What are the best things to do in Medellín? And what is a recommended itinerary? These are common questions from tourists visiting Medellín. So, we have prepared a recommended tourist itinerary for a day in Medellín.
One day recently I went with Jeff, the founder of the Medellin Guru site, to experience this recommended tourist itinerary and take many photos. Some of which can be seen in this article.
Our one-day tourist itinerary includes several of the top things to do in Medellín. But we obviously couldn’t include all the top things, as that would take more than one day.
Especially relevant, our recommended tourist itinerary is best done on a day when it isn’t raining. This is due to only one of our recommended activities being located inside, Museo de Antioquia.
Note the above photo of Medellín by Jenny Bojinova was taken from Pueblito Paisa.
1. Seeing the City Views from Pueblito Paisa – 10:00 am
Our first activity in our itinerary is visiting Pueblito Paisa. We recommend starting mid-morning at about 10 am and taking a taxi to Pueblito Paisa. Every taxi driver in the city will know where Pueblito Paisa is located.
Pueblito Paisa is a mock Antioquian village (pueblo) located atop Cerro Nutibara, which is a hill in the center of the city. From its high location, Pueblito Paisa offers excellent views of Medellín. There is no cost to enter Pueblito Paisa.
Besides the views, it is also worth seeing Pueblito Paisa to experience the setup of a typical pueblo in Antioquia. The buildings in the mock pueblo are situated around the edges of a cobblestoned plaza with a fountain and a white church. In addition, there are many shops selling souvenirs and restaurants serving coffee, ice cream and traditional Colombian food.
From Pueblito Paisa, the next stop in our tourist itinerary is Jardín Botánico. It is is typically easy to catch a taxi at Pueblito Paisa, as its a popular tourist spot. And every taxi driver knows where Jardín Botánico is located.
2. Exploring Jardín Botánico – 11:00 am
Jardín Botánico is the popular Medellín botanical gardens, which offers many sights to see and activities to enjoy. The botanical gardens are set in about 34 acres of land (14 hectares). And it has over 1,000 different living plant species.
The ambience of the botanical gardens is relaxed. You will see families, students, groups of friends plus individuals enjoying the green gardens and open space. Furthermore, the botanical gardens are free to enter.
Take some time walking around the botanical gardens and pay particular attention to the flower displays, the butterfly farm, the small lake and the Orquideorama event/theater area.
We recommend eating lunch at Restaurante In Situ located in Jardín Botánico, which is a popular open-air restaurant with good food and service and a nice ambience. In addition, In Situ is considered by many as one of the best restaurants in Medellín. It has appetizers, salads, and the main dishes include meats, fish and, seafood, chicken as well as pasta.
After lunch, the next activity in our one-day tourist itinerary is experiencing Medellín’s metro system and cable cars. Universidad metro station is located a short walk from Jardín Botánico. And metro tickets cost only 2,300 pesos.
3. Experiencing Medellín’s Metro and Cable-Cars – 1:00 pm
Medellín has the only rail-based mass transportation system in Colombia. And it is spotlessly clean. Yet Medellín’s metro is much more than a rail-based system.
Medellín’s metro system is a comprehensive mass transportation system in the city that integrates two Metro rail lines, four Metrocable cable-car lines, two Metroplús elongated bus lines, a Tranvía tramcar line and even feeder Metro buses.
For this recommended activity first take the metro line A north to to Acevedo station. Here you will transfer to Metrocable line K. And you will take the cable car up the mountain over brick houses with corrugated metal roofs to Santo Domingo station, which is the last stop on line K.
The ride up the mountain on the cable cars offers sweeping views of Medellin in the valley below. Considering the fare for a metro ticket from anywhere in the city is only 2,300 pesos, it’s a real steal. Or even cheaper at 2,000 pesos if you have a Civica card.
At Santo Domingo Metrocable station, it is possible to transfer to the Metrocable Line L to Parque Arví. If you decide to go to Paque Arví, plan to add at least an hour to your itinerary. Also there is an additional metro fare of 5,300 pesos to/from Parque Arví (each way)
Near Santo Domingo station is Biblioteca España – a library for the local community with three giant black slate monoliths, which was a popular tourist spot. The library has been closed due to some reconstruction of the site for a long time, since October 2015. One reader reported this library has reopened in comments below. But it was confirmed on April 1, 2019 to still be closed as seen in the following photo.
After experiencing the metro and cable-cars, the next activity in our one-day tourist itinerary is to head to bustling El Centro to see Plaza Botero and Museo de Antioquia. And it is easy to get there on the metro, just take Line A south to Parque Berrio metro station. Plaza Botero and Museo de Antioquia are conveniently located a very short walk from Parque Berrio.
4. Exploring Plaza Botero and Museo de Antioquia – 2:00 pm
Plaza Botero and Museo de Antioquia are two of the top tourist attractions in Medellín. Plaza Botero is an outside park located in front of Museo de Antioquia that displays 23 abstract bronze sculptures created by World-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Most noteworthy, Botero donated the statues and many other artworks found in Museo de Antioquia.
The 23 bronze statues found at Plaza Botero include chubby women and men, a cat, a dog, Adam and Eve and many others. Take some time walking around the plaza and taking photos.
During the day, there will be many tourists in the area taking photos. But still take care to watch your valuables in the area. There is normally a noticeable police presence. So, it is relatively safe.
Museo de Antioquia is located right next to Plaza Botero. Museum tickets cost 18,000 pesos for foreigners. And for an additional price you can rent a hand-held audio guide that tells you more about certain individual works throughout the museum (available in English).
No visit to Medellín would be complete without visiting Museo de Antioquia. The primary exhibit of the museum is a comprehensive collection of Fernando Botero’s paintings and sculptures, which are located on the third floor. We recommend starting on the third floor of the museum and working your way down.
After exploring Plaza Botero and Museo de Antioquia, the final activity in our tourist itinerary is experiencing shopping with a view at El Tesoro mall. From Plaza Botero, we recommend taking a taxi to El Tesoro mall. Every taxi driver will know where El Tesoro is located.
5. Shopping with a View at El Tesoro Mall – 4:00 pm
El Tesoro mall is one of the best shopping malls in Medellín. It’s a very modern mall with some great scenic views of the city. Furthermore, El Tesoro has a Cinemark movie theater, many trendy clothing stores and even some rides for children such as a Ferris wheel and a train. You’ll find well over 200 shops in this mall.
El Tesoro mall is located in El Poblado. And it is located high up the eastern hills of Medellín. We chose this mall as it has the best views out of all malls in the city. The views offer a stunning panorama of the city.
Or if you decide to have dinner at El Tesoro there are some pretty good restaurants located there. In the mall, we recommend Parmessano, which has good Italian food, and Chef Burger with some good gourmet hamburgers. In addition, there are good views of the city from El Tesoro at night.
The Bottom Line: Tourist Itinerary for a Day in Medelllín
We chose several of the most popular attractions in Medellín for our recommending tourist itinerary for a day. Most notably, these attractions provide the opportunity to experience many of the top things to do in the city in a short amount of time.
In addition, the locations we chose provide the opportunity to take some amazing photos, as can be seen in the above photos.
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Editors note: updated on April 1, 2019 with photo showing Biblioteca España is still closed.