4 Ways to Discover the Best of Medellín

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A few years ago, Medellín competed against 200 other major famous cities and was crowned the most innovative city in the world. It certainly lives up to its title.

This Colombian metropolis has an exemplary public transport system having managed to pacify various slum areas, integrating them with other neighbourhoods through the installion of a cable car. With plazas that seems more like an open-air museum and incredibly friendly residents, what’s not to love about Medellín?

MedellinMedellín combines art, innovation and culture / Photo by Lucila Runnacles, Viagem Cult

METROCABLE

All of Medellín’s citizens are proud of their public transport system. Their metro runs above ground and the metrocable offers public cable cars. There are various lines that connect the cumunas (pacified slums) with the main metro stations. One of the best views of Medellín is from the cable car that takes you to Aurora.

Another example of Medellín’s innovation is the escalators that changed the lives of the residents in Comuna 13. Before, whoever lived on the top would have to climb down a huge ladder the equivalent of 28 floors.

Nowadays, the descent takes no more than five minutes. This social inclusion project set a global example. When there, don’t forget to take a look at the beautiful graffiti that stretches across the walls and brightens up the views of the residents and tourists passing through Comuna 13.

MedellinThe metrocable of Medellín / Photo by Lucila Runnacles, Viagem Cult

ART

The famous artist Fernando Botero was born in Medellín, and there, it is possible to see a large collection of his pieces without spending a penny. Botero is world renowned for painting and sculpting “chubby” figures – it is his most famous motif.

A stroll through the plaza that takes his name in the city centre is truly a delight for the eyes. There are 20 enormous bronze sculptures that don’t go unnoticed.

If after that stroll you still want to discover more of his work, the Antioquia Museum is right opposite the plaza, one of the most important museums in the country. This museum collates various pieces from the work of this renowned Colombian artist and there is also a permanent collection of modern Latin American art. The closest metro station to the Plaza Botero is Parque Berrio.

img_0129The urban art decorates with colors the Commune 13 / Photo by Lucila Runnacles, Viagem Cult

A STEP BACK IN TIME

To have an idea of what Medellín was like in the past, just visit the Pueblito Paisa. The little church, the colonial houses with clay roofs, and the fountain in the middle of the plaza recreate the twentieth century little towns of Antioquia. The people born in the department (state) of Antioquia are called antioquianians.

Pueblito Paisa is located on top of Cerro Nutibara and from there you have an amazing view of the city, including the comunas. Visiting this place at night is an absolute delight due to the lit up view of Medellín. Apart from the restaurants you can also buy various souvenirs there.

MedellinVisit the charming Pueblito Paisa to know how Medellín was in the past / Image Source

BANDEJA PAISA & AREPAS

Colombian food is delicious from the North to the South. From the simplest of dishes to the most elaborate, all of them are incredibly tasty. No one should go to Medellín without trying the famous bandeja paisa, an extremely nutritious and abundant meal. The bandeja consists of a bit of rice, beans, patacones (mashed and friend banana), meat, avocado, egg and arepa.

However, the city’s culinary prize has to go to the arepa de choclo (corn). Arepa is something that is eaten throughout the entire country. In some regions it is made with rice, but in Medellín it is more commonly made with corn which has a sweeter flavour and is accompanied by a slice of cuajada, a cheese similar to Minas cheese. To the delight of both locals and tourists alike it is common to see many people selling arepas throughout the city and for very reasonable prices.

Did you know?

Medellín is the second most important city in Colombia, after Bogota, the county’s capital.

Medellín lies in a valley, 1,500 metres above sea level. The city is surrounded by the main chain of the Colombian Andes and that is why the climate there is always so pleasant.

Medellín is the capital of the department (state) of Antioquia and the people born in that state are called paisas.

MedellinAppreciate the views of Medellin to understand its geography / Photo by Lucila Runnacles, Viagem Cult

When to go:

The city has a great climate throughout the year. After all, the city is known as the City of Eternal Spring. It has a mild climate and the city’s average temperature is 24°C. The hottest month of the year is July, when temperatures reach 28°C. October and May are considered the months with the most rainfall, however, December, January and February are the driest months.

Perfect for…

People who like big cities, innovation and art. Medellín is perfect for travelling with friends, a couples getaway and for anyone who likes to shop. Medellin has the most important fashion fair in the whole country and is also famous for its shopping centres.

By: Lucila Runnacles, journalist and author of Viagem Cult blog