Montevideo is a popular weekend destination for Brazilian travelers. You can easily explore the city in 2 days, but if you what to visit the wineries in the rural area or the charming little city of Colonia del Sacramento you should spend more time. I had a week off work, and I decided it was about time to pay Uruguay a visit.
Uruguay is similar to Brazil in many aspects. That made me feel at home but on the other hand, it took away the surprise effect that I love so much when I’m traveling. Since I started traveling, I had not visited other Latin America countries. I was determined to change that. I came to the realization that it’s important to know more about Brazil’s neighboring countries.
The Uruguayans are known for their love of meat and yerba mate. Much like Argentina and the south region of Brazil, Uruguayan culture has its roots in the Gaucho way of life. The famous Parillas (meat grilled over wood fires) are found in every restaurant. Yerba mate is consumed all the time and everywhere. It’s common to see the Uruguayans carrying around their thermos filled with hot water so they can drink their hot mate everywhere they go. It’s a national obsession. Others traditional foods are the Chivito (steak sandwich) and Dulde de leche (caramelized sweetened condensed milk).
The main activity in Montevideo is to eat. The city has many good dining options. No matter what restaurant you choose to go, the steaks will be cooked to perfection. The local food is good and cheap. The local wine is OK. The local beer is terrible.
Day by Day Itinerary
This is the most famous park of Montevideo. It’s located in a noble area of the city, in the Punta Carretas neighborhood, close to the Rambla. Unfortunately, when I visited the park, it was poor maintained. There was trash everywhere. It looked a little bit abandoned.
The Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales is inside the park. On Sundays, there’s a street market.
Punta Carretas Shopping
There’s nothing special about the Punta Carretas Shopping except that the building used to be a prison. I could not find anything different to buy. It has the same things we have in Brazil.
Dinner at Francis Restaurant
I was eager to try the famous Uruguayan cuisine. On the first night, I had dinner at the Francis Restaurant. I had the Bone-in rib steak with mushroom sauce, and my husband had the rib eye steak with Dijón sauce. To drink, we had the Don Pascual Reserve Pinot Noir. The food was delicious.
The restaurant gets busy especially on Friday’s night and Saturday’s night. To guarantee a table, it’s best to make a reservation. I didn’t make a reservation, but I arrived as soon as the restaurant opened.
Feria de Tristán Narvaja
This traditional street market takes place every Sunday occupying many blocks of the Cordón neighborhood. It’s a strange place that claims to have all sorts of goods. I walked around the market for hours, but I still left empty handed. The market sells fruits and vegetables, birds and puppies, antiques and second-handed goods, clothing and beauty products.
Mercado Agricola Montevideo
The Mercado Agricola Montevideo is a great place to eat after spending all morning wandering in the street market. My plan was to drink a craft beer at the Choperia Mastra and grab something to eat. While I was looking at the menu, I noticed that everyone was eating a square pizza from the place in front of the bar. The place called El Horno de Juanin was no bigger than a door, and the waiting lines were dreadful, but I was feeling brave that day. It was a good decision. The pizza was delicious!
Dinner at Terracota Restaurant
On my second night, I had dinner at the Terracota Restaurant. It wasn’t planned. I was walking around Punta Carretas and noticed the restaurant. The restaurant is cozy and less fancy than Francis Restaurant. I arrived around 21 h and place was full. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I waited at their bar. I had the gnocchi with mushroom sauce, and my husband had the baby beef premium with rosti potato. For dessert, I had the chocolate ice cream pie with berries.
Montevideo Old City Center
The free walking tour in Montevideo city center was the best thing I did in Montevideo. To me the best way to know a city is to walk around. It’s even better when you have someone to tell you the history behind the things you’re seeing. Someone to show you details that would go unnoticed otherwise. It was the first time I did a free walking tour. From now on I’m gonna start doing it in every city I visit. To read my post about the free walking tour click here.
Lunch at El Palenque
The walking tour ends strategically at the Port Market so that you can have lunch. I went to the El Palenque Restaurant because I read many nice things about it. My husband and I had the grilled provolone cheese and the baby beef with fries. It was the best steak I had in my life! For dessert, we had the dulce de leche pancake with vanilla ice cream.
Montevideo Brew House
At night people in Montevideo prefer going to restaurants than going to bars. There aren’t many options of good bars in the city. The Montevideo Brew House was my favorite bar in Montevideo. Although the Choperia Mastra is the most famous one, this one has more beer options, it is more spacious, and the service is much better.
Rambla de Pocitos
My hotel in Pocitos was close to the Rambla. After breakfast, I was in the mood for some walking. It was a pleasant walk from Pocitos to Punta Carretas. It was a cold morning in the beginning of September and there weren’t many people there.
Bodega Bouza Winery
It was my goal to visit at least one winery while I was in Montevideo. The Bodega Bouza Winery is the most famous one, and I decided to see what the fuss was about. I skipped lunch and took a taxi to visit it in the afternoon. I had a reservation for a tour including wine tasting at 14 h. To read my post about the Bodega Bouza Winery click here.
Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is the third most popular destination in Uruguay. It’s 3 hours away from Montevideo. This means that is perfect for a day trip. Instead of renting a car I decided to go by bus. I bought the ticket the day before at the Montevideo Bus Station. The company that provides the service is COT. The bus is very comfortable, and it has WIFI. To read my post about Colonia del Sacramento click here.
At the Airport
It was time to go, but I hadn’t tasted the Chivito sandwich yet. Luckily for me I found it at the airport. The last taste of Uruguay before I go home.