What sets Medellín apart from other cities is definitely its people. The paisas, how the natives of this city are referred to, put effort and love into everything they do. As such, you will find that Medellín is one of the most beautiful and developed cities in the country. Colombian hospitality is well known and well loved, but the paisas’ hospitality goes above and beyond as they are cheerful and kind people. Book now at the Hampton by Hilton Medellín and let us show you the main places to visit in Medellín and the best of its people.
Tourist Spots in Medellín
Center of the city
The capital city of Antioquia truly has the best climate in the world. Consider yourself forewarned, you will never want to leave given its warm and friendly climate, which is just an added bonus when visiting. There are many places to explore, so we have taken the liberty of compiling the best ones for you.
If you have time, the ideal thing would be for you to participate in the walking tour, “Caminando por el Centro” (Walking Through Downtown), which takes you through the center of the city and lasts about 4 hours, and includes a guide who explains the entire history of the city. This tour has stops at Plaza de Botero, La Alpujarra, the Railway Station, the Parque de las Luces, the Basilica Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria and also a tour in the Tram and Cable Metro, among others. Knowing the turbulent history of Medellín and touring the city to experience its current transformation will really amaze you, and you’ll get to see the city from a completely different perspective. This will help you understand the pride paisas have for their city and their spirit of entrepreneurship and empowerment.
Medellín is the only Colombian city that has a subway system, which has also helped make it such a big tourist attraction. So, make sure you get on both the subway and the Metro Cable. The latter gives you the opportunity to see the communes and neighborhoods from a different perspective, which was previously impossible, since it was inaugurated in 2010 to complement the subway lines.
If you do not have too much time to participate in an organized tour, Plaza de Botero is the emblematic stop of your vacation. Here you will get to walk around and take photos with 23 bronze statues of the fat men and women of Colombian sculptor and artist, Fernando Botero. This square is located in the center of the city so it is the best way to start your tour. Next to it you will find the Museum of Antioquia and the Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture.
Jardín Botánico de Medellín Joaquín Antonio Uribe
As the second country in the world with the largest number of bromeliad species and 10% of the orchid species, you can lose yourself in the colors and beauty that can only be found here in Colombia. Medellin’s botanical garden hosts a number of exhibits by areas such as tropical forest, palm garden, desert garden and azaleas patio, among others. Colombian’s biodiversity is at the tip of your fingers. When leaving the garden, take advantage and pass through the Parque Explora, a science and technology park, as well as the Medellín Planetarium.
Travel through time and visit this replica of an ancient country town on Cerro Nutibara. Here you can buy crafts and souvenirs for family and friends. In addition, from the lookout point you will get the best panoramic view of the city.
Do day or night hiking, bird watching, forest observation races (for a minimum group of 8 people) or cycle through the park, among many other activities in Arvi Park, where ecological and sustainable tourism are at its core. You’ll love the Arvi Market, where farmers and microentrepreneurs offer everything from handicrafts to agricultural products from the region, which is what supports the local economy.
Museo El Castillo
For art lovers, Medellín offers El Castillo. It has the largest collection of decorative arts in the city from Colombian and European artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You can appreciate dishes, porcelain, ceramics and sculptures among other artifacts. The castle itself is a work of art as it evokes a medieval Gothic-style French castle. The wonderful thing to see here are its great gardens.
Take a tour of the 3 Cordilleras brewery, where you can try the paisa craft beer. Dare to taste any of its varieties: white beer, mulatto, mestizo, black and pink. If you visit on a Friday, you can enjoy live music while savoring the malts.
Parque de los Pies Descalzos
Your children will go crazy with happiness at this park as it is a public space that allows them to enjoy their favorite things: water and sandboxes, all on bare feet. It is also a great place to let your inner child out and have fun with your kids while enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
We recommend you come to Envigado to discover tejo. This typical Colombian game will keep you entertained and drinking beer for several hours. Here’s a hint: you must throw the yew in the center and whoever it falls closest to wins. Dance reggae, reggaeton and salsa in El Callejón or go out for dinner in the Jardines area, where you will find restaurants such as La Doctora or Trifásico. Be sure to try the empanadas envigadeñas.
Two hours from Medellín, the town of a thousand colors, Guatapé, awaits. The Piedra del Peñol offers you an idyllic landscape; however, you must climb approximately 659 steps to enjoy this natural viewpoint. From the top you can see the Guatapé reservoir. Simply beautiful! It runs through the streets of the town of Zocalos, which boasts colorful painted houses, and works of art which include everything from historical references to everyday objects.
Visit Santa Fé de Antioquia
One hour from Medellín you will find the Cradle of Antioqueñidad, the municipality of Santa Fé de Antioquia. Appreciate its colonial architecture and cobbled streets, where you can find several things to do, including visiting the Puente de Occidente (suspension bridge), the Juan del Corral Museum and the Francisco Cristóbal Toro Religious Art Museum. Enjoy the rhythms of a papayera, which originated in this spot almost a century ago. Visit the waterfalls of Agua Cristalina de la Noque or La Contadora or participate on a ride. La Casa Solariega will transport you to other times. Finally, an extremely special experience is to enjoy a movie under the stars in some of its parks for free.
The hot spot to go out for drinks, have dinner with friends or party is Lleras Park. A small park surrounded by various establishments but its atmosphere attracts both young people and adults alike every day. You will find the best party at El Blue, B-Lounge or Babylon.
We recommend you experience a traditional Antioqueña fonda (inn). In the past, these inns were the places where the muleteers (known locally as arrieros) stopped to rest during their travels, eat something, have some beverages (brandy) and listen to local music. Some agencies offer a tour of the most traditional fondas in Medellín, which currently offer you a unique gastronomic experience with a party like no other, featuring traditional décor, including carrieles (traditional bags), images of the virgin, the vitrola and the guitar. At Carrera 70, you will find several fondas, such as Fonda La Esquina del Recuerdo, Fonda la Vecindad de 70, La Tienda de la 70 and Fonda Chabela, among others.
If what you are looking for is to move your hips on the dance floor, the capital of Antioquia offers you an incomparable Colombian party. In the area of Las Palmas is Dulce Jesús Mío, while in the Barrio Colombia you will find Prizma. On Calle 33, The Rouse, Palmaco and California Club are the best. You can also visit Kukaramakara, Trilogía Live Bar or Attic. There is something for all the tastes and preferences.
La Feria de las Flores
One of the most traditional and iconic events in the country is the Medellin Fair (Feria de las Flores), which takes place at the end of December in Medellín. Delight your eyes with the diversity of colors and variety of flowers that adorn the streets of the city. But what will impress you the most is the delicate artisan work of the silleteros. The spree and brandy are the main stars of the fair, where you will also enjoy concerts, horseback riding and bull fights.
With a history that spans more than 40 years, El Rancherito offers succulent typical Colombian food in a country house setting. In Tasty’s you can enjoy the best burgers in Antioquia. Enjoy an elegant or romantic dinner at El Cielo, which décor evokes a typical country estate and offers you avant-garde Colombian cuisine. These three restaurants have been awarded by the 2019 Barra Elite Awards.
Other well-known restaurants offering typical Antioquia/Colombian fare include Mondongo’s, Hacienda Origen and Restaurante Hatoviejo. The quintessential local dish is the bandeja paisa, so, you must try it. If you are looking to impress your partner or give yourself a luxurious gastronomic treat, you can delight your palate at Restaurante Barcal, La Provincia or at Oci.Mde. If you happen to get a major craving for pizza while on vacation, we recommend Amazza Gin Garden and Cavieli.
Medellín is one of those places you visit and never want to leave. Do not be surprised if this happens to you too.