Rich in culture with a vibrant, eclectic atmosphere, Montevideo is the largest and most interesting city in Uruguay. The sprawling city spans almost 20 kilometers from east to west, and the neighborhoods range from gritty industrial ports to historic districts where neoclassical and art deco buildings line the streets. Across town, modern high-rises tower over newer beach communities and shopping malls. The locals are proud of their energetic and thriving city, and you will soon discover why when you visit Montevideo.
The Plaza Independencia sits at the heart of the capital’s Old City. The broad, palm tree-lined square is overshadowed by a gigantic 30-ton, 17-meter tall statue of Jose Artigas, the national hero. Known as the father of Uruguay nationhood, Artigas’ tomb is located underneath the statue. An honor guard keeps vigil all day, every day over his remains, and visitors can pay their respects on the weekends.
The eastern side of the Plaza Independencia is dominated by the Palacio Salvo. Built in 1927, it was once the tallest building in the continent at 26 stories. For a great view of the city, take the elevator to the top of the beehive-shaped building. On the west end of the plaza is the Puerta de la Ciudadela. Built in the mid-19th century, the stone gateway is one of the only surviving remnants of the former colonial citadel.
One of the most beautiful buildings in Montevideo is the Casa Garibaldi, former home of the 19th-century Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi. Exiled after revolting against the monarchy, Garibaldi spent many years hiding in the building.
There are a few notable museums scattered throughout the city. The National History Museum tells the story of the country’s past through exhibits spread between five old historic houses. Prominent works by one of Uruguay’s most celebrated artists are displayed at the Museo Torres Garcia. The Museum of Natural History is also worth a visit. Located at the beach promenade, the building looks like a mosque and contains fascinating exhibits about the country’s geology and environment. Modern Uruguayan art is the focus of the MNAV Museum, and pieces from the 19th and early 20th centuries are on display at the Museo Blanes.
To relax and rejuvenate, locals head to the Rambla, a 22-kilometer long waterfront stretch of the city. There, the roadway is filled with people taking in the outstanding views, jogging, biking, fishing and just hanging out.
On Sunday mornings, head to the Feria Tristán Narvaja Flea Market to shop like a local. Bargain hunters will rejoice in the affordable goods, including everything from antiques and kitchen supplies to clothing and bootleg electronics.
For more shopping, stop by the Mercado de los Artesanos on the corner of Colonia and Paraguay streets. A large group of local artists converge there each morning to sell local handicrafts, including products made from textiles, paper, leather and wood.
Montevideo is a food-lovers paradise. While in the city, feast on traditional snacks from the many street-side vendors or take in a delicious but affordable meal at one of the many restaurants. Enjoy grilled parrilla meat dishes, have a chivito sandwich for lunch or feed your sweet tooth with dulce de leche from one of the dessert shops.
Montevideo Geographical Location
Montevideo is located on the southern coast of Uruguay facing the Rio de la Plata.
The population of Montevideo is approximately 1,800,000 and is Uruguay’s largest city.
Spanish is the official language of Uruguay with Portunol and Brazilero, a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, common in certain areas.
Montevideo Predominant Religion
- 47% Roman Catholic
- 23% Nondenominational
- 17% Atheist or Agnostic
- 11% Other Christian
- 2% Other
Montevideo is considered a metropolitan archdiocese and is a major religious center within Uruguay for Roman Catholics.
The Uruguayan Pese is the official currency of Uruguay.
Montevideo experiences mild summers and cool winters with consistent precipitation throughout the year. The proximity to the coastline
creates a windy atmosphere than can become very chilly during the winter.
Montevideo Main Attractions
- Plaza de Independencia
- Mausoleo de Artigas
- Casa Garibaldi
Other Attraction in Montevideo
- Ciudad Vieja
- Catedral Matriz
- Museo Torres
- Pocitos Beach