Best 5-Day Itinerary for Medellín, Colombia

travel advisor Laura Zapata wears a black dress and sits on a balcony overlooking a green city and mountains in the distance
Curated By

Laura Zapata

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  • Colombia

  • Medellín

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • International Travel

  • Sightseeing

city surrounded by large green mountains
Curator’s statement

Medellín is a resilient, inspiring, beautiful and magical city. It is visually stunning – terracotta buildings surrounded by mountains. Medellín is called the city of eternal spring so even though there might always be a chance of rain, the weather year-round is between 60-80 F and the sun shines most days. The food is incredible - from street food to fine dining restaurants, Medellín has an incredible culinary scene. And paisas (people from the region of Antioquia, where Medellín is located) are some of the kindest, most welcoming and most joyful people you will ever meet. It is no secret that Medellín has a difficult past, but what you’ll learn from visiting this vibrant city is how through investments in art and infrastructure the city has transformed. I’m lucky to have visited this incredible city many times, most recently to marry my husband (a paisa!), and hope to call it a second home one day. I hope you will fall in love and let Medellín inspire you the way that it has for me.

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Where to stay

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The Click Clack Hotel Medellín

Contemporary hotel with colorful rooms and a laid-back vibe.

Elcielo Hotel

Refined hotel near Medellín's El Poblado Park with sleek rooms and amenities, including a refined restaurant, spa and rooftop terrace.

23 Hotel

Located in Medellín's El Poblado neighborhood, this hip hotel has sleek rooms, a restaurant and a rooftop terrace with its own infinity pool.

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travel advisor Laura Zapata wears a black dress and sits on a balcony overlooking a green city and mountains in the distance

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Day 1: Leisurely wander through El Poblado

tall buildings with mountains in the background during daytime

Spend your first day wandering through El Poblado. It is very walkable with many hotels, fine dining restaurants, street food, bars, coffee shops and boutiques. Visit Parque Lleras for some great people-watching (especially in the evening) as it is surrounded by some of Medellín’s nightlife.

Visit one of the Pergamino coffee locations in El Poblado for arguably one of the best cups of coffee in Medellín. Grab a cup of coffee, sit outside and enjoy the ambiance of the neighborhood (and even bring some of their specialty coffee back home!)

Dine at Carmen - One of the best fine dining restaurants in Medellín. Try the tasting menu if you are open to trying anything or the a la carte menu! I recommend making a reservation ahead of time.

Day 2: Learn about the Transformation of Comuna 13

colorful mural on the side of a building

Comuna 13 is an area of transformation in Medellín! It was once considered to be one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world. Today, Comuna 13 is known for its murals, street art performances and walking tours. New infrastructure, including a metro cable car system and outdoor escalators, has made life in Comuna 13 a lot easier and safer for residents. Go on a walking tour with a local guide from the neighborhood who will be able to give you first-hand accounts of the history of the neighborhood and its transformation. Try some street food or any local restaurants for lunch. Wear comfortable shoes - there will be a lot of walking uphill and stairs.

Amoracuya - Gelato is the best way to cool down after a day of walking. This is hands down one of my favorite gelato spots. Try their award-winning flavor - amoracuya (passion fruit and chocolate) trust me it’s the absolute best.

Have dinner at OCI.Mde, a great restaurant with Colombian food and a modern take on other options. Great drinks and ambiance! After dinner, head to Carrera 35, a street closed to cars in Provenza to hang out at some outdoor restaurants and bars.

Day 3: Visit the botanical garden and Pueblito Paisa

white houses next to a cobblestone street

Spend the morning walking through Jardin Botanico, Medellín’s botanical garden featuring the city’s local plants and a cool butterfly garden. Grab lunch at Restaurante IN SITU inside the garden.

After lunch, head over to Pueblito Paisa, a model of a traditional Colombian village or "pueblo." It's a great visit for pictures, traditional snacks, and souvenirs. There are also great panoramic views of Medellín! Grab an arepa at one of the local restaurants and check out the views. Ubers are available in Medellín and are very affordable. I recommend taking an Uber or taxi to Pueblito Paisa because it's located at the top of a hill.

End the day with a visit to Mercado del Rio, a food market with delicious food stalls filled with some local food, and bars overlooking the river.

Day 4: Hike in Parque Arvi

two cable cars over a city with mountains in the background

Spend the day in Parque Arvi, a big chunk of mountain wilderness at the top of a mountain featuring hiking trails, lakes, canopy lines and a butterfly enclosure. Accessible by the very cool Metrocable - Arvi Metrocable (Linea L) from the Santo Domingo interchange (COP $4600 one way - 15 min). The metro cable ride offers the best view of the city! I highly recommend taking it for the ride at the very least. Free guided tours leave every hour from 10 AM - 3 PM but the metro cable is closed on Mondays for maintenance.

End the day with a unique meal at Alhambique. This restaurant is located in a greenhouse and takes on a creative twist on traditional Colombian cuisine. All plates are quite large and shareable. Try the ceviche de chicharrón and buñuelo almojábana pudding for dessert. Make sure to make reservations ahead of time on What’s App.

Grab a cocktail and dance a little at Envy Rooftop - the city looks spectacular all lit up and this is one of the best views. You can also come during the day to see the view during the day.

Day 5: Explore Medellín’s downtown

tall buildings next to trees with mountains in the distance

Head downtown and check out Plaza Botero, a plaza near Parque Berrio that is home to 23 large sculptures by Fernando Botero, one of Colombia’s most celebrated artists. If you want to see more of Botero’s work, head to the Museo de Antioquia right at the top of the square. There are also some great walking tours that share the history of this neighborhood and the changes it’s been through.

You have to try Mondongos for the traditional bandeja paisa dish, a local dish of
Antioquia which includes beans, rice, arepa, chorizo, plantains, chicharrón, avocado and ground beef.

A note from Laura

If you want to explore a bit of the countryside, I recommend taking a day trip to Guatapé and El Peñol. There are many tour companies that offer built-out day trips with pick up and drop off from your hotel to both locations. It’s about 2 hours outside of Medellín. You’ll stop at El Peñol first, a huge rock. Climb the 700 steps to the top of the rock to see stunning views of the lakes. After climbing El Peñol, head to Guatapé, the most colorful town! Take time to walk around, eat lunch at a local restaurant, and take a boat or kayaks out to the lake.

travel advisor Laura Zapata wears a black dress and sits on a balcony overlooking a green city and mountains in the distance

Travel Advisor

Laura Zapata

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Colombia, and our continuing series on city travel.