Everything You Need to Know About Medellín’s Flower Festival
Every year, come August, the vibrant city of Medellín becomes even more colourful with the Flower Festival (or La Feria de las Flores) dominating every which way you turn. Over the course of ten days, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing how to spend your time. Musicians from all genres descend on the city, parades stop traffic and fireworks light up the sky in typical South American fashion. This festival is certainly one of the highlights of Medellín’s social calendar and should not be missed if you are lucky enough to be in Colombia in August. Read on and learn everything you need to know about Medellín’s Flower Festival ahead of planning your own Colombian trip.
What’s it all about?
Over 60 years ago, Medellín began an annual celebration of their floral industry. While Holland leads the way when it comes to exporting flowers, Colombia is hot on their heels and the Feria de las Flores certainly shows it. As with many of these things, what started off as a small gathering has now grown into a major event with thousands of people flocking to the city every year to take part in the various parades, watch internationally renowned singers perform, and soak up the electric atmosphere that flows through Medellín at this time of year.
Events during La Feria de las Flores
Medellín’s Flower Festival is not just about the blooms, beautiful as they may be. While here, you will also see horse fairs, art shows, dance exhibitions, folk music and huge gigs headlined by the likes of Marc Anthony wowing eager revellers year after year. If you enjoy music, be sure to look out for the National Trova Festival, a competitive ‘sing off’ where the participants go up against each other to battle it out with improvised rhyming song lyrics. Open to all age groups, including children, it makes for a really fun family day out.
Catch the classic car parade
One of the highlights of the festival has got to be the classic car parade. Thousands of people hem the streets of Medellín each year to catch a glimpse of these vintage motors. With five main categories that entrants can choose from, you can expect to see cars from the early 1900s right through to 1970s favourites, with some owners really getting into the spirit and dressing to match their vehicle, only going to add to the celebratory atmosphere. For more action on four wheels look out for the Chiva Parade, a chance to see dozens of colourful Colombian Chiva buses make their way through the city. Often decked out with flowers and packed with people, it’s a truly joyful experience.
Don’t miss the Defiles de Silleteros!
If you do one thing while in Medellín during La Feria de las Flores, then the Desfiles de Silleteros is a must. Steeped in local tradition, this parade sees hundreds of people, young and old, make their way through the streets with stunning displays of flowers strapped to their backs on wooden silletas, a contraption that in the past has carried everything from goods for buying and selling to fully grown adults!
Crowds line the streets from the morning onwards, so we recommend you get there early if you want a good view. Street vendors will keep you well sated throughout the event, although if you can get a spot near some shade you will be glad of it later! Meanwhile, back on the parade route you can look forward to jaw-dropping floral arrangements, dancers and an all-round jovial vibe; not to mention a really authentic taste of Colombian culture.
Where to stay during Medellín’s Flower Festival
Medellín is not short of great places to stay. Of course, with a festival of this size rooms are snapped up pretty quickly so if you are planning a visit be sure to book your accommodation well in advance. For five-star luxury head to the Intercontinental Medellín and indulge in a decadent spa treatment after a day attending the festival. Or, for optimum views, stay at Diez Hotel, whose rooftop Jacuzzi will give you a privileged vantage point over Medellín and all its glorious sights. Finally, for a taste of contemporary Medellín, opt for Park 10 Hotel, a sanctuary to return to after a busy day of parades, where you can dine in style at one of the two onsite restaurants before retreating to a gorgeous guestroom.
Things to do in and around Medellín
If you are extending your stay either side of La Feria de las Flores, you’ll soon discover there is plenty to do in the Medellín area. The mild climate of here is the reason why Medellín is known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ and this weather makes it the perfect place to explore year-round. Parque Arvi is within easy reach of the city centre and is home to a cultural centre, watch towers and even a market, along with a nature reserve providing habitat for a plethora of flora and fauna. Further afield the pretty colonial town of Guatape makes for a wonderful day trip, or if you wish to find out more about the flowers you have been admiring during the festival, make your way to Santa Elena for a tour of one of the flower farms.
For more information about Medellín and everything it has to offer, check out our blog articles –
Medellín City Guide, Medellín’s Museums and Where and What to Eat in Medellín, ensuring you really do see all the best bits of this up-and-coming destination.
Feeling inspired? Why not build your trip to Colombia with Discover Your South America, personalising your itinerary by handpicking the hotels, activities and length of stay according to your preferences. You can also call Surtrek on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to a travel expert; our team is always ready to help!