Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
South America

Top Montevideo Attractions

Playa Indepencia
Playa Indepencia; credit: Martin St-Amant

The laid back Uraguayan cruise port of Montevideo is well known for its unique and vintage architecture and easy going lifestyle.

This city is indeed a treat for travellers who like the muses of history, nature and the Gothic architectural style. Here, we present the top five attractions in Montevideo that will surely excite even the more reserved traveller.

1. Playa Independencia

Plaza Independencia, Independence Square is the centre of Montevideo in many ways. Once the site of a Spanish citadel, Independence Square sits at the beginning of the Old City. As such, it is a good point from which to begin a tour of Montevideo.

Visitors will find an enormous, a 17-meter high equestrian statue of Gen. José Gervasio Artigas, father of Uruguay and hero of its independence movement, located at the centre of the square. A changing-of-the-guards ceremony takes place every few hours. Travellers be lucky to catch it.

On the north side, there is the Radisson Hotel while along the south is the old government house. Next to these structures is Plaza Independencia, a great place to relax and spend some time on shady benches under the palm trees

2. Cuidad Vieja

Cuidad Vieja, Old City is located on a peninsula with the northern side making up the Port. The location is essentially the historical centre of the City and was once surrounded by protective walls. For the history enthusiasts, visitors can walk through the streets and witness the architecture of old.

Enjoy the best part of a day exploring the old town’s entertainment spots including a costume museum, shops, bars and restaurants with some shady trees to sit under and watch the world go by.

3. Teatro Solis

Teatro Solis is Montevideo’s main theatre and opera house, opened in 1852. Teatro Solis underwent an extensive renovation a few years ago and is now host to Uruguay’s most important cultural events. Every now and then, the beautiful theatre is filled with families and children who come out to see shows and plays.

The theatre is also the site of the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (National Museum of Natural History). There are displays of natural artifacts that have survived until today. While the structure on its outside remains historical, the interior is a thoroughly modern contrast.

4. Palacio Salvo

Often referred to as the symbol of Montevideo, the Salvo Palace was once the tallest building in South America. Lying on the east side of Plaza Independencia, the building stands at a towering 26 stories, once the city’s tallest structure.

Built by Italian architect Mario Palanti in 1927, the building hosts all types of hidden references to Dante’s Divine Comedy intertwined in its architecture.

Palacio Salvo may no longer be the tallest building in South America, but it is still the most popular image on postcards of Montevideo and remains a national icon for Uruguayans.

5. Torres Garcia Museum

This museum is located in the Ciudad Vieja and is named after Joaquín Torres Garcia, probably the best known Uruguayan artist.  Needless to say, his works are housed within the Torres Garcia Museum.

In fact, the museum tells the story of Garcia’s life. The artist spent his younger years living in Europe and worked with many famous European artists near the start of the 20th century.

Popular sections of the museum include a section devoted to his paintings and caricatures of famous people such as Beethoven, Da Vinci and many others. These works led to Garcia being known and regarded as the founder of Constructive Universalism.

Amount the many offers of Montevideo, these are counted among the best. Not only are they prized national treasures, but sites that are given to the world for exploration and enjoyment. Be part of the experience that is uniquely Uruguayan, uniquely of Montevideo.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 17, 2020

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