Things to do In Medellín Essentials
- Free things to Do in Medellin : Plaza Botero, Parque Berrio, Placio Nacional, Parque de las Luces, Las Alpujarras, stroll Avenida Carabobo
- Best things to do in MedellÍn for Cheap : Subway & Cable Tour, Taste Arepas , Fruit or Local Coffee, Museo de Antioquia, Jardin Obtanico , Parque Explora, Museo el Castillo.
- Best Activities around Medellin: Guatapé and Roca del Penol, Rafting in Rio Calderas, Paragliding at San Felix, Rio Claro.
- Best Villages to visit around Medellin : Guatapé & Peñol, Santa Fe de Anioquia, Jardin, Jerico, etc…
- Best things to do in Medellin in 72 hours : Day 1 : Plaza Botero, Parque Berrio, Placio Nacional, Parque de las Luces, Las Alpujarras, stroll Avenida Carabobo. Day 2 : Guatapé & Roca ñel Penol. Day 3 : Rafting in Rio Calderas.
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- Best Hotels in Medellin Colombia
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- Comuna 13 Medellin : Complete Travel Guide
- History of Medellin : Foundation to Pablo Escobar
Free things to do in Medellin
- Plaza Botero
- Parque Berrio
- Palacio Nacional
- Parque de las Luces
- Las Alpujarras
- Stroll Avenida Carabobo
Poblado is one of the best areas to stay in Medellín.
It belongs to the 14th commune of the 16 communes of the city
The best thing you can do in the Poblado is get lost in the streets until you reach Lleras Park (the neuralgic point of the neighbourhood) enjoying all the urban art that the neighbourhood has to offer.
It is one of the most dynamic areas that generates development and opportunities for the growth of the city due to its diversity of spaces, from the best educational institutions to the most exclusive commercial areas.
It is home to the most representative companies in the industrial, financial, hotel and entertainment sectors.
El Poblado is so called because it was literally the first populated place in the area and that is why it is so important in the city.
It is the 14th commune of the city and it was the first colonized neighborhood, where the city of Medellin was founded.
This is the place where leisure areas, the city’s finest restaurants, and hotels are concentrated.
In the Poblado park, there is a sculpture representing this first settlement with an indigenous woman with her breasts exposed: the church across the street forced the statue to turn around…
Inside Poblado is also the Lleras Park, a very pleasant place at night, since some of its streets become pedestrian. The lights and colorful stands will make you feel like you are at a festival.
Safety in Poblado
It is also one of the safest areas of the city, that’s why there are tons of options for sleeping in the neighborhood.
You can walk around its streets with no more worries than looking for a bar, a restaurant with the food you want.
This area of Medellín, is also the area where expatriates live.
Visit Plaza Botero and its sculptures
No visit of Medellin would be complete without a walk around this square.
An open-air sculpture parade of what is probably the most internationally known Colombian artist: Fernando Botero.
The artist has donated 23 bronze sculptures, exhibited right here in the open air in the heart of the city.
The place is pretty crowded so try to get there early.
This is the oldest square in Medellin, located in the heart of the city.
In addition to seeing street vendors of minutes, various fruits and typical paisa food, you can admire the Church of La Candelaria.
With a statue of politician Pedro Justo Berrío in the center, this square has the first church in Medellín, its most important building, the Basílica de La Candelaria of 1659.
In addition, in one of the corners is the sculpture of La Gorda by the master Botero and in another corner is the sculpture of El Desafío by Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt.
This plaza has a lot of atmosphere with street vendors and locals chatting animatedly, although it is not the safest area of the city and we recommend you not to show valuables or visit it at night.
- Adresse : Parque Berrio
Stroll on the Avenida Carabobo
In spite of its curious name, it is a pleasant walk, and above all, a pedestrian one. It is full of shops, cafes, restaurants, and a beautiful building, the Palacio Nacional Shopping Center.
Here, there are no horns, because there are simply no cars. This will allow you to discover different styles of architecture, from the Palacio Nacional to the Basilica Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.
In fact, if you want to walk a little further, you can take a walk around Plaza Cisneros, Plaza San Antonio, and walk to the Alpujarra Station.
Centro Comercial Palacio Nacional
This architectural jewel was built in 1925 by the Belgian architect Agustín Gooavaerts and is located on the Carabobo pedestrian walkway.
In addition to the courthouse, the National Palace also housed the post office and the intermunicipal telegraph office.
It belonged to the Nation until 1974, when an agreement was made with the Departmental Enterprises of Antioquia (EDA), which consisted of exchanging the building for a lot located in the Alpujarra sector, with the objective of building a new departmental administrative center there.
In November 1988, the building, which has great artisan value due to its woodwork, bronze locks and wrought iron, became part of the National Historical and Artistic Heritage.
It was abandoned until 1993, when it began to be adapted for what is now known as the Palacio Nacional Shopping Center.
Parque de las Luces
When you arrive at the Parque de las Luces you will be surprised by a forest formed by 300 towers of light that provide shade during the day and are illuminated at night.
A few meters from the Parque de las Luces, in the Alpujarra Square, you will find one of the most important sculptures to be seen in Medellín, the Monument to La Raza, a 38 meter high curved work of art by Antioquia sculptor Rodrigo Arenas Betancur, which pays homage to the history of the conquered peoples.
- Adresse : Parque de las Luces
La Alpujarra” is the political-administrative center of the capital of Antioquia.
There is the imposing Monument to the race of the sculptor Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt. Next to this place is the Parque de los Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Park)
Murales Pedro Nel Gómez
Located in the basement of the subway station of the Parque Berrío station, you can see this huge mural in 20 pieces that tells the history of Antioquia from the indigenous people who lived in that area to the recent past, including all the changes through which their society has gone through.
The mural is at ground level, that is, you do not have to enter the subway to enjoy it.
The Pueblito Paisa is located on the Cerro de Nutibara and is a representation of the traditional villages of Antioquia.
In Pueblito Paisa there are also restaurants with traditional Antioquian food, so you can taste patacones, paisas trays and other hyper caloric and delicious food.
But remember : El Pueblito Paisa would be on the list of places to visit in Medellin, as long as you haven’t visited any other typical Colombian town like nearby Santa Fe de Antioquia.
To climb the hill we recommend taking a taxi or booking the tour bus, which stops at the main tourist attractions in Medellín.
- Entrance : Free
- Adresse : Pueblito Paisa
- Getting there : To climb the hill we recommend taking a taxi or booking the tour bus, which stops at the main tourist attractions in Medellín.
- Duration : 30 min
Buenos Aires and its Street Art
Buenos Aires is one of the most traditional neighborhoods in the city
Get off the trawmway at Alejandro Echavarría and make your way along the tram track, enjoying such a corridor of urban art.
There are several murals and, in theory, they continue to do many more.
When you arrive at the Bicentenario station, get on the tramway again to go back to San Antonio and from there take the subway.
- Getting there : Get on the tramway at the San Antonio metro station to Alejandro Echavarría.
Avenida 33 at the height of Glorieta de Santa Gema, without a doubt a street with a lot of beauty and a great commercial axis of the city.
Best places to Visit in Medellin : The Viewpoints
Mirador de las Palmas
The most famous viewpoint, and from where you can enjoy the best views of the city of Medellín. However, to get there you have to take a taxi.
Cerro El Picacho (Viewpoint)
From the Pueblito Paisa, you can also see a view of Medellín that will leave you without hiccups.
Medellín is spread over the Aburra Valley and sometimes it seems to have no end.
Cerro de las Tres Cruces
Feel like getting a little height? Take the Cerro de las Très Cruces, a 45-minute hike that’s quite sporty (it climbs!) but offers a splendid view of the whole city.
To get there, you have to take the bus in the direction of Alta Vista, where the hike starts. Go there in the morning to avoid the heat and avoid rainy days, the path can be particularly slippery.
Best things to do in Medellin for Cheap
The Medellin subway is an institution.
It has the reputation of being the cleanest in the world and, although I don’t know all the subways in the world, the truth is that the years go by and the facilities are very well maintained.
For those of us who are used to the lack of structure, some rules may be a bit strict (you can’t eat or drink, sit on the floor and wait, or find street music in the hallways), but the results are there for all to see.
What’s new is that the Medellín Metro has incorporated cable cars into its public transportation system, as a way to integrate people who live on the mountainsides.
Although the metro does not stop at any of Medellín’s airports, it is a very fast and interesting means of transportation, which is highly recommendable for getting to know the city’s main attractions and taking the route around Medellín in one day.
- See Also : How to get around in Medellin
Metro Cable Tour
A true pride of the paisa, Medellin’s cable metro allows you to reach the heights of the city (like a cable car) and enjoy an incomparable panoramic view.
It’s also a great way to enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire valley. You will see the city stretching out over the surrounding hills and see the “hottest” areas, such as the slums.
Inaugurated in 2004. Medellin was the first city in the world to introduce cable cars as public transport.
Thousands of families living in the Medellin heights were able to reach their homes much faster thanks to the metrocable.
See from the air neighborhoods and communes like 7 (Robledo) and 13 (San Javier),
To date, there are 4 Cable lines: H, J, K and L (or Cable Arvi).
A new line, line M, which will link Villa Hermosa to Buenos Aires, is under construction.
Before or after the tour of Comuna 13 we recommend you take the Metrocable on the top floor of San Javier metro station.
Another way to have the best view of the city is to book this helicopter ride in which they will pick you up at your hotel.
- Price : 2550 Cop
- Opening Hours : Every day from 4.30am to 11pm (or 9am to 10pm on Sundays) for the H, J and K cables and every day except Tuesday from 9am to 6pm.
Eating arepas Paisas at any street stall
Medellín City Hall has developed a program called #MedellinSiSabe, which aims to create different gastronomic circuits in the city that reflect the best of Colombian cuisine.
From the highest category restaurants to the street stalls, everything is summarized in their circuits.
Coffee Testing at Laboratorio de Café
We all know that Colombia is one of the world’s most important producers of the win from which one of the most consumed hot drinks in the world is obtained.
What few of us know is the history and work behind every spoonful of coffee, the secrets that make one coffee more or less acidic than another.
El Laboratorio de Café is a company that is dedicated to compiling the highest quality productions in Colombia, with the aim of making “coffee always an experience, not a routine drink”.
In their offices in Medellín it is possible to participate in a cupping, learn the differences between beans and the different ways to prepare it.
Museo de Antioquia
The Museum has a large collection of works donated by Fernando Botero, famous paisa artist, as well as an interesting collection of contemporary art from Latin American artists such as Pedro Nel Gómez
You will be captivated by the works of Botero, a world icon during his lifetime, with such a particular style, giving forms and curves to his characters.
Enjoy the famous paintings he painted on the death of Pablo Escobar, also donated by him
Also admire the works of one of the greatest muralists of the 20th century, Pedro Nel Gómez. This is an unmissable event for everyone, and even more so if you are an art lover.
- Getting there : Metro line A (blue) and get off at Parque Berrío.
- Price : 5 Usd (18.000 Cop)
- Opening Hours : Mon-Sat 10am-5:30pm and until 4pm on Sundays.
Casa de la Memoria Museum
Let’s Face it,
when a country like Colombia, has had historical intense conflicts, it is important not to forget the story, moments and different events that took place.
So If you had to choose only one museum when you were in Medellin, it would probably be this one.
Located on the Parque Bicentenario side, the Museum of Memory pays homage to the victims of the armed conflict that shook the city for many years.
A moving and instructive visit, which allows us to understand, through the testimonies of victims and numerous documents, the hell that the inhabitants lived through in the past and all the issues involved in the transformation of the city.
living memories, to see so as not to repeat.
- Entrance : Free
- Opening hours : Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm and on weekends and public holidays from 10 am to 4 pm
Museo El Castillo and its garden
This small castle is rather atypical in the landscape of Medellin. It was built at the beginning of the twentieth century on models of castles of the Loire, with works of art and typically French gardens. It has several exhibition halls where there are collections of works of different styles.
- Phone : +5742660900
- Adresse : Calle 9 SUR N° 32 – 269 Loma de los Balsos. Barrio El Poblado. Medellín
- Getting there by subway : From the Aguacatala metro station. Get down to the station : Museo el castillo
- Getting there by bus : Poblado Ruta 132I or Poblado Ruta 133 IIA
- Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 9am-12pm and 2pm-6pm / weekends and holidays: 9am-5pm
- Entrance fee: 12.000 Cop (4 Usd)
- Website : https://www.museoelcastillo.org
Have a Drink or Party in Parque Lleras & Zona Rosa
If you want to “rumbear” this is one of the areas you have to go to. It is a small square surrounded by bars, restaurants and nightclubs… and it has been renovated and decorated with urban art on the stairs, on the streets and on the walls of many houses.
If you want more local, the real “rumba” area frequented more by locals is “Laureles”: a bit more bohemian, more quiet.
- See also : Medellin Nightlife : Best bars & Discos
Things to do in Medellin : Immerse yourself in the Local Culture
Rent a Bike a the Ciclovía
On Sundays, it is also a great plan to rent a bike at the Ciclovía el Poblado (calle 10 #52A-18).
Yes, every Sunday there are arteries to travel around the main sites of the city while practicing some sport.
Walk, Run, Bike, Skate on all the roads that have been closed for the day.
You can rent a classic, modern or two-seater bike (yes!) and go from El Poblado park to La Frontera in Envigado and return to the starting point.
- Price : Bike rental starts from 13000COP/h (3 Usd), you can book by whatsapp with 1 hour in advance.
- When : On sundays only
Discover the Tango Culture
It may seem surprising, but Medellin is full of cafés where you can dance and listen to tango. The reason goes back to the year 1935, when the artist Carlos Gardel, the undisputed star of tango, died tragically in a plane crash in Medellin, Colombia.
There followed a period of true worship of the tango. Even if today, the frenzy is not the same, some places continue to maintain the flame of the Argentinean dance.
It is the case of the Casa Gardeliana (museum dedicated to the tango of Medellín), the bars el Patio del Tango, Adiós Muchachos or the Plaza Gardel. The city also hosts every year the International Tango Festival.
Attend a local football match
Whether you are a football fan or not, this is definitely an experience to be lived. The atmosphere is joyful and festive and the show is often there!
Although the league is not one of the best in the world, soccer is lived with a lot of passion in Colombia. If you have time and a match is scheduled, it is worth experiencing the atmosphere first hand from the stands.
There are two teams in Medellín: Medellín (in red) and Atlético Nacional (green and white).
To watch a game, the cheapest tickets can only be purchased at the stadium a couple of hours in advance. We paid 27,000 pesos for the cheapest ticket to see Nacional.
Don’t forget your passport (at least a copy or photo on your phone) as you have to show it when entering the stadium.
Both teams share a stadium. The Atlético Nacional ultras stand in the south stand and the Medellín ultras stand in the north stand and this is where the game is most animated.
Taste the Food at Mercado del tranvia
The Mercado del tranvia in Buenos Aires is a trendy hall with an industrial decor made up of about twenty foodtrucks.
Local or international cuisine, there’s something for everyone!
Tours & Activities in Medellin
Medellin’s Free Walking Tour
A good way to get to know Medellín is to take part in a Free Walking Tour.
Although the city centre may not seem exceptional at first glance, it becomes more meaningful when you know the history behind every building, every square, every stone, …
For almost 4 hours you will discover the most evocative places in the city with a local guide: from the Palace of Justice to the Parque de las Luces and the Botero Park.
You will learn about the sufferings and the heavy past of Medellin and Colombia as well as its reconstruction, its metamorphosis. You will discover the good addresses, where to drink a good coffee, where to dance salsa, …
In short, a cultural, political and historical visit, all completely free (or almost!). At the end of the tour, you are free to give (or not) the amount you wish, but as a rule of thumb 20.000 Cop per person will be much appreciated.
Graffiti Tour in Comuna 13
If Medellín is the city of innovation, Comuna 13 is living proof that change is possible as one of the city’s most successful urban transformation projects.
When Medellín was one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Comuna 13 was the most dangerous place in Medellín.
The guerrillas, paramilitaries and later the narcos, with the help of Pablo Escobar (many of his hitmen left this commune), made this place a hell on earth.
Violence reigned supreme and the settling of scores terrorized the helpless and powerless inhabitants of the neighborhood.
Today, things have changed and La Comuna 13 attracts many visitors, thanks in part to the many street-art works it houses.
The best way to visit Commune 13 is with a person who lives there, and who has lived the transformation.
The tour of the most impressive murals in the city, puts into play the most artistic streaks of its inhabitants and bets to tell the culture of the neighborhood, to teach not to repeat.
The graffiti are spectacular, they tell a story, bears witness to the pains of the past, and delivers a message of hope for the future.
The tour lasts four hours, and what you see goes far beyond the impressive murals: it is the transformation of a society, the palpable hope, the life of the people that makes Medellín the city it is.
But not all that glitters is gold, the gangs still exist, but now for them, tourists are a good way to earn money without having to resort to violence. This is because, for every tourist who enters the commune, the guides have to pay a small amount, less than one Usd.
In short, you can’t leave Medellín without visiting the Comuna 13 and its spectacular graffiti. In addition, you will learn more about the history of Medellín, through the history of Comuna 13.
More Information : Comuna 13 Colombia : Complete Travel Guide
- Getting there : The metro stop where you have to get off is San Javier. This stop is at the end of line B, in orange.
The Free Tour guides start the tour there
- Price : Based on tips (but 20.000 Cop per person is the average)
- Duration : 4h
Moravia is another fine example of transformation
In the same spirit as the Comuna 13 but in a much less well-known way, you can take a tour of the Moravia district, a former shanty town in Medellin.
It is the story of a wasteland, which over the years has been transformed into a veritable open-air dump. A huge mound of rubbish that the poorest have gradually appropriated, building huts and houses over the rubbish.
At the time, nearly 8,000 people lived on this mound of waste, known as El Morro. A sanitary drama that forced the authorities to take action.
Today, the waste mountain has given way to a green hill, the cradle of many community and environmental projects.
Guided tours of Moravia are offered with Real City Tours (Barrio Transformation Tour) or through the agency Kaanas Travel.
Exotic Fruit Tour
The country has more than 400 exotic fruits :
Tree tomato, chontaduro, uchuva, mangosteen, pitahaya, lulo, zapote, borojó. The list is endless.
If you like to discover new tastes, the best thing is this tour of the Plaza Retail Market.
The good thing: it comes with a tasting included.
Several companies, including Real City Tours, offer tours to discover the exotic fruits of Colombia in the heart of the city’s local markets. A true festival of colors and flavors
For more information about the fruits : please check our in-depth article about Colombian Gastronomy
Pablo Escobar’s Tour
The Pablo Escobar Tour of Medellín allows tourists to visit (for $40), the “Cathedral”, the prison that was custom-built for it, as well as its zoo (from which hippos regularly escape), and its tomb, located in the city of Itagüí, south of Medellin.
All three sites can of course be visited independently, depending on the wishes of the tourists or the number of visitors.
Day Trips from Medellin
Guatapé and Peñol’s Rock
The best excursion from Medellín you can make is to visit Guatapé, the town of the baseboards, and climb to the top of the Piedra del Peñol.
At about a 1h45 drive from Medellin, the region of Lake Guatapape represents a relaxing stopover thanks to its green setting and its sumptuous lagoons.
Climb to the top of the Peñol Rock (an impressive granite monolith, 750 steps high) to enjoy a magnificent view of the lake, stroll through the village with its colorful walls (listed as a natural and environmental heritage site) and enjoy a dish made with trout, a specialty of the region.
I’m also telling you, if you can go on a day that’s not a weekend, better than better.
Do you need a good Driver to get Around Medellin ?
Contact Andrei Restrepo Angarita from Alltraveling. They know all the most iconic spots of Medelln & surroundings and have minivans up to 18 seats and speaks English.
- Whatsapp : + 57 301 220 96 46
- Email : [email protected]
- Website : alltravaling.co
Rafting in Rio Calderas
This one the best experience you can ever do around Medellin and will stay without any doubt as one highlight of your trip in Colombia.
The Rio Caldera is located near the town of Cocorna, east of Antioquia! This intermediate rafting trip takes you to the remote and accessible jungle and mountain areas!
You’ll enjoy breathtaking landscapes in epic jungle scenery and a maximum of sensation during the passage of each of the rapids!
The guides are very professional, generous, and very friendly
Definitely one must do if you go to Medellin, but if you have few days ahead, try the 2 days expedition in Rio Verde
- Prices : from 389.000 Cop / each
- Email : [email protected]
- Adresse : Calle 8 # 43A 89, Barrio Poblado, Medellin
- Whatsapp : (+57) 312 3034 853
- Website : https://expeditioncolombia.com/tours/rafting/colombia-rafting-one-day/
- Reviews : Expedition Colombia Trip Advisor
Paragliding above Medellin
Are you a thrill-seeker? Why not paragliding over Medellín and the surrounding mountains? This increasingly popular activity is offered from a hill in San Felix, about 40 minutes from the centre of Medellín.
Once the adrenaline of the take-off has passed, it is a feeling of intense tranquility that overwhelms us, fascinated by the landscape that surrounds us.
The flight usually lasts about twenty minutes and costs about forty euros, depending on the different airlines.
- Price : From 45 Usd / 100 Usd if they pick you up at your hotel
- Duration : 20 min
- Book with WhatsApp: +57 3012239089
- Website : www.parapentesanfelix.com
- Email : [email protected]
Things to do in Medellin with Families
Arví Park is a protected area in the mountains that seems impossible as close to a city as Medellin.
Activities range from hiking to picnics and horseback riding.
If you have time, try to spend a whole day there.
You can take various guided trails (it is not possible to hike alone) through the trees and songbirds. Make sure you arrive early in the day (in the morning), from 4pm, it is no longer possible to access the guided trails, only a walk to the Chorro Clarin camp is possible but it is not exceptional.
If you are short on time and it is the season, don’t miss the orchids.
- Getting there : From the Acevedo metro station, you take the metro line K to Santo Domingo and then transfer to line L which will take you to the park. It will take you a total of 40 minutes, but just for the journey and the exceptional view you will have from the cable car, it’s worth it!
- Price : Entrance is free, but then you need a guide for the hikes
- Duration : 4 to 8 hours
Medellin’s Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanico)
If you want to escape for a few hours from the noise of the city, take a trip to the Botanical Garden of Medellin in Colombia.
A tribute to the naturalist of the region Antonio Uribe, this garden gives a glimpse of the diversity of flora in Colombia.
50,000 ornamental plants of 46 species and 327 guayacanes, cojines
Orchid lovers will be served!
And if you like butterflies, don’t miss the Mariposario, a butterfly greenhouse, the main attraction of the Park. Finally, you may come across iguanas that roam freely in the garden..
You can get a guide for 43 Usd
- Website : https://www.botanicomedellin.org
- Adresse : Calle 73 # 51 D 14. Medellín – Colombia
- Email : [email protected]
- Opening Hours : Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Duration : 3h Aprox
Things to do in Medellin in 3 days
- Morning : City center with Plaza Botero, Parque Berrio, Fruit Tasting , Parque de la Luces, Las Alpujarras, Palacio Nacional, Avenida Carabobo,
- Afternoon : Graffity Tour in Comuna 13 and Metro Cable Tour
- At Night : have drink at Parque Lleras
- Full day : Rafting in Rio Calderas, You really can’t miss this amazing activity