I was born and raised in Uruguay. I lived there for over 10 years and go back quite regularly to visit my family and friends. Montevideo is home to me.
A lot (!) of people who travel to South America skip out on visiting Uruguay. And even more people (!) don’t even know where Uruguay is on the globe. You'd be surprised at home many people believe it's an Eastern European country.
It’s a small country with beautiful beaches, great food and wonderful people. And even though there aren’t many famous landmarks or touristy spots to visit, there’s a ton of things to see and experience. If you ever get the chance to visit Uruguay, I’d love to hear about it! I’ve listed 10 of my favorite things to do in Montevideo below:
1. Walk down La Rambla
Montevideo is on the coast, meaning that you can walk the street parallel to the beach all the way down the city. It is especially nice during summer nights, when tons of people get together to catch up and drink mate.
2. Eat at El Mercado del Puerto
A modern, picturesque market selling antiques, fresh fruit and the best meats and seafood in the city.
3. Visit Cuidad Vieja
Meaning ‘Old City’, Cuidad Vieja is quite literally the oldest part of Montevideo. There you’ll find Mercado del Puerto, most popular nightclubs and the political/economic center of the city.
4. Learn the history at Plaza Independencia
Montevideo’s most important plaza. Also a great place to immerse yourself in the history of Uruguay. It is marked by a huge statue of Jose Artigas, the country’s independence hero.
5. Take a Sunday stroll at the Feria Villa Biarritz
Ferias are outdoor markets that happen at various times throught the week. You can buy anything there, from food and clothing to toys and electronics. Feria Villa Biarritz is the largest of them, happening from 10:00-2:00 every Sunday morning.
6. Watch a soccer game in the Estadio Centenario
Uruguayans live and breathe soccer and there is no better way to experience the euphoria that is soccer than to attend a match. Whether that be Uruguay vs. another country, or Nacional vs. Peñarol (the two major rival teams), the goals celebrations can be heard for miles. Literally. Also cool to note: the first ever World Cup Championship was hosted by Uruguay and played in the Estadio Centenario.
7. Try your luck at the Casino Sofitel
For what it’s worth, I’ve had luck both times that I’ve been. :)
8. Visit beaches in Pocitos
Although not in Montevideo, Pocitos is only a short ride away and features some of the best beaches of Uruguay. Pack your cheekiest bikini and plan to hit the sand!
9. Eat a churro at El Parque Rodo
The beeeeeeeeeest churros you’ll ever have. Get the ones stuffed by dulce de leche – they’re out of this world.
10. Take a trip to Punta del Este
Last but not least, if you’re planning on a trip to Montevideo you might as well include a few days in Punta del Este. By far the most popular part of Uruguay, the resort city welcomes tourists and vacationers from around the world wanting to visit the beautiful beaches, swanky resorts and lively nightlife.