Montevideo is the gem of Uruguay’s culture and nightlife. The largest city in the country, it boasts the perfect seaside location for summer vacations, and gorgeous coastal conditions in the winter. Eclectic by nature and diverse to a fault, Uruguay’s blend of people, music, language, and cuisine drive it to be one of South America’s most rocking locales.
Known mostly for its heavily used industrial port, Montevideo was once used as a fortress for the Spanish Empire until the 18th century. Montevideo is home to half the country’s population, and for good reason, it’s hard not to be amazed at the gorgeous banks of Rio de la Plata, or the influx of Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British energy. All of this culture is evident through the city, in its art, its establishments, and its breathtaking architecture.
The discerning traveler will be able to uncover the subtle magic of the city, and appreciate the architecture ranging from art deco to colonial. Take a stroll down La Rambla from Old City to Carrasco to truly complete your travel to Montevideo.
Summer in Montevideo lasts between the months of December and March. Temperatures rise up to the 80’s and some rain and thunderstorms roll in during the hottest evenings. Winter time is from June to August, with temperatures in the 60’s keeping things cool and dry for the most part during the day and a bit chillier in the evenings.
The best time to plan flights to Montevideo is undoubtedly the month of May. The heat is still in the air, but it isn’t too hot to get outside in the afternoon. Comfortable conditions make sightseeing easy and bearable, and rainfall keeps to a minimum.
The perfect time to book flights to Montevideo is in the spring – September to November, when the temperatures are mild and dry. Sunny days prevail, and rainfall is quite rare this time of year, so pack a light jacket and layers, and you’ll be set for the day.
There’s really no bad time to come here, since the seasonal weather brings balancing conditions, but less people visit in March and April, when rainfall is at its pinnacle. If you can withstand the rain, you’ll probably find a cheap flight to Montevideo during the off-season – just make sure to pack an umbrella.
You can easily rent a car, but Montevideo is easy to get around by bus or on foot. You can walk to most of the tourist attractions, which are clearly marked, and the buses also cover the tourist area. Taxis can be difficult to hail during rush hour.
Geography and Infrastructure: One of the things that makes this city so entrancing is its physical attributes. Settled happily on the water, (and basically surrounded on three sides) the area was once used as a fortress by the Spanish. When exploring Montevideo, you’ll see historical traces on the western side of town, known as Old City. This is where Plaza Independencia, museums, theaters, and hotels converge.
Casa Rivera: Although it might be a good idea to read up on Uruguay’s recent history on your flight to Montevideo, it’s also important to get a taste of its roots once you’re there. Visit Casa Rivera, on the same plot as the National Historical Museum. Scattered around the property are stunning 19th century Ciudad Vieja houses. Inside Casa (the former home of Uruguay’s first president), there are paintings, documents, furniture, and artifacts that chronicle the country’s history from its roots to its independence.
Plaza Independencia: A bustling atmosphere filled with diverse groups of people, Plaza Independecia resides in the heart of Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja (just call it the Old City if you’re talking to a local). If you’re looking for a real-life, moving picture when you travel to Montevideo, take a stroll through the plaza here to capture it all. The wide square is adorned with uplifting rows of palm trees, and an emblematic statue of Jose Artigas stands tall, carrying the weight of its heroic national reputation. To pay your respects to the figure, head down to the underground tomb beneath the statue.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art): For art buffs planning flights to Montevideo, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Museum of Contemporary Art) is a must-see. Built in 1997 and dedicated to all realms, colors, and media of contemporary Uruguayan art, this place houses some of the biggest names in the country. Be sure to give yourself enough time to really wander – each room deserves its own attention. The museum exists purely to promote cultural exchange across the region, and does its job quite well.