“Uruguay was colonized by Europeans relatively late compared with neighboring countries. Montevideo was founded as a military stronghold by the Spanishin the early 18th century.”
We arrived to Montevideo from Colonia del Sacramento via a local bus. It’s not a short trip, but the landscape is compensating for everything. The bus was anyhow super comfortable, you could easily take a nap in the comfortable seats, but I was so amazed by the landscape while looking out on the windows that I seriously forgot to sleep. Once arrived to Montevideo to the main station, so called: Terminal Tres Cruces, we took an Uber to get to our hotel, that we booked in advance in Ciudad Vieja neighborhood. Uber is super cheap in Montevideo, highly recommended to use for short or longer distances as well.
Overall, after visiting many other neighborhoods in Montevideo, I think Ciudad Vieja is indeed the coolest area to stay. You can walk around during a day and visit many interesting places, the vibrant Mercado del Puerto, Plaza Independencia, Salvo Palace, Solis Theater, Museo Andes 1972, Plaza Zabala, Plaza Constitución, etc.
We stayed in Puerto Mercado Hotel, nothing fancy, but it works if you stay only for a couple of nights, is very well located, all famous landmarks are in walking distance.
I had three favorite spots in Montevideo, the first was a bistro-restaurant where we went back three times during two and half days: Alvarez. Why? First of all it was extremely cold in Montevideo when we were there, and this place is located in the heart of Ciudad Vieja, so sooner or later you end up nearby. Besides that we need to admit, that Montevideo doesn’t have many bars and restaurants open during a winter weekday, and finally because it was superb! We tasted their handcrafted beers, their daily menu, their tea selection, etc. the place is very cool, friendly people, great atmosphere. They also have a lovely terrace but due to the weather conditions we were not able to enjoy it.
Have you seen the movie: Alive? Well, then you must visit the Museo Andes 1972. It is a museum on the story of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 related to a plane accident that took place in the Andes in 1972 involving a group of Uruguayan high school rugby players, their friends and relatives that were traveling to Chile when the airplane crashed. Some of them belonged to the Old Christians rugby club. Their story on how they survived the tragedy was transmitted worldwide by means of books, documentaries, pictures and conferences and it has been an inspiration to the film Alive and many books.
“The museum pays homage to the memory of the 29 people who died due to the plane accident in the Andes and to those who risked their lives to save the rest. It is a reminder of those 16 Uruguayans who came back to life after the 72 days in the Andes freezing weather conditions with no food and proper clothing. It is a private enterprise declared of cultural and turistic interest by the MEC and the Ministerio de Turismo y Deporte de Uruguay.”
And we cannot miss of course Mercado Del Puerto! Where one of the waiters greeted me in Hungarian, after revealing where I am coming from originally, where even after a short visit all your clothes are smelling from smoke and the smell coming from the asadas. 😁 Frankly speaking it’s very touristy, but its architecture, interior design, old school photographies, and those old style port restaurants are really worth to visit at least once! 😉