From wild stretches of untouched beaches to historical colonial cities and glamorous, upscale beach resorts, there is a wide array of amazing places to visit in Uruguay. While it may not boast as many landmark attractions as its larger neighbours Argentina and Brazil, don’t underestimate the appeal of Uruguay. To help you plan out your itinerary in this beautiful country, here’s our guide to some of the unmissable places to see.
Casapueblo, designed by artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, is an icon of Uruguay / Image Source
TOP 5 PLACES TO VISIT IN URUGUAY:
1. COLONIA DEL SACRAMENTO
Colonia del Sacramento is a top destination due to its closeness to Buenos Aires on the other side of the Rio de la Plata. Many people come across the river for a day trip from Argentina’s capital. You can take a ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, which takes 1 hour on the fast boat and 3 hours on the slow one.
What makes Colonia so popular is its Historic Quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient cobbled streets of this old Portuguese city are lined with museums, churches and old buildings. There is also a scenic river promenade and an antique bullring (Plaza de Toros). It’s a good place to unwind for a few days, or to use as a starting point to continue along Ruta 1 to Montevideo and beyond.
Walk the cobbled streets of Colonia del Sacramento / Image Source
Uruguay’s biggest city is Montevideo, the country’s capital. It’s a beautiful city filled with old European architecture, and, despite being the capital, has a laid-back environment, even in the busiest areas. Some of Montevideo’s top landmarks include the old city quarter, the Puerta de la Ciudadela, the Teatro Solis, and Parque Rodó.
Another attraction you can’t miss is the Rambla, a promenade stretching 22km along the city’s coast, as well as the beaches where the Rio de la Plata reaches the Atlantic Ocean. After a day sightseeing the attractions of the city you can relax, play sports and watch the sunset on the beach.
It is possible to visit Montevideo from Buenos Aires in one day with a direct 3-hour ferry, or by taking the ferry to Colonia and then a bus to Montevideo.
Uruguay’s capital Montevideo is a must-see destination / Image Source
3. PUNTA DEL ESTE
Located 130Km from Montevideo, Punta del Este is arguably the most famous beach resort town in South America. It has in recent year gained a reputation as being the St. Tropez of South America thanks to its beautiful beaches, modern city and glitzy nightlife, attracting the rich and the famous. It is an extremely popular summer destination for Argentines, as well as Brazilians and cruise ship passengers.
Spend your days in Punta enjoying the beaches, browsing the main shopping avenue of Avenida Gorlero, the crafts fair, the beachfront boulevards, the lighthouse, the yacht harbour and the famous hand statue. There’s also the endless restaurants, cafés, bars, clubs and parties that have made the town famous.
If you are staying in Montevideo you can take a day tour to Punta del Este to visit its top landmarks. To stay longer, you can take a bus from Montevideo, or if you’re coming from Buenos Aires, a ferry with a direct (land) transfer to Punta del Este. There are also affordable flights to Carrasco Airport, located 30 minutes from Montevideo and 1 hour from Punta del Este by car.
The famous fingers sculpture on one of Punta del Este’s stunning beaches / Image Source
4. THE ROCHA COAST
If you’re looking for something less developed, head to the coast of the Rocha department. This area honours the national slogan of Uruguay Natural. Places such as La Paloma, Cabo Polonio and La Pedrera are the favourites of different tourist groups, from families to backpackers, surfers and young adults.
Cabo Polonio is a special experience the rustic fishing village has no electricity or running water, creating a real escape from modern life, perfect for a relaxing vacation. La Pedrera is perfect if you enjoy surfing or want to start learning how to catch the perfect wave. iI also has one of the best beaches on the whole coast. The biggest town in the department is La Paloma, a small city that sits alongside nice wide beaches, with all the comforts that a tourist may need.
The gorgeous beaches along the Rocha Coast / Photo by Daytours4u
Piriapolis used to be the summer holiday destination of choice before Punta del Este took off. Today it remains a popular spot thanks to its beaches, but also the more tranquil atmosphere it offers. Apart from its promenade (Rambla de los Argentinos), which the city revolves around, and its beaches, one of the most famous attractions in Piriapolis is the Sugar Loaf Mountain (Cerro Pan de Azucar), the third highest point in a generally flat Uruguay. From the top, there are endless views of the coastline and the authentic gaucho landscape. There is also San Antonio Hill, much closer to the centre of town, which you can ascend by chairlift.
To get to Piriapolis from Montevideo, you can take a bus from the city or from the airport. A good option is to rent a car and then continue exploring further up Uruguay’s coast.
Piriapolis is another popular summer resort close to Punta del Este / Image Source
Enticed by some of the incredible places to visit in Uruguay? Make sure you don’t skip it when you visit South America. Make space in your itinerary and get to know Uruguay’s many attractions.
To book tours and activities in Uruguay, visit uruguay4u.com.
By: Daytours4u Content Team