We love Medellín! Just fifteen years ago, it was one of the most dangerous city in the world. Now it is probably the most fascinating city we’ve ever visited. The worst neighbourhoods have been upgraded with squares and libraries for the public. The locals are proud of their innovative public transport system and wouldn’t dare to leave scratches or scribbles in the metro. We moved around Medellin without worrying about our safety and just couldn’t get enough of this city.
Here is a list of our top five things to do in Medellin:
1. Learning about the city and its history through a free walking tour
A lot of cities around the world offer free walking tours. The idea is always the same: You can sign up online and then walk trough the city with a guide who gives you information and useful advice. At the end everyone pays as much as they want to. We did a free walking tour (m.realcitytours.com) in Medellin and learned more about its history and visited places, where tourists normally don’t go. For example they took us passed a park where alcoholics and junkies hang out to show us, that they are part of the city too. The free walking tour was one of our highlights because the guide managed to show us his city in an authentic and touching way.
2. Experiencing Colombian passion at a soccer game
The real Colombian energy is best felt through their passion for soccer. Of course we wanted to be part of such an event and decided to go to one of the games with four of our friends.
When we arrived at the stadium to watch the cup semifinal DIM – Tolima in full fan gear, the locals were moved and proud. Medellin has two teams and DIM is the team of the simple people. They couldn’t believe it that some gringo tourists could be supporting them. We had to pose for a lot of pictures and were invited to celebrate the victory in a small bar in the San Xavier area. When we got out of the taxi, people were cheering and we were offered lots of shots with Agua Ardiente.
3. Gliding over the city in a cable car
Cities in Latin America are often built in mountainous areas and some of the outer parts have been neglected because it is harder to reach them. These areas are mostly inhabited by poorer people and have in some cases developed into slums and dangerous outskirts. Medellin (and other cities such as La Paz in Bolivia) has built cable cars from the metro line to facilitate transportation. Further they built an escalator in one of the poorer areas to make it easier for people to move around. With this the government is showing their people that they care and that they weren’t forgotten. Switzerland is full of cable cars but we were fascinated by this innovative way of transportation and development in a city. Further the view was great even though I am scared of heights and couldn’t enjoy it as much as my sister.
4. Looking down at the stunning scenery in Guatapé
We also went on a day trip to Guatapé. The landscape there is breath taking and should be on the cover of the Lonely Planet! Beautiful lakes and hills and a huge rock called Piedra del Peñol in the middle of it. It takes over 650 steps to climb it, but the view makes you forget all the pain you just went through! The town Guatapé is also worth a stop. It has a lot of colourful houses and small streets. We enjoyed our lunch at one of the restaurants at the lake and then took the bus back to Medellin.
5. Partying and dancing until your feet hurt
Medellin is THE party city of Colombia. Many of the hostels are crowded with backpackers who have been staying in Medellin for weeks and just can’t leave. They live a life between parties, hangovers and volunteering. This is not really our lifestyle but once in a while we enjoy a bit of partying. I went out one of the nights in Medellin and it was ok but I missed the Latin-American vibe because this electro party could have been anywhere in the world. Nevertheless I am sure Medellin has a lot to offer for party animals and can recommend it if this is what you are looking for.
Like it? Pin it!