It’s easy to explore any city when there’s adventure at every corner. Luckily, Montevideo is small in size and can be sufficiently conquered in a matter of days. Montevideo is the capital and largest city of Uruguay, offering modern charms with historical progress present in the streets. Like any metropolitan city, Montevideo offers great eats, ample sights to explore, and nearby destinations at its footsteps including Colonial del Sacramento, Punta del Este, and Buenos Aires (capital city of Argentina). If you have only 24 hours in Montevideo, below you’ll discover some of the best sights the city has to offer.
If staying for a short period of time, there is no need to blow your budget on accommodation. Montevideo offers sufficient affordable and charmingly designed lodging to suit most taste. I recommend renting an apartment near the old city. This bright and airy open-plan studio, via Airbnb, fits the bill.
If hotels are more your speed, the Smart Hotel is a great choice. Strategically located in downtown Montevideo, the Smart Hotel is a great combination of design, comfort, and warm smiles.
Start the day off with a morning Mate. A Mate (pronounced mah-tay), is a herbal tea-like drink consumed in a specially made hard shell filled with bitter herbs and hot water and drunk through a metallic straw. This is your first attempt to act like a true Uruguayan.
cc: Andy Trincia
PLAZA INDEPENDENCIA/OLD CITY
Potentially the most popular site in Montevideo, Plaza Independencia is Montevideo’s largest plaza housing several important buildings and sites at its core including the Artigas statue and mausoleum, Palacio Salvo, and the Ciudadela, which separates the old city and downtown Montevideo. Grab a seat on a nearby bench and people watch the day away.
Plazas, parks, artsy graffiti, and a few rounds of Zillertal beer, enjoy your pick while exploring the core of Montevideo.
MERCADO DEL PUERTO
At first glance, Mercado del Puerto appears to be another tourist trap. Once inside, it’s a pavilion with endless cheap eats, gifted musicians, and crafts of all sorts. Take a stroll and be sure to stop by Roldos and enjoy a bottle of Medio y Medio, a tasteful mixture of red wine and champagne.
La Rambla, located along the northern shoreline of the Rio de la Plata, is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll (or anytime of the day) to enjoy the tranquil beauty that the city’s backdrop has to offer. Be sure to check out La Rambla Beach and take a selfie at the iconic Montevideo sign!
Museo Andes honors the memory of the 29 Uruguayans that lost their lives in the Andes in 1972 when their aircraft crashed en route from Montevideo to Santiago de Chile. The story of those who survived is remarkable!
While in the area, have a stroll through Plaza Matriz and enjoy some ice cream while taking in the peaceful surroundings.
Life at the Opera sounds like a dream come true. Echoing vocals, elegant and classical decor, or better yet, a private tour of what goes on behind the scenes. Teatro Solis, located next to Plaza Independecia, is one of Montevideo’s most beautiful buildings. If you can, make time to see a show. If not, a tour throughout the theater will suffice.
Home of the Senate, General Assembly, and House of Representatives, Palacio Legislativo is an awesome architectural display of beauty, both inside and out. Be sure to check opening hours before going.
Uruguay is known for their amazing cuts of beef and La Pulperia is one of the best places to indulge. La Pulperia has mastered the art of meat cooking and grilling with an unmatched quality of meat compared to its neighbors. Doors open at 8PM; arrive by 7:30PM and secure your place in line as the restaurant is quite small. I recommend the rib-eye (full portion), grilled sweet potato, and a bottle of Tannat red wine! This is the perfect way to end a day of discovery in Montevideo.