Tourist Attractions in Medellin
Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, has changed more than any other city in the world. Despite its violent and turbulent history, the city is now modern, innovative, and simply lovely. For its nearly perfect weather, the city has been dubbed the “City of Eternal Spring,” and there are plenty of parks and plazas where you can soak up the rays with a fresh juice from a street food vendor and a couple of empanadas.
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1 Plaza Botero
The lively Plaza Botero is a great place for people watching and art appreciation, with some larger-than-life sculptures by the square’s namesake, Fernando Botero. The artist himself donated the 23 voluptuous bronze statues that are scattered throughout the plaza. Before or after visiting the Museo de Antioquia, it’s a great place to meander around or sit with a fresh juice or empanada from one of the street vendors. The area has revitalised an otherwise run-down section of town, and there are street performers, trinket salesmen, and food stalls all over.
2 Go Paragliding
This region of Colombia is well-known for paragliding, or parapente in Spanish, and trips from Medellin are simple to arrange, even on short notice. Leaping off a mountain into thermal currents with incredible deep green views beneath you is exhilarating (and possibly a little nerve-racking), but professional guides will put you at ease. They transport you to the launch site, strap you to your guide, and teach you how to fly. Some companies, such as DragonFly and Paragliding Medellin, will charge you a small fee if you want GoPro footage of your adventure.
3 El Castillo Museo Y Jardines
Isn’t there a castle in Medellin? Yes, you can visit this French-inspired 20th-century castle and its gardens, fountains, and pathways for a small admission fee. Take a look inside to see the four-poster beds, porcelain collection, and massive dining room table. It was built in 1930 and opened as a museum in 1971, but in the interim it served as a home for the wealthy and a venue for entertaining European high society visitors.
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4 Plaza Minorista Market
Visit one of Medelln’s markets for an authentic look at the city’s food culture. Plaza Minorista is a sprawling farmer’s market teeming with local vendors selling everything from fresh produce and fish to freshly butchered meats and ready-made corn arepas. It’s a fantastic place to bring your camera to capture all of the vibrant colours and characters. Take a tour to sample the fruits or simply buy some of what looks good for yourself – prices are reasonable! Minorista has a plethora of small restaurants where you can get a set meal or a full breakfast, as well as items like fish stew, coconut rice, and freshly squeezed fruit juice.
5 Parque Berrio
Parque Berro feels very local, with fewer people trying to sell you things and ask for money and more people just trying to meet up and hang out. After purchasing beers and snacks from local vendors, a large crowd gathers here in the afternoon to sit and listen to street musicians play. The locals are friendly, and old men gather to play games like dominoes. The park, which was once the site of the old public market and public executions, was transformed in the early 1990s when the area was cleared to make way for the nearby metro station.
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6 See a Futbol Match
Football (soccer) is a religion in South America, drawing excited and loyal fans to stadiums to watch their teams play. Medellin is no exception, and if you want to attend a sporting event that also serves as a cultural experience, watch one of the city’s teams play. You can buy tickets a few days ahead of time and get advice on where to sit based on whether you want things to be rowdy or (relatively) calm. Even if you’re not a soccer fan, the energy of the stadium is unforgettable: the raucous fans, the singing, the shouting, the banners, and even the firecrackers that go off during games.
7 Eat Colombian Food
If you’re unfamiliar with Colombian cuisine, Medellin is the place to start. There are numerous exotic fruits to choose from, as well as mondongo (tripe soup) and cheese-filled arepas. Bandeja paisa, a gut-busting combination of meats like sausage and pork cracklings alongside beans, plantains, rice, a fried egg, and a few avocado slices thrown in for good measure, is a must-try here. Hatoviejo, Hacienda Junin, and Mondongo’s are all excellent places to sample local fare.
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8 Modern Art Museum
This small but edgy museum houses modern artwork by Colombian and other Latin American artists. Despite its small size, the MAMM houses several permanent and temporary exhibits, including paintings, videos, sculptures, and 3D creations both inside and out. Because modern art isn’t for everyone, the museum does an excellent job of explaining each piece. The theatre here shows movies on occasion, and the gift shop sells extremely unique souvenirs created by artists. There’s a great terrace with city views, as well as a restaurant downstairs where you can have a drink.
9 Mercado del Rio
Mercado del Ro is a popular spot for eating and socialising, with over 40 restaurants to choose from. It’s a lively food court near the MAMM with a cool ambiance and many trendy options. At lunch and dinner, this place is packed with young professionals from nearby office buildings, so getting a seat may be difficult. A fun place to hang out with friends, you can order anything from sushi, hamburgers, and paella to Mexican, vegan, and Mediterranean fare. You can also order beers, cocktails, or a glass of wine and relax with some shared plates.
10 The Botanical Garden
The city’s botanical gardens are a natural oasis in the heart of Medellin, with over 1,000 species of wildlife and 4,500 flowers. There’s a butterfly garden, a cactus garden, and a massive orchid collection. The admission is free, and you can go explore the area to look for critters or simply lie on the grass in the sun with a book. The Orquideorama, a 65-foot-high wooden mesh structure, collects rainwater and protects the orchids and butterflies below.