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30 Things to Do in Medellin, Colombia’s City of Eternal Spring

30 of the very best things to do in Medellin, Colombia’s spellbinding second city.

The second-largest city in the country and capital of the north-western Antioquia Department, Medellin (Medellín) is indisputably a must-visit place in Colombia.

I knew Medellin was my kind of city even before I arrived – which is why I booked a three-week stay to kick-start my Colombia trip. Just as I had predicted, it took me all of two minutes on the airport bus to decide that I loved the ‘City of Eternal Spring’.

Medellin is a hub of vibrant Paisa culture, with an incredible food and local coffee scene, great museums and galleries, public sculptures and street art, bustling fruit markets, colourful neighbourhoods, and lots of urban green spaces.

It’s a city that has undergone dramatic changes in recent decades. I would describe it as a city with an old soul and a young, energetic, creative spirit.

This list of the 30 best things to do in Medellin brings together quintessential Medellin must dos, alternative attractions in Medellin, immersive experiences for food and coffee lovers, and outdoor adventures to help you enjoy Medellin to the max.

  • First time in Medellin? Copy my 2-day Medellin itinerary for the perfect visit.

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Medellin Quick Links

Where to stay in Medellin: The Wandering Paisa (hostel); 574 Hotel (mid-range); Quinta Ladera (boutique hotel); Sites Hotel (luxury).

Pre-book your airport transfer: 24/7 transfer to any hotel in Medellin, operated by Impulse Travel (from $25).

Best Comuna 13 tour: Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour with Local Guide (from $25).

Best coffee experience: Coffee Tour With Tastings and Lunch (from $42).

Best day trip from Medellin: Guatape & El Peñol Rock (from $37).

Essential things to do in Medellin

Let’s start with the top Medellin attractions and must-have experiences. If you have just one or two days in Medellin, prioritise these 15 activities to ensure you leave with a holistic picture of the city.

1. Take the Free Walking Tour

Downtown Medellin, Colombia.

A city walking tour is one of the best free things to do in Medellin and the perfect way to get your bearings when you first arrive. There is only one company worth mentioning, and that’s Real City Tours.

This is honestly one of the best free walking tours I’ve done anywhere in the world (and I’ve done a lot!). Groups are small (currently capped at six people) and the local guides are very engaging.

If you’re lucky enough to get Caro, you’re in for a real treat: She knows everything there is to know about Medellin and is truly one of the most memorable guides I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

The itinerary focuses on Medellin’s downtown (El Centro). Whilst covering the major streets, parks and plazas, you’ll pick up lots of information about Medellin’s history and social change.

The tour runs twice a day Monday-Friday and once in the morning on Saturday (no tours on Sundays). It lasts 3.5-4 hours, and payment is based on tips. Bookings are essential – reserve a place online.

Specialty city tours:

    with hotel transfers & a metrocable ticket. Includes Botero Square, Comuna 13, Pueblito Paisa, the Botanical Gardens and more. From $53 per person. . Includes El Poblado, Ciudad del Río, Laureles and a Colombian coffee experience. From $42 per person including bike hire. with my favourite tour company, Impulse Travel. Includes local food tastings and markets. From $150 per person.

2. Ride the iconic Medellin Metrocable

Medellin Metrocable, a system of gondolas running up the hill in Medellin, Colombia.

The Metrocable (cable car system) is a symbol of Medellin. For locals, it’s a way of life: The cable cars are the only practical way to access the hillside barrios where the streets are too steep and narrow for buses. For us tourists, soaring above the rooftops in a gondola is a fun and affordable way to get spectacular views. It’s definitely a must do in Medellin.

The Metrocable has six lines that connect downtown Medellin in the Alburra Valley basin with different settlements in the surrounding hills. My favourites are the K/L Lines to Parque Arvi (more on that later), and the J Line from San Javier (the location of Comuna 13 – see the next section for more) to La Aurora.

The cable car system in Medellin A gondola runs past colourful buildings in Medellin.

The gondola stations connect up to the Medellin metro system for seamless travel around the city. See #16 on this list for more info about the metro and how you can use it to go on a self-guided ‘tour’ of Medellin.

A single fare for the Metrocable costs 2,750 COP (around 70 US cents) or 2,430 COP if you have a (free) rechargeable Civica card. The L Line to Parque Arvi costs 10,600 COP. For more tips, see this comprehensive guide to using public transport in Medellin.

3. Explore Comuna 13 with a local guide, a Medellin must-do

Street art in Comuna 13, a must see in Medellin.

The Comuna 13 commune is home to the most well-known of Medellin’s hillside barrios. Once considered the most dangerous place in the country (and one of the deadliest places in the world), the neighbourhoods that make up Comuna 13 have undergone immense transformation in recent decades thanks in no small part to projects such as the escaleras electricas (outdoor escalators) that ‘reconnected’ the area with the rest of the city.

Today, Comuna 13 is known for its vibrant street art and large-scale murals. Walking through this open-air gallery is an immersive history lesson: You’ll learn a lot about the events of the past, including Medellin’s gang violence, and most of all witness how hopeful people are for a brighter future.

I highly recommend visiting Comuna 13 with a local guide who can add context and narrative to the experience. This small-group tour lasts 4 hours and will lead you to the most important street art pieces and the best viewpoints. Here is a private tour option if you prefer.

Before you go, read my 13 tips for visiting Comuna 13 so you know what to expect.

4. Eat Bandeja Paisa at Hacienda

A plate of Banja Paisa, Colombia

There’s a whole food-focused section of this guide coming up later, but I have to mention one foodie experience now: Eating Bandeja Paisa! Colombia’s national dish and a regional specialty in these parts, it’s one of the top things to do in Medellin not just for foodies, but for all travellers.

A worker’s lunch born on the coffee plantations of Antioquia Department, Bandeja Paisa is a work of culinary art. I didn’t know it was possible to cram so many flavours and textures (and calories!) onto one plate.

Every version is a bit different but in essence, Bandeja Paisa is a medley of beans, blood sausage, chorizo and chicharrón (deep-fried pork rind) served with rice and an arepa, and topped off with fresh avocado and a fried egg.

And everyone has their favourite rendition – mine is the finca-to-table Bandeja Paisa served at Hacienda. Their Juna restaurant near Parque Berrio is particularly nice, with its open-air dining veranda. One portion is big enough for two people, or you can opt for a single-serve ‘Mini Bandeja’.

5. See how you measure up in the Plaza Botero

A Botero sculpture in Botero Plaza, Medellin.

The heart of Medellin’s historic Old Quarter, Plaza Botero is one of the loveliest squares in the city. You’ll find several monumental pieces of architecture and important museums around the periphery (more on those later), but the plaza itself is a great place for a stroll.

Botero Plaza is dedicated to Medellin-born artist Fernando Botero, who donated 23 of his larger-than-life sculptures to the city. I first encountered Botero’s work at the Cascade Complex in Yerevan, Armenia, so it was a real treat for me to see his works displayed in his home city.

Botero’s daring bronze forms push the boundaries of physics and political correctness alike! Some of his most iconic works include ‘Roman Soldier’ and the buxom ‘Eve’. Rubbing the statues is said to bring good luck, so you’ll notice that many are buffed in certain ‘special’ locations.

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Medellin, wandering the Botero Plaza and admiring the bulging statues is definitely a must. For something more in-depth, this Botero-focused city tour explores the artist’s life and legacy in Medellin.

6. Ohh and ahh at the Museo de Antioquia

Botero sculptures inside the Museum of Antioquia. Botero painting of Pablo Escobar inside the Museum of Antioquia in Medellin.

Located on Botero Plaza, the Museum of Antioquia (Museo de Antioquia) is my top choice of museum in central Medellin. This was the first museum established in Antioquia and is devoted to who else but two of the city’s most acclaimed artists, Botero and painter-muralist Pedro Nel Gómez.

I love Botero’s sculptures, but I adore his paintings. The work that most people make a beeline for is ‘Death of Pablo Escobar’ (1999), which depicts the infamous gangster’s demise against a backdrop of Medellin’s orange rooftops.

The museum is open 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday. Entrance costs around 18,000 COP. There is a free guided tour available every afternoon at 2pm. If you’re planning to visit Medellin in high season, you may want to pre-purchase a skip the line ticket to avoid having to queue.

7. Stop by the Palace of Culture

Also facing onto Plaza Botero, the Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture is one of the most distinctive buildings in Medellin. The black-and-white stonework and Gothic-style arches are the work of Belgian architect Agustín Goovaerts, who designed the Palace as a venue for cultural programs and exhibitions staged by the regional government.

The building is open to the public. Inside, the Institute of Culture and Heritage of Antioquia houses a photo archive. There’s also a library, an art gallery and a cafe.

8. Shoot the breeze in Parque Berrio

Looking down on Parque Berrio and Our Lady of Candelaria church in Medellin.

Nearby Berrío Park sits smack-bang in the centre of Medellin and is therefore often thought of as the ‘nucleus’ of the city. It’s a hive of activity at all hours, a place for families and groups of friends to gather, where old men come to play checkers and vendors come to peddle their goods.

When the nearby Catholic church was first built in the 1640s (more in the next section), Parque Berrio was simply known as ‘Main Square’. Parishioners would gather here before and after services – so you can see that meeting in this spot is a long-standing Medellin tradition. The square has been pivotal to the city’s history through the ages: Various political announcements and demonstrations took place on these very paving stones.

Although it can be a bit rowdy (and a bit seedy at certain times of day), this is prime people-watching territory. With all the yelling and conversations going on, you might even learn some Spanish by osmosis!

For the best views down onto the square, head up to the adjacent Parque Berrio Metro Station platform.

9. Visit Medellin’s oldest church

The Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria behind Parque Berrio dates back to Colombia’s colonial era. As well as being one of the most beautiful churches in Medellin, it’s also the city’s oldest.

Roman Catholic parishioners have been worshipping at the stone church since 1649. Outside, the Neoclassical facade is grand and austere; inside, a gold-coloured altar sits beneath a painting of the Virgin of Candelaria, Medellin’s patron saint.

You can get a great view of the church’s exterior from the platform at the nearby Parque Berrio metro station. Just footsteps from Plaza Botero and the museum, it’s a worthwhile addition to your itinerary when you’re in the El Centro district.

10. Get lost in a fruit market

A colourful display of tropical Colombian fruit at the Plaza Minorista Market in Medellin.

Antioquia is Colombia’s fruit bowl, and Medellin is where the region’s farmers come to trade their tropical delights. There are several fruit markets in the city worth visiting. My personal favourite is the Plaza Minorista José María Villa, or The Minorista for short.

The Minorista is an atmospheric green market made up of 3,000-plus undercover stalls. Roam the aisles, chatting with the friendly los vendedores (vendors) who are usually more than happy to offer free samples of their most exotic offerings: Maracuyá, zapote, mangosteen, curuba and more.

A woman drinks fresh juice at a market in Medellin. A woman sells fruit at a market in Medellin.

Watch your toes as people race around the aisles with trolleys and crates of fruit. Don’t forget to look up at the beautiful hand-painted signs above some of the older stalls, family-run businesses that have been operating here for generations.

Climb the stairs to the second level to look directly down on the market floor and admire the chaos. Here’s where you’ll also find breakfast stalls and juice bars where you can pick your favourite fruit and have it blended to order.

The Minorista opens bright and early at 4.30am daily. It’s best to arrive early for the best variety and the an energetic atmosphere.

11. Hike in Parque Arvi, Medellin’s green lung

A wooden bridge over a stream in Medellin

Located in a valley north-east of the city centre and reachable from downtown via the Line L Metrocable, Parque Arvi (Arví Park) is literally a breath of fresh air. The huge nature reserve and archaeological site offers walking and biking trails, waterfalls, a farmers’ market, coffee shops, and more.

You could easily spend a full afternoon here recharging your batteries.

Much of the 16,000-hectare park can be explored over 56 miles (90km) of walking trails. Marked paths range from easy strolls through wildflower groves and butterfly habitat, to more strenuous hikes.

Short guided walks depart regularly from the visitor’s centre and last from 1-4 hours. Or you can set out alone on one of the easier-to-follow hikes, such as the Trail of the hill.

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Don’t miss the Mercado Arví, a daily farmers’ market next to the Metrocable station where you can buy local fruit, coffee and Colombian handicrafts.

12. Visit Pueblito Paisa, a model village in the heart of Medellin

Colourful houses at Pueblito Paisa in Medellin.

Perched atop Nutibara Hill in the city centre, Pueblito Paisa is a miniature version of a typical Antioquian pueblo or town. If you don’t have time to travel out of the city to a real pueblo, this is the next best thing. (There’s no comparison really, but at least you can get an idea of the architectural style!)

Make no mistake, this is one of Medellin’s most popular tourist attractions and it’s very commercial as a result. I just happened to be staying nearby and wandered up one night for a look. It is worth going out of your way for, but just be prepared for the crowds.

The village is laid out like a typical town, with a central cobbled square, church and fountain ringed by white facades with colourful trims. I later learned that some of the building materials used in construction were salvaged from a real pueblo near Guatape, including original wooden doors, windows, and the church altar.

The panoramic views from the top of the hill are worth the 20-minute walk up (don’t worry, you can drive all the way if you wish). There are several viewpoints scattered around the area where you can look out over Medellin and the river.

Pueblito Paisa is open from 6am until late every day. The Medellin City Museum is also located on the hill, adjacent to the pueblo.

13. Shop for souvenirs at the San Alejo Handicraft Market

Mochilla bags for sale at the San Alejo Handicraft Market in Medellin.

If you happen to be visiting Medellin on the first Saturday of the month, don’t miss the San Alejo Handicraft Market in Parque Bolivar.

This showcase of local food projects and crafts only takes place once every four weeks. It’s a 35-year tradition, drawing crowds who shop directly from 400 artists, makers, antique vendors and artisanal farmers.

Indigenous artisans from communities around Medellin are also represented, making San Alejo one of the few places in the city where you can buy authentic handicrafts such as hand-woven Wayuu Mochila bags and colourful Mola textiles, traditionally made by the Kuna people.

14. Go cafe hopping in El Poblado, one of the best places in Medellin for coffee & culture

Because of its proximity to Colombia’s coffee region, Medellin is the ideal place to sample local beans. El Poblado district, the hub of cafe culture, has enough specialty coffee shops and outdoor cafes to keep you humming until the very last drop.

Spend an afternoon soaking up the atmosphere of Medellin’s coolest neighbourhood (part of Comuna 14 but a world away from Comuna 13) by hopping between the many gorgeous outdoor cafes and trying different specialty brews. Pergamino is possibly the most popular venue in the city.

For a more in-depth experience, consider joining this coffee shop hopping tour of El Poblado and Laureles with Impulse Travel. It includes several specialty cafes and a behind-the-scenes look at coffee culture in Colombia. For something hands-on, learn how the Colombians percolate with a Coffee Brewing Workshop hosted by El Poblado’s Avoeden Café.

El Poblado has a very different vibe after dark when it transforms into a bar district. If you’re more of a night owl, this bar hopping tour of El Poblado will give you a local’s insight into Medellin nightlife.

15. Sip Aguardiente and listen to Tango at Salon Malaga

Salon Malaga, a live music cafe in Medellin.

One of the best things to do in Medellin at night is spend a few hours at Salón Málaga, a traditional piano bar with an old-timey feel and a wonderful atmosphere. It’s been a fixture of Medellin since 1957.

Settle in amongst the jukeboxes and retro music posters to listen to live tango and salsa. It’s not uncommon for couples to get up and start cutting a rug, so remember to wear your dancing shoes if you want to join in the fun.

A neat shot of aguardiente, Colombian ‘fire water’, should get things moving. Made from fermented sugar cane, it has a pleasant anise flavour and actually goes down quite smooth (well, sometimes).

Every region in Colombia produces its own aguardiente, but the liquor made in one department can’t be sold to another – so you know this is the real-deal Antioquean stuff.

Alternative things to do in Medellin

If you have more time in Medellin, consider some of these lesser-known attractions and activities.

16. Visit the Museo Casa de la Memoria

Casa de la Memoria Memory House museum in Medellin, Colombia.

Founded in 2006 by the Victim Assistance Program of Medellin City Hall, the Museo Casa de la Memoria (House of Memory Museum) is a unique institution developed to help people reflect on and overcome the hardships associated with the violence of the 1980s to early 2000s.

As you’re probably already aware, Medellin was a very dangerous place in the 1990s especially. Countless people lost their lives to cartel violence and the military interventions that followed. The Casa de la Memoria gives their families and friends – and the community at large – a space to share their voices and rebuild.

It’s a very moving experience as you see, read and hear first-hand accounts in the photographs, videos and hand-written materials. Though sombre, it will deepen your understanding of modern-day Medellin.

17. Smell the orchids at Medellin’s oldest marketplace

The Placita de Florez flower market in Medellin.

If you can’t be in Medellin for the annual Feria de Las Flores Flower Festival, which takes place every August, the next best thing is to browse the Placita de Flórez flower market. The oldest undercover market in the city (it dates back to 1891), the Placita is a short walk from the Casa de la Memoria in Bombona district. You can quite easily combine them into one visit.

The market is a bit of an unusual combination: On one level you’ll find beautiful fresh-cut flowers interspersed with butcher’s shops. Downstairs, you’ll find the fruit and vegetable vendors.

On the back wall of the lower level there’s a wildly popular food stall you can’t miss: It’s where Medellin’s best arepas de chócolo (sweet corn arepas served with a slab of cheese on top) are served.

Back outside the market, order a freshly pressed OJ from one of the roving juice carts while you sit on a plastic stool and observe the ins and outs of Colombian commerce.

18. Take a self-guided city tour by metro

View of the Palace of Culture from the Medellin Metro platform.

Medellin’s award-winning public transport system isn’t just a way to get from A to B – you can also use it for a DIY, super affordable city tour. The Metrocable is one thing, but even the above-ground metro station platforms afford fantastic views of different plazas and notable buildings around the city.

I suggest taking Line A from El Poblado to Acevedo, disembarking at the Industriales, Exposiciones, Alpujarra, San Antonio, Parque Berrio, Prado and Hospital stations for different views of Medellin.

You can jump on and off and in most cases, transfer underneath from platform to platform, without having to buy a second ticket.

Just avoid using the metro during peak hour (Monday to Friday between 5pm and 7pm) as the stations and trains are always very busy around this time.

19. Stroll around leafy Laureles

Laureles is probably the most livable district in Medellin. I booked an Airbnb here without realising it was one of the city’s hottest suburbs, and I was very happy to be able to explore a ‘real’ local neighbourhood.

Originally a working-class area, parts of Laureles are now quite swish. It’s extremely leafy, with old growth trees lining wide roads, tons of dog parks and outdoor exercise areas, and open-air restaurants. Primer Parque de Laureles was my ‘local’ park during my short stay.

Parts of the district are laid out with roundabouts and curved streets, so it can be a bit confusing to try and navigate on foot. But getting lost and aimlessly strolling is all part of the fun.

There are a few notable attractions to seek out, including the Fundación Aburrá gallery-museum. For more things to do, see this detailed guide to the Laureles neighbourhood.

20. Attend a Colombian football match

Football (soccer) is a way of life in Colombia just as it is in many other parts of Latin America. To feel the pulse of the city and be part of one the nation’s most beloved traditions, why not attend a local match at Atanasio Girardot Stadium.

The city has two clubs, Nacional and Medellin, and both are revered. If either are playing during your visit, don’t miss your chance to cheer on the players alongside the home crowd. Match times are usually announced a few months in advance, and tickets can be purchased online.

For a different experience, sign up for an immersive football experience where you’ll attend the game accompanied by a local and participate in the pre-game rituals most tourists miss.

Best things to do in Medellin for foodies

Medellin is a true foodie paradise, with street food, cafes and restaurants on literally every corner. I’m not exaggerating when I say that chicharrones and arepas de chocolo changed my life.

Here are my favourite food-focused activities in Medellin.

21. Experience life-changing arepas de chocolo

Arepas de chocolo, sweet corn cakes with queso cheese.

I already alluded to arepas de chócolo, sweet corn cakes topped with creamy queso cheese. Trust me, these babies will make you re-define your idea of ‘delicious’.

This kind of arepa is traditional to Colombia’s Andean region, but thank goodness some master chefs decided to bring their recipes up north to the big city. Steamy, sweet-salty and creamy, they go perfectly with a hot cup of black coffee for breakfast.

The best arepas de chócolo are made from fresh-ground corn and served inside the Placita de Flórez.

22. Eat like a Paisa at Mondongo’s

Mondongo’s is part of Medellin’s old guard of bistros and an integral part of the city’s food landscape. The family owned restaurant first opened in 1976 on Avenida San Juan and has since expanded to several other locations around the city including in El Poblado. (Oh, and they also have a restaurant in Miami.)

The original philosophy of using food to bring Antioquian families together around their shared heritage of Paisa cuisine still stands. Today, this is still a very family oriented restaurant, the sort of place where you expect to see at least one birthday party every lunchtime.

There are just a dozen or so dishes on the menu, all traditional to the area. The star is of course mondongo, a soup/stew of pork, tripe and chorizo. It’s zingy and deep and a bit of an acquired taste, but definitely the thing to order if you want to eat like a local in Medellin.

23. Hunt down the city’s best Menu del Dia

Colombian menu del dia, with steak and avocado.

Another life-altering food concept, the Menu del Día or Menu of the Day is an institution in Medellin and a godsend for budget travellers. Essentially this is a set menu offered at lunchtime that allows you to stock up on a day’s worth of calories for a very respectable price.

Sometimes called Ejecutivo in Colombia, Menu del Dia came by way of Spain where the notion of a fixed-price lunch was actually written into law by fascist dictator Francisco Franco. It normally includes a cold drink, a soup or salad, a hearty main meal, and a small dessert. Typically the cost is around 15,000 COP or 3.80 USD – not bad for a three-course meal.

If you have trouble deciding what to order at restaurants, this is a saviour. Just ask for the Menu del Dia and you’ll be served up with something fresh, seasonal and nutritious.

Bandeja Paisa is a popular choice for obvious reasons, but every cafe and restaurant puts their own spin on it. They rarely serve the same thing two days in a row, so you can pick your favourite establishment and keep coming back for something new.

My favourites are Restaurante Santas Melonas near El Poblado Park for a meaty Colombian spread, and Naturalia Café in Laureles for a lighter vegetarian lunch.

24. Eat Argentinian empanadas at Salon Versalles

Argentinean empanadas at Salon Versalles, a traditional cafe in Medellin.

Located on busy Avenida Maracaibo, Salon Versalles is a real gem in Medellin and an essential pitstop on any food quest. The traditional tea house was founded in 1961 by an Argentinean expat and was the first place in the city to serve pizza!

Versalles continues to push the envelope by serving up Argentine-style empanadas. The flaky pastry and rich, slightly spicy filling is what sets them apart from their Colombian counterparts. Versalles turns out approximately 2,000 crescent-shaped pastries every day, along with Chilean empanadas filled with meat, olives and hard-boiled egg.

For something more substantial, there’s steak churrasco and Argentinian milanesa. Save room for dessert, specifically a big slice of Torta María Luisa, a traditional Colombian layer cake, or maybe a few buñuelos (fried dough balls). Pair your sweets with a tinto coffee and you’re all set.

Dark wood, booth seating and coiffed waiters in pressed whites give the cafe a fun retro vibe.

25. Snack your way around the Mercado del Rio

The Mercado del Rio, a food market hall in Medellin, Colombia.

The Mercado del Río is a very different kind of marketplace to the ones already mentioned on this list. Similar to the Time Out Market in Lisbon, it is a contemporary food hall where you can eat a range of world cuisines under one roof.

Think of it as the United Nations of snacks. Around 50 restaurants are represented, serving everything from sushi to waffles, pizza to traditional Peruvian ceviche.

The warehouse space is beautifully decorated with lots of seating, which makes it a favourite place for friends to meet in the evening. The atmosphere is great, especially when there’s a local football game streaming on the big screen.

26. Join a Medellin food tour or cooking class

To learn more about Colombia’s food culture, I highly recommend you join a Medellin food tour. This itinerary is led by my favourite community-focused tour company in Colombia, Impulse Travel, and includes plenty of city sightseeing to offset the snacking. They even make a special trip to the flower market for the arepas – see, I told you they were good!

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, a Colombian cooking class in Medellin will arm you with arepa-making skills for life. I did a cooking class in Bogota and it was one of the highlights of my trip.

27. Tour a coffee plantation close to Medellin

Two people picking coffee cherries in Colombia.

Colombia’s Coffee Triangle lies beyond the borders of Medellin and requires more than a day trip. If you have limited time and you still want to see the bean-to-cup process, you can visit a coffee farm on the city’s doorstep instead.

This half-day coffee plantation tour includes private transfers, a cherry-picking tutorial, and a walk through the entire process of de-pulping, fermenting, drying, roasting and grinding.

I did a proper coffee cupping for the first time in the small town of Jerico and it changed the way I think about coffee forever. In Colombia, a coffee tasting takes on a whole new significance and will give you a huge appreciation for the farmers who toil to bring us our daily cuppa.

This professional coffee tasting in San Sebastián de Palmitas, 45 minutes from Medellin, takes place on a farm. You’ll learn the history of Colombian coffee, try your hand at harvesting beans, then sit down for a coffee tasting alongside a hearty Colombian meal.

Adventurous things to do in Medellin

Another thing Medellin has going for it is its proximity to nature. Here are three adventure activities for exploring the landscape beyond Parque Arvi.

28. Go horseback riding Colombia-style

A man in a cowboy hat leads a horse through the grass on a farm in Colombia.

After so long being tempted by the lush mountains around the city – visible from almost every street corner – it’s time to get out and explore. Horseback riding is an immersive way to soak up the magnificent landscapes on the fringe of the city.

This riding experience includes round-trip transfers from El Poblado and around 4 hours of riding in the hills, including to secret waterfalls and along jungle tracks.

29. Go paragliding for a bird’s eye view of Medellin

After my paragliding experience in Jerico, I can confidently say that Colombia is one of the best places on earth to soar with the birds. There are tandem paragliding opportunities in Medellin just 45 minutes from the centre, where you can fly over the Aburra Valley towards the Medellin River, El Quitasol hill and Picacho hill.

30. Go quad biking, one of the best things to do in medellin for adventure

Another way to explore the mountains around Medellin is by ATV. This company offers 550cc quad bikes and experienced guides to lead you through the Antioquian mountains.

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BONUS: Take a day trip from Medellin to a real pueblo

A restaurant in Santa fe de Antioquia, Colombia. White houses in Santa fe de Antioquia, Colombia.

If Pueblito Paisa got you thinking about a day trip into coffee country, you’ll be glad to know there are dozens of gorgeous pueblos you can visit near Medellin. Colonial Santa Fe de Antioquia (pictured above), Guatape and Jardin are all fantastic day trips from the city.

All of these historic villages feature colourfully painted houses, grand churches and plazas, and historic architecture. Each one has its own unique museums and foodie experiences.

The most popular day trip from Medellin by far is an excursion to Guatape and El Peñol Rock. It requires a short drive and combines history with nature and a boat trip for a well-rounded day out.

Where to stay in Medellin

Medellin is a big city! Public transport connections are great, but everything is very spread-out, so you need to be strategic about where you stay (especially if you’re on a short trip). Moreover, some neighbourhoods are safer than others for tourists.

I stayed in the lovely Laureles neighbourhood when I visited Medellin. It’s leafy, it’s very walkable, there are dozens of amazing restaurants and cafes – and it’s away from the busy downtown area, giving it a more local feel. The northern part of Laureles is especially convenient because it’s close to the metro line.

If you prefer to be in the thick of it, El Poblado is the beating heart of ‘new’ Medellin. It can feel a bit touristy, but at the same time that means lots of options for eating out and revelling in Medellin’s nightlife.

25 Best Things to Do in Medellín (Colombia)

The second city of Colombia, Medellín has transformed itself perhaps more than any other city in the world. Though its violent, tumultuous past is well-known, today the city is modern, innovative, and just generally lovely.

Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its nearly perfect weather, you’ll find plenty of parks and plazas where you can enjoy the sunshine with a fresh juice from a street food vendor and a couple of empanadas.

Make sure you learn all about the city’s past in order to appreciate how far it’s come – there are plenty of museums and tours that’ll educate you, along with authentic markets and neighborhoods to explore. The city is also home to great restaurants, cafes, bars, and even clubs that’ll have you salsa dancing the night away… or trying to anyway.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Medellín:

1. Museo de Antioquia

Museum of Antioquia, Medellin

Source: Mark52 / shutterstock Museum Of Antioquia

A former city hall turned museum, this place houses a great collection of works by Fernando Botero.

He’s one of Colombia’s most famous artists, and he had a penchant for painting all things chubby.

Born in Medellín, the artist patronized his hometown museum by donating many of the works himself.

Guides recommend starting on the top floor with his earlier pieces and making your way down to see his evolution as an artist.

The museum also houses works by international artists and offers an audio guide if you want to learn even more.

There’s a small cafe and courtyard here where you can take a break.

2. Free Walking Tour

Walking Tour, Medellin

Source: Barna Tanko / shutterstock Walking Tour

The free walking tour in Medellín by Real City Tours is one of the most popular walking tours in the world.

Learn all about the city’s difficult past from an insightful and experienced guide.

This is a good way to get out of Poblado and see more of the city, taste some local foods, and hear how the local people really feel about Pablo Escobar.

You’ll see places like Parque Berrio, the Forest of Lights, and Parque San Antonio.

Do this tour at the beginning of your stay in Medellín so you’ll have lots of historical background on the city – plus your guide will give you great food and nightlife tips! Be sure to sign up ahead of time so you get a spot, and know that it’s not totally free – you’re supposed to tip at the end of the 4-hour tour.

There’s also a Pablo Escobar tour in Medellin.

3. Take the Metrocable Up to Parque Arvi

Metrocable, Medellin

Source: F. A. Alba / shutterstock Metrocable, Medellin

The metro and metrocable system of Medellín has received lots of praise for bringing a city of many different neighborhoods together.

You can get all over the city with your metro ticket, and if you want to venture up for great views and fresh air, pay a little more to take the metrocable from Santo Domingo to Parque Arvi.

The 15-minute ride provides great views of the city and neighborhoods below.

At the top, there are places to stop for some snacks made from local Colombian products (like grilled mushrooms) while you enjoy the views.

Check out the tents and street vendors selling trinkets and then head out onto the walking trails of the park.

4. Santo Domingo and Biblioteca España

Biblioteca España, Medellin

Source: dubes sonego / shutterstock Biblioteca España, Medellin

If you take a ride up the metrocable, you’ll get a glimpse of a few of the poorer barrios on your way up and down.

It’s an authentic look into life in these colorful neighborhoods which were once in the center of a warzone.

During the day it’s fine to stop in Santo Domingo to have a look around – maybe grab a beer and some fried chicken and arepas from one of the small local restaurants.

Many people also get off here to check out the Biblioteca España, a massive, modern library built from black slate that’s become like a local community center.

5. The Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens, Medellin

Source: pppp1991 / shutterstock Botanical Gardens

A natural oasis in the center of Medellín, they city’s botanical gardens contain more than 1,000 species of wildlife and 4,500 flowers.

There’s a butterfly garden, a cactus garden, and a huge collection of orchids.

Entry is free and you can go explore the area to find critters or just lie on the grass in the sun with a book.

There’s even a 65-foot-high wooden mesh structure called the Orquideorama which collects rainwater and protects the orchids and butterflies below.

Have a picnic, check for live events, and be sure to visit if you’re here during the city’s Festival of the Flowers, it’ll be even more impressive.

6. Parque Explora

Parque Explora, Medellin

Source: dubes sonego / shutterstock Parque Explora

Everybody loves Parque Explora, even adults and those folks without kids.

It’s an interactive science museum combined with South America’s largest freshwater aquarium.

There are over 300 interactive exhibits housed in the building’s four red cubes, plus a planetarium, 3D auditorium, and a television studio.

Located in Zona Norte near the botanical gardens and shopping malls, it’s easy to spend a whole day here playing and learning about science and technology, but it’s also a convenient stop on your way to other attractions.

Parque Explora is totally interesting and fun, and you’ll enjoy it even more if you do have kids with you.

7. Check Out Poblado

Poblado, Medellin

Source: oscar garces / shutterstock Poblado

Chances are you might be staying in this upscale neighborhood anyway because it’s where most of the gringos, expats, and backpackers in Medellín choose to rest their heads.

It’s a beautiful area of shady streets with a solid café culture and a range of different types of international food options.

Coffee shops and free wifi abound, plus there are bars, spas, gyms, and all the other comforts from home here.

Whether you want to do a serious coffee tasting (try Cafe Toucan) or hit the clubs for the night (check out Calle 9), you’ll find it in Poblado.

8. Casa de la Memoria

Casa de la Memoria, Medellin

Source: *Iván Erre Jota* / Flickr Casa De La Memoria

This museum is both upsetting, enlightening, and informative, and it’s the place to go if you want more insight on Colombia’s dramatic and violent history.

From drug cartels and gangs to a terrible civil war, Casa de la Memoria aims to amplify the voices of victims and preserve their history so that we might learn more about it and avoid these pitfalls in the future.

Entry is free, and the whole place is well-curated – the interactive exhibits, emotional photography, and artwork are all sure to inform and move you.

9. Visit Guatapé


Source: Mark Pitt Images / shutterstock Guatapé

It’s the must-do day trip from Medellín, but it’s even better if you’ve got a night or two to spare there.

Guatapé is a picturesque, colorful lake town about two hours outside the city.

Take photos of the vibrantly painted exteriors of homes here, and visit the Plaza de Zocalos for the most colorful town square in Colombia.

Along the lake and throughout town you’ll find cheap street foods like empanadas and churros, and of course, the restaurants will supply you with plenty of freshly cooked lake trout and fish soup.

The most popular activity in town, however, is climbing the 740 steps up El Peñol, a giant rock, for an amazing view of the islands and water beneath.

10. Parque Lleras

Parque Lleras

Source: Chrispictures / shutterstock Parque Lleras

Poblado is one of the biggest hotspots for nightlife in Medellín, and for locals and tourists alike, Parque Lleras is often the place where you start out the night.

It’s just a little park filled with trees where you’ll find vendors selling art by day and crowds of folks drinking by night.

The park is surrounded by bars, restaurants, and clubs, plus it’s close to many of the hostels in the area, so there’s always young people around.

Grab a bottle of the anise-flavored Colombian spirit, Aguardiente, or just a few Aguila beers and head to this lively park to hang out before heading out.

11. Go Salsa Dancing

DanceFree Medellin

Source: DanceFree Medellin

Whether you’re an old pro or just want to learn a few steps, this city is the place to do it.

While Cali might be the salsa capital of Colombia, Medellín can get you started with salsa lessons or local bars and clubs filled with salsa music and dancing.

DanceFree in Poblado is a super popular place for private or group classes, and on the weekends they have a bar with dancing too.

For live salsa music and dancing (with locals and tourists alike showing off), check out the Son Havana or El Eslabon Prendido.

12. Plaza Botero

Plaza Botero

Source: Fotos593 / shutterstock Plaza Botero

A great place for people watching and art appreciation, check out the lively Plaza Botero for some larger than life sculptures by the square’s namesake, Fernando Botero.

There are 23 voluptuous bronze statues scattered about the plaza, all donated by the artist himself.

It’s a great place to meander around or sit with a fresh juice or empanada from one of the street vendors before or after visiting the Museo de Antioquia.

The area has transformed an otherwise run-down part of town, and you’ll find street performers, trinket salesmen, and food stalls all around.

13. El Castillo Museo y Jardines

El Castillo Museo y Jardines, Medellin

Source: Fotos593 / shutterstock El Castillo Museo Y Jardines

Wait, there’s a castle in Medellín? Yep, for a small entry fee you can check out this French-inspired, 20th-century castle and its gardens, fountains, and pathways.

Take a little tour to see the inside as well, with its four-poster beds, porcelain collection, and giant dining room table.

It was built in 1930 and it opened as a museum in 1971, but in between those years it served as a home for the wealthy and a place for entertaining high society visitors from Europe.

14. Go Paragliding


Source: Kuzmenko Viktoria photografer / shutterstock Paragliding

This area of Colombia is renowned for paragliding, or parapente in Spanish, and it’s easy to arrange trips from Medellín, even on short notice.

The experience of leaping off a mountain into thermal currents with incredible deep green views beneath you is exhilarating (and maybe a little nerve-wracking), but professional guides will put you at ease.

They provide transportation out to the launching point, strap you to your guide, and teach you how to take off.

Some companies allow you to pay a little extra if you want GoPro footage of your adventure – check out Dragon Fly and Paragliding Medellín.

15. Plaza Minorista Market

Plaza Minorista Market

Source: Inspired By Maps / shutterstock Plaza Minorista Market

Get an authentic look at Medellín food culture by visiting one of the city’s markets.

Plaza Minorista is a huge farmer’s market filled with local vendors selling everything from fresh produce and fish to just-butchered meats and ready-made corn arepas.

It’s a great place to bring your camera to capture all the bright colors and characters here.

Take a tour to do some fruit tasting or just buy some of what looks good for yourself – prices are cheap! There are plenty of little restaurants in Minorista where you can grab a set meal or a full breakfast, plus things like fish stew, coconut rice, and freshly squeezed fruit juice.

16. See a Fútbol Match

Stadium Atanasio Girardot

Source: SL-Photography / shutterstock Stadium Atanasio Girardot

Football (soccer) in South America is close to religion, drawing excited and loyal fans to the stadiums to watch their teams play.

Medellín is no exception, and if you want to attend a sporting event doubles as a cultural experience, go see one of the city’s teams play.

Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medellín are the two local clubs, and you can usually get tickets between $12 and $25 USD. Buy them a couple days in advance and get advice on where to sit, depending on if you want things to be rowdy or (relatively) calm.

Even if you’re not a soccer fan, go for the energy of the stadium – the rambunctious fans, the singing, the shouting, banners, and even firecrackers going off during games are a one of a kind experience.

17. Parque Berrío

Candelaria Church in the Parque de Berrio

Source: Antoine Barthelemy / shutterstock Candelaria Church in the Parque de Berrio

A plaza with fewer people trying to sell you things and ask for money and more folks just trying to meet up and hang out, Parque Berrío feels very local.

Tons of people gather here in the afternoon to sit and listen to street musicians play after buying beers and snacks from local vendors.

Old men gather to play games like dominos, and the locals here are pretty friendly.

Once the site of the old public market and home to public executions, the park was transformed in the early 90s when the area made way for the nearby metro station.

You can visit the old Iglesia la Candelaria on one side and a few blocks away is the much more touristy Plaza Botero.

18. Eat Colombian Food, Especially Bandeja Paisa

Bandeja Paisa

Source: Luisa Leal Photography / shutterstock Bandeja Paisa

If you don’t know much about Colombian food, Medellín is the perfect place to get acquainted.

From the many exotic fruits to mondongo (tripe soup) to cheese-filled arepas, you’ll have no shortage of options.

The one thing you must try here is the local specialty, bandeja paisa, a gut-busting combination of meats like sausage and pork cracklings alongside beans, plantains, rice, a fried egg, and a few avocado slices they’ve thrown in for good measure.

Hatoviejo, Hacienda Junin, and Mondongo’s are all great places to try local cuisine.

19. Comuna 13 and Las Escaleras

Comuna 13, Medellin

Source: Allen.G / shutterstock Comuna 13

Once part of the city you’d never even consider visiting, the government and local artists have joined forces to make Comuna 13 a better place to live.

The addition of colorful artwork, escalators, and increased safety measures have opened the neighborhood up to tourism and brought the community closer together.

Comuna 13 used to be so dangerous that only its residents would think of climbing the steep slopes to enter, but the addition of escalators as a form of social and democratic infrastructure have made it more approachable.

Visit to see the many murals, people, police officers, colorful hillside homes, and transformation that has taken place here.

20. Go Biking or Ride ATVs Outside the City

Natural landscape, Medellin

Source: Fausto Riolo / shutterstock Natural Landscape, Medellin

The lush surroundings, hills, and mountains around Medellín make it a great playground for adventure-seekers.

To explore them, head out with a tour company who’ll set you up with a mountain bike or ATV, transport you about an hour outside of town, and let you speed around challenging trails.

It’s a great chance to go off-road and visit some sites that not a lot of tourists make it out to see.

Guanabana Tours will combine biking and ATV riding with parasailing, river rafting, and even trips to Guatapé.

Medellín Adventure Trails will take you around the rugged terrain on bikes or ATVs (or both) and include a stop for lunch at a trout farm.

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21. Museo de Arte Moderno Medellín

Museo de Arte Moderno Medellín

Source: Mark52 / shutterstock Museo De Arte Moderno Medellín

A very cool work of modern architecture itself, this small but edgy museum is home to modern artwork by Colombian and other Latin American artists.

While somewhat compact, the MAMM features several permanent and temporary exhibits, including paintings, videos, sculptures, and 3D creations both inside and out.

Modern art isn’t for everyone, so the museum does a good job providing explanations of each of the pieces.

The theater here shows movies occasionally, and the gift shop sells super unique souvenirs created by artists.

There’s a great terrace with views of the city, and a restaurant downstairs where you can have a drink.

22. Mercado del Río

Mercado del Río, Medellin

Source: Mark Pitt Images / shutterstock Mercado Del Río

A popular spot for eating and socializing, check out Mercado del Río for a choice of over 40 restaurants.

It’s a lively food court with a cool ambiance and many trendy options located near the MAMM. This place is packed at lunchtime and dinnertime with young professionals from nearby office buildings, so getting a seat might be a challenge.

A cool spot to come with friends, you’ll have your pick of everything from sushi, hamburgers, and paella to mexican, vegan, and mediterranean dishes.

You can also grab beers, cocktails, or a glass of wine and hang out over a few shared plates.

23. Go Shopping

Centro Comercial Palacio Nacional, Medellin

Source: Matyas Rehak / shutterstock Centro Comercial Palacio Nacional, Medellin

Medellín is a great place to do some shopping, whether you’re after dirt-cheap knock offs or luxury stores.

El Hueco is where you’d go for a little bit of chaos, haggling, and lots of shops and street vendors selling fake brand-name goods and other odds and ends you might need.

For a more modern mall experience with a broad range of stores, check out the huge Centro Commercial Santa Fe or Oviedo.

For a unique, high-end experience just a few blocks away, check out Río Sur, a group of repurposed buildings which now contain upmarket boutique shops, salons, and lots of nightclubs, restaurants, and bars.

24. Cañón Del Río Claro Reserva Natural

Cañón Del Río Claro Reserva Natural

Source: juan felipe benet / shutterstock Cañón Del Río Claro Reserva Natural

This little piece of paradise is about three hours outside Medellín, and it’s a great place to spend a few nights relaxing in nature and exploring.

You can go hiking, ziplining, rafting, birdwatching, or cavern trekking around the Río Claro Valley and reserve.

As far as accommodation, there’s an eco-friendly lodge, plus cabins and camping available – be sure to bring cash! It’s a rustic place, but it’s surrounded by pure natural beauty, like the river which cuts through a marble canyon and jungle-like forests.

You’ll spot plenty of exotic wildlife here too, with monkeys, scorpions, massive butterflies, and tons of birds from parrots to toucans to hummingbirds, all at your doorstep.

25. Palacio de la Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe

Palacio de la Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe

Source: Chrispictures / shutterstock Palacio De La Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe

You won’t be able to avoid seeing this unique and imposing building, because of course you’ll be visiting the Plaza Botero.

Chances are you’ve never seen anything like its intricate and dizzying black and white facade though.

The architect who built it received so much public criticism for his work that he walked off the job (totally insulted), and the city finished his work in a completely different style (you’ll see, it’s very obvious). If it’s open, head inside to see the lovely courtyard with its fountain and gardens.

While the interior has fallen into disrepair a bit, there is some artwork to view and you can climb to the top for views of the city and plaza below.

Things to do in El Poblado, Medellin

Are you thinking of visiting El Poblado in Medellin, Colombia?

visiting el poblado

As you already may have heard, this neighborhood is located in Medellin and is the most exclusive and expensive area in the city.

In essence, it has a lot to offer tourists (both locally and internationally) who want to experience both luxury and a variety of activities.

There are many things to do in Medellin; visiting El Poblado is one of the best and today, I am going to show you exactly why.

Table of Contents

Things to do in El Poblado

For Colombians, this is Medellin’s most affluent neighborhood and for the new visitor, it is deceiving just how big El Poblado is.

This is a commune that goes much further than the chic cafes, fashion boutiques, and prestigious restaurants that you’ll encounter on arrival.

In other words: One must dig deeper than the lights of Lleras park.

Where Is El Poblado?

El Poblado is the 14th commune and the largest one in Medellin.

medellin south bus terminal to cali

You’ll find that El Poblado is situated in the southeast area of the city and the commune consists of 23 neighborhoods.

El Poblado is also known as The Golden Blocks because the area is the main center of industrial and commercial life.

That makes it the second-largest economy in the country, which is one of the many reasons why it’s so luxurious.

Is El Poblado Worth Visiting?

The short answer is yes!

El Poblado is definitely worth visiting. Now, there are many reasons for this, but for now, let’s explore three of the main ones:

  • The nightlife: This is one of the main things El Poblado is known for. The nightlife is exciting and energetic, so if you enjoy that kind of scene, you will have a lot of fun.
  • The cuisine: It’s not difficult to find delicious food in El Poblado! It’s a true joy to explore all the cafes and restaurants to try as many delicious dishes as possible.
  • Plenty of attractions: Because El Poblado is the largest commune in the country, there are many attractions and sightseeing opportunities. You can have many adventures in El Poblado, so it’s worth your time.

Smart Travel Tip
If you are thinking of visiting Medellin or El Poblado or looking for prepagos or other services of that nature I suggest you think twice.

Is El Poblado Safe?

Yes, El Poblado is known as one of the safest communes in Medellin.

lleras park medellin

That means that (in theory) you can relax and explore this unique part of town and have a good time without worrying about your safety.

Although Colombia is low on this list of safest places to visit in South America this neighborhood is somewhat of a safe haven for tourists.

This is one of the many reasons tourists love El Poblado.

There’s a strong police presence all over the commune and the streets are always busy, even at night (it’s a different place during the evening).

Many people ask about the safety in Medellin which is a different question because you can have a completely different experience here compared with staying in another neighborhood in Medellin.

Nightlife in El Poblado (La Zona Rosa)

La Zona Rosa is the area where you find the nightlife of El Poblado.

It’s the best area to stay in Medellin because it’s bursting for opportunities. During the day, you can walk around the area and explore the restaurants, malls, and more.

When the night falls, you can have a lot of fun. There are many different bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.

To help you out, here’s a list of the top nightlife venues in El Poblado!

  • El Social: If you’re looking for fun things to do in Medellin, you can’t miss El Social. This is an open-air bar that offers an amazing ambiance. You can enjoy your favorite alcoholic beverages and have some delicious food. It’s a popular place, so make a reservation ahead of time to enjoy the El Social experience. Sometimes, they host salsa concerts, and overall, the music is always amazing.
  • Panorama Rooftop Bar: The Panorama Rooftop Bar is another favorite among locals and tourists. It’s more of a pub, so keep that in mind. The drinks are nice and the service is attentive. Panorama Rooftop Bar offers a nice experience, but nothing out of the ordinary. Once again, if you don’t enjoy the nightclub scene, this bar will be more up your alley and you’ll have a good time.
  • Dulce Jesus Mio: Dulce Jesus Mio is another well-known spot and it’s a Fonda. A fonda is a kind of cheap restaurant that’s very common in Colombian towns and thought the country. This place offers an authentic experience and it offers nightclub entertainment.
    They often host comedy shows and other activities. This is a local spot! They don’t offer translation for the comedy shows and the DJ plays music that Colombians enjoy, such as merengue, salsa, and vallenato.

Places to Visit from El Poblado

Though the nightlife at El Poblado is one of the main attractions, that’s not the only thing this commune has to offer.

In fact, if you’re wondering what to do in Medellin, El Poblado offers many options to suit a host of different styles of travelers. It’s not known as the best neighborhood in Medellin for nothing!

To provide a little guidance, here are some of the top things to do in Medellin as well as some ideas on cultural activities to do in the city.

El Castillo

El Castillo is a Gothic-style castle that used to be a residence but it’s now a museum you can visit in El Poblado.

mueso castillo

It’s a beautiful European-style castle, which is not very common in South America. Not to mention, in a country as exotic as Colombia.

One of the main attractions is the castle gardens, which are kept in pristine condition. At El Castillo, you can enjoy a nice tour and get some of the best panoramic views of the city.

Modern Art Museum

Visiting the Modern Art Museum is one of the best things to do in Medellin and best of all, it’s free to go inside to explore.

medellin art gallery

There’s a variety of exhibitions, each one more intriguing than the last, and the building itself is a work of art. If you want to get in touch with the Colombian cultural scene, this is the spot.

The permanent exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum will allow you to take in the visual history of the city. There’s also a huge gift shop where you’ll find a variety of amazing souvenirs to choose from.

Mercado del Río Food Hall

Mercado Del Rio is a large gastronomic market that takes place in a warehouse space.

You’ll find over 50 restaurants and a huge variety of cuisines. Including Colombian cuisine, Italian, Peruvian, Mexican, and more.

There are two main floors to explore. The first floor is packed with kiosks, coffee bistros, bars, and more.

The second floor offers sit-down restaurants and a food bar called Sinko Market.

There’s free WiFi and TVs all around playing the current soccer games, one of the sports Colombians love most.

Coffee Shops

In El Poblado, you’ll find a great variety of coffee shops.

pergamino medellin

You may already know that Colombian coffee is some of the best in the world. I’ve spent hours sampling some of the regions finest coffees.

  • Hija Mia: known for its Antipodean ambiance each week the owner roasts a batch of Colombian beans, so the coffee is always fresh.
  • Café Velvet: offers traditional coffee drinks such as tinto and a great variety of roasts. They also do a ridiculously tasty breakfast as well.
  • Pergamino: without a doubt is the most popular independent coffee shop and they’re known for its signature Lomaverde. See more on the Pergamino if you want some delivered to your door.
  • Al Alma: is a chain of cafes that’s also worth a visit, known for locally roasted coffee beans and a delicious cake and pastry menu.

If you can’t get enough of the coffee why not visit Colombia’s coffee region to get acquainted with some of South America’s finest beans.

Pueblito Paisa

Pueblito Paisa is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Medellin and it’s located in the center of the Aburra Valley.

pueblito paisa medellin

It offers stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains, so it’s one of the most fun things to do in Medellin.

It is a replica of a turn-of-the-century Antioquia town, featuring a cobblestone square and a white church. You’ll also find other attractions nearby, such as the Medellin City Museum.

Comuna 13

Visiting the 13th Commune is one of the best things to do in Medellin. It used to be one of the most dangerous districts in the world, but it’s now bursting with art and culture.

comuna 13 medellin

When visiting Comuna 13 in Medellin you can take free walking tours to explore the area, but always remember to tip the guide at the end.

This neighborhood is known for its street art, so you’ll find many beautiful murals by local artists. You’ll be able to take cool pictures and get a feel of the urban scene.


Sabaneta Park is one of the most popular spots in the city come Christmas time.

fonda sito viejo sabaneta

So, if you’re visiting Colombia during the holidays, be sure to stop by.

It’s worth a visit at any time of the year, but during Christmas, it’s full of beautiful lights.

When exploring Sabaneta, you’ll find many food stands and arts and crafts stands where you can get nice souvenirs.

Many events take place in Sabaneta year-round, such as outdoor concerts and more, so keep an eye out for that!


Medellin is an exciting city, so if you feel like you need some quiet time and relaxation, consider visiting Guatape from Medellin by way of bus.

guatape colombia

This is a beautiful, colorful town bursting with nature. It’s a hidden gem and it’s very accessible, you can just get there by bus.

Guatape is simply perfect for a day trip from Medellin and there are many different activities to enjoy.

Such as climbing the Piedra del Penol, walking along Calle Del Recuerdo, visiting La Casuela waterfall, and much more.

Where to Stay in El Poblado

When you visit El Poblado, Medellin, you’ll need a nice place to stay and get some rest between activities. Below are some of the best options:

  • Los Patios: Los Patios is a lovely boutique hotel and it’s highly recommended. It’s located near the heart of the neighborhood and it’s within walking distance to many great spots. It offers great value for your money and it will fit your budget.
  • Casa Kiwi: Casa Kiwi is one of the best hostels in the city, so you should definitely check it out. It’s located in the Zona Rosa, the installations are nice, and you’ll be able to connect with fellow travelers.
  • Click Clack: This is another great boutique hotel in Medellin. It has a beautiful design, convenient location, and they offer different room sizes to suit your needs. Overall, it’s a great option.

Visiting El Poblado neighborhood, Medellin

Visiting El Poblado is one of the top things to do in Colombia because it’s known as the best neighborhood in Medellin.

It’s a great area to stay in, it’s safe, and there are plenty of opportunities for fun and adventure. You will enjoy every minute of your trip!

Depending on how many days in Medellin you have, you may want to explore other delights in the region, so aim to keep your options open.

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Daniel James

Helping thousands of people worldwide with independent travel in Latin America. Layer Culture means to dig deeper into the ideas, customs, and behavior of a group of people.

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Meet Dan

south america travel with dan

After spending years on the road Dan is now offering to help you find your feet in Latin America; inspire you to learn Spanish and get you started on your adventures. Learn how to travel longer and stronger!




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