The popularity of Medellín has practically exploded in recent years – and no wonder considering the fact that it’s a gorgeous city with a big heart and soul, as well as a whole load of fantastic experiences to be had. This was not always the case, however: decades ago the city was the capital of Pablo Escobar’s cocaine empire, and quite dangerous for visitors and residents alike.
But no need to worry: long gone are the days when Colombia’s second largest city was an unsafe destination, and this changed city is the poster child of a destination success story. Popular with both new businesses – it’s the current hotspot for the cryptocurrency industry, as well as tourism. This city will prove itself worthy of your time, love and appreciation!
Pro Tip: Pack light, because this is a place where the temperature stays between approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) to 82 F (27C) – all year round.
Ready to give this amazing, innovative city a visit? Great, let’s have a look at what it has to offer!
Before you start exploring all of the fun things that Medellín has, you might want to familiarize yourself with the metro system – the catalyst for the amazing change that the city has undergone. It not only makes it a heck of a lot easier to get around but also, thanks to its pristine state and cable cars, is something worth experiencing in itself.
Let’s start big: Medellín might be the perfect spot for paragliding given its hillside location offering you absolutely breathtaking views of the city and the gorgeous landscape while you’re gliding through the air.
What’s that, you’ve never tried paragliding before? Not to worry, you’ll fly with experts who will make sure you only need to focus on the gorgeous vistas below. You can even get a video of your flight to take home and show your friends and family!
Taking the speed down a notch but leaving the fun level where it is, going on a bike tour through Medellín is a great way to experience the city in all of its glory while learning about its rich history at the same time.
You’ll see parks, museums, architecture and so much more – all while getting some exercise – that’ll be great for justifying a large, yummy meal later on.
Pro Tip – Leave the jeans at home – the combination of warm weather and bike riding calls for some lighter and more breathable attire.
Ever heard of Colombian coffee? Most coffee fans will indeed have heard of it because the hot java beans produced in this country are somewhat of a global phenomenon.
If you’d like to go on a tour of an authentic coffee farm without having to travel for days through the jungle, you’re in luck: there are farms close enough to get to, explore and enjoy – all in one day. You can also take a trip to a flower farm, which is quite possibly one of the world’s most breathtaking Insta locations.
Salsa runs like blood through the veins of Colombian culture, and you will never be far from a spot where you can do some salsa dancing.
As well as being super fun, it’s also a great way to hang out with the locals and make new friends – try going to La Eslabon Prendido on a Tuesday night, when the place is packed with people enjoying and dancing to the weekly live band.
Want to work on your salsa skills? There are classes to take, of course – and some of them you can book in advance using WhatsApp. Pretty neat ey!
Medellín is an art gallery, and its walls are the canvases – street art and graffiti is both widespread and popular in the city, and you’ll find the most amazing pieces all around town. The photo opportunities are endless, but this is only the top of the iceberg – there are countless fantastic things to see in this buzzing city!
In order to highlight the dark past of the city, at Casa de la Memoria, The House of Memory, you can see displays of the results of various projects carried out by the Victim Assistance Program of Medellín City Hall. These projects all have the same objectives, to help people deal with their pain, and to ensure that violence never takes hold of the city again.
Photos, items and interviews tell the stories of the victims and you can go have a look, free of charge, all week except for Mondays. This museum is really worth some of your time.
If you want to sit down for a bit and kick your feet up without missing out on fun surroundings, Parque de Los Deseos is where you want to be!
There might not be many trees, but this open space is the perfect spot for people watching as it’s in the center of public activity and also boasts interactive science pieces.
For fun educational activities with the kids, Parque Biblioteca España is a library park with three stone style buildings and an absolutely fantastic view – hopefully, you can find something to read in your language, should your Spanish need some work!
There is no need to decide what filter to use on photos taken in Guatapé, a town with stunning streets and buildings covered in so many vibrant colors that you might wonder if your bus fell into a rabbit hole on the short drive there from Medellín!
The only downside is the risk that you won’t appreciate colors in the same way after a visit to this fantastic site!
Colombian cuisine is a smörgåsbord of various flavors, influences, and ingredients. A little bit of Spanish, some African, a hint of Arabic and a handful of Indigenous cuisines make up its gastronomic identity.
Try to get your hands on a bandeja paisa, a delicious medley of red beans, rice, plantain, and maize-based baked goods – think a Colombian version of the full English breakfast – and one of the most popular dishes in Medellín.
For some food with a view, dining at a rooftop restaurant is pretty much mandatory, and at Alambique you’ll get just that, in addition to a really fun and creative interior design mixing a rustic feeling with a modern – and a bit weird – vibe.
That in itself is worthy of its own photos, and when you see the equally fun and creative food, your Instagram sensor will go crazy. The menu is inspired by Latin and Colombian food with some vegan options – for even more of the vegan goodness, give the lovely Dharma Vegan Resto a go. Note: they also serve brunch. We do like us some brunch.
Location, location, location… Try to find a place close to the neighborhoods and attractions that you find the most fascinating – we love the combination of being able to relax and socialize which, of course, influences where we decide to stay.
The hostels in Medellín have the same high standard as the rest of the city so finding one with a great location, super friendly staff, and free breakfast — or an outdoor terrace — is as easy as pie – which, coincidentally, you might find in some of them.
Hostels are a great way to meet people from all over the world, and are a source of useful information – so definitely have a look when planning your trip.
Perhaps an even better way to meet people and make new friends – if that’s even possible – is co-living, where you can work, hang out, work some more, relax, finish work and then get ready to go out and explore more of the city with your new found friends!
There are also plenty of co-working spaces, just in case you’ve already decided on where to stay.
Wow, did your Instagram survive all of that Medellin induced searching and scrolling that we just induced with this wanderlust worthy spotlight of the city?!
We’d love to know if you’ve visited, and if so – which are your favorite spots and places in the city. Let us know in the comments and, hey – we might see you there!