MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY: WHAT TO DO, VISIT, BEST PLACES TO STAY AND RESTAURANTS RECOMMENDATIONS

Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital is the Latin American city with the highest quality of life and also with the highest cost of living. The headquarters of MERCOSUL are set here.

Montevideo is located on the south of the country, by the Río de la Plata, the river bordering Uruguay and Argentina.

In fact, Uruguay is considered one of the safest countries in the world and the safest one in South America. More than half of  the Uruguayan population belongs to the middle class, which makes it the South American country with the lowest rate of social inequalities.

Furthermore, Uruguay always ranks high in several global indicators, such as Human Development Index.

Montevideo is a very safe city and a very pleasant one to include in your visit to Uruguay and South America. It is peaceful, ideal to stroll and with interesting monuments to visit.

The majority of sights are located in the historic center (Ciudad Vieja) and all of them are within walking distance.

Skyline of Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo, Uruguay capital

TIPS FOR YOUR TRIP TO MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY BY THE FANCY EXPLORER

  • Explore Downtown (Ciudad Vieja) on weekdays (On a Saturday afternoon and on Sunday the streets are quite empty)
  • Attend a tango show at Bar Fun Fun (reservations available per Whatsapp)
  • Visit a wineyard close to the city, for example Bodega Bouza
  • Enjoy a sunset with your mate at Pocitos beach
  • Do not do a daytrip to Colonia del Sacramento, combine it preferably when travelling to Buenos Aires. I say it because the distance is long (2h30 by car; 3h by bus) and you would not enjoy this beautiful colonial city properly
  • Punta del Este is more feasible as a daytrip (only 1h30 by car; 2h by bus). If you have a car and plan on a roadtrip along the coast, then I would recommend staying overnight. And if there is a must see in Uruguay, sunset at Casapueblo in Punta del Este is the answer. Check my Youtube video 

VAT REDUCTION FOR FOREIGNERS IN URUGUAY

Did you know as a tourist you get 22% VAT reduction in touristic services in Uruguay (for the time being until September 2022)?

When you pay with a foreign debit or credit card in Uruguay in certain touristic services, such as at restaurants and car rentals, you are granted 22% VAT reduction.

This VAT reduction has been approved until September 2022.

For further details check the following link

BEST SEASON TO VISIT MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY

Montevideo can be visited all year around, but of course during Spring and Summer months days are longer, temperatures are very nice, allowing you to enjoy all the outdoor possibilities this lovely city offers you.

I was there in mid February, which is the end of Summer and could enjoy great weather. January and February is high season (corresponds to August in the northern hemisphere), so if you want to avoid crowds, I would not travel during these months.

I would recommend travelling from November to March to enjoy this city fullest.

Riverside in Montevideo, Uruguay

Punta Carretas, Montevideo, Uruguay

BEST AREAS TO STAY IN MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY

The safest areas to stay are Pocitos and Punta Carretas, wealthy areas close to the Rambla de Montevideo by the riverside.

Both areas offer a wide rage of accommodation, restaurants and services options. It will take you around 10/15 min by Uber to the city center.

Staying in the city center does not pose security problems, just be careful after dark in certain areas.

VISITING MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY

The main sights of Montevideo are concentraded downtown and you will be able to visit them all on foot. You can do it independently or take a free walking tour like I did here

WHAT TO VISIT IN MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY CAPITAL:

HISTORIC CENTER (CIUDAD VIEJA)

  • Plaza Independencia + Palacio Salvo
  • Teatro Solis
  • Calle Sarandí
  • Plaza Constitución
  • Cathedral of Montevideo
  • Plaza Zabala
  • Palacio Taranco (Museum of Decorative Arts)
  • Mercado del Puerto
  • Mirador Panoramico Intendencia de Montevideo – panoramic view

Plaza Independencia + Palacio Salvo

Independence Square in Montevideo, Uruguay

Plaza Independencia, Montevideo, Uruguay

The heart of Montevideo. It was built in 1840. On the center of the square there is a statue of Artigas, Uruguay’s main heroe responsible for the independence movement from the Spanish colonies.

On this square, you can also find the seat of the Uruguayan Presidency. Did you imagine there is no security guard around this building? This gives you an idea how peaceful Uruguayan population is .

A building that stands out in Plaza Independencia is Palacio Salvo, built by Mario Palanti. It is the brother building of Palacio Barolo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This building works as a residential block of appartments and for the time being visits to the panoramic view are suspended.

Palacio Salvo, Montevideo

Palacio Salvo, Montevideo, Uruguay

Teatro Solis

Teatro Solis

Teatro Solis, Montevideo, Uruguay

One of the major cultural centers of Montevideo, Uruguay.

You can take a tour or attend one of their theater plays. You will notice at night a red light above the building, meaning there is a play in scene.

You can check their programme here

Calle Sarandí

Calle Sarandí is one the major pedestrian streets that starts at Puerta de la Ciudadadela , the only section from the old wall that remains and ends at the port.

Along Calle Sarandí you will see many street vendors selling mates cups and handmade crafts. You will also stop by at the Cathedral and Plaza Constitución.

Plaza Constitución

One of the most beautiful in Montevideo, Uruguay with beautiful ornaments.

Cathedral of Montevideo

Cathedral of Montevideo

Inside Cathedral of Montevideo, Uruguay

Located in front of Plaza Constitución, it is the most important Catholic Church in Uruguay.

Free access.

Plaza Zabala

A square of Parisian influence. The name comes from its founder whose statue you can find in the middle.

Palacio Taranco (Museum of Decorative Arts)

Palacio Taranco, Montevideo

Palacio Taranco, Museum of Decorative Arts in Montevideo, Uruguay

Located in the south of Plaza Zabala, belongs to the Ortiz Taranco family and is nowadays the Museum of Decorative Arts.

French architects were in charge of its interior decoration, which explains its Versailles influence.

Free access, an absolute masterpiece you must visit.

Check more details here

Mercado del Puerto

A touristy place , famous for their specialized restaurants in barbecue meat – parrillada.

There are several souvenir shops and restaurants inside. It is a nice experience, but be aware it is more focused on tourists.

Mirador Panoramico Intendencia de Montevideo – panoramic view

Intendencia de Montevideo

Panoramic view from Intendencia de Montevideo, Uruguay

On top of the building of Intendencia de Montevideo (Municipal Hall), you have a free panoramic view of the city.

You can check more information here

OUTSIDE THE CENTER

  • Universo Pittamiglio
  • Palacio Legislativo
  • Las Ramblas
  • Parque Rodó
  • Letrero Montevideo
  • Lighthouse of Punta Carretas
  • Manuel Blanes Museum – Japanese Garden
  • Carrasco

Universo Pittamiglio

Universo Pittamiglio

Universo Pittamiglio, Montevideo, Uruguay

It is a mystical place that was home of Humberto Pittamiglio, an alchymist of Italian origin.

On a guided visit you can learn everything about this place, the meaning of all elements and geometry present. Private events are organized, as well as thematic activities from time to time.

Practical information:

✔️It is located on the neighborhood of Punta Carretas
✔️Everyday there are guided tours at 6 pm. Price 280 pesos
✔️Make sure to also check the entrance on the back street as it is beautiful and original architecture.

Guided tours must be booked via Whatsapp. Check the website

Palacio Legislativo

Palacio Legislativo, Montevideo

Palacio Legislativo, Montevideo, Uruguay

A beautiful building home to the Court and Senate.

You can visit inside, but I was not able to as it was closed on Sunday.

Las Ramblas

Rambla de Montevideo

Rambla de Montevideo, Uruguay

Strolling around the riverside at Las Ramblas is an iconic activity in Montevideo. The most popular one is Rambla de la Republica de Perú, where Playa de Pocitos is located. It is a major gathering point to watch the sunset. Until late night, you will see many people jogging and doing sports, making it one of the best spots of Montevideo.

Parque Rodó

Parque Rodo, Montevideo

Parque Rodó, Montevideo, Uruguay

One of the most beautiful parks in Punta Carretas with a lush, tropical vibe. There are several attractions from football camps, amusement parks and even casino. The lake is one of its biggest attractions and on a weekend you can see many families renting pedal boats with their kids.

Letrero Montevideo

Letrero de Montevideo

Letrero de Montevideo, Uruguay

An iconic spot with the letters of Montevideo and one of the most popular ones for the sunset.

Lighthouse of Punta Carretas

At the end of the promenade in Punta Carretas, you can go to its lighthouse from where you have a wonderful scenic view.

Entrance fee: 50 pesos

Manuel Blanes Museum – Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden, Montevideo

Japanese Garden in Montevideo, Uruguay

Set in the area of Prado, you will find Manuel Blanes Museum (Museo de Bellas Artes Juan Manuel Blanes), one of the most important Uruguayan artists.

Inside this museum you will find the Japanese Garden, which is a very peaceful and beautiful place for a walk.

Both of them are free.

Not very far away, you also have a Rose Garden (Rosedal)  worth stopping by, even though it will look more beautiful during Spring months.

Carrasco

Lavender Tea Room

Lavender Tea Room in the area of Carrasco, Montevideo, Uruguay

Carrasco is the most expensive area in Montevideo, not far from the international airport Carrasco.

It is very pleasant to stroll around the beautiful homes.

It is also worth to stop by the luxurious Sofitel Hotel and admire its interior design.

I recommend having teatime or lunch at Lavender Tea Room, a café surrounded by flowers.

HOW MANY DAYS TO VISIT MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY?

I recommend 3 full days. If you have more days left, you can combine it with a visit to a winery or even a daytrip to Punta del Este.

HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS IN MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY:

Merit Montevideo Apart & Suites

I stayed at Merit Montevideo Apart & Suites in the area of Pocitos and was extremely happy about it. The apartment is spacious, with balcony, side riverview and there is daily cleaning.

Price: starts at €50/night.

You can book it here

RESTAURANTS AND FOOD MARKETS RECOMMENDATIONS IN MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY:

Uruguay Parrilla Gourmet 

A very pleasant restaurant in Punta Carretas, serving high-quality meat. They have an outdoor garden, which is ideal for a Summer day.

Uruguay Parrilla Gourmet

Uruguay Parrilla Gourmet Restaurant in Punta Carretas, Montevideo, Uruguay

Almacen Hugo Soca

Dilema Café & Restobar

A very young, tropical vibe. Dishes are delicious. Make sure to always book beforehand.

Mercado Ferrando

One of the best gastronomic food halls in Montevideo, Uruguay. There is a wide range of options from local dishes to more international ones.

CAFÉS RECOMMENDATIONS IN MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY:

Escaramuza

A bookshop and a café in the backyeard.

Lab Coffee Roasters

The Lab Coffee Roasters

The Lab Coffee Roasters, Montevideo, Uruguay

A beautiful Parisian architecture café in Punta Carretas.

BAR RECOMMENDATION FOR A TANGO SHOW IN MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY:

FUN FUN

Tango Bar Fun Fun, Montevideo

Bar Fun Fun in Montevideo, Uruguay

Bar Fun Fun is the best spot for a tango show in Montevideo, Uruguay. You need to book in advance via Whatsapp, choosing either show only or dinner and show.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links and The Fancy Explorer may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you.

Travel Resources in Montevideo, Uruguay

  • Finding accommodation in Uruguay: booking.com is the best option to find your accommodation in Montevideo.
  •  Renting a car in Uruguay: Exploring the coast in Uruguay is a beautiful roadtrip you should do. I recommend renting a car at an international car rental company like Sixt or Europcar . Always rent one with insurance against all risks.
  • Finding flights in Uruguay: I recommend checking for connections at Skyscanner but to always book directly at the airlines. One of the best connections to Uruguay from Europe is with the Spanish airline Iberia, since you have a direct flight from Madrid.
  • Need help planning your trip to Uruguay: I offer you personalized travel planning consultancy. Just contact me so that we can discuss and prepare a tailormade plan for your trip.

Hope you enjoy your visit to Montevideo, Uruguay and let me know in the comments how you found it!