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Getting a taste for culture
The historic buildings and scenic plazas of Ciudad Vieja are a short walk from the busy commercial port, though Mercado del Puerto makes for a delicious detour en route. Step inside the wrought iron and glass marketplace to browse local handicrafts and enjoy a parrilla-grilled speciality as you sway to the beat of candombe music. Admire the neoclassical Metropolitan Cathedral and discover monuments of founders and freedom fighters as you stroll along tree-lined streets. The Citadel Gate stands at the edge of Plaza Independencia, looked over by the towering Palacio Salvo, while the four-tiered auditorium and gilded interior of Teatro Solís are just around the corner.
A diverse heritage
Exploring one of Montevideo’s many museums will give an insight into the varied history of this spirited city. At Carnaval Museum, browse the vibrant costumes and paper mache exhibits that fill the streets during pre-Lent celebrations. Learn about the work and prominence of the nation’s cattle drivers at Museo del Gaucho or hear the story of the 1972 plane crash at the Museo de los Andes. Art aficionados, automobile enthusiasts and anthropology fans are all catered for in the old city, while Uruguay’s maritime past, including its important role in the Battle of the River Plate, can be experienced in Pocitos.
Nature at its best
Lush parks and botanical gardens offer a tranquil retreat from urban life. Amid the greenery of Parque Batlle you’ll find grand bronze statues and the football stadium used in the first World Cup competition. Flourishing roses and a Japanese garden can be seen in Parque Prado while, to the south of the open-air gallery and amusement park of Parque Rodó, is the fashionable Punta Carretas Golf Club. Between rocky protrusions on the coast, sandy beaches are also favoured sites for both locals and tourists. Ramirez and Pocitos beaches are the closest to Ciudad Vieja, though a trip to beautiful Punta del Este is worth the two hour journey. The Saint-Tropez of the Southern Hemisphere, this upscale resort boasts white sands and a host of activities.