Montevideo, Uruguay

The intimate city of Montevideo is Uruguay’s vibrant capital, and is a regular feature on South American cruise itineraries due to its wonderful mix of fascinating historic landmarks and fantastic modern developments.

6 hours in… Montevideo

Despite its status as capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is actually a surprisingly small city, with many of its major landmarks clustered quite closely together, which makes exploring on foot much easier. This is particularly convenient for cruise guests who arrive with only a short amount of time to explore, offering the chance to visit many of the city’s most prominent attractions during one trip.

If your hoping to uncover Montevideo’s rich heritage during your time in the city, Plaza de Independecia is a great place to start. From here, you can quickly reach Ciudad Vieja – Montevideo’s Old Town – by walking through a portal known as Puerta de la Ciudadela at one end of the square.

Palacio Salvo overlooking the Mausoleo de Artigas at Plaza de Independecia

Palacio Salvo overlooking the Mausoleo de Artigas at Plaza de Independecia

A guided sightseeing tour of Montevideo is a fantastic way to see the sights of the city and make sure you don’t miss out on any of the area’s most important landmarks. Tours will usually take you to see a range of iconic buildings and monuments, including the Mausoleo de Artigas at Plaza de Independecia, Uruguay’s national parliament building Palacio Legislativo and the stunning Palacio Salvo, which dominates the city skyline as one of South America’s tallest buildings.

Been before?

Once you uncovered Montevideo’s intriguing history, why not experience a little of the city’s modern culture at one of many bustling and vibrant districts? The Rambla offers a fantastic place to take a stroll along the city’s scenic waterfront and is perfect for enjoy a romantic sunset.

Montevideo's waterfront promenade

Montevideo’s waterfront promenade

Montevideo is also great for shopping for anyone who wants to pick up a memento of their time here, or a souvenir for someone special back home. While the city boasts a number of impressive, contemporary shopping malls, some of the best places to pick up a gift are the city’s bustling marketplaces, which include Mercado del Puerto and Mercado de los Artesanos, where you’ll find a plethora of local handicrafts to peruse.

Can’t keep away?

While much of Uruguay’s fascinating heritage is showcased across the city at historic landmarks and monuments, for an even further insight into the nation’s rich past, you should consider a visit to one of many marvellous museums located throughout the compact city centre.

Montevideo's parliament building Palacio Legislativo

Montevideo’s parliament building Palacio Legislativo

There are so many museums within Montevideo; you’ll have to choose what interests you the most from the selection available. Two of the most popular museums include the National History Museum, which is free to enter and spread throughout five historic buildings, and the Museum of Naturla History, which can be found on the city’s beach promenade. You’ll also discover many exhibits showcasing authentic Uruguayan artwork, from the national museum of modern Uruguayan art known as MNAV, to Museo Blanes, which feature local art from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Insider tip!

In Montevideo, the last Saturday of September is El Día del Patrimonio, a day when all of the city’s museums and historic landmarks around the Plaza de Independencia are completely free for the public to enter. You’ll also experience the Murga festival – a massive parade through the streets of the city.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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