Montevideo is a charming city, small in size but immense in history, natural beauty, and culture in Uruguay. Here is a list of the must-visit places in Montevideo for tourists to explore on the next trip.
Must-visit Places in Montevideo
1. Plaza Independencia
Originally designed in 1937, Montevideo’s main square is a green space that also holds a mausoleum and monument dedicated to José Gervasio Artigas, a military leader who fought hard for Uruguay and Argentina during the Independence War in the early 1800s. The mausoleum is accessed through a staircase that goes underground and holds an urn with Artigas’ remains, as well as some plaques commemorating his life and military efforts.
Some of the most important buildings in Montevideo are located around the plaza, including the 18th-century Puerta de la Ciudadela (City Gate)—all that’s left of the fortress walls that once surrounded Montevideo.
2. Mausoleo al General José Gervasio Artigas
José Gervasio Artigas is Urguay’s national hero. He fought to free the territory from the Spanish crown in the early 1800s. After long years of battling for independence and losing power, Artigas was exiled to Paraguay, where he later died. His remains were brought to Uruguay and put in his mausoleum in Plaza Independencia, right under his statue in the center of Montevideo’s main square. The remains are guarded at all times by a national force with the name of Blandengues de Artigas.
3. Palacio Salvo
4. Mercado del Puerto
To try the best of Uruguay’s meat and pasta dishes, especially the famous asado BBQ, it doesn’t get any better than the harbor-area Mercado del Puerto. This large market space is full of restaurants, cafés, and parrillas, where visitors can try matambre (stuffed meat roll) and grilled morcilla. All the food is cooked on open fires, right in front of the customers’ eyes, using traditional methods and spices.
Uruguay’s cuisine is an exciting mix of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese dishes. Very few foods belonging to local indigenous tribes ever made it into Uruguayan gastronomy, as the natives and their culture were never allowed to integrate into the population, which was mostly of European descent.
Outside the building, artisans, musicians, and crafters congregate on weekends to sell their wares and add color to the area.
A resort neighborhood best known for its beach, Pocitos is one of the most popular areas in Montevideo and a major summer destination in Uruguay.
Pocitos beach is flanked by the ocean on one side and the Rambla (a wide boulevard with the world’s longest continuous sidewalk) on the other. Popular things to do here include biking, jogging, or sharing a mate (a traditional herbal drink served in a hollow calabash gourd) with friends year-round and enjoying the wide stretch of sand in the summer.
Playa Pocitos hosts numerous nautical events throughout the year and is surrounded by high-end restaurants, luxury shops, and beautiful hotels, and short-term apartments that look over the water.
6. Montevideo’s Botanical Museum and Gardens
Montevideo’s Botanical Museum and Gardens, in the Prado neighborhood, are extensive. This park has a great collection of beautiful plants from all over the world and serves as a center for education, information, and scientific activity. It’s perfect for those who like a bit of natural sightseeing.
This is one of the must-visit places in Montevideo you shouldn’t miss when traveling.
7. Prado Park
Prado Park, located in the neighborhood of the same name, is surrounded by tree-lined streets and impressive mansions dating back to the 1900s. Prado is the largest urban park in Montevideo, extending over an area of 106 hectares and offering plenty of space for picnics, walks in the sun, and shady spots to rest. The Miguelete Creek flows through the park.
The lush grounds of the Botanical Gardens are located within the borders of the park as well and offer two kilometers of running and walking trails; a magnificent rose garden populated with flowers imported from France; and multiple photo opportunities under the garden arches, inside the greenhouses, and alongside the creek.
The Blanes Museum is also in Prado Park and offers additional chances to enjoy manicured gardens and beautiful walking paths.
All these attractions and things to do are free, so you can explore them for as long as you want or come and go as you please throughout the day.