City Guide: Montevideo

Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay and has been rated as one of cities in Latin America with the highest quality of life. Because it is not as well known as other cities in South America, I would like to introduce some of the important sights of Montevideo in this city guide.

Montevideo Sign

Moritz and I arrived in Montevideo after taking the ferry from Buenos Aires which takes about two hours. As we arrived rather late in the evening we only had one full day to spend in Montevideo, but as you will see in this city guide Montevideo can be visited easily by foot within a couple of hours.

The main sights of Montevideo can be found along the Avenida 18 de Julio.

Montevideo Locks Fountain

Montevideo Locks Fountain

As we started our sightseeing tour near the Plaza de la Treinta, this city guide of Montevideo will feature any relevant sights between the Plaza and the famous market, where we had some typical Uruguayan meat.

Strolling along the Avenida 18 de Julio

When walking along the Avenida 18 de Julio you encounter lots of interesting buildings, so strolling around there and just taking in the views is absolutely worthwhile.

Near there you can also find this little souvenir shop which has some cute, hand-made things on sale, definitely not the typical souvenir shop you would find in most places. Here are some of our impressions of the avenue:

Montevideo Souvenir Shop

Souvenir Shop

Plaza Independencia and Palacio Salvo in Montevideo

The Avenida 18 de Julio directly leads towards the Plaza Independencia, which presents the centre of the city and is probably among the most beautiful places in Montevideo. It separates the new town centre from the historic part by the Gateway of the Citadel. You can find both the Solis Theatre as well as the working place of the Uruguayan president here. The real eye-catcher of the square, however, is the Palacio Salvo.

Palacio Salvo in Montevideo was designed by the Italian architect Palanti, who also designed a similar building in Buenos Aires (the Palacio Barolo). Both are in my opinion definite must-sees when you’re visiting either city. I cannot quite explain what struck me about these buildings, but the Palacio Salvo was my favorite sight in Montevideo and as such cannot be missed in any city guide about it.

Montevideo Old Town

When you pass through the Gateway of the Citadel, you enter the historic part of Montevideo. While a few buildings here seem to be a bit run-down, the historic quarter is a very lovely area where people like to hang out and relax. Here are some of our impressions of the city:

Montevideo Mercado del Puerto

The Mercado del Puerto is located quite closely to the ferry terminal. The market basically consists of a large hall with several restaurants and cafes, all quite busy and lively. We managed to get a seat in the middle of the market.

The bar table area basically surrounded a massive barbeque where you could observe the cooks making your food, all quite authentic I’d say, but also very warm because of the open fire. We just ended up ordering way too much because we had no idea what was expecting us!

Montevideo Rambla and beach

If you’ve got enough from sightseeing and walking through a noisy market hall, then making a detour to the Rambla, the promenade along the coast, is a good idea.

The rambla stretches along the entire southern part of Montevideo, so you can just decide where you’d prefer to walk. We decided to take an Uber to the Punta Brava and walk from there as it had started to get dark already.

Our overall impression of Montevideo

Montevideo was quite a relaxed place to visit. We came across a few tourist groups, but apart from that there were mainly just locals hanging around in cafes or strolling through the city. The weather was really pleasant and the promenade by sea provides for a great opportunity of just going for a relaxed walk. We also both liked the city centre due to the beautiful buildings and the close walking distances, which are ideal for a brief city trip as you can see in this City Guide of Montevideo!

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8 Comments on “City Guide: Montevideo”

  1. I am going to South America in July and I was debating whether I should visit Uruguay or not, and your post just makes me want to visit Montevideo. I am the one for less touristy places so Montevideo is the place. Do you think one day trip is enough?

    • hi! yes, if you’re not into highly touristy places, then definetely check out Montevideo 🙂 I think if you don’t mind walking around an entire day, it’s enough time to see most important places, have a nice lunch at the market and a stroll along the coast! Hope this helps 🙂

      • Thanks Anna! Maybe I will stay there for the night just in case I want to check out the surroundings. I have saved your post so I can check out the info later on.

    • Lovely to hear from you! Hope you’re having a great time in both Montevideo and Buenos Aires 🙂 if you need any further suggestions for visiting either, please let me know 🙂

      • Thnks, but not there for another 2 weeks, just doing all the final research! I think BA is pretty easy but MVD food is one of the harder things to search for. I decided at the last minute to not use the Hilton Garden Inn as there’s too few places (aside from the mall) to wander to.

  2. Which other hotel did you opt for in the end? How long will you be in South America for? 🙂

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