Medellin city

12 Awesome things to do in Medellin

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Medellin is the city of Latin America that has become increasingly popular among travelers in recent years. More and more people want to discover this city that was once considered the most dangerous city in the world. There are many fun things to do in Medellin, whether it be exploring the historic center, paragliding over the city, taking a day trip to colorful Guatapé, there is so much to do.

We share our experience in this article and hope to get you excited and well prepared to get the most out of Medellin. In this article you can read about the best things to do in Medellin, the best places to stay, and many more Medellin travel tips.

Medellin view

Things to do in Medellin?

Medellin is a large city where, in addition to a well-known Pablo Escobar tour, you can do a lot in terms of culture, history and visiting some great sights. Read below the 12 best activities in Medellin.

Tip: Use the map below to see where the best things in Medellin are located. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. You can show or hide different categories on the map. You can use this map to navigate when you are in Medellin.

#1 Discover the historical centre of Medellin

The best activity in Medellin is discovering the historic center. There is much to see in Medellin, our four favorite Medellin sights in the historic center are: Parque de Bolívar, Plaza Botero, Museo de Antioquia, Monumento a la Raza and Jardín Botánico de Medellín.

Parque de Bolívar is the city park of Medellin and is seen by the locals as the central part of Medellin. It is also an important square for the locals because it contains various statues that symbolize Colombia’s freedom (such as the statue of Bolivar, the liberator of Latin America). Given the history of the country, this is very important to them. This square is a meeting place for the locals, a great place to see how the Colombians enjoy their free time.

Plaza Botero is a unique square in Medellin. At this square, you can see several statues of Colombia’s most famous artist Fernando Botero. The statues are special because Fernando Botero tries to portray the sensuality of human forms uniquely. You must have seen this yourself to form an opinion about it.

Museo de Antioquia is one of the most important art museums in Medellin. You see treasures mainly from Colombian artists such as Fernando Botero and Pedro Nel Gómez at the museum. This museum is the first established museum of the Antioquia region and the second ever in Colombia. Recommend to visit if you like to visit museums.

Monumento a la Raza stands in the square of the administrative center of La Alpujarra and symbolizes the culture of Antioquia (the region). The statue is mainly made of concrete and bronze. It is worth a visit because you see solidarity, religion, and agriculture in the statue which represents the culture of Colombia. This statue is often visited when you follow a tour.

Jardín Botánico de Medellín is the greenest part of the city center. If you like to have some nature around you and enjoy flowers and plants, this is a nice place to visit. Walk through the park and enjoy your time.

The best way to discover the main sights of Medellin’s historic center is to take a free walking tour. During a free walking tour, you walk through the city in 3.5 hours with a guide. During the tour, you will pass a couple of important parks, streets, and squares including the above. We followed a tour at real city tour and recommend it.

Tip: Real City Tour offers a morning and afternoon tour, we recommend the morning tour so that you have time free in the afternoon to do something different.

In addition to the free walking tour, you can also take a tour that gives you a complete picture of Medellin. Besides the historic center, you will also visit other places with this tour such as Comuna 13. Book tickets for a complete Medellin tour here.

Medellin museum

#2 Bike tour

A bike tour in Medellin is a great way to discover Medellin. The big advantage is that you can see many places in a short period. This allows you to see places that most travelers do not visit.

During a bike tour in the morning, you will discover all the popular destinations of Medellin. You will visit the historic center and local eateries where you can try different snacks. You will also visit bars where you can taste the best coffee.

You will visit different neighborhoods that are not visited by most people, giving you a unique opportunity to see how the locals live in Medellin. The best thing about a bike tour is that you visit Pueblito Paisa, this is the best viewpoint in Medellin. While enjoying a drink you have a panoramic view of the city, really cool!

You can cycle safely in Medellin. When booking you can indicate whether you want to use a normal bicycle or an electric bicycle. Check actual prices and availability here.

#3 Paragliding in Medellin

Do you want to do something cool that you don’t do every day? Then paragliding is something for you. A challenge for some, we can assure you that it is worth doing.

The activity starts with an instructional video. After this video, an instructor will explain it again so that you understand what is expected of you. After the instructions, you will be prepared and walk to the launch pad. Here you get to know your guide and after that you are ready to take off.

When you’re on the runway everything will be checked and you’re ready for it, all you have to do is to run and sit back. Furthermore, it is pure enjoyment. If the weather is good you can admire the Aburra valley, for this, the sun must be present so that you can make height. During the flight, you will see the Medellin River, the El Quitasol Hill, the Garcia Barrage, and the Picacho Hill with huge mountains in the background.

When the weather is bad, you can make less altitude so that you fly to the city, which is also cool, it is just different.

The flight takes about 20 minutes which is long. In between, they regularly check how you are doing. During the flight, you can communicate with your partner via the walkie-talkie. If you are afraid of heights, you will not feel it, only don’t look down of course. You don’t need to bring a camera because the guide takes photos and videos that you can use.

For us, this is the best activity you can do in Medellin. You can reserve a place here. Transport and all supplies are included which is handy.

Medellin paragliden

Where to stay in Medellin

Option 1 cozy, comfortable, and affordable: Rango Hostel Boutique
At Rango Hostel Boutique you enjoy all the advantages of a hostel but the luxury of a hotel. A nice place to get to know people while playing table tennis, drinking at the bar, or during one of the other activities. The rooms are very neat and fully equipped. An amazing place to stay which is incredibly popular.
Check prices and availability for Rango Hostel Boutique here.

Option 2 ultimate luxury: Epic Boutique Hotel
If you want to relax in this busy city as Medellin is, Epic Boutique Hotel is the place to go. The building looks great from the outside, but it’s even more beautiful inside. The interior of the rooms is great. You can even book a room with a private hot tub. This hotel has everything to make your stay unique!
Check prices and availability for Epic Boutique Hotel here.

#4 Discover the colorful village of Guatapé

Guatapé is about 2 hours drive from Medellin and is a colorful city where you can enjoy the Colombian atmosphere. Next to Guatapé is a lake with a huge rock called El Peñol.

Guatapé is a nice destination to visit because the city is decorated with decorative tiles and all the facades of the houses are decorated. You can walk through it and visit various shops, squares and enjoy the local restaurants. You can also climb the rock El Peñol. This is worthwhile because at the top you have a magnificent view over the lake and surroundings.

If you are going to visit Guatapé independently, you will pass El Peñol before arriving, visit it first and then Guatapé. This allows you to do something active first and have the time to discover Guatapé.

How to get from Medellin to Guatapé: Walk from your accommodation to the metro station and travel to the metro station Caribe. Here you can walk to the bus station Terminal de Transporte Norte. At this bus station, you can buy a ticket to Guatapé or the Pierda. Buy a ticket for Pierda.

Tip: upon arrival in Guatapé or Pierda it is highly recommended to immediately buy your bus ticket for the return journey, this saves a lot of waiting time. If you do this at the time of departure, you may have to wait 1.5 to 2 hours.

Would you rather not arrange everything yourself and visit Guatapé by following a tour, this is also possible. An advantage of a tour is that you are quicker in Guatapé and therefore you have the time to follow a boat trip on the lake. Check prices and availability for Guatapé here.

Medellin guatape

#5 Discover the-street art from Comun 13

Comuna 13 is a district that was considered the most dangerous neighborhood in Colombia until 2010. Today it has been transformed into a neighborhood that is safe and beautiful. It is visited by many travelers every year and is now one of the most popular destinations in Medellin.

You can easily visit Comuna 13. For this, you need to take the metro from San Antonio to San Javier, as soon as you get off your walk to the left and you arrive in Comuna 13. You can visit Comuna 13 independently, but we recommend that you do this with a local guide.

A guide can show you the graffiti works where the artists show social themes. The guide will explain to you what each piece of art means, how freedom of expression in Colombia has developed and how Comuna 13 has been able to continue this transformation in recent years. Visiting Comuna 13 and mainly with a tour is fun but above all educational and because of this, you will understand the culture of Colombia better. Book a tour ticket for Comuna 13 here.

Medellin stairs street art

#6 Discover the local-kitchen

If you want to get to know Medellin and Colombia well, a food tour is recommended. You can do this with Real City tours, which is the same organization where you can book a free walking tour. On this tour, you will visit the Laureles district. This is a neighborhood that has become popular in recent years and where you will see many trendy eateries.

During the tour, you will visit local spots and try the 10 best snacks, dishes, and drinks. Empanada, buñuelo, chicharrón, mango biche, coffee, bocadillo and salpicón are certainly things that you will try.

You will also visit a coffee roastery and learn about the roasting process. During the tour, in addition to all the explanations about the food, you will also receive an explanation about the neighborhoods you visit and the culture of Medellin.

It’s a fun tour to take if you want to learn more about the food in Medellin. The cost for a tour is 100,000 pesos ($25) per person.

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#7 Ride in the cable car

If you’re visiting Comuna 13, don’t miss the cable car ride from San Javier to La Aurora. The view during the ride is awesome because you can see the neighborhoods from a different perspective. You can literally look into the gardens of the people.

Once you arrive in La Aurora you can get off and climb the stairs opposite the station where you can see graffiti work on these stairs. From this elevation, you have a panoramic view of the city. Do not walk further into the neighborhood because this is not safe.

Another funicular route that is fun to do is from Acevedo to Arvi. This route gives you a panoramic view of the entire city. When you arrive at Arvi station you can go for a walk in nature. There is a national park here. For us, this is the best place to overlook the entire city.

Tip: do not get off at the intermediate stations at the cable car, this is not safe. This is only possible in Santo Domingo. In addition, the metro ticket is also valid for the cable car as long as you stay at the station.

Medellin street arts

#8 Discover the nightlife in Parque-lleras

Going out in Medellin is one of the popular things to do in Colombia. The best location to do this is in Parque Lleras. Around this small square are restaurants, bars, and nightlife located. It is located in the neighborhood of El Poblado, the safest area for tourists.

In the early evening, you can sit here at various terraces and watch artists perform. Later in the evening, the clubs start to come alive. If you want to visit the best clubs you should go to Barrio Colombia. This is an area that is outside the center where big clubs can be found. This is where the biggest parties in Colombia are organized.

#9 Pablo Escobar tour or not?

Many travelers come to Colombia and mainly to Medellin to learn more about Pablo Escobar. Medellin was once home to Pablo Escobar and today Pablo Escobar is remembered by the locals as a god or devil. We do not recommend taking a tour, especially about this man because Colombia wants to get rid of this image and has more beautiful places and cheerful subjects that you can visit.

However, if you are interested and want to learn more about it, it is important to take a Pablo Escobar tour with a certified guide. This guide tells you the true story. During a tour you will visit the former home of Pablo Escobar, a memorial park for the victims of the Colombian drug war and the prison Pablo Escobar built from which he later escaped. You will also visit the football field from which he gave speeches to get into Colombian politics and the graveyard of him and his family.

Through the tour, you will understand very well what the negative impact Pablo Escobar has been on the Colombian people. Check prices and availability for the Pablo Escobar tour here.

#10 Coffee tour

Colombia is the land of coffee. Colombia’s coffee beans are known for their good quality and taste. If you love coffee following a coffee tour is recommended because you will learn everything about it.

With the tour, you will visit the countryside of Medellin and visit a coffee farm. Here you will learn about the history of the origin of the coffee. You will also visit a coffee plantation where you will harvest your coffee and go through the process.

During this day you will taste different types of coffee. You can buy all these directly from the farmer. Book tickets for the coffee tour here.

#11 Museums

There are a couple of museums in Medellin. The best museum to visit is the Museo de Antioquia which is located in the historic center. You will see treasures hereby mainly Colombian artists such as Fernando Botero and Pedro Nel Gómez. This museum is the first established museum of the Antioquia region and the second ever in Colombia.

Another museum worth visiting is Museo Casa de la Memoria. This museum is a tribute to the people who died in the times of the drug cartels. The museum gives a good understanding of what has happened in Medellin and Colombia in recent years and how both have developed.

#12 Discover the interior

Around Medellin you can find several coffee plantations, an activity that is not done by many travelers is visiting El Retiro.

El Retiro is a natural park where you can hike in the forests, mountains, and hills. During these hikes, you will visit various farming villages and waterfalls. This activity is recommended for travelers who want to discover a part of Colombia that is not discovered by many people.

It is recommended to do this with a tour, as it can be difficult to get there independently from Medellin. In addition, we only recommend this tour if you have extra time, if you have a tight schedule for Colombia you can better do other activities. Read more information here.

How many days do you need for Medellin?

Medellin is a big city where there is a lot to see and do. We recommend staying at least 3 days (4 nights) in Medellin.

In 3 days you will have enough time to follow a tour to discover the historic center, go paragliding, visit Comuna 13 and the village of Guatapé.

Where to stay in Medellin?

The best area to stay in Medellin is El Poblado. This is the safest neighborhood where most tourists are. In El Poblado, you will find many restaurants and bars that you can visit without any problems. Because it is the safest neighborhood in Medellin, you can find many accommodations here.

Based on the price-quality ratio, we recommend the following two accommodations. Because all travelers stay in El Poblado, the good accommodations are fully booked quickly, we recommend that you book immediately so that you have secured a room.

Cozy, comfort and affordable:
Rango Hostel Boutique

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At Rango Hostel Boutique you enjoy all the advantages of a hostel but the luxury of a hotel. A nice place to get to know people while playing table tennis, drinking at the bar, or during one of the other activities. The rooms are very neat and fully equipped. An amazing place to stay which is incredibly popular.

Ultimate luxury:
Epic Boutique Hotel

Medellin v10

If you want to relax in this busy city as Medellin is, Epic Boutique Hotel is the place to go. The building looks great from the outside, but it’s even more beautiful inside. The interior of the rooms is great. You can even book a room with a private hot tub. This hotel has everything to make your stay unique!

Where to eat in Medellin?

Medellin is probably not your starting location in Colombia and you have probably been traveling in Colombia for days, which makes it nice to eat something different. We ate at Eden Bistro which is a Korean restaurant. Here you can order various Korean dishes that are delicious. We recommend trying the ramen soup, chicken cooked in spicy curry, and teriyaki with rice. It costs +/- 60,000 pesos ($15) per person to eat and drink here.

Alambique is a great place to eat because of the decor. Here you can mainly order Colombian dishes that have been renewed by the cook. We recommend Calentao de Ursula, which includes coconut rice prepared with shrimp and octopus with peanuts, sesame, and avocado as a topping. You had a great meal here for 48,000 pesos ($12) per person.

Café Zorba is a pizzeria next to Rango Hostel Boutique that doesn’t look special from the outside but where you will be surprised with good Italian pizzas. We recommend the pizza espinaca, which consists mainly of vegetables with spinach as the main component. A great place to eat where you can have a nice evening for 40,000 pesos ($10) per person.

Travel insurance

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How to get to Medellin?

Medellin can be reached by plane, bus, and car. Most travelers come from Bogota, Salento, Cartagena, or Santa Marta. Medellin is easy to reach from all these destinations.

Our personal preference and advice is to travel to Medellin if you are already in Colombia by using a night bus. The advantage of the night bus is that you travel at night and therefore have no accommodation costs, plus you do not lose any unnecessary time. During our trip we used Bolivariano, Expreso Palmira, Velotax Expreso Brasilia and Ochoa. Once you have arrived in Medellin, you can take a taxi to the accommodation.

If the option for a night bus is not available, you can use the normal bus or the plane. The advantage of the plane is that it is faster but more expensive.

You can find all the transport tickets here at Bookaway. We used Bookaway to book all our bus tickets. They’re easy to use and book with, and we’ve explored the best destinations in Colombia with their busses.

If you travel to Colombia by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.

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What is the best period to travel to Medellin?

Colombia has a tropical climate. Because it is close to the equator, the temperature is the same all year round and there are few temperature fluctuations. Colombia has a rainy and dry season.

The driest period is from December to February. July is the hottest month and April, May and October have the most rainfall. On average, the temperatures in Medellin are between 15℃ and 30℃ degrees, which means it is always warm. Therefore Medellin is great to visit all year round.

Medellin what to do FAQ

1. Is Medellin safe to visit?

Yes! Medellin is one of the safest cities to visit in Colombia if you are staying and visiting at places where there are a lot of tourists.

Stay in El Poblado, this is the safest neighborhood in Colombia. In addition, it is best to be active during the day and eat something in the El Poblado district in the evening. We do not recommend walking around in the evening when it is dark.

The most common negative situation that happens to travelers is being robbed. It’s important that you let this happen and don’t fight back. Tip: bring a cheap cell phone and a wallet that you can give instead of your real valuable items.

Normally nothing happens in Medellin and Colombia in general but you can always be well prepared. Use common sense and you can enjoy a safe holiday in Medellin.

2. Is Medellin worth visiting?

Certainly, Medellin is in our opinion the best city in Colombia to visit. You have a variety of activities you can do here. In addition, it is wonderful to see that a city works so hard to change and welcome travelers all over the world with a smile.

Whether you want to party, learn more about Pablo Escobar, get to know Colombia’s culture better, do fun activities, it’s all possible in Medellin.

Want to see more of Colombia?

We hope this article helped give you a clear idea of ​​what to do in Medellin, where to stay, and more helpful Medellin tips.

From Medellin, you can visit several destinations. If you like our Colombia itinerary Cartagena is your next destination. Cartagena is the city where you can see many colonial influences in the historic center.

If you don’t follow our itinerary, you can travel from Medellin to Santa Marta (via Santa Marta also Palomino and Minca), San Gil, Salento, and Bogota. Salento is a village from which you can visit Valle de Cocora. This is a park where you can do great hikes under the tallest palm trees in the world. Santa Marta is the place on the coast from which travelers start the lost city trek. San Gil is a village located between the mountains where you can do many outdoor activities. Bogota is the capital of Colombia where the best museums are located.

What do you think of Medellin? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Hello, we are Cynthia & Alexander, the team behind Travel Your Memories! Traveling is our passion. When it comes to exploration, we love sharing our tips and adventures to inspire you. Welcome to Travel Your Memories, where we share our love for travel with you! Read our story.

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