Medellin travel blog cover image of the city seen from Pan de Azucar
Bienvenidos a Medellin!

A LOT of bloggers have written about their recommended things to do in Medellin. Here we’ve brought them all together. This is a 50+ Medellin travel blog posts in one.

The attractions are ranked by the number of blog posts that recommended them, from which key excerpts have been quoted below. Click the initials at the end of these excerpts—e.g. “BV“— to go to the link where you can read the whole post by that blogger.

(If you want your blog added, contact us!)


Medellin Travel Blog Compilation Outline

Downloadable Map

Things to Do & See

Restaurants

Cafés

Bars & Nightlife

Day Trips

Where to Stay

List of Blog Posts

Would you Rather Escape the Ordinary?

Medellin travel guide cover image

There are some great tips below but…

You’ll notice they’re very repetitive. The majority of the Medellin travel blogs regurgitate recommendations from other blogs, travel guides, and TripAdvisor.

If you’re interested in taking the risk to escape the ordinary and possibly experience extraordinary travel experiences, check out our Medellin travel guide. It’s an unconventional summary of all of our favorite adventures from six months living in Medellin.

Hopefully it’ll inspire make one-of-a-kind, unforgettable discoveries of your own.

Downloadable Map

In just a couple easy steps, you can save this map, which contains everything that every Medellin travel blog post recommends, right to your phone. That way, when you’re exploring the city it’s as simple as opening up Google Maps to discover what’s cool nearby, even if you’re offline!

Watch our two short (<1 min) instruction videos here.


Things to Do & See

Medellin metrocable
Riding the Metrocable is recommended by Along Dusty Roads and 25 other blogs, making it the most recommended thing to do in Medellin.

Public Spaces and Parks

Cable Car to Parque Arvi and Santo Domingo

  • “One of the most compelling signs of Medellín’s renaissance…a public transportation system of airborne gondolas that cruise up the hillside like ski lifts” – NYT
  • “These cable cars are meant to give residents easier access to the city, however they also offer a cheap and fun way to get panoramic views of the entire city” – YTB
  • “One second, you’re taking in a spectacular bird’s eye view of Colombia’s second largest city…the next, you are suddenly flying above a gorgeous forest with no city in sight.” – JC

Plaza Botero (Centro)

  • “a beautiful square filled with the distinctively pudgy bronze statues of dogs, people and horses created by Colombia’s best-known artist, Fernando Botero” – NYT
  • “…like a walk through an open air gallery” – GA
  • “spacious (and hectic!) plaza” – JC
  • “This is also a great place for people watching…” – GOR
  • “For me personally this is the highlighight of downtown.” – OWR

Jardin Botanico

  • “For those craving a little zen and tranquility, Jardin Botanico is one of the best in Medellin. Oh, and it’s 100% free!” – DTD
  • “The botanical gardens are set in about 34 acres of land (14 hectares). And it has over 1,000 different living plant species.” – MG

Pueblito Paisa / Cerro Nutribara

  • “a mock pueblo (town) like you would find in the countryside…quaint and somewhat interesting…the real attraction for me is taking in the 360 view of the city, right from the center.” – DTD
  • “rub shoulders with locals in a faithful, if not kitschy-in-a-good-way.” – CN
  • “I found it to be super strange and touristy! I don’t personally recommend it” – WB

Comuna 13

  • “an experience that’s exhilarating and inspiring…outdoor escalators that run up the steep hillside leading to Comuna 13, a gang-plagued neighborhood formerly isolated by its position atop stairs equivalent to a 28-story building” – NYT
  • “After the construction of escalators and a series of street art paintings around the neighbourhood, crime levels in Comuna 13 dropped and it is now a safe(ish) and interesting part of the city to explore.” – GOR2

Parque Envigado (Envigado)

  • “It’s more of a main square than a park, but it’s a great place to go to get a feel for the culture and the people of this area.” – WL

Parque de los Pies Descalzos (Centro)

  • “The Barefoot Park as it is known in English is a cool urban space where water features are a plenty, and placed alongside sand boxes (where you are meant to walk barefoot, hence the name)” – DTD
  • “one of the coolest parks we have ever seen. This barefoot park is basically a giant sandbox for everyone all of ages. Throw your shoes off to enjoy this zen inspired park.” – TTB
  • “…a public space designed for people to literally kick-off their shoes and relax. There are 4 zen-like interactive experiences designed to get you re-engaging with your senses.” – OWR

Mirador de las Palmas

  • “literally just on a hard shoulder off a main road, but it seems to be where all the cool kids hang out. It’s always busy, so maybe a little less serene – but no less magical.” – HO

Parque San Antonio (Centro)

  • “Perhaps the biggest reminder of Medellin’s past…Here, two bird sculptures of the famous Columbian artist Fernando Botero stand. In 1995, one bird was blown by a guerrilla group killing 20 people. These days the sculptures stand as a symbol of the progression the country as made” – CTW
  • “Now that you’re feeling like a Botero statue expert then you should head here to see some more.” – OWR

Plaza Cisneros (Centro)

  • “The area used to be dangerous and plagued by drug violence. However, nowadays light columns have been inserted to symbolise the hope and prosperity of the city.” – CTW

Parque Lineal Ciudad del Rio

  • “a long strip of grass that’s always overflowing with young, hip Paisas. It’s a fantastic place for a picnic, people watching, or practicing that one weird hobby you’d be too embarrassed to do anywhere else…You won’t find a more eccentric park in the city.” – SW

Activities

Paul half-way up Cerro Quitasol
Hiking the hills around Medellin (like Cerro Quitasol pictured here) is an underrated and awesome thing to do.

Watch a Soccer Game

  • “It’s an entire sports experience that includes team songs, bands and, of course, tailgating.” – DTT
  • “For a real slice of Paisa culture, watch the local fútbol team take on their opponent as the crowd sings, cheers, waves flags and generally makes as much noise as possible for 90 minutes.” – SW
  • “…even if you’re not a huge soccer fan, the experience can send shivers down your spine” – NM

Go Paragliding

  • “Medellin offers paragliding flights for surprisingly low rates compared to other popular places around the world…the flight zone is an hour’s bus ride up into the mountains…even before you take flight, you’ll be afforded breathtaking views of the valley below.” – GA
  • “kind of a must when in Medellin, the land is so beautiful that seeing it solely from the ground is just not enough..” – LW

Learn Salsa

  • “Check out one of the salsa studios in Medellín (Santo Baile, Baila Latino and dancefree) or stay at the hostels in Medellin with free salsa lessons (Wandering Paisa and Happy Buddha).” – TO

Learn Spanish

  • “If we ever go back to Medellín, we’ll definitely take the ‘Quick & Dirty’ class which helps you learn the essentials fast, without having to focus too much on confusing grammar.” – GOR2
  • “Learning a language is SO much harder than I imagined but we persevered and learnt a lot” – SSS
  • “It was [ABC Spanish Schoo] who finally got me speaking Spanish after about 5 years of trying, and of all the teachers I’ve had (more than 10!) they were by far the best.” – OWR

Cancha de Tejo (Envigado)

  • “A traditional game…here’s the fun part – those envelopes are full of gunpowder, so if your tejo hits one, you guessed it – it explodes loudly and sounds like a gunshot”- WL
  • “a fun and wild game that came from the native people of Colombia. It involves throwing a metal puck at gunpowder buried in clay while consuming a lot of beer.” – CI

Parque El Salado (Envigado)

  • “Tucked away up the hill from the main square, this park has many splendid surprises for nature lovers…you can follow the trails outside of the park’s fence into dense jungle that makes you feel far from the chaos of the city.” – CI
  • “Bring up a pick-nick and take a dip in the river.” – Ah1

Arenales Hiking (Envigado)

  • “What’s special about this spot is that it’s unknown to foreigners and tourists. And even better, it’s teeming with rivers, waterfalls, luscious green mountains, and tree-lined paths.” – TLE
  • “After a romantic picnic and some time warming back up in the sun, we hiked back, got some ice cream, enjoyed the phenomenal view from the park at the bus stop, and headed home, spending a total of $6 for our days outing. Nobody said that hiking in Medellin had to be expensive.” – SN2
  • “The trail winds through a river, so prepare to get wet feet/shoes. It peaks at a waterfall where you can take a dip in the cold pool. It feels great on a warm day.” – Ah1
  • “…one of the best hikes in Medellin and also one of the best outdoors day trips you can do from Medellin.” – HE
  • “Coffee is another reason to visit, with one recommended “finca” being [Finca la Leona], a small coffee farm with a passionate owner — who’s also a world champion race walker — named Fabian.” – JJ

Colombia Immersion Friday Night Language Exchange (Envigado)

  • “Locals and foreigners meet up from 6:30 to 10:30 at the Envigado campus to practice speaking Spanish and English and enjoy beer, snacks, and games together…The team always creates some sort of icebreaker game that prompts conversations between strangers, and it’s a whole lot of fun and a great way to practice.”- WL

Downhill Mountain Biking

  • “This is a great experience and another awesome way to see other parts of the city.” – LW

Sunday Ciclovia

  • “the perfect opportunity to walk, run or rent a bike and tour the city while get to do some physical activity” – DTT
  • “on Wednesdays evenings there is also the Cicleada.” – OWR

Cerro Volador (Belen)

  • “A short (but insanely steep) walk up a hill – but the 360 view at the top is totally breathtaking.” – HO
  • “…offer great alternative views over the city” – OWR

Cerro Quitasol (Bello)

  • “This is an awesome hike in Medellin, with eye-popping views, interesting and varied trails, a refreshing swimming area, and a cool, undiscovered neighborhood.” – UR2
  • “This was a super cool hike. It has a great view of the valley from Bello to Medellin.” – CA

Museums & Exhibitions

Parque Explora (by the Jardín Botánico)

  • “Feel like a kid all over again…Normally, I would not think to visit an interactive science museum, but I’m thrilled that my guide put it on my itinerary.” – FA
  • “…A great way to spend a day if there is bad weather.” – TTB
Museo de Arte Moderno (Ciudad del Rio)

  • “…another wonderful museum to check out…you’ll walk away with a wide berth of social commentary on Colombian society, past and present.” – FA
  • “a compact, industrial-chic space that presents exhibitions, which change every quarter, by contemporary artists like Álvaro Barrios” – NYT

El Castillo (near Poblado)

  • “Yes, there is a castle in Medellin, oddly enough…once the extravagant home of a wealthy businessman but has since been turned into a museum or park for the masses to enjoy…the best part here is the lovely gardens and sweeping view of the city.” – DTD

Museo Casa de la Memoria (Centro, Free)

  • “the most informative, upsetting and yet inspiring documentation of this country’s past and its forgotten victims whilst offering a hopeful vision for the future. It was by far the best curated and most thoughtful exhibition we have ever been to.” – ADR

Museo de Antioquia

  • “the most important and significant museum in Medellin..a large collection of Botero’s most famous paintings along with a number of his sculptures…also holds exhibits from a number of international artists, early art from the conquest of the Americas, and other important cultural attractions.” – DTD

Museo de Agua (Centro)

  • “not something that would immediately sound interesting, but like I’ve mentioned, Medellin does museums very well. There are a number of exhibits that showcase the many different ecological zones of Colombia (from the paramo to the Amazon) which provide a great overview for future travels within Colombia.” – DTD
  • “…great for anyone interested in sustainability.” – OWR

Tours

Real City Tours (Centro, Pay by Tip)

  • “Tripadvisor’s #1 attraction in Medellin has earned its place with good reason.” – ADR
  • “The free walking tour of downtown put on by Real City Tours is by far the best walking tour I’ve ever been on. Be prepared to be on your feet for a solid four hours (it’s worth it, trust me!) and be prepared to learn a TON about Medellin’s checkered yet moving past.” – SW

Pablo Escobar Tourism

  • “You’ll tour the city by van, stopping at abandoned properties once owned by the infamous cartel leader as well as other points of interest (but I won’t give it all away)” – SW
  • “the ONE thing I said you should AVOID while in Medellin… Don’t patronize the Pablo Escobar tours here…They tend to glorify Pablo and take you to visit things like his grave, the house where he was killed, etc.” – DTD
Comuna 13 Walking Tours


Restaurants

chicharron from Gloria de Gloria, one of top restaurants in Medellin
The enormous chicharron from La Gloria de Gloria is why it’s recommended by Colombia Immersion and 2 other blogs.

Colombian Restaurants

Mondongo’s (Colombian, Poblado and Laureles, $$)

  • “A trip to Medellin wouldn’t be complete without trying the typical Columbian dish Bandeja Paisa. You can buy the dish all over the city. We would highly recommend trying [it at this] restaurant” – CTW

Brasarepa (Envigado, $)

  • “unpretentious setting…was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s 2008 Colombia episode of No Reservations” – NM
  • “I actually ate here twice and while it was fine, it never crossed my mind to include it on the list. Imagine my surprise when I found out Anthony Bourdain featured this little hole in the wall restaurant” – SN

La Gloria de Gloria ($$, Envigado)

  • “arguably the most famous restaurant in Envigado. The secret to their success? Amazing portion sizes, delectable chicharrón and the sweetest owner on earth, Gloria Cecilia Ramirez.” – CI

Hatoviejo (Traditional, Centro, $$)

  • “Order the hearty mondongo, a traditional tripe soup that comes with rice, avocado and a plantain” – NYT
  • “This restaurant started out with a downtown location over 30 years ago and continues to go strong” – NM

Ajiacos y Mondongos (Traditional, Poblado, $$)

  • “for a taste of authentic Colombian cuisine. Ajiaco is a thick, potato-based soup with shredded chicken originally from Bogota, while Mondongo, is a tripe-based soup that originated in Antioquia, the department for which Medellin is the capital.” – GA
  • “Ajiaco is a potato-based soup with shredded white meat chicken, corn, capers, avocado, and cream.” – NM

Los 3 Típicos (Traditional, Poblado, $$)

  • “To sample any of the Colombian main course dishes, we recommend The 3 Tipicos for you to experience an entire array of traditional BBQ and dishes like Sanchoco, Cazuela de Frijoles, and Bandeja Paisa.” – DTT
  • “It’s delicious and popular with locals and tourists. Portions are huge, order a 1/2 portion for lunch!” – GOR

El Pipelon ($, Envigado)

  • “Lunch for two cost about $5 and was ridiculously delicious…so if you’re on a budget, this is great spot.” – BV
  • “our favorite lunch local…It can be a bit noisy from the street trafic. But friendly staff and great food make up for it.” – AH

International Restaurants

Bonuar (Creole, Ciudad del Rio, $$$)

  • “stands out for its Cajun-Creole cuisine that takes inspiration from the zingy flavors of the Colombian coast, the West Indies, New Orleans and northeastern Brazil.”- CT
  • “a perfect spot if you have just visited the Museum of Modern art in Medellin” – BV2
Lemoncillo (Vietnamese, $$, Envigado)

  • “We weren’t expecting anything good, but the food was incredibly fresh, the flavors were right, and so was the price. “ – BV
  • “something a little healthier and perhaps outside of paisa offerings…you can find fresh, healthy Vietnamese food” – CI
Pizzeria Olivia (Pizza, Multiple Locations, $$)

  • “Great appetizers, pizza and sangria. ‘Nuff said.” – SW
  • “Not NYC pizza, but some of the best we had in town.” – BV
Bonhomía Salumería (French, Poblado, $$$)

  • “Charcuterie is one of my favourite ways to eat out in a large group. Tasting boards everywhere, it is super low key but also very Parisian, and you can’t go wrong going Parisian…amazing cured meats all from Colombia with delicious cheese.” – TIC
  • “A perfect spot in El Poblado for tapas, meats, cheese and charcuterie on one of the best outside terraces in Medellín.” – JC

Toscano Tratorria (Italian, Poblado, $$)

  • “Their Menu Del Dia start off with the amazing house-made tomato soup then choose from pizzas, pasta, meat dishes, risotto, the selection is HUGE and all for $5USD. Insane.” – TIC
  • “An authentic Italian cuisine for when that craving hits.” – LW

Barbacoa Burgers and Beer (Comfort Food, Multiple Locations, $$)

  • “if you feel like a gourmet hamburguesa” – ML
  • “They pair up burgers and beers and they have a great selection of imported & local brews” – AH

Mahalo Sports Action Café (Bar Food, Envigado, $$)

  • “up on the mountainside with a phenomenal panoramic view of Medellin…built into an old home, so it has tons of outdoor space, porches, tables under the trees, a fire pit, and even a half pipe and paintball field! The food isn’t too bad either.” – SN
  • “this super trendy restaurant with bar and skatepark is pretty unique. Chill out on their tables outside…and soak in the ‘sparkling city’ all night long…Take a jumper because it can get a little nippy up there.” – HO

El Barral (Spanish, Envigado, $$$)

  • “Great tapas and fantastic service. They have a tiny outdoor area up front where you can sit and people watch. Highly recommended.” – BV
  • “if you’re in the mood for some delicious Spanish tapas” – ML

Chiclayo (Peruvian, Envigado, $$$)

  • “Super yummy Peruvian food and much cheaper than Cuzco (located near El Tesoro Mall). Killer Ceviches…stay away from the Pisco Sours…the hangover is a killer.” – BV
  • “While prices here are above average for Medellin, the surpassing quality of the meal and the excellent service make up for it.” – DC

Breakfast and Brunch

Ganso & Castor (Poblado, $$$)

  • “Possibly my favourite food experience in Medellin…a NYC bistro type vibe, with light but flavourful dishes, I was in heaven…the best brunch in Medellin, hands down.” – TIC

Café Al Alma (Poblado, $$)

  • “This has some of the best brunches / breakfasts in town. Try the bagel with avocado and cream cheese and the eggs benedict! Yum.” – GOR

D’Andre Gourmet (Poblado, $$)

  • “…one of the only places you can find a full breakfast complete with pancakes, eggs, bacon, and all the fixings you could dream of.” – RR

Cariñito Café (Ciudad del Rio, $$)

  • “This café…won a place in my heart by being one of the few places in the city to offer brunch.” – SW

Healthy & Vegetarian Restaurants

Café Zorba (Pizza, El Poblado)

  • “Best. Pizza. Ever.” – LW
  • “Hands down the most delicious (vegetarian) pizza in the city. Take my word for it.” – SW
Verdeo (Poblado, $$)

  • “You won’t find more delicious vegetarian options than those created at Verdeo.” – SW
  • “…has nothing of ego. It is, instead, totally familial; a restaurant that from its core is so natural and so true to its roots that you have no choice but to show up the same.” – LW
Natto (Poblado, $$)

  • “The food is fresh and wholesome and just what the doctor ordered if you’ve spent the last week or so eating traditional Colombian food.” – UL
  • “In a country where so much of the food is heavy/fried, this place is like a breath of fresh air.” – LW

Naturalia Café (Laureles)

  • “healthy meals, vegetarian options, and super filling.” – TIC
  • “Best restaurant in Laureles” – CT

Contemporary Restaurants

Carmen (Poblado, $$$$)

  • “…a forerunner in Medellín’s culinary boom, is a must for fusion fare and bespoke cocktails” – FA
  • “take advantage of the favorable exchange rate and splurge on dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants” – GA
In Situ (Jardín Botánico, $$$)

  • “the city’s most aesthetically attractive eatery…offers a broad array of dishes that give a modern twist to classic Colombian flavors with specialties including salmon tartare, racks of smoked pork, and pesto-stuffed chicken.”- CT
  • “enjoy the view and little surprises like butterflies and iguanas walking right past you. The food celebrates Colombia’s natural diversity” – BV2
El Cielo (Poblado, $$$$)

  • “Adventurous foodies will find a feast for all the senses…with experimental kitchen creations based on molecular cuisine. These include artichoke-stuffed prawns, macaroons with champagne jelly, and decadent rose petals with which to wipe your hands after eating.”- CT
OCI.Mde (Poblado, $$$$)

  • “my favorite meal in all of Colombia…the crispy quinoa was one of my favorite things I’ve ever tasted!” – JC

El Herbario (Poblado, $$$)

  • “a trendy eatery that puts an emphasis on well executed, vegetable based dishes…Those wanting something a little more substantial will find an extensive selection of seafood and fish dishes.”- CT

Cafe Colombo (Centro, $$$)

  • “located on the 10th floor…this high-flying bistro serves brunch, light lunch, and dinner options along with the fantastic panoramas over the sprawling city below and the outstretching mountains beyond it. Its outdoor terrace is a fantastic place to sit and watch the sun go down.”- CT

El Botanico (Poblado, $$$$)

  • “That place was dope and one of the best meals I had while in Medellín.” – TIL

Alambique (Poblado, $$$)

  • “Quite possibly our favourite restaurant in Medellin. They serve Colombian food but with a modern twist.” – OWR

Street Food / Takeaway / Fast Food

El Buñuelo de Botero (Snacks, Centro, $)

  • “an excellent place to try buñuelo, which are made with a small curd white cheese and formed into doughy balls, before being fried.” – GOR

Empanadas el Machecito (Snacks, Poblado, $)

  • “These empanadas might’ve been the best bite I had in Medellin. I wish I took a picture of it, but my greasy hands were too busy enjoying them.” – GQ

Empanadas la Catedral (Envigado & Laureles, $)

  • “There are only two choices, which is how you know it’s good. Desmechadas is pulled beef and potatoes, and Tradicional is ground beef and potatoes.” – SN

Subula (Greek, Poblado, $)

  • “AMAZING. So much flavour. Messy as fuck and I had Tztakitaki running down my chin but totally worth it.” – TIC
  • “…run by super cool bogotanos (peeps from Bogota). Think Colombian Johnny Depps. Quick service style greek food, really delicious. Try the chicken salad!” – LW

Contenedores Food Place (Various Food Stalls, Envigado, $$)

  • “This is a container park turned food hall. More “expensive” than the rest of Envigado – Maybe $30 USD for an appetizer, two sandwiches, and two drinks…but so worth it.” – BV
  • “built by stacking shipping containers on top of each other and draping the place in fairy lights, making a strange grown up version of a secret garden or maze… but with food” – SN

Mercado del Rio (Ciudad del Rio, $$-$$$)

  • “a massive warehouse in Ciudad del Rio that has been converted into a mid to upscale food court (for lack of a better word)…Nowhere else can you find such a great variety of eats under one roof.” – DTD
  • “Great place to hang-out, try a variety of food, and sip on a cerveza.” – OWR

La Chocolera (Colombian / Street Food, Envigado, $)

  • “a sweet corn cake with massive amount of fresh, Colombian cheese on top, and La Chocolera in Envigado does it the best.” – WL

Devoción (Street Food, Envigado, $)

  • “Great place for a cheat meal…a small menu inspired by street & bar food of the world…Their “poutine” was ridiculously delicious” – BV

Kokorico (Chicken, Envigado, $)

  • “I dream of the day this chain is all over the world. Awesome roasted chicken, great soups…and they give you plastic gloves so you don’t dirty your fingers….yummy!” – BV

Ciudad del Rio Food Trucks (Ciudad del Rio, $$)

  • “Enjoy a night feasting on everything from Philly cheese steaks to Venezuelan arepas to Argentinian choripan, then roll yourself home.” – SW

Veneca Arepas Venezolanas (Venezuelan, Envigado, $$)

  • “authentic Venezuelan arepas that are the best in town…open only on Friday and Saturday night.” – CI

Desserts

Reposteria Astor (Centro and Laureles)

  • “the best chocolate cake you’ll ever have” – CL

Arte Dolce (Poblado)

  • “run by an Italian man and his Colombian wife. They are friendly and their gelato is the real deal. I obviously had to try their Tiramisu which was sooo boozy and delicious. LOVED it.” – su

Antonio’s Gelato (Envigado)

  • “With a rotating stock of delicacies – like key lime, cafe, Manyusa, arroz (honeyed caramel), cocoa fudge, and lemon sorbet – any traveller with a hankering for satisfaction can find their sweet spot.” – DC
  • “Awesome homemade ice cream” – BV

Pércimon (Envigado)

  • “Percimon has a plethora of every type of heavenly flavored frozen treats you could want – from Greek yogurt to delicious gelato, and fresh fruit juices.”- CI

Ambrosia Repostería (Envigado)

  • “If you really want a decedent dessert, this is your stop.” – AH

La Paletteria (Ice Cream, Multiple Locations, $)

  • “It’s not exactly centrally located so it might be a trek to get there, but it’s a trek well worth the effort in my opinion.” – SW

Cafés

Pergamino Cafe (Poblado)

  • “the most talked about coffee shop in a country where coffee might be the most talked about subject” – LW
  • “This chic cafe by Parque Lleras, which uses single-origin beans from coffee plantations owned by the same family, wouldn’t be out of place in San Francisco” – NYT
Casa Museo Otraparte (Envigado)

  • “the former home of an important Colombian writer and philosopher known as Fernando Gonzalez…The on site coffee shop is one of the best in town. They also host many cultural events ranging from movie nights, to lectures on art, music, and more.” – DTD
  • “a museum, library and café all rolled into one…opens at 3 pm, but the open-air seating and garden areas (with WiFi) are available to use at any time… If you stay long enough, you can easily transition into nighttime drinks.” – SW
Cafe Velvet (El Poblado)

  • “They offer all types of artisanal coffees…a lunch menu and plenty of sweet treats like Belgian chocolate creations and macarons…popular among the digitally nomadic and even has mini desks for those who come solo” – SW
  • “Best cafe in Medellin…you know me and COFFEE. I don’t fuck around…and they offer almond milk!” –
  • “They do all sorts of speciality coffees and it’s got a cool laid back vibe.” – OWR
Cocolatte Café (Envigado)

  • “Not only do they have excellent coffee, they prepare excellent coffee…They also have really good wifi and a beautiful, welcoming atmosphere that’s perfect for reading, studying or get some work done”- WL

Bars & Nightlife

View from Charlee Hotel's Envy bar
The Sweetest Way (photo credit) and four other Medellin bloggers recommend the Envy bar for a sunset cocktail.

Bars

Envy Rooftop Bar at the Charlee Hotel (Poblado)

  • “the rooftop bar…is worth it, if only to enjoy views of both the pool and the pulsing streets below.” – NYT
  • “Go for the sunset view, stay for the club-like atmosphere after dark.” – SW
El Social (El Poblado)

  • “This is one of the few bars where the price of Aguardiente doesn’t totally skyrocket and the price of beer is standard as well.” – SW
  • “the hot spot for locals…there is a great vibe here!” – GOR
  • “Very simple bar in the style of a traditional Colombian tavern, the type where you would typically find people drinking during the day in small rural towns!” – OWR

Bogota Beer Company (El Poblado)

  • “The ‘biggest little brewery of Colombia’…they have happy hour specials between 4-6 pm…something is bound to please every beer lover’s palate.” – SW
  • “The microbrewery, BBC, has really good beers! There is a very cool bar with great pints.” – GOR

3 Cordilleras Brewery (Ciudad del Rio)

  • “the most fun is to visit the actual brewery near Industriales during one of their Thursday – Saturday night open houses. For about $10 you get five beers, live music (usually rock ‘n roll), and a commemorative glass.” – DTD

Cerveceria Libre (Ciudad del Rio)

  • “a cheerfully unpretentious operation that sits behind sliding garage doors in the up-and-coming Ciudad del Rio neighborhood.” – NYT

El Callejon (Envigado)

  • “The bartenders all have dreads down their backs and are the chillest guys, the music is always good, and you’ll always find a full dance floor. What’s not to love?” – WL

Random Small Bars (Envigado)

  • “go for beers in any of the small, hole-in-the-wall bars that can be found in every neighborhood. The bars facing any park, such as Parque Envigado, offer good people watching opportunities too.” – YTB

La Cabaña del Recuerdo (Envigado)

  • “Envigado has tons of cool little bars that you can visit throughout the week. But on Wednesday or Thursday night, you should go. Go around 9ish to get a table. The place fills up with music enthusiasts who love to listen to live music and enjoy a beer or two.” – Ah1

37 Park (Poblado)

  • “We loved this place! The vibe here is great and the restaurant / bar is always packed with people. They have outdoor seating in a little “park” with little wooden stools for chairs” – GOR
  • “This is one of our favourite spots to have a beer and catch up with friends.” – OWR

Art Hotel Boutique Rooftop Bar

  • “decked out with copper interiors and indoor trees. It was so trendy, it had quite a Shoreditch House vibe.” – HO

Clubs & Nightlife

Parque Lleras (Poblado)

  • “four square blocks of bars, restaurants, and discotecas…Locals and tourists go out to Parque Lleras every night of the week, but Fridays and Saturdays are by far the busiest.” – GA
  • “Even if nightlife isn’t your thing, it’s still a place that you should check it out at least once during your visit to Medellin.” – DTD

Son Havana (Laureles)

  • “a Cuban-themed salsa joint in the trendy Laureles neighborhood…It’s a small place and not fancy, but the atmosphere is electric, the music is sparkling and the dance skills are mesmerizing” – NYT
  • “Colombia is a country known for salsa music and dancing. And you don’t have to go to Cali to experience it. Even if you’ve never danced a step in your life, it can be fun to go out, grab a beer, and watch the locals.” – GA
Dulce Jesus Mio (Las Palmas)

  • “For a truly over-the-top Colombian clubbing experience…This outrageously kitschy discoteca will make your jaw drop before you even walk in the door.” – SW

El Son de la Loma (Envigado)

  • “If you’re looking for a traditional, hole-in-the-wall, authentic salsa experience in Envigado, this is the place.” – WL
  • “a salsa bar in Envigado where you can get a little practice in a real-life setting. But you’ll have to venture beyond the borders of this charming neighborhood to find some of the more popular salsa clubs” – CI

Calle 9+1 (Poblado)

  • “The music is faithfully electro every night of the week…It’s crowded, it’s sweaty, it’s amazing.” – SW
  • “underground techno music situated in warehouse-style vibes.” – IT

Barrio Colombia (Ciudad del Rio)

  • “you’ll have a dozen different discotecas to choose from, all within a few square blocks. And you’ll see fewer foreigners than in Parque Lleras.” – YTB

Bendito Seas (Poblado)

  • “similar to Dulce Jesus Mío but for a fraction of the price…not quite as outrageous but it’s more centrally located” – SW

Carito (Poblado)

  • “For a more balanced mix of Latin music and electronic dance music…there’s no shortage of lasers, smoke, foghorns and confetti rain.” – SW

El Eslabon Prendido (Downtown)

  • “a salsa bar known for its live music on Tuesday nights” – NM

Patio del Tango (Trinidad)

  • “One of the city’s few remaining milongas (tango bars) and a great place to grab dinner and a show on the weekends.” – NM

Dulce Jesus Mi Pueblo (Envigado)

  • “Characters include the policemen, midget, the doctor or a ‘typical’ old fashioned Paisa. The night starts off calmly, but fast forward 4 hours – the entire crowd is dancing on the dance floor or next to their table.” – CI

La Tienda (Envigado)

  • “a fonda, or a paisa restaurant that becomes a disco where people dance next to their tables, is great for salsa and merengue.” – ML

Rio Sur (Poblado)

  • “…kind of like a mall for nightclubs. On the sixth and seventh floors you can take your pick of EDM, reggaeton, and rock.” – FA
  • “It’s home to more than 10 bars / clubs and is where the locals tend to go if they’re planning on a big night.” – OWR

Shopping

Plaza Minorista Medellin
Medellin’s Plaza Minorista is a cornucopia of exotic fruit (and more!) recommended by Couple Travel the World (photo cred) and five other bloggers.

Plaza Minorista (Centro)

  • “largest public market in all of Medellin. It is principally in a massive warehouse where you will find every type of food, fruit, veggie, and meat imaginable, as the interesting smells intermingle.” – DTD
  • “A little bit of money can take you a long way here. Bring an empty backpack and get ready to load up!” – U30

Santa Fe Mall (Poblado)

  • “the city’s largest shopping mall…features movie theaters, a food court as well as some specialty restaurants like Sushi Light, and plenty of name brand clothing stores.” – YTB
  • “I’m not a big fan of malls, generally speaking, but the locals here truly love malls, so you would be missing out on an important part of Medellin by not going.” – DTD

Poblado Farmers Market (Poblado)

  • “Open every Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm, the farmer’s market at Parque La Presidenta in El Poblado is the perfect way to spend a morning.” – SW

El Tesoro Mall (Poblado)

  • “a very modern mall with some great scenic views of the city…You’ll find well over 200 shops” – MG

Andres Pajón (Poblado)

  • “Whether you’re in the market for a beautiful one of-a-kind creation garnished in luxe materials…or just window-shopping, the dynasty-esque flagship boutique has a beautiful back courtyard and is worth a visit” – FA

The Blue House (Poblado)

  • “the ideal place to shop for gifts for friends back home and souvenirs to decorate my apartment in New York City.” – FA

Makeno (Poblado)

  • “another great spot to find local designers — it’s hard to leave without putting a dent in the wallet. The design incubator has a mix of menswear, womenswear, jewelry, and accessories.” – FA

Central Mayorista (Itagüi)

  • “…actually located just out of Medellín in Itagüi (2 stops from El Poblado). If like me you like to eat fruit and vegetables this is the best place to buy. The prices are ridiculously cheap.” – LC

Day Trips / Nearby

Jardin Medellin Antioquia
A colourful colonial town where you awaterfalls and visit coffee plantations, Jardin is a perfect getaway spot.

Guatape and El Peñón

  • “Guatape is a colorful pueblo…situated on a lake, and is just 15 minutes from El Penol, a monolith sticking out of the ground. You can pay a few bucks to climb the stairs up” – YTB
  • “visit to wander the streets admiring the characteristic wainscots that give Guatapé its charm and to visit La Piedra for the incredible view of the reservoir from above, but there are plenty of other activities to enjoy given enough time” – SW

Santa Fe de Antioquia

  • “45 minutes from Medellín…The cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages will transport you back to Spanish colonial times” – SW
Jardín

  • “roughly three hours southwest of Medellín…a haven for nature lovers. Ride horses to waterfalls or drink beers with Colombian cowboys in the main square.” – SW
  • “With all due respect to Medellin, the real magic of Colombia lays in its smaller towns and more rural areas.” – LW

Where to Stay

Room in Medellin's Charlee Hotel
Fathom Away took this photo of the Charlee Hotel, which they say, “has the [Medellin] boutique hotel market cornered.”

Hotels

The Charlee Hotel (Poblado)

  • “…has the boutique hotel market cornered with everything from five-star service (I lost an emerald in my laundry and they found it!) to high-grade design with a strong focus on art.” – FA
  • “The Charlee Hotel is swanky, swanky, swanky. Even if you don’t stay here, you have to check out their rooftop for sunset cocktails.” – JC
  • “… the city’s top boutique hotel, with plush rooms and a gym where you can spot Colombia’s top models posing for selfies between workouts.” – NYT
  • “The Charlee hotel is the place to be if you don’t mind spending the extra $$$” – LW
  • “If you’re more into hotel living check out The Charlee Hotel and make the most of their rooftop bar.” – UL
  • “This 42-room boutique hotel is chock full of edgy local art. The modern, clean-lined rooms are decorated with freshly cut flowers.” – CN
  • “…it’s located right in the middle of the madness in Parque Lleras.” – OWR

Diez Hotel (Poblado)

  • “Each floor’s décor references a different region of Colombia; the spa looks out over the city.” – NYT
  • “This charming hotel offers a 4-star experience with plenty of local touches. And did I mention, incredible city and mountain views?” – SW
  • “Larger hotel, more Colombian in style, and decked with bamboo and greenery throughout giving it the feel of a tranquil Eco Lodge.” – OWR

The Art Hotel (Poblado)

  • “…a nice place for those with a bigger budget.” – YTB
  • “…stylish boutique hotel and a great option for those on a lower budget.” – OWR

Inntu Hotel (Laureles)

  • “Ultra-modern and stylish, this hotel offers a truly unique experience in Medellin–especially when it comes to their spa!” – SW
  • “… a nice rooftop terrace with good views.” – OWR

Hotel Du Parc Royal Medellin (Poblado)

  • “…its french luxury vibes will have you feeling like you’ve found the perfect oasis in the city.” – JC

Hotel San Fernando Plaza (Poblado)

  • “…walking distance to the metro, this hotel also offers a rooftop terrace, pool, fitness center, and onsite restaurant” – SW

Casa Del Reloj (Poblado)

  • “In our humble opinion, this is the best (style+location) place to stay at in Medellin. This place is also awesome for when you travel with friends and family, as it has amazing options in the form of apartments with large common living and dining spaces and multiple bedroom suites with a bathroom and shower in each.” – LW

Sheraton Four Points (Poblado)

  • “Only around $75/night (yes, you read that right), this Sheraton, with its prime location in El Poblado, is all you need for a Medellín hotel.” – JC

Kolor Boutique (Poblado)

  • “…really small boutique hotel located on a quiet residential street 10 minutes walk from the restaurants in Provenza.” – OWR

Hotel Asturias (Laureles)

  • “…a good budget option for anyone looking to stay in Laureles. It’s a small, clean & modern hotel well located in a residential area nearby many cafes, restaurants and bars.” – OWR

Hostels

Casa Kiwi (Poblado)

  • “…my top pick for a number of reasons…layout that practically forces you to be social, so meeting people is a breeze…draught beer…rooftop pool with a great view for those hot Medellín days…movie theater for lazy/hungover days; and the location…couldn’t be better.” – SW
  • “While most of the hostels are party hostels, I like to recommend Casa Kiwi where I stayed when I first arrived in the city.” – YTB
  • “Other hostels that are popular and receive good reviews from backpackers are Casa Kiwi, Black Sheep, The Garden of Blues, and Happy Buddha.” – GOR
  • “Our top pick…it has a great rooftop area with a pool, kitchen, and very comfortable mattresses.” – IT
  • “impressive range of facilities including a tree-canopy roof-top terrace with a small pool, spectacular views, a two-story open-air hammock area, a wood deck on the 1st floor with bar service and a creek” – OWR

Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel (Poblado)

  • “The open-air bar is a major draw, as well as the parties (if you’re looking for that kind of thing). The beautifully decorated, clean rooms obviously don’t hurt. Happy Buddha also provides a pretty kickass breakfast and coffee all day long.” – SW
  • “…known for being a party hostel.” – GOR
  • “If you prefer more of a nightly party vibe, (read: social but noisy travellers) try Happy Buddha Hostel” – IT
  • “…a full bar and great entertainment the Happy Buddha is a happening place and great place for meeting other travelers” – OWR

Black Sheep Hostel (Poblado)

  • “The beds are super comfy, access to the metro, a major supermarket, and a pharmacy is just a five-minute walk, and it’s located in a quiet neighborhood so you’ll be sure to get your Zzz’s.” – SW
  • “Other hostels that are popular and receive good reviews from backpackers are Casa Kiwi, Black Sheep, The Garden of Blues, and Happy Buddha.” – GOR
  • “If you’d prefer to be closer to El Poblado but are keen to avoid the larger party hostels in the area.” – ADR
  • “Located near to the Metro and the University the Black Sheep offer a range of mixed dorms and single occupancy rooms” – OWR

Yellow House Hostel (Laureles)

  • “If you want a quieter stay in a less touristic part of town…They also serve a fabulous breakfast and the location provides easy access to the Floresta metro station as well as restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets.” – SW
  • “…this small homely hostel is an excellent choice for longer stays, couples or anybody wanting a relaxing time in the city. They also happen to have an awesome breakfast and two of the absolutely best dogs ever!” – ADR

Wandering Paisa (Estadio)

  • “Try one of the many hostels located in Laureles (my favorite neighborhood in Medellin) or Estadio. I’d recommend the Urban Buddha Hostel in Laureles or the Wandering Paisa near Estadio.” – DTD
  • “If you are looking for the real Medellin then your hostel of choice is The Wandering Paisa. Proudly, its slogan is ‘the other side of Medellin’” – TSA
  • “Awarded the ‘Best Hostel in Colombia’ by Hostelworld…” – OWR

Urban Buddha Hostel (Laureles)

  • “Try one of the many hostels located in Laureles (my favorite neighborhood in Medellin) or Estadio. I’d recommend the Urban Buddha Hostel in Laureles or the Wandering Paisa near Estadio.” – DTD

Maloka Hostel (Poblado)

  • “…has a cafe / small bar attached to it, but it’s not loud or very busy like the other ones nearby. The staff were friendly and answered the questions that we had about the city, and the wifi here is very good.” – GOR
  • “…beautiful boutique style hostel with a range of dorms, single and double rooms with mostly shared bathroom facilities. It’s clean and the staff are super friendly.” – OWR

The Garden of Blues (Poblado)

  • “Other hostels that are popular and receive good reviews from backpackers are Casa Kiwi, Black Sheep, The Garden of Blues, and Happy Buddha.” – GOR

Guest House Poblado (Poblado)

  • “…we would highly recommend [it] because it was clean and comfortable.” – CTW

The Grand Hostel (Poblado)

  • “If you are looking for a hostel in Poblado, which has easy access to the Metro, we do recommend [this] great spot…run by a lovely woman named Lucy – DTT

Other

Airbnb

  • “Airbnb is always the way we roll. And in Medellin? There is no shortage in beautiful apartments for great prices.” – LW
  • “We recommend this ads your first choice when you look for accommodation in Medellín.” – DTT
  • “…for the same price as a hotel you can rent a super-cool apartment with awesome views over the city” – OWR

CompartoApto.com

  • “For long-term stays, I always encourage people to look into shared apartments with locals by searching CompartoApto.com.” – SW

Medellin Travel Blog Posts

General Blog Posts on Things to Do in Medellin

Medellin Restaurant Guides

Neighborhood Specifics

Specific Activities

Medellin Itineraries


Please note: The hotel links in the post are affiliate links that don’t cost you anything but may earn us commission. Click here for more info.

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3 comments

  1. The downloadable map is next level. We were able to download it before our trip, put it on our phones, and add any of own spots that we wanted to check out during out stay. We found that many of the places we researched and wanted to add were already on the map. This is because this map is totally legit.

    During our stay we were able to open the map on our phone and use it to help explore neighborhoods as we bounced from place to place. Thanks for doing all the leg work for us. You saved us hours and hours of compiling recommendations and pointed us in so many right directions.

    1. Glad to hear Dave. We really, really appreciate the feedback.

      Just one quick word of warning to others reading this: Do use the maps to find highlights, but also do be careful of not having your head in your phone too much in Medellin especially. That’s asking for trouble. Be discreet using your phone on the streets and do most of your planning in cafes, restaurants, or back at your accommodation.

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