Montevideo City Guide

Montevideo City Guide

Uruguay may be small geographically, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in spirit, culture and striking beauty. The capital, Montevideo, is packed full of all the above and more! A vibrant, multicultural city, Montevideo has it all: from miles of beaches to museums crammed with ancient artefacts and fascinating treasures. Montevideo makes for an excellent introduction to your Uruguay vacation, giving you a tantalising taste of what to expect once you go beyond its urban boundaries. Keep reading our Montevideo city guide to discover some of our highlights of this dynamic destination: its architecture, cuisine, dance scene and top hotels.


Awe-inspiring architecture

Montevideo is a thriving modern city that seems to effortlessly weave its fascinating background with the 21st century world. There is no better way to witness this than on a full-day city tour, where you can take in the delights of the old town, a place where grand colonial buildings take centre stage and are a real window into days gone by. Plaza Independencia is a great example of the past and present colliding, resulting in a real architectural beauty, which is also home to the Puerta de la Ciudadela (part of the old city wall), the iconic Artigas Mausoleum and the gleaming Executive Tower. It not only serves as a unifying space between the rich historic world of Montevideo and busy modern life, but is also the perfect place to absorb the laidback atmosphere and watch people going about their day to day.

Old Town Montevideo - Montevideo city guide

pirizluz,  “palacio salvo” [Pixabay]

Savour the flavours of Montevideo

Uruguay may appear to be the new kid on the block when it comes to fine wines, particularly in comparison to nearby Argentina, but in fact wines have been produced here for hundreds of years and are now getting much deserved international recognition. There are bodegas strewn across the country and many are within easy reach from the Uruguayan capital – Viña Varela Zarranz is one such winery. Under an hour’s drive from Montevideo, this family-run vineyard is a wine lover’s paradise. Informative daily tours delve into traditional wine-making techniques and also modern practices, ending, of course, in a tasty selection of delectable samples, paired with scrumptious cheeses and cold meats. Speaking of food, you will be spoilt for choice while in this capital city. Jump on a ‘Montevideo like a local’ tour for an introduction to all the best places to enjoy regional favourites, Chivito being one of the most popular dishes, a steak sandwich filled with cheese, salad and lashings of mayo – delicious.

It takes two to tango

It is a little-known fact that while Buenos Aires is famous for its passionate tango, the dance also has roots in Uruguay. La Cumparsita, one of the most easily identifiable pieces of music associated with the sultry dance, was written in this very city. The Museo del Tango will take you on a journey going back over a hundred years to the beginnings of this much-loved dance, and what becomes clear is that tango runs through the veins of Montevideo, so experiencing it first-hand is a must. To see how the experts do it, catch a tango show at Primuseum, a quirky restaurant in the Old Town where you can watch a thrilling artistic display while sampling local delicacies and sipping on first-class Uruguayan wine.

Where to stay in Montevideo

While the draw of the beach may be a high priority for some, and the romantic Old Town attracting others, rest assured there is something for everyone when it comes to places to stay in Montevideo. For a contemporary, sophisticated bolthole, Oliva Luxury Hotel is just a stone’s thrown from the beach and the golf course, though also boasts a spa with hammam and dry sauna to boot. If you would prefer something bursting with colonial character, then look no further than the Alma Historica, a unique boutique hotel whose charm resonates throughout the whole building. Elegant guestrooms carry the names of famous Uruguayans from the world of art, literature and even sport, with the decor reflecting their achievements, some more subtly than others. Elsewhere, the library and lounge are tranquil places to stop and unwind awhile, peppered as they are with historic ornaments, giving the whole place a homely, relaxed vibe. So, settle in and make your stay in Montevideo one filled with luxuries.

Alma Historica Hotel - Montevideo city guide

Alma Historica Hotel


Inspired by our Montevideo city guide? Visit Montevideo on a trip to Uruguay with Surtrek – you can build your vacation to suit your tastes and interests on our Discover Your South America platform, by clicking here. Otherwise, call us toll-free on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to an expert, and Discover Your South America with Surtrek!

Leave a Comment