• 29 October 2019

Nestled in the mountainous Antioquia region of northwest Colombia, sits Medellín. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its pleasant weather year-round, Medellín is blessed with beautiful scenery, exciting cultural attractions and very friendly locals. 

Thanks to the city’s compact and easy-to-navigate layout, wonderfully temperate climate, and unique cultural attractions, there’s never a bad time to visit Medellín. 

If you’re touring central and South America and planning a quick stopover, we’ve laid out the perfect 24-hour Medellín tourist guide. We will help to ensure you hit all of the city’s main highlights. 

Wander the artistic Plaza Botero

Plaza Botero is at the top of tourist’s lists when they travel to Medellín. The focal point of the area is the 23 Botero Statues that are dotted throughout the plaza. These large, plump statues depict oversized people and animals. They were created by iconic Colombian artist Fernando Botero.

For breakfast, pop into a corner Colombian café and savour a fresh brew of Colombian coffee with a delicious and classic Medellín pastry.

Botero Plaza sculptures by Fernando Botero, famous Colombian artist
Botero Plaza sculptures by Fernando Botero, famous Colombian artist
Explore the Antioquia Museum

The Museum of Antioquia is an art museum that contains an extensive collection of works by Medellín natives, Fernando Botero and Pedro Nel Gómez. This is one of Medellín’s most popular museums and features both permanent and travelling exhibitions. 

The permanent collection features the artwork of the 19th-century to contemporary Colombian art, as well as stunning pre-Colombian pieces. Guided tours of the museum are available if booked in advance. The building also features a gift shop, courtyard, and a restaurant.

Museum of Antioquia in Medellin
Museum of Antioquia in Medellin
Soak in the local culture at Parque Berrio

Parque Berrio is an urban plaza located in the heart of Medellín. This is an area of the city where you can really soak in the local culture. It’s full of people, street vendors, and local shops. 

Due to its busy and bustling vibe, it’s a popular area that attracts both locals and visitors all hours of the day. This area is also a hotspot for some of the best restaurants in Medellín, Colombia.

 If you’re hungry, swing by Hacienda-Junin for a cocktail and taste an authentic Colombian dish.

City life in Berrio Park, Medellin
City life in Berrio Park (Parque  Berrio), Medellin
See the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral of Medellín

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Medellín is the main church in Medellín. It’s a large and imposing cathedral that was built from 1875 to 1917, in Romanesque style. 

What makes the church so impressive is its beautiful brickwork. It took approximately 1,120,000 adobe bricks to build the church. The interior is filled with beautiful brick columns, stained glass windows, religious paintings and sculptures. 

The cathedral is open mainly in the morning, it typically closes in the afternoon and then reopens in the afternoon for one final service. 

Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest church in Medellin
Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest church in Medellin
Walk through an artistic cemetery 

The Cemetery Museum San Pedro is both a cemetery and an open-air museum. The cemetery was constructed in 1842 and named a museum in 1998. Wander the ornate tombs and mausoleums to see the graves of prominent Colombian citizens. 

This Medellín attraction is an integral part of the cultural and heritage of the city and unique addition to your 24-hour Medellín guide.

Facades and spaces of the San Lorenzo cemetery museum, Medellin
Facades and spaces of the San Lorenzo cemetery museum, Medellin
Meander through Medellín’s Botanical Garden  

The Botanical Garden of Medellín contains 14,2 hectares of lush parkland in the middle of Medellín. The focal point of the gardens is the scenic lake tucked into the park’s woodland.

It’s a great place to enjoy some quiet time in Medellín, Colombia. Take a peaceful stroll through rows of majestic trees, and well-kept gardens filled with cacti and colourful flowers. The park is open every day from morning until evening, and entrance is free.

Tourists walking inside the botanical garden of Medellin
Tourists walking inside the botanical garden of Medellin
Enjoy some hands-on fun at Explora Park

Explora Park, or Parque Explora, is an interactive science museum. It houses South America’s largest freshwater aquarium, and over 300 interactive attractions, as well as a 3D auditorium, planetarium, television studio, and vivarium.  

Explora Park is geared towards all ages and interests. It is sure to be a fun stop on your Medellín travel guide. The building is large and you could easily spend all day here, so make sure to plan your time accordingly. 

Parque explora building, Medellin
Parque Explora building, Medellin
See the best views of Medellín at Nutibara Hill

Nutibara Hill is located in the geographic centre of the Aburrá Valley, on the west bank of the Medellín River. At the top of the hill sits the Pueblito Paisa, a reproduction of a traditional Colombian town. It was built using genuine materials from previous towns of the same nature. 

The natural hill offers wonderful 360-degree views of the city and is a great place for photo opportunities. You’ll also find plenty of local vendors selling souvenirs, food, and drinks. 

Aerial view from Nutibara Hill in Medellin
Aerial view from Nutibara Hill in Medellin
Taste the local flavours at the Mercado del Río

Mercado del Río is a popular gastronomic market open 365 days a year. It’s a great place to sample the flavours of the city and rub shoulders with the locals. Stop by for a cold beer, hot coffee, glass of world-renowned Colombian wine, and a wide array of culinary options.

The market offers a casual atmosphere with an open kitchen style. It hosts regular events, live music, tastings and much more. It’s open for long hours every day, so you can stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

Rio market in Medellin known for its national and international cuisine
Rio market in Medellin known for its national and international cuisine
Sample Medellín’s nightlife in El Poblado 

El Poblado is an ultra-trendy neighbourhood in Medellín. It’s very popular with foreigners due to its abundance of restaurants, bars, boutiques, hotels, and entertainment options. 

You’ll also find a large selection of nightlife options catering to all preferences. Provenza is an area of El Poblado filled with cosy cocktail bars and rooftop terraces. It’s the perfect place to cap off your night and end your busy day exploring Medellín.

Downtown Medellin, nightlife in El Poblado
Downtown Medellin, nightlife in El Poblado

We hope you enjoyed our Medellín, Colombia travel guide. If you’re planning a quick South American day trip, this is an excellent city to explore. With our itinerary, you’ll be able to easily discover the highlights of the city during your short stay.

Get lost in museums, mingle with the locals, stroll through picturesque parks, and admire unique statues while enjoying 24-hours of action-packed fun in Medellín, Colombia – one of the best cities to visit in South America.

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