!Quickly becoming one of the hottest and most popular travel destinations in the world, Colombia is an exciting country filled with beautiful and varying landscapes, a unique culture, and plenty of history. In recent years, Colombia has become safe to travel and as the hospitality industry grows within the country, the country has plenty of authentic and exciting cities, towns, and villages to visit.
Things To Do In Medellin, Colombia
Medellin, a vast city located in the valley north-west of the capital city of Bogota, attracts the most tourists and expats. Medellin has plenty of culture, exciting nightlife, delicious cuisine and restaurants, and lots of beautiful architecture. The city was once one of the most dangerous cities on earth due to drugs, gangs, and crime, however, it has now become a modern metropolis where thousands of visitors head to each year. Medellin offers visitors the chance to choose from authentic or modern neighbourhoods and restaurants, some of the best nightlife in the country, and the chance to experience incredible day trips and exciting adventures. Check out what to do in Medellin, whether you seek adventures, day trips, or rainy day activities.
When It’s Raining
Visit the Museum of Antioquia
The Museum of Antioquia is located in the downtown area beside Bottero Park. Bottero Park is a great place to start your visit to the museum, where you are introduced to many statues created by the legendary Colombian artist. Bottero donated many of his paintings and collections to the Museum of Antioquia. The Museum of Antioquia has interactive exhibits, ceramics and pottery, statues and sculptures, and plenty of paintings. The paintings range from modern art to historical pieces.
Visit the Museum of Modern Art
Located close to the popular expat neighbourhood of Poblado, the Museum of Modern Art offers visitors many interactive, unique, and funky exhibits and videos. The Museum of Modern Art has many interesting paintings, sculptures, videos, and exhibits. The museum also has a great on-site cafe and excellent views of the surrounding city. The Museum of Modern Art in Medellin, referred to as MAMM, is one of the most loved museums in the country, and is frequented by many locals, expats, and tourists.
Located in the city center, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Medellin offers visitors a glimpse into some of the oldest architecture in the city. Visitors can marvel at the inside of the cathedral, catch a service, or simply admire the building from afar. Constructed over 100 years ago, the Metropolitan Cathedral also has a small on-site museum which has a collection of paintings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Lesser known to visitors in the city of Medellin, the Castle Museum, also known as Museo El Castillo, is a grand residence rather than a castle. The interior is stunning, complete with a fascinating library and calm gardens. Although the Castle Museum is a great place to visit when it’s raining, it is also a fantastic place to spend an afternoon hanging out in the peaceful gardens of the residence.
When It’s Sunny
Located north of the city center, the botanical gardens offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city streets. The Botanical Gardens have no entrance fees and the property has plenty of trees, a large pond, a butterfly house, boardwalks leading through the forested areas, and a cafe and shop. The gardens offer visitors the chance to see butterflies, cocoons, turtles, lizards, and occasionally other animals. The gardens also have a variety of cacti, plant life, and orchids. If it starts to rain, the nearby aquarium makes for a great afternoon.
While the Cultural Center doesn’t seem like an exciting place to visit, the views from the top of the building are well worth the climb. Head to the roof of the building, and you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the architecture, courtyard, Bottero Park, Nutibara Hotel, and other surrounding buildings. The rooftop also provides great views of the mountains surrounding the city.
Poblado is one of the most trendy and popular neighbourhoods for tourists and expats. The streets are home to some of the cities best restaurants, shops, bars, and nightclubs. The neighbourhood of Poblado has excellent hotels, hostels, and accommodations. Poblado is also home to some great parks where there are many local markets, festivals, and events weekly. Located on the metro line, Poblado is a great hub for locating yourself as a first time visitor to the city of Medellin.
For the Adventurous
Head up into the mountains surrounding the valley of Medellin and take to the skies paragliding over the clouds and the city. San Feliz offers adventurers the chance to fly over the city and experience this one-of-a-kind adventure over the city of Medellin. While the city itself doesn’t offer many thrilling activities for adrenaline junkies, paragliding over the city is definitely worth the trip up the mountainside.
Comuna 13 Tour
Head deep into one of the previously most dangerous neighbourhoods in the city of Medellin. Home to thousands of locals living in tiny houses bundled on top of one another, and reaching up into the hill side, Comuna 13 is now home to some incredible street art, colourful homes, friendly and welcoming locals, and amazing community projects. Touring around the Comuna provides insight into the recent history of the neighbourhood, the tragedies that took place in the community, and how the locals have turned the neighbourhood into one of the most colourful and inspiring neighbourhoods in the country.
Parque Arvi, known as Arvi Park, is a large public park located on top of the hillside on the outskirts of Medellin. Reachable by taking two different sets of gondolas from the north of the city, the journey to Arvi Park is just as exciting as the destination. Views of the city from the gondolas are magnificent, and the end stretch of the ride provides excellent views overhead of the park and the nature surrounding the area. Arvi Park has plenty of trails, a farmers market on Sundays, and walking tours through the forest which allow visitors to see orchids, plants, and animals.
Day Trips from the City
Guatape & El Penol
Guatape is arguably the most colourful town in all of Colombia. The town is home to hundreds of colourful buildings with murals and artwork. Only a two hour bus ride from Medellin, the city is a great place to relax, spend time in nature, and eat local foods. A few minutes outside of Guatape, El Penol is home to the second largest rock in South America. It is possible to climb the 750 steps up the rock to reach the top, which provides incredible views of the stunning surrounding area. Guatape is comprised of many damns, which makes the landscape one of the most beautiful and unique in all of Colombia.
In the surrounding hills and mountains of Medellin, there are many coffee farms which produce some of the best coffee in the country. Close by to Medellin, there are many family owned farms where visitors can pick coffee beans, ride horses, and explore the farms. As a souvenir from your trip to Medellin, purchase some of the local coffees.
Although Colombia was often considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world, the country has gone through substantial changes in the last decade and is now a thriving place. Medellin is one of the most exciting cities to visit to begin your trip to Colombia!