablo

Punta del Diablo

This old timey fishing village is now the number one summer getaway destination for Argentines and Uruguayans.  It’s also the heart of the backpacker scene in Uruguay.

There’s been a lot of development recently, but the town hasn’t lost its charm. Another fantastic town with a gorgeous coastline and laid-back atmosphere, you’ll love this little corner of the country.

Be sure to check out the sandy plaza, located about 200m inland.  Small sandy streets fan out in all directions.

9. Punta del Este

Punta del Este

This beach resort town has everything:  sand, yachts, casinos, and sun. Sometimes called the Monaco of South America, Punta del Este is a bit expensive compared to the rest of Uruguay, but the amazing coast, activities, restaurants and more make it a must see town.

Don’t miss sunset in either Jose Ignacio or La Barra and the surfing in La playa de los Dedos. There’s some great beach art here as well. You’ll love gawking at the seaside mansions and walking along the tree-lined an idyllic streets.

There’s also a museum, Casa Pueblo, created by Carlos Paez-Vilaro. As well as the Pablo Atchugarry Foundation, the Museo del Mar (marine museum), the Museo Ralli (contemporary art museum),  Arboretum Lussich, and Isla de los Lobos – the largest seal colony in the southern hemisphere.

10. Piriápolis

Piriápolis

There is a definite Mediterranean vibe in Piriápolis.  There’s a beachfront promenade and a wonderful old hotel.  Created specifically for tourism at the beginning of the 20th century, it includes the Castillo de Piria (Pira’s Castle) and the Argentino Hotel.

There’s a ten block area of coastline where you’ll find the shopping, restaurants, and water sports.

Though most of Uruguay is quite flat, there are lovely views here of the surrounding area – with two of the country’s highest peaks nearby.

11. Tacuarembó

Tacuarembó

This is gaucho country.  The rolling hills of Cuchilla de Haedo serve as the backdrop for this rugged cattle country.  The supposed birthplace of the tango legend Carlos Gardel, you’ll find attractive plazas, tree lined streets, and the quaint Plaza 19 de Abril in the heart of the town.

Be sure to visit the Museo Carlos Gardel, the Gruta de los Helechos, the Catedral de Tacuarembo, the Museo del Indio y del Gaucho Washington Escobar, and the stunning Pozo Hondo, a grotto and waterfall just outside of town.

Everyone falls in love with the culture, language, and cuisine of Tacuarembo that all seem to be influenced by just about everywhere.

12. Cabo Polonio

Cabo Polonio

There’s no water, sewage, or electricity in Cabo Polonio, making it a big attraction for the hippie and backpacker crowds.

The entire area is a natural reserve complete with a forest of Ombu trees, and a nearby colony of sea lions behind the picturesque lighthouse. The main reason to come here is to relax on the beach and unwind from all your travels.

Remember to bring real books with you if you plan to relax on the beach – recharging your e-reader will be a challenge!

Rocha

Rocha is where you’ll find the last of the vast pristine beaches of Uruguay.  The sand is white, the ocean a bright blue, and the beach is basically deserted.

The entire department has very little development but the feeling of remoteness is greater than reality.  The place is still quiet accessible.

More and more ex-pats are discovering a retirement paradise in Rocha.

14. Nueva Helvecia

Nueva Helvecia

There is a deep sense of community in Nueva Helvecia.  The town square, a favourite hangout spot for locals, was specifically designed for people to come together. You’ll find everyone in town spends at least a little time here every day.  The elders of the community can be counted on to tell stories from the old days.

There’s an incredible Founder’s Monument here that commemorates the immigrants who laboured and sacrificed to build Nueva Helvecia.  Made out of granite, it’s a fantastic tribute to this cosy community.

There are also great festivals here.  In August enjoy the Swiss Festival where you can sample Swiss dishes, signing, and dancing.  Some families go all out in creating incredible Swiss cheese fondues for everyone to sample.

15. San Gregorio de Polanco

San Gregorio de Polanco

Come to San Gregorio de Polanco for fresh clean invigorating air, lush flora, and blue water.  This is a rather isolated area, which completely adds to its charm.

There are roughly 3,000 inhabitants here and it’s truly a natural paradise. You can visit the local visual arts museum, the delightfully decorated OSE water tank, and the local parish which has an art gallery inside.

For such an isolated area there are plenty of water activities on offer as well as amazing fishing.

15 Best Places to Visit in Uruguay:

  • Colonia (Colonia del Sacramento)
  • Punta del Diablo
  • Punta del Este
  • Cabo Polonio
  • Nueva Helvecia
  • San Gregorio de Polanco

The Whole World Or Nothing

The Absolute Best Places To Visit In Uruguay

By: Author Sarah McAlister

A long time favourite summer vacation destination for Argentines and Brazilians, Uruguay is becoming increasingly popular on the South America backpacking route.

We wanted to find out for ourselves what all the fuss was about. So we jumped on a boat from Argentina , hired a car and took a month to explore all the best places to visit in Uruguay.

Best Places To Visit In Uruguay

Uruguay was once a bit of a no mans land amongst colonising countries who saw no value in it.

Today it has one of the most prosperous and stable economies in all of South America.

And that’s not the only difference between Uruguay and the rest of the continent.

It is also the most progressive , having legalized abortion, gay marriage and personal cannabis use way ahead of anywhere else.

Despite having plenty in common with it’s maté clutching and tango loving neighbour Argentina, Uruguay has its own distinct culture going on.

And from it’s seriously cool capital city to it’s wild beaches and deeply traditional small towns, it varies vastly.

If you’re a keen and curious traveller, a trip to Uruguay simply has to be on the cards.

Post Contents

Where To Go In Uruguay & The Top Uruguay Tourist Attractions

As I mentioned above, we hired a car to get us around most places in Uruguay. However all the Uruguay tourist attractions that we will be mentioning, can also be reached easily by bus.

Here’s what to do in Uruguay, plus recommendations for where to stay and lots of useful travel information to help you plan your trip to Uruguay.

If you are arriving in Uruguay by plane, your first stop will likely be the capital city, Montevideo.

If you are travelling by boat from Argentina, you’ll either be landing here or in the other port town of Colonia del Sacramento.

Either way, you’ll want to plan at least a couple of days into your Uruguay itinerary to explore Montevideo.

It’s not huge, but being that more than half of the country’s population live in Montevideo, there are certainly plenty of things to do in Uruguay here.

We’ve spent a lot of time here so have a much more extensive travel guide on Montevideo , but here’s the highlights of the first of our best places to visit in Uruguay.

Things To Do In Montevideo

Walking tour.

Uruguay has a rather complicated history and there’s no better way to learn about it than whilst walking its streets with a local resident.

The Curioso Free Walking Tour that we did was not only super informative but also seriously entertaining.

If you don’t fancying walking they also do bike tours. And also private tours if you want more of an individual or tailored experience.

downtown montevideo

Espacio de Arte Contemporaneo

More than an art gallery, the Contemporary Art Space is set inside a former derelict prison and the building itself is as fascinating as the artwork.

Retaining its original structure, each cell displays the work of a different artist. It’s free to visit. And don’t miss walking around the outside walls which are full of awesome street art too.

It’s open Wednesday to Saturday 1pm-7pm and Sunday 11am – 5pm.

Plaza Independencia

The most important square in Montevideo and one of the top Uruguay points of interest, it’s where the country’s president works.

At the centre you will find a statue of revered General Artigas. He kicked off the revolution that ultimately lead to Uruguay’s independence.

His mausoleum is located underneath. You can visit it for free. Don’t miss the pretty Palacio Salvo building and nearby Teatre Solis.

best places to visit in uruguay

Parque Rodó

A central and well used hangout spot, Parque Rodó is one of the greenest areas of the city.

If your feet are tired from exploring, head here and chill under the shade of the huge palm trees. Or take to the water on a peddle boat.

There’s a huge market here on a Sunday too, selling everything from fruit and veg to clothes and mate cups.

The Rambla & Beaches

Another popular thing to do in Montevideo is to take a walk along the massive rambla.

It’s over 22km in length, making it the longest continuous sidewalk in the world. You may not want to walk it all!

There’s also some pretty nice beaches. The most central ones are Playa Rameriz, right next to Parque Rodó, or a little further along Playa Pocitos.

Where To Stay In Montevideo

Budget – viajero montevideo hostel.

This colourful and friendly hostel is located in a newly renovated historical building right in the heart of the city centre. There’s lots of bright open spaces, both for socialising and quiet spots for work or study.

The communal kitchen is spacious, there’s a roof top terrace, wifi access throughout and a continental breakfast is included in the price. There are both mixed and female only dorm rooms, all with privacy curtains and lockable storage. Private rooms with individual bathrooms are also available.

Click here to check availability and prices.

Mid-range – Alma Histórica Boutique Hotel

Situated in the historic district, just a short walk from the coastal path this sophisticated hotel receives consistently superb reviews. Each room features a TV, minibar, bathroom with complimentary toiletries.

Private parking is available, children of all ages are welcome and the breakfast is particularly excellent. There’s an elegant shared lounge and bar, plus a rooftop terrace with gorgeous views over the city.

Luxury – Hotel Montevideo

If you’re after a spot of indulgence, you won’t get better than this world class rated hotel in Montevideo.

Tastefully decorated spacious rooms feature floor to ceiling windows. It’s close to the beach, has private parking, an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, rooftop bar, plus a choice of two restaurants on site.

Punta del Este

Punta del Este is Uruguay’s most popular beach resort. And while it’s VIP party and glamour scene may not be up our street, it’s not hard to see the appeal if that’s your thing.

The beaches are gorgeous and nightlife is unrivalled. Despite the obvious development, there is also plenty of opportunity to get out into nature too.

Things To Do In Punta del Este

Walk along the port.

You can’t go to Punta del Este without taking a stroll along the wooden promenade.

During the day it’s a more relaxed affair but come nightfall, the whole area turns into party. You can also take boat trips from here to go and visit sea lion island and go whale spotting.

The Hand Sculpture

Synonymous with almost any Uruguay travel guide, the famous hand reaching out of the sand on Brava beach consistently ranks high amongst the best places to visit in Uruguay.

Although you’ll have to be up early in the summer if you want a photograph without other people in it.

Punta Del Este Fingers

La Barra Bridge

Designed to resemble waves, this undulating structure resembles a rollercoaster if you drive over it in a vehicle.

This part of Punta del Este is all about the waves with two of the most popular beaches for surfing here, La Posta del Cangrejo and Montoya.

Bikini Beach

Another of Punta del Estes favourite beaches, if you’re after some epic sunset views while enjoying a meal at the best restaurants in town, this is where it is at.

The playground of Brazilian millionaires and Argentina’s high society, you better get your glad rags on.

Where To Stay In Punta del Este

Budget – hostel 32.

Located smack bang in the heart of Punta del Este, this hostel is also just a few hundred metres from Playa Brava beach. There are dorms with secure lockers and rooms with shared or private bathrooms.

There’s WiFi and a daily homemade breakfast. There’s a fully equipped shared kitchen plus plenty of communal chill out areas, a games room, a bar and a garden with a pool.

Mid-range – Hotel Milano

Right next to Emir Beach and close to the Craft Fair, this hotel has a great location.

Wi-Fi and air conditioning and breakfast is provided as standard. And large windows make the rooms lovely and bright. There’s a garden with a pool and a charming shaded terrace to relax on.

Luxury – Hotel L’Auberge

Located a short walk from Brava beach this stunner of a hotel features gorgeous tranquil gardens and super stylish rooms.

There’s an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, and guests can either enjoy a sumptuous breakfast at the restaurant or have it brought to them in bed.

One of a number of seaside towns in the department of Rocha, the eastern part of Uruguay’s coastline is the most beautiful. We only stayed in La Pedrera for the one night, but wish we’d have booked longer.

The town is busy enough to have a good selection of bars and restaurants. But the beaches are so vast you won’t struggle for a secluded sunbathing spot.

Things To Do In La Pedrera

Rock formations.

Intermingled amongst the sand, the ancient rock formations on La Pedrera beaches make excellent natural jacuzzis.

Grab yourself a spot in one of the pools and get your relax on. The waves get wilder further along the beaches but make excellent surf spots.

pedrera rock formations

Laguna Rocha

Only separated from the sea by a sandbar, salt water waves regularly make their way into this uniquely biodiverse lagoon.

Recently designated a protected nature reserve, lots of migratory bird species use Laguna Rocha, including the endangered Chilean Flamingo.

Valle de Luna

A strange little landscape, we came across this by complete chance. You’ll need to head up past Punta Rubia and take one of the dirt tracks off the main road that head down to Playa Santa Isabel.

We think it’s an old dried up river bed but you really could be on the moon.

valle de luna

Where To Stay In La Pedrera

Budget – compay hostel la pedrera.

Close to both El Desplayado and El Barco beaches, a stay at this place comes complete with sea views. There’s a garden with BBQ facilities, a common kitchen and reading room.

Rooms have private lockers, WIFI access and the shared bathroom facilities have hot water.

Mid-range – Posada Irsis

Really close to the beach and a short walk or bike ride into La Pedrera town, this place has a great location.

The rooms have balconies overlooking the beautiful private gardens. With WIFI, private parking and a fresh breakfast included as standard.

Luxury – Esteños de la Pedrera Posada y Spa

Located just one black from the main street, these self-catering apartments include barbecue facilities and balcony views over the garden or outdoor pool.

Guests can enjoy the spa and wellness centre, including a hot tub and a sauna. Private parking is also available.

Cabo Polonio

At the opposite end of the spectrum to glitzy Punta del Este are the wild sand dunes of Cabo Polonio.

Cut off from mainstream access by a protected national park, you’ll need to jump onboard one of the licensed jeeps to get in.

There are no roads, no running water and after sundown you’ll need a torch to find your way around. It’s mad and weird and we loved it.

Things To Do In Cabo Polonio

Other than to the lighthouse, there is no mains electricity in Cabo Polonio. The odd solar panel and generator produce some power.

But after dark the only real light you’ll have to work with is from the campfires and insane amount of stars you’ll be able to see in the night sky.  

Seal Lion Colony

Home to two huge sea lion colonies, head out to the tip of Cabo Polonio and you’ll soon hear the barking. They are fascinating to watch.

But that’s not all we saw while in Cabo Polonio, we also clapped eyes on what we were adamant was a killer whale bobbing around in the bay!

seal colony in cabo Polonio

A significant part of history, the lighthouse in Cabo Polonio was once also a school. Founded to teach isolated fishermen children how to read and write.

These days tourists can climb up to see the views over the bay. It costs $30 UYU and is open 10am – 1pm then 3pm – sunset.

Crazy Houses

Another interesting thing to do in Cabo Polonio is to simply wander around and take in all the usual structures.

Outside of tourist season there is still a population of around 90 people who live here. So do be mindful and respect that many buildings are people’s actual homes.

cabo polonio

Where To Stay In Cabo Polonio

Budget – viejo lobo.

Centrally located, brightly decorated dorm rooms with sea views. There’s a communal kitchen and BBQ area with plenty of space to relax and make friends.

Wifi is turned on for one hour per day, there is some solar power to charge the odd device and the showers have hot water.

Mid-range – Carmela Cabo Polonio

Still very rustic in design, each room has a balcony and private bathroom. There are double, triple and family rooms with children of any age welcome.

Like much of the accommodation in Cabo Polonio there is a very communal vibe going on with shared meals and evening campfire gatherings on the beach. Wifi and power is available, but limited.

Click here to check availability and prices .

Luxury – El Fortín del Rubio

For luxury accomodation in Cabo Polonio renting an apartment is the best option. This place is stunning, you’ll see from the photos.

Electricity is available, there is a refrigerator and hot water runs off gas. Plus a lovely garden with sea views. Perfect for couples or a group.

Barra de Valizas

An alternative to a wilder stay in Cabo Polonio, the small beach town of Barra de Valizas is a little more developed. By that I mean it was electricity and wifi as standard.

But just because it has street lights, doesn’t mean that it hasn’t got a very rustic feel to it. Still expect dirt roads, wooden beach shacks and a bohemian vibe.

Things To Do in Barra de Valizas

Hike to cabo polonio.

The thing that makes this beach town one of the best places to visit in Uruguay isn’t actually in Barra de Valizas.

It’s a 20km round trip hike over the sand dunes to it’s wild neighbour Cabo Polonio. It’s take 2-3 hours each way so you have plenty of time to explore.

things to do in uruguay

You need to take a boat over a small river at the start, it’s $50 UYU (£1.10 GBP / £1.50 USD) return.

The boats run 8am – 8pm. You can hire sandboards from the guys there too for $150 UYU (£3.30 GBP / $4.50 USD) for the day. Which is good idea for saving some energy getting down the huge dunes. Take plenty of water with you.

Beach Chilling

One of the other best things to do in Barra de Valizas is just chill on the beach. The water is great for swimming.

Aside from that you won’t need to move far as sellars walk up and down all day selling delicious treats. Try the churros filled with dulce de leche – you won’t regret it.

Artisanal Market

During the evening there’s an artisanal market that sets up on the main street down to the beach. There’s jewellery and mate gourds and lots of cool souvenirs.

Definitely worth a peak if you want to pick up some reminders to take home of your trip to Uruguay.

barra de valizas

Where To Stay In Barra de Valizas

Budget – posada dos palmas.

A little walk away from the beach and main drag, this budget guest house has everything you need for a simple stay.

A basic breakfast provided each morning and kitchen facilities are good for cooking for yourself. The rooms have mosquitos nets and the wifi is good.

uruguay top tourist attractions

Mid-range – Luna & Zoé

Situated right on the beach, there are more basic dorm rooms and private rooms equipped with a small kitchen and sea view balconies.

The property has a garden, a terrace and BBQ facilities. A buffet breakfast is provided each morning and there is free parking available.

Luxury – Posada Valizas

This guesthouse gets all the little details just right. Fresh flowers on the tables and a cozy fire for cooler nights.

Guests particularly love the private and enchanting garden. A continental breakfast is served each morning. There’s mosquito nets and the wifi works well.  

Punta Del Diablo

Despite becoming more popular over recent years and attracting more development to boot, this hippy beach town is still managing to retain it’s rough and ready vibe.

We’ve been here twice in recent years so it definitely scores high on our best places to visit in Uruguay.

Things To Do In Punta Del Diablo

Cocktails on the beach.

A stop by Punta del Diablo is all about getting in some serious beach time.

Long, wide and wild, the hardest thing to do in this popular Uruguayan beach town is to pick your spot.

best beaches in uruguay

Santa Teresa National Park

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous you can head into Santa Teresa Park to explore.

Although to be honest it’s more of a camping spot than actually hiking as most of it is along roads. There’s some pretty views and beaches and a fort to visit though.

If you’re a keen surfer, Punta del Diablo is going to be right up your street. And I say keen, because the waves here are humongous.

There’s some quieter bays for learner lessons but mainly expect some serious swells from Devil’s Point as the town is called in English.

punta del diablo

Where To Stay In Punta Del Diablo

Budget – mar de fondo hostel   .

This seriously funky place to stay is both right in the heart of the town and just s few steps from the beach. The shared kitchen and spacious communal area spills out onto a wooden deck with hammocks.

There’s a choice of small dorm or double rooms. Every night there’s a shared dinner and the staff are incredibly welcoming and just all round awesome.

Mid-range – Posada de la Viuda

Close to the bus station and just a few hundred meters from the beach, this property is treat.

Complete with a swimming pool, all rooms come with air conditioning, wifi and an ensuite bathroom. The breakfast gets great reviews and there is BBQ that you can use too.

Jacuzzi with a sea view? Located right on the beach with private balconies, an a la carte breakfast can be served to your room at no extra cost.

There’s also a beach bar with private use of sun umbrellas, chairs and beach towels. This place is pure lap of luxury.

Heading up to the Brazilian border is one of Uruguay’s most interesting destinations.

The intriguing if not rather unusual town of Chuy, lies half in Uruguay and half in Brazil. You literally walk across the street and you’re in another country.

There’s not much going on here so we wouldn’t necessarily recommend staying overnight. In fact it seems a little sketchy after dark if we’re honest with you.

But if you’re in the market for cheap electronics or need to top up on cheap food and drink, this is your place because it’s tax free.

Sarah on the Border of Uruguay and Brazil

If you’re crossing into Brazil, it’s an easy border crossing. Just bear in mind that on Sundays the buses only run once, very early.

It’s best to pick a different day, because we missed it and ended having to book a last minute dodgy hotel where we’d have stayed another night in Punta del Diablo if we’d known.

San Gregorio de Polanco

If you want to experience Uruguay away from the touristic beach areas, this small town is a little gem.

It’s got a proper old town feel, that in some parts feel frozen in time. But the residents were so welcoming to us. Definitely one of our favourite places to visit in Uruguay.

Situated on the edge of the massive Rincón del Bonete Lagoon, it’s a pretty place with surprisingly a lot of things to do compared with the size of it.

If you drive there by car from the coast, there’s an added bit of excitement as you will need to drive onto the ferry crossing.

Things To Do In San Gregorio de Polanco

Street art & sculpture tour.

This alone is worth coming to San Gregorio de Polanco for. From 1993 the town also became known as the Open Museum of Visual Arts in Latin America.

With well over a hundred colorful murals and unusual sculptures adorning it’s streets. Even the pavements are painted in parts.

San Gregorio de Polanco

You’ll be able to grab a map from wherever you are staying and walk around self guided. There’s a few different routes.

It’s a really great way to get to know the town. And if you get hungry while exploring around grab yourself a torta frita from the main square.

Explore the Lagoon

The Rincón del Bonete Lagoon is so huge that standing on its shores, it actually just looks like the sea.

The beaches are really something and the water is clear, great for swimming or kayaking. Heading out fishing on the lagoon is also a popular activity if that’s your thing.

Rincón del Bonete Lagoon

Pizza and Beers

After a day exploring the street art and the lagoon, we’d recommend settling down for sunset at this fabulous little spot – Cerveceria el Peregrino.

They have local artisanal beers and make some cracking pizzas. This is the address – Dr. Sergio Arbiza, 45200.

Where to stay in San Gregorio de Polanco

Budget – hostel san gregorio  .

A old ranch, this place has some serious character to it. Outside it’s facade is home to one of the towns murals, inside there’s a charming red-tiled patio decorated with potted plants.

The rooms have rustic wood furnishings and there is a well equipped common kitchen to use.

Hostel San Gregorio

Mid-range – Bali Hotel Boutique

Complete with outdoor pool and Indonesian décor, air conditioned rooms with spa baths are available.

Wifi is available throughout, there’s a 24 hour reception and a continental breakfast is provided. There’s onsite parking and free bikes available for your use.

Termas del Daymán

A tourist town that has sprung up around Uruguay’s most popular thermal natural springs, there’s only really one reason to come to Termas del Daymán but it’s a good one.

We went to the public ones but there are also private ones that are part of upmarket spas and hotels.

The municipal thermal springs are open from 8am until 10.30pm daily and the entrance fee is $180 UYU (£4 GBP / $5.40 USD). Once you have your wristband you can come and go as you please. It does get really busy and there are lots of families.

Termas del Daymán

But we once in the water, you can’t fail to relax. We found a quieter corner of one of the pool and took a book, it was great.

Food is average but reasonably priced. Be sure to take a padlock with you to use the lockers. The facilities are spotless and well managed.

Where To Stay in Termas del Daymán

Mid-range – complejo containers df  .

An unusual but very comfortable set up. This is where we stayed on our Uruguay road trip stop off.

The containers accommodate up to 4 people and there’s plenty of space. The kitchen is small but well equipped and there’s a BBQ outside. It’s air conditioned but there’s no wifi.

uruguay roadtrip itinerary planning

Luxury – Los Naranjos Resort & Spa Termal

Surrounded by orange trees, spacious air conditioned rooms come with minibars and furnished patio areas.

The stars of the show are the bathrooms though, which include spa baths with thermal water. There’s a deluxe breakfast and indoor and outdoor thermal pools.

A busy city dating back to 1756, Salto borders with the Uruguay River and Argentina.

It’s only a few miles away from Termas del Daymán and so staying here is another option. There’s an abundance of beautiful stunning architecture and pretty squares.

salto uruguay

We wandered around for a few hours, taking a break from the thermal springs and it was well worth it.

If you do opt to stay here and don’t have a car there are regular local buses that run between Salto and the thermal springs.

Where To Stay In Salto

Budget – un lugar para compartir  .

If you’d like to experience staying with a local Uruguayan family, this will be right up your street.

It’s nothing fancy, but it’s homely and the hosts have great reviews. You can use the kitchen if you wish to cook for yourself.

Mid-range – Gran Hotel Uruguay

Close to the main square and just 10 minutes from the bus station, this hotel has a great location.

There’s wifi, private parking and a daily continental breakfast is provided. Guests have free access to nearby Salto Grande Water Park.

where to stay in Uruguay

Uruguay’s equivalent of Provence in France or Tuscany in Italy, this quaint and rustic part of Uruguay is surrounded by vineyards.

The preferred mode of transport is horseback or bicycle. Great for taking it down a notch or two while enjoying a glass of wine, or five.

Things To Do In Carmelo

Winery tour.

The main producer of increasingly worldwide popular grape variety, Tannat. But the wineries also produce plenty of other wines.

It’s best to email the wineries first to book in your tasting session, then simply hire a bike and make your way around.

Or you can opt for a guided tour and have it all arranged for you. Just bear in mind that if you have hired a car, Uruguay has a zero tolerance when it comes to drinking and driving.

You can also take day trip wine tasting tours to Carmelo from nearby Colonia del Sacramento.

carmelo uruguay

Horse Riding

Another fabulous way of exploring Carmelo is by horseback. There is so much greenery and nature surrounding this installment on our list of the best places to visit in Uruguay.

Plus you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time pretending to be gaucho for the day.

Where To Stay In Carmelo

Mid-range – mykonos carmelo.

This small homely complex is ideal for those who value peace and quiet. The large garden has a pool and lots of spaces to relax with hammocks and sun loungers.

It’s just a few minutes walk to the beach and 15 minutes into town with lots of restaurants. But there is also a shared kitchen and breakfast provided. Parking on site is also available.

Luxury – Narbona Wine Lodge

If you fancy treating yourself, a stay on one of Carmelo’s wineries is highly recommended. And Narbona is one of the best.

Offering an outdoor pool, a la carte restaurant and bikes for your use, you are able to roam around the vineyards at your leisure.

Colonia del Sacramento

The last stop on our mission to seek out the best places to visit in Uruguay and it was a belter. Seriously this place is so pretty.

It was listed as a UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site in 1995 and has a completely different feel to it compared to other Uruguay towns we visited.

Colonia del Sacramento

Initially a Portuguese settlement built around the naturally deep port, it was a well fought over access point to the continent. And switched between Spanish and Portuguese rule a few times before Uruguay won its independence.

Colonia is a popular day trip from Buenos Aires, with the ferry crossing taking just over an hour. But it’s also a lovely spot to spend a couple of days, wandering the streets, taking in the atmosphere and relaxing on the beach.

Things To Do In Colonia

The historic centre.

The prettiest part of Colonia del Sacramento. The Historic Centre, or Barrio Historico in Spanish, is all about cobbled streets, crumbling architecture and vintage cars.

Don’t miss the Street of Sighs (Calle De Los Suspiros), the City Gate (Portón de Campo) and the lighthouse (Faro). You can climb up to the top for a small fee of $30 UYU (£0.70 GBP / $0.90 USD).

things to do in uruguay

Rent Some Bikes

If you have a little more time and fancy exploring further afield, head up along the colourfully decorated Rambla. You can rent some bikes, take the tourist bus or simply walk.

You’ll find San Benito Chapel (Capilla San Benito) and the old collapsing Bull Ring (Plaza de Torres) up that way. As well as lots of DIY BBQ spots along the beach if you fancy a cook up.

Harbour Sunsets

The sunsets over Colonia del Sacramento harbour are downright spectacular, simply find yourself a bench or spot on the wall and watch the show.

And if you fancy a beer after head over to Barbot for some delicious craft beer. Bonus points if you’re in Colonia on Thursday because it’s half price beers 8pm – 10pm.

sunset in uruguay

Where To Stay In Colonia

Budget – el viajero colonia hostel.

Right next to the old town and a short walk from the beach, this hostel gas an ideal location.

The colorful decor matches the vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. We really enjoyed our stay here. There’s daily breakfast, communal BBQs and often live musicians playing.

Mid-range – Casa Mia Bed & Breakfast

This is a beautiful space to relax and unwind. Not only is it only 600m to the nearest beach, but there is also a garden with outdoor pool and BBQ facilities. There’s also a well equipped shared kitchen.

Each room is air-conditioned, there’s a choice of shared or private bathrooms, there’s free parking, an excellent breakfast and you can borrow bikes to ride into the centre of town.

Luxury – Charco Hotel

Situated in the old town, this hotel has one of the best-rated locations in Colonia with guests treated to either river or garden views.

There’s is an à la carte restaurant, excellent breakfasts served daily and each room is tastefully decorated in a modern farmhouse style.

Uruguay Safety Tips

Uruguay is a very safe country. But petty crime is still a thing so you still take care of your belongings, be mindful when using ATM’s and don’t carry lots of cash around. Accidents and unforeseen occurrences can also anywhere.

uruguay top tourist attractions

Uruguay Travel FAQ’s:

What are the three major attractions in uruguay.

The most popular places to visit in Uruguay are the trendy capital of Montevideo, the historical port town of Colonia del Sacramento and the exclusive beach resort of Punta del Este.

Is Uruguay good for tourists?

Uruguay ranks high on the global peace index and is one of the safest countries in South America to visit. That being said, petty crime still happens so keep a close eye on your belongings in busy areas.

Is Uruguay a good place for a holiday?

With such a rich history, captivating culture and gorgeous beaches, there’s so much to see in Uruguay. But it’s also a super chill and laid back country to explore at whatever pace you choose.

What is the best month to visit Uruguay?

The best time to visit Uruguay is over the summer months between November to February. Many of the coastal towns and resorts are closed down over autumn and especially over winter.

Is Uruguay Very Expensive?

Uruguay has the highest living costs of any Latin American country. However it is still generally over 20% cheaper than the United States. Processed food costs are high because they are heavily taxed.

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Punta del Diablo beach with text overlay The Best Places To Visit In Uruguay - Ultimate Guide

Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict. 

Monday 2nd of December 2019

Hi there, thanks so much for your article - very very well written and laid out, really appreciate it :). I am interested in how much Spanish you speak and if you think it'd be okay to get around on the basics there? I speak English and some German but no Spanish - but I would of course take some courses and do a language tandem before I go. I am thinking of travelling there in a few months, very much encouraged by your article!

James McAlister

Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

Hey Lily, thanks for your kind words about the post.

In answer to your question, we're by no means fluent in Spanish, but we can get by in most situations. We've been to Uruguay a number of times, some before we started learning Spanish. Based on our experiences you shouldn't have too many problems getting around with a few basics.

In the cities many people speak at least a bit of English, in the more rural areas it's less common.

If you were to complete a course in preparation I'd say you'd be just fine :-) One thing to be aware of is Uruguayans have quite a unique accent which may take some getting used to. But after a couple of days you start to get to grips with it, it's just worth noting for when you first arrive.

Enjoy your trip planning & let us know if there's anything else we can help with!

Tuesday 6th of August 2019

Great guide! Thank you so much. It contains all the essentials to visit Uruguay. We went there last year and stayed in this modest and very charming place called La Alquimia-El Descanso: (https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/33159674?wl_source=list&wl_id=4015642&role=wishlist_owner&adults=1&children=0&infants=0&source_impression_id=p3_1565103040_CJv64bk1NCeO0KZl ca)

I think it is an amazing place to stay if you want to disconnect from city life, at least for some days. Absolutely recommendable since Uruguayan countryside is worldwide known!

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10 Amazing Things to Do in... Uruguay

By Peter Browne

The best things to do in Uruguay

Rent a beach house and ride a wave

Every Christmas and New Year the pop-up restaurant scene in La Pedrera gets better and better and what better way to enjoy this quirky, loveable beach town than to rent a family beach house through the delightful Martha Bello ( www.lapedrera.com.uy ) and get Francisco at La Pedrera Surf School (+598 99 872 813) to teach you and the kids how to balance on a board.

In 2013 President Pepe Mujica announced he was nationalizing the country's cannabis industry so stoners would have to buy weed from government suppliers. Until that kicks in, the country has 3,000 registered personal growers, so there's pots of it about.

In the gardens of Casa de los Limoneros in Colonia del Sacramento

Chill in the countryside

Colonia del Sacramento is one of Latin America's best preserved colonial towns, attracting ferry-loads of day trippers from Buenos Aires. Escape the crowds by checking into Casa de los Limoneros ( www.lacasadeloslimoneros.com ) just outside town, where owners Mario and Sergio have created a veritable oasis planted with oleander and white agapanthus.

Work on your all-over tan

There are plenty of deserted beaches in Uruguay where nobody would know or care if you dropped your drawers, but if you fancy sharing your secrets, head over to Chihuahua beach outside Punta del Este for a spot of no-nonsense nudism.

Trading Post La Barra

Find treasure by the beach

Aaron Hojman is an inveterate collector and upcycler of all things abandoned and whimsical, as evidenced in his hip posada Casa Zinc ( www.casazinc.com ) in the chic beach town of La Barra . Take your time picking through the dusty, piled-high shelves of his nearby antiques shop the Trading Post . Last time I was there I unearthed a 1929 portrait of a magnificently mustachioed gaucho.

Amaze yourself with oceanic oddities

I guarantee you have never set eyes on anything so wonderfully offbeat as the Museo del Mar ( www.museodelmar.com.uy ) in the backstreets of La Barra . It's a life's labour of love by owner Pablo Etchegaray and packed to the rafters with marine skeletons, coral, old photographs, tins… and a stuffed dog. The kids will love it.

Stay in a one-horse town

Argentine chef Francis Mallman transformed the tiny hamlet of Garzon with his hotel and restaurant, and British art dealer Martin Summer's house, Casa Anna ( casaannagarzon.com ), is the most beautiful in the village. And just outside town is Bodega Garzon ( bodegagarzon.com ) which produces wine and deliciously fruity virgin olive oil and will even arrange a hot-air balloon safari.

Wine experience tours

Drink it all in

Argentina and Chile might be better known for their vineyards, but Uruguay produces some sensational wines, particularly tannat, from small-scale vineyards around Colonia del Sacramento , Montevideo and even Punta del Este . Ryan Hamilton at The Wine Experience ( thewine-experience.com ) will take you on a tasting tour of the best.

An abandoned factory in Fray Bentos

Go out in the meatpacking district

The vast meat-processing factories outside the town of Fray Bentos were recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, including buildings from the 1800s when it was The Liebig's Extract of Meat Company (which also built the Oxo Tower in London). In the 1920s it passed into British hands and as the Anglo Meat Packing Plant became famous for its tinned corned beef and steak-and-kidney pies. Now ' Barrio Anglo ' is abandoned, an entire ghost town; alongside the empty slaughterhouses and factories a hospital, a school, social and football clubs and houses where the meatpackers once lived.

Ride with gauchos

Saddle up at El Charabon ( www.elcharabon.com ), a charmingly rustic estancia set on 950-hectares of rolling pampas, just inland from the endless, dune-backed Atlantic coast. Round up cattle with Fernando the gaucho and his sons as his dogs chase rabbits and armadillos.

Peter Browne is Senior Editor of Condé Nast Traveller

Read our features on where to go on holiday in December and more of the best winter sun destinations [/i]

A table at Bodega Garzon restaurant Garzon

A table at Bodega Garzon restaurant, Garzon

Playa del Barco beach La Pedrera

Playa del Barco beach, La Pedrera

Casa Zinc La Barra

Casa Zinc, La Barra

Gauchos on horseback on the bank of the River Plate

Gauchos on horseback on the bank of the River Plate

Chihuahua Beach Punta del Este

Chihuahua Beach, Punta del Este

Casa de los Limoneros in Colonia del Sacramento

Casa de los Limoneros, in Colonia del Sacramento

A trading post store La Barra

A trading post store, La Barra

La Pedrera Surf School

La Pedrera Surf School

Sun loungers at Casa de los Limoneros

Sun loungers at Casa de los Limoneros

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  • South America
  • 20 Must Visit Attractions In...

20 Must-Visit Attractions in Montevideo, Uruguay

Palacio Salvo

Montevideo is a charming city, small in size but immense in history, natural beauty and culture. Take advantage of the short distances in Uruguay’s capital city and don’t miss a thing, by following this guide to the city’s top 20 must-visit attractions.

1. plaza independencia, 2. mausoleo al general josé gervasio artigas.

José Gervasio Artigas is Urguay’s national hero. He fought to free the territory from the Spanish crown in the early 1800s. After long years of battling for independence and losing power, Artigas was exiled to Paraguay, where he later died. His remains were brought to Uruguay and put in his mausoleum in Plaza Independencia, right under his statue in the center of Montevideo’s main square. The remains are guarded at all times by a national force with the name of Blandengues de Artigas.

3. Palacio Salvo

4. teatro solís, 5. jardín botánico de montevideo.

Botanical Garden, Museum, Park

people cheering on a mountain

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6. Castillo Pittamiglio

Constructed by the architect and alchemist Humberto Pittamilglio in 1910, this castle is as intriguing as its creator. The building, almost unnoticeable between two enormous modern towers, seems to be patiently waiting for the right visitors: those willing to discover its beauty and some of the many mysteries it hides, with stairs that lead nowhere, secret doors, symbols and sculptures. It was later turned into a museum with guided tours and a theatre, providing the perfect setting for any play.

7. Mercado del Puerto

Market, Fusion

8. Museo del Carnaval

9. parque rodó.

Amusement Park

10. Estadio Centenario

Concert Hall, Museum, Stadium

11. Rambla de Montevideo

Hiking Trail

12. Playa de los Pocitos

Natural Feature

odinei-ramone-uycF6K-ORMA-unsplash

Pocitos is one of the most important residential neighborhoods in Montevideo. Its beach, also called Pocitos, is a favorite place for relaxing, practicing sports and taking a bath in Río Uruguay during hot summer days. The rest of the year, this area attracts sports enthusiasts and people of all ages who arrive on the promenade in search of fresh air and a spot to admire nature.

13. Letrero de Montevideo

Montevideo’s name is beautiful, and there are several theories related to the origin of the word. Take your pick of whichever one is true – either way, Uruguay’s capital had its name placed in giant letters in the city in 2012. The letters were first intended as a temporary display, but citizens instantly fell in love with the look, and so a new version made out of a more long-lasting material was made in 2014. The letters were originally white, but have been painted for different occasions. During 2015, for example, they were painted with the colors of the rainbow flag to celebrate the month of diversity.

14. Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales

Museum, Park

15. Sofitel Montevideo Carrasco Hotel

16. catedral metropolitana de montevideo.

Building, Cathedral

Montevideo’s Cathedral is located in Ciudad Vieja, the older side of the city. The construction of this Neoclassical building started in 1790, in the same place where a small brick church had been since 1740. In 1897, Pope Leo XIII named it as the Metropolitan Cathedral. To this day, the most important religious events of the year take place here, along with choir performances and, of course, gorgeous weddings.

17. Museo Del Fútbol

Museum, Stadium

18. Fortaleza Del Cerro

19. museo blanes, 20. feria tristán narvaja, culture trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. we are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special..

Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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16 Top-Rated Things to Do in Montevideo

Written by Diana Bocco Updated Mar 1, 2023

Uruguay is a small country with an eclectic culture, a thriving entrepreneurial mindset, and a high standard of life among South American countries. And Montevideo is one of the highlights of Uruguay . In fact, the Mercer's report on quality of life has continuously rated Montevideo as the best Latin American city to live in .

A mix of Colonial, Neoclassical, and Postmodern-style buildings dominate the skyline of Montevideo, although much of the city's architecture is a clear reminder of the strong European influence on the country's culture and heritage.

Montevideo has many parks, including Park Battle, Park Prado, and Park Rodo, all of which offer small attractions that range from artificial lakes to open-air exhibitions to space for sports and entertainment. Museums and art galleries also dot the city and are a great way to learn more about a city that's always growing while still holding tight to its roots.

For more sightseeing ideas in Uruguay's capital, see our list of top things to do in Montevideo.

1. Walk around Plaza Independencia

2. have lunch and dinner at mercado del puerto, 3. take photos of historical salvo palace, 4. bury your toes in the sand at pocitos, 5. explore museo del gaucho and currency, 6. have a picnic at prado park, 7. get a glimpse of history at museo andes 1972, 8. have fun at the carnival museum, 9. stop by the pittamiglio castle, 10. spend an afternoon at museo blanes, 11. marvel at the unique contemporary art space, 12. dive into the history of fortaleza del cerro, 13. catch a performance at teatro solís, 14. see a soccer game at estadio centenario, 15. visit the catedral metropolitana de montevideo, 16. shop for trinkets at feria tristán narvaja, montevideo, uruguay - climate chart.

Plaza Independencia

Originally designed in 1937, Montevideo's main square is a green space that also holds a mausoleum and monument dedicated to José Gervasio Artigas , a military leader who fought hard for Uruguay and Argentina during the Independence War in the early 1800s. The mausoleum is accessed through a staircase that goes underground and holds an urn with Artigas' remains, as well as some plaques commemorating his life and military efforts.

Some of the most important buildings in Montevideo are located around the plaza, including the 18 th -century Puerta de la Ciudadela (City Gate)–all that's left of the fortress walls that once surrounded Montevideo. The Estevez Palace , now home to a museum, as well as Palacio Salvo , also sit just across the street from the plaza.

The 33 palm trees on the plaza are a homage to the 33 men led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja y de la Torre (who would later become president of Uruguay) into battle during the Independence War.

Mercado del Puerto

To try the best of Uruguay's meat and pasta dishes, especially the famous asado BBQ, it doesn't get any better than the harbor-area Mercado del Puerto. This large market space is full of restaurants, cafés, and parrillas, where visitors can try matambre (stuffed meat roll) and grilled morcilla . All the food is cooked on open fires, right in front of the customers' eyes, using traditional methods and spices.

Uruguay's cuisine is an exciting mix of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese dishes . Very few foods belonging to local indigenous tribes ever made it into Uruguayan gastronomy, as the natives and their culture were never allowed to integrate into the population, which was mostly of European descent.

Outside the building, artisans, musicians, and crafters congregate on weekends to sell their wares and add color to the area.

Salvo Palace

Built in the 1920s, the Salvo Palace wasn't originally designed for a particular purpose, although the earliest plans were to convert it into a hotel. This never happened, and instead the building, owned by the Salvo brothers, became an office and residential place. At one point, the palace was the tallest building in Latin America.

Located just across the street from Plaza Independencia , the Salvo Palace is still mostly private property, except for the space taken by the Tango Museum on one of the floors.

Tango developed in both Argentina and Uruguay at around the same time, but Uruguay has made one particularly significant contribution to it–the 1917 tango La Cumparsita , perhaps the most famous tango ever created, was composed here, in a building that once stood on the grounds of Salvo Palace. The small tango museum inside the palace is a great place to visit to experience the history and culture of the tango and sometimes see short live performances.

Pocitos beach

A resort neighborhood best known for its beach, Pocitos is one of the most popular areas in Montevideo and a major summer destination in Uruguay.

Pocitos beach is flanked by the ocean on one side and the Rambla (a wide boulevard with the world's longest continuous sidewalk) on the other. Popular things to do here include biking, jogging, or sharing a mate (a traditional herbal drink served in a hollow calabash gourd) with friends year-round, and enjoying the wide stretch of sand in the summer.

Playa Pocitos hosts numerous nautical events throughout the year and is surrounded by high-end restaurants, luxury shops, and beautiful hotels and short-term apartments that look over the water.

A number of historically important buildings are also located in Pocitos, including the 19 th -century Church of Saint John the Baptist and the Plaza Tomás Gomensoro, which offers a green break on hot days in the form of a shaded pergola and plenty of benches to rest on.

Read More: Best Beaches in Uruguay

Gauchos in Uruguay

Housed in the former neo-Renaissance Heber Jackson palace, this unique museum showcases the world of the gaucho (a South American cowboy), his relationship to his beloved horse, and a number of traditions surrounding his lifestyle.

The collections focus mainly on clothing, horse gear, and silver and gold spurs–but there are a large number of statues and handmade silver and leather items (both traditional crafts) also available to see.

A different floor of the palace holds a small collection related to accounting and currency. The eclectic mix of items includes counting machines, safes, and handwritten ledgers, as well as examples of bills and coins as they changed through the decades.

Prado Park

Prado Park, located in the neighborhood of the same name, is surrounded by tree-lined streets and impressive mansions dating back to the 1900s. Prado is the largest urban park in Montevideo , extending over an area of 106 hectares and offering plenty of space for picnics , walks in the sun, and shady spots to rest. The Miguelete Creek flows through the park.

The lush grounds of the Botanical Gardens are located within the borders of the park as well, and offer two kilometers of running and walking trails ; a magnificent rose garden populated with flowers imported from France; and multiple photo opportunities under the garden arches, inside the greenhouses, and alongside the creek.

The Blanes Museum is also in Prado Park and offers additional chances to enjoy manicured gardens and beautiful walking paths.

All these tourist attractions and things to do are free, so you can explore them for as long as you want, or come and go as you please throughout the day.

In 1972, the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 traveling to Chile with a group of high school rugby players crashed on the Andes. The tragedy, retold in the film Alive , is chronicled in detail in this museum through photos, books, and documents, and a number of objects recovered from the crash.

The accident killed 29 people and forced the survivors to resort to cannibalism in order to make it for 72 days in freezing conditions. The museum also has videos and documents from the survivors themselves, telling their own story.

Despite the horrific story behind it, the museum focuses on a message of hope and describes the incredible courage of the two survivors who finally found help long after the search had been called off by hiking for 10 days away from the wreckage and over the snow-covered Andes.

Carnival Museum

Uruguay has the longest Carnival celebrations in the world –the colorful and loud summer festival lasts for 40 days starting in the middle of January. While there are parades in many cities around the country, Montevideo hosts the biggest celebrations, which include African-inspired candombe drumming and dancing, a form of musical parody known as Murga, and a series of cultural events that take place on the street as well as small plazas and outdoor venues.

Given the magnitude of the Carnival, it's no surprise that Montevideo has its own museum dedicated to the history of the festival and how it was influenced by African slaves a century ago, how it has changed through the years, exhibits on masks and costumes, and much more.

A special exhibit on candombe recounts its beginnings as dances and rites performed by slaves brought over to Uruguay, as well as showcasing the many different types and sizes of drums used during performances. Photos and documents from the 1930s, when carnivals were at their peak and rivaled Broadway performances, are also available.

Pittamiglio Castle

Depending on where you're standing, this modern building resembling a castle looks very different. From the street, where the main entrance is located, Pittamiglio Castle is just a reddish-brown castle tower with a large replica of the Winged Victory of Samothrace sculpture sitting on the bow of a half ship hanging from the tower. The entrance is surrounded by modern residential buildings.

Once through the doors, however, the castle contains twenty-three towers and fifty-four rooms, as well as a number of unusual architectural details — from impossibly narrow corridors to doors that go nowhere to strangely shaped rooms.

A museum, a restaurant, and an exhibition space are now located inside what was once the home of architect Humberto Pittamiglio, who left the residence to a friend in his will with the condition that it'll be returned to himself "when he came back."

While the building itself is interesting enough to explore, there are also fascinating legends connected to it–from claims of alchemy and being a hiding place for the Holy Grail to stories about the architect being involved in witchcraft and satanic rituals.

Guided tours of the building are a great way to learn more about all these fascinating details and get access to all the rooms.

Museo Blanes

A museum completely dedicated to the work of Uruguay's most famous painter, Juan Manuel Blanes, Museo Blanes is housed in an old mansion designated as a National Heritage Site.

Blanes was a Realistic painter born in 1830. By his early 20s, Blanes was already an illustrator for a local newspaper and the owner of his own atelier. He later became a sought-after portraitist, painting some of the most famous political and military leaders in Uruguay and Argentina. A statue of Artigas, the father of Uruguayan independence, that now sits in Washington D.C. in front of the National Museum of Visual Arts, was created based on Blanes' designs.

The mansion is surrounded by manicured formal gardens and a number of dirt trails perfect for exploring. Right behind the museum, there's a Japanese garden with ponds , bridges, and plenty of quiet corners where you can sit and relax.

Miguelete Prison, home of the Contemporary Art Space

Montevideo is home to many museums and galleries, but also to some beautiful exhibition spaces that are just as unusual as the art they hold–although perhaps none as unique as the Contemporary Art Space or EAC.

This new art space is housed in the former Miguelete prison, the oldest prison in Uruguay, which for 102 years was just that–a fortress designed to keep people locked in.

Then in 2010, after years of being half derelict and covered in graffiti, the prison reopened two floors in one of the wings as an art gallery and exhibition space. Some art shows make use of the cells as well, with individual artists each taking their own individual cell to showcase their work.

The reconstruction is still ongoing almost a decade later, but the space now has several permanent and changing exhibitions in place, including contemporary paintings, natural history items, and avant-garde exhibitions by local and foreign artists. As a permanent reminder of its darker past, bars haven't been removed from cell doors, and the entire ground floor will be left untouched–graffiti, destruction, and all.

Fortaleza del Cerro

The Fortaleza del Cerro (Fortress Hill) sits 134 meters above sea level overlooking Montevideo Bay. The white Spanish fort was originally constructed in 1809 to protect the city against naval attacks, although it never saw battle and was eventually converted into a museum.

Today, visitors come here to visit the 19th-century lighthouse and the Military Museum inside, which houses a jail and a small collection of uniforms, guns, photos, and documents. On the grounds outside, there's a military boat and sweeping views over Rio de la Plata .

Teatro Solis

Uruguay's most renowned theater dates back to 1856, and it's a beautiful example of neoclassical style, built using European marble and timber and designed by an Italian architect. Over the decades, Teatro Solis has become the heart of Montevideo's performing arts scene, and stars from all over the world have stepped on its stage – from dancer Isadora Duncan to actress Sarah Bernhardt.

Today, Teatro Solis is the official home to the State Theater Company and the Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra, and visitors can attend concerts, operas, classical music, and plays by both local and international artists.

Estadio Centenario, Montevideo

Soccer is a national passion in Uruguay, and nowhere can that be experienced any better than at the historical Estadio Centenario. Built as the main stadium for the 1930 World Cup – the first-ever FIFA World Cup – it now serves as the primary home of the Uruguay national team, but also hosts smaller games throughout the year.

If you're in town when there's a game, it's worth getting a ticket to experience the sounds and intensity of soccer in South America. There's also a Museo de Futbol (football museum) inside the stadium, where you can get a glimpse of the history of the sport in Uruguay.

The stadium is part of the larger park complex that includes lots of greenery, spaces for picnicking, and children's playgrounds.

Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral

Located across Constitution Square, the Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral dates back to the 18th-century Spanish colonial times. The church has been declared a National Historic Landmark, and it's currently the city's oldest building. While the cathedral is not flashy, it does hold some beautiful stained-glass windows, a unique copper-colored altar and copper-hued main altar, and two imposing domed bell towers.

A few steps away is the Montevideo Cabildo, which once served as a government building and is now a museum holding historical city artifacts, the original act of Independence (plus the desk where it was signed), a number of curated displays, and old photographs of colonial Montevideo.

Street market in Montevideo

This lively outdoor market takes over the Tristán Narvaja street and smaller side streets every Sunday, stretching for many blocks. The location provides a perfect background of cozy cafés, second-hand bookstores, and antique stores, and the mismatched array of stalls just add to the charm of this historical street in the Cordón neighborhood.

A mix of flea market, food market, used Knick knacks, and souvenirs, the market is also a great place to find unique items to take home – whether that's a mate gourd, a tango poster from decades ago, or a one-of-a-kind piece from a local artist.

Arrive with plenty of time to explore, though, as the stalls aren't organized in any logical order, and you'll miss out on treasures if you just quickly walk by.

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Exploring Uruguay : For more ideas on how to spend your time in the country, have a read through our list of the Top Things to Do in Uruguay . And if you're a beach lover in search of sun and sand, don't miss our article on the Best Beaches in Uruguay .

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Must-see attractions in Montevideo

A visitor looks at a painting by Colombian artist Fernando Botero during an exhibition of painters from Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia at the Museum of Visual Arts in Montevideo on March 22, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Miguel ROJO        (Photo credit should read MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)

Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales

Uruguay’s largest collection of paintings is housed here in Parque Rodó. The spacious rooms are graced with works by Blanes, Cúneo, Figari, Gurvich,…

(GERMANY OUT) Teatro Solis (Solis Theatre), Uruguay's oldest theatre, built in 1856, located in Plaza Independencia.   (Photo by Rolf Schulten/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Teatro Solís

Just off Plaza Independencia, elegant Teatro Solís is Montevideo’s premier performance space. First opened in 1856, and completely renovated during the…

'Parilla' Barbeque Restaurant In The Mercado Del Puerto, Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by: Julio Etchart/Majority World/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Mercado del Puerto

No visitor should miss Montevideo’s old port market building, at the foot of Pérez Castellano; the building's impressive wrought-iron superstructure…

Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay, South America

Museo del Gaucho

Housed in the ornate Palacio Heber, this museum eloquently conveys the deep attachments between the gauchos, their animals and the land. Its superb…

View of the Palacio Salvo in Montevideo, Uruguay, on May 29, 2008. The Palacio Salvo, built in 1928 and designed by Italian architect Mario Palanti, has now set up as a symbol of the country's prosperity years in the 20th century.  AFP PHOTO/Miguel Rojo   MORE IN IMAGE FORUM / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL ROJO        (Photo credit should read MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)

Palacio Salvo

On the east side of the Plaza Independencia, the 26-story structure with the crazy beehive hairdo is Palacio Salvo, the continent's tallest building when…

Saturday flea maket at Plaza Constitucion

Plaza Matriz

Also known as Plaza Constitución, this leafy square was the heart of colonial Montevideo. On its west side stands the Iglesia Matriz, Montevideo’s oldest…

Montevideo, Uruguay Parliament Building

Palacio Legislativo

Dating from 1908, and still playing host to Uruguay’s Asamblea General (legislative branch), the three-story neoclassical parliament building is also open…

uruguay top tourist attractions

Plaza Independencia

Montevideo's largest downtown plaza commemorates independence hero José Artigas with a 17m, 30-ton statue and the subterranean Mausoleo de Artigas, where…

Museo de los Andes

Opened in 2013, this unique museum documents the 1972 Andean plane crash (made famous in the book Alive!) that cost 29 Uruguayans their lives and…

Museo del Carnaval

This museum houses a wonderful collection of costumes, drums, masks, recordings and photos documenting the 100-plus-year history of Montevideo’s Carnaval…

Museo de Artes Decorativas

The Palacio Taranco, a wealthy 1910 merchant’s residence designed by famous French architects Charles Girault and Jules Chifflot, is filled with ornate…

Museo Gurvich

In the heart of Ciudad Vieja's main pedestrian thoroughfare, this museum is devoted to Lithuanian-born Constructivist artist José Gurvich (1927–74), who…

Museo de Arte Precolombino e Indígena

This museum displays a permanent collection of artifacts and information about Uruguay’s earliest inhabitants, along with rotating exhibits focused on…

Museo del Fútbol

A must-see for any fútbol (soccer) fan, this museum displays memorabilia from Uruguay’s 1930 and 1950 World Cup wins. Visitors can also tour the stands.

Museo Torres García

This museum showcases the work of 20th-century Uruguayan painter Torres García, and has revolving exhibitions featuring other contemporary artists.

Iglesia Matriz

Opposite the Cabildo on Plaza Matriz is the Iglesia Matriz, Montevideo's oldest public building. It was begun in 1784 and completed in 1799.

Museo Blanes

Housed in an old mansion in the suburb of Prado, this museum shows the work of Uruguay’s most famous painter, Juan Manuel Blanes.

Casa Rivera

Former home of Fructuoso Rivera (Uruguay’s first president and Colorado Party founder), this neoclassical 1802 building is the centerpiece of Montevideo’s…

Castillo Pittamiglio

On the Rambla between Punta Carretas and Pocitos is this eccentric legacy of local alchemist and architect Humberto Pittamiglio. Its quirky facade alone…

Mausoleo de Artigas

In the middle of the downtown Plaza Independencia is the Mausoleo de Artigas, whose above-ground portion is a 17m, 30-ton statue of the country's…

Museo Naval

Along the eastern waterfront in Buceo, this museum traces the role of boats and ships in Uruguayan history, from the indigenous Charrúa’s canoe culture to…

Museo Figari

One of Ciudad Vieja’s newest museums is devoted to Uruguayan painter Pedro Figari, whose landscapes and portraits masterfully convey a sense of Uruguayan…

Puerta de la Ciudadela

At the west end of the Plaza Independencia is the Puerta de la Ciudadela, a stone gateway that is one of the only remnants of the colonial citadel…

Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo

This gallery makes thought-provoking use of the cells of a 19th-century prison, creating an avant-garde space for revolving exhibitions of contemporary…

Museo y Archivo Histórico Municipal

This free historical museum on Ciudad Vieja's main square displays 18th-century paintings of Montevideo and other artifacts from the city's early days.

Palacio Estévez

The 18th-century Palacio Estévez, on the south side of the Plaza Independencia, was the Government House until 1985.

Torre Antel

For great views out across the city, take the elevator to the top of Montevideo’s most dramatic modern skyscraper.

Opposite the Iglesia Matriz is the Cabildo, a neoclassical stone structure finished in 1812.

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    For details on the best places to visit, take a look at our list of things to do in Uruguay. On This Page: 1. Explore Montevideo. 2. Mix with the Jet Set in Punta del Este. 3. Sunbathe and Swim at the Many Beaches. 4.

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    10. La Paloma [SEE MAP] A small city, La Paloma lies on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular summer beach resort amongst South Americans and Uruguayans themselves, who flock here to enjoy the sun, sea and sand. With spectacular beaches, this laid-back city is great to visit and there are lots of fun watersports for you to try out ...

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    1. Estadio Centenario. This is the biggest football stadium in the country, and was built in 1930 for the first ever World Cup. It is still Montevideo's main stadium, and a must visit even if you're not a big football fan. The energy during a match is unlike anything else; going to see the national team is a spectacle in itself.

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    2. Explore Punta del Este, the Riviera of South America. Renowned for its sun-kissed beaches, upscale resorts, and vibrant night, Punta del Este is often referred to as the "Riviera of South America.". This beach town is a favorite among celebrities and jet-setters, making it one of the coolest spots in Uruguay.

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    Barrio Historico. 8,640. Neighbourhoods. This historic section of town takes you back to the 17th and 18th centuries, with an array of interesting museums, an historic lighthouse and Uruguay's oldest church. See ways to experience (13) 4. Mercado del Puerto. 7,916. Flea & Street Markets.

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    Things to Do in Uruguay, South America: See Tripadvisor's 634,815 traveller reviews and photos of Uruguay tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend or in June. We have reviews of the best places to see in Uruguay. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.

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    Things to Do in Uruguay, South America: See Tripadvisor's 635,856 traveller reviews and photos of Uruguay tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend or in March. We have reviews of the best places to see in Uruguay. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.

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    Museo del Fútbol. Montevideo. A must-see for any fútbol (soccer) fan, this museum displays memorabilia from Uruguay's 1930 and 1950 World Cup wins. Visitors can also tour the stands.

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    The Historic Centre, or Barrio Historico in Spanish, is all about cobbled streets, crumbling architecture and vintage cars. Don't miss the Street of Sighs (Calle De Los Suspiros), the City Gate (Portón de Campo) and the lighthouse (Faro). You can climb up to the top for a small fee of $30 UYU (£0.70 GBP / $0.90 USD).

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    Rent a beach house and ride a wave. Every Christmas and New Year the pop-up restaurant scene in La Pedrera gets better and better and what better way to enjoy this quirky, loveable beach town than to rent a family beach house through the delightful Martha Bello (www.lapedrera.com.uy) and get Francisco at La Pedrera Surf School (+598 99 872 813) to teach you and the kids how to balance on a board.

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    7. Jose Ignacio, Uruguay. Why Visit Jose Ignacio. Jose Ignacio has recently changed from a small fishermen's village to Uruguay's most exclusive and chic beach destination, where celebrities and locals mingle in this laid back spot of the Uruguayan Atlantic coast. It is a great place to relax for a few days at the beach, enjoy the town's ...

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    Solis Theater is a landmark in Ciudad Vieja, the Old City district in Montevideo. Go inside to see beautiful ornamental decor from the beginning of the 20th century. If possible, try to attend a show in this emblematic theater. If not, a guided tour is also a great option to discover its luxurious rooms. 5.

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    2. Visit Museo de la Memoria. The most important museum to visit in Montevideo is the Museo de la Memoria, open since 2007. Located about 1.9mi (3km) from Prado Park, the museum offers insights and context on the country's 12-year civic-military dictatorship. The site honors the 200 Uruguayans who disappeared during the junta (the ...

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    1. Walk around Plaza Independencia. Plaza Independencia. Originally designed in 1937, Montevideo's main square is a green space that also holds a mausoleum and monument dedicated to José Gervasio Artigas, a military leader who fought hard for Uruguay and Argentina during the Independence War in the early 1800s.

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    Museo del Fútbol. Montevideo. A must-see for any fútbol (soccer) fan, this museum displays memorabilia from Uruguay's 1930 and 1950 World Cup wins. Visitors can also tour the stands.