Things to do in Montevideo + A Palace Lighthouse

Montevideo is the capital city of Uruguay in South America.  Things to do in Montevideo;

  • Plaza of Independence and Artigas Mausoleum
  • Estevez Palace
  • Salvo Palace
  • Pocitos Beach and La Rambla
  • Port Market (Mercado del Puerto)
  • Peatonal Sarandi

Hotels in Montevideo are good value, you’ll have no problem finding a hotel in your price range.  The good news about Montevideo is that it’s a safe city and easy to walk around.  If you are unable to walk or have a long distance to travel then taxis are metered and very cheap.

Plaza of Independence and Artigas Mausoleum

Things to do in Montevideo - Independence Plaza

The Plaza of Independence is located in the center of the city of Montevideo.  In the Plaza of Independence is a huge statue of José Artigas and underneath this statue you can visit the mausoleum of José Artigas known as the Artigas mausoleum.  Jose Artigas is a national hero who played a huge part in Uruguay gaining independence from Brazil in 1825.  You’ll find many streets and monuments in Uruguay and all over South America named Artigas.  They’re all named in honor of the Uruguayan hero Jose Artigas.

Estevez Palace

Estévez Palace is a notable landmark located on the Plaza of Independence which is worthy of photographing.  Two other notable landmarks located in Montevideo’s old town are Taranco Palace and the Solis Theater.

Salvo Palace

Things to do in Montevideo - Salvo Palace, Uruguay

Salvo Palace is located on the Plaza of Independence.  It officially opened in 1928 as a lighthouse on top of a building and at the time it was claimed to be the tallest building in South America.  Salvo palace was originally topped with a light and used as a lighthouse which could be seen for 100 km.  The light was later removed and consequently, the buildings height shrank.  Today the building is used for residential purposes but there are a few rooms being rented to tourists for short stays.

Pocitos Beach and La Rambla

Things to do in Montevideo - Pocitos and La Rambla

Montevideo has its own beach and you can easily walk there from the historic center.  You can see the Pocitos beach and the famous Rambla district on the other side of the water (above).  Rambla is the promenade behind the beach and has applied for UNESCO world heritage status, however it has not yet been accepted.  Rambla is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon people watching whilst enjoying a coffee or cold beverage in one of the many cafes.  Did you know there’s also a La Rambla street in Barcelona?  Finally, the most famous beach in Uruguay is Punta del Este which is a 2 hour bus ride east of the city.

Port Market (Mercado del Puerto)

Things to do in Montevideo - Port Market (Mercado del Puerto)

If I was to go to Montevideo again and could only visit one place, the place I’d choose would be the Port Market (Mercado del Puerto).  Here I ate in a restaurant which had the best steak I have ever tasted.  I’ve tried the steak in Argentina but here in Montevideo, just over the water, I would say the steak is better and a hidden treasure of the country.  I know all steak restaurants in Uruguay won’t offer brilliant steak so to be sure you should visit the Port Market for your steak.  Lastly, Port Market is located close to the cruise port in Montevideo.

Peatonal Sarandi

If you don’t fancy a steak or visiting the market port then there is a pedestrian street called Peatonal Sarandi where you find lots of restaurants serving all types of food and drink.  Milanesas are a popular food in Uruguay and the beers are served in liter bottles.

How to get from Montevideo to Buenos Aires

Celebrity Infinity, Montevideo cruise ship port

To get to Buenos Aires from Montevideo there are regular ferry services which take from 2-3 hours.  Before leaving Uruguay you could make a trip to the UNESCO world heritage city of Colonia del Sacramento which is less than 3 hours away by bus.  Additionally, there are direct ferries from Colonia del Sacramento to Buenos Aires.  For my trip to Buenos Aires however, I was on the last leg of my Celebrity Cruise so no need for the ferry service, I could enjoy one more night of cruise food.

Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu

2019-01-15T19:14:35+00:00October 25th, 2016|South America, Uruguay|19 Comments


  1. Leah April 10, 2017 at 10:50 am - Reply

    This is a perfect place for me to visit! Steaks and markets are my favorite things to eat and visit while on vacation! Very cool place. This is definitely going on my bucket list!

  2. Ricci April 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    The Salvo Palace’s elaborate design is impressive. I love to take pictures and I think I would enjoy to roam around the Plaza of Independence to check those old buildings and monuments.

  3. neha April 12, 2017 at 7:17 am - Reply

    Such a beautiful place to visit. And montevideo seems to have so much to offer for every kind of visitor. I am going to put it in my bucket list. Thanks for the detailed guide on places to see, stay option and all the other important info!

  4. Bhushavali April 13, 2017 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    That market complete with that clock atop looks awesome! Good to know that the taxis are metered, so tourists won’t be taken for a ride 😉 !!! Beers are served in liters, that’s a good news for all beer lovers!

  5. Katie April 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Buenos Aires is high on my bucket list! would love to visit 🙂 Thanks for such a detailed guide 🙂 The markets sound awesome!

  6. Archana Singh April 14, 2017 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Buenos Aires look so lovely. It’s good to know that you didn’t have any problem finding value for money hotels in Montevideo. Plus safety and easy to walk are bonus for me.

  7. Anita April 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    Montevideo looks beautiful, I had no idea and I also wasn’t aware it had a Heritage site.

  8. Sandy N Vyjay April 15, 2017 at 1:51 am - Reply

    Montevideo looks like a colourful and vibrant place. The market seems to pulsate with life. Salvo Palace looks quite intriguing, fascinating that it was initially opened as a lighthouse. Never seen a lighthouse like this! though it must have been different in those days.

  9. Cat April 15, 2017 at 2:38 am - Reply

    The main concern about traveling in South America is safety so it is great to learn that Montevideo is a safe destination.Pocitos looks like a lovely place to spend the afternoon. As a foodie, I’d love to try the steak at Port Market!

  10. Punita Malhotra April 15, 2017 at 5:56 am - Reply

    Crisp and concise post with such lovely pictures of the town. Have added this place to my list. Salvo Palace would be topping my list of priorities.

  11. Rashmi and Chalukya April 15, 2017 at 6:46 am - Reply

    Port Market would be one of the places where we would love to spend some time shopping like a local. It is amazing to know that Salvo palace was used as a lighthouse which could be seen as far away as 100 km. And beer in liter bottles reminds me of Prague where we first saw that the beer was sold in liter bottles 🙂

  12. Iza April 15, 2017 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Port Market sounds like a great place to eat Uruguayan cuisine and shop. What would be the best time to eat there? It looks like a busy place. It would be nice to walk around Plaza Independencia too.

    • James Smith April 16, 2017 at 12:10 am - Reply

      The best time to eat there would be when there is not a cruise ship in town!

  13. Reshma April 15, 2017 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Salvo Palace looks fabulous and good to know some of the rooms are available to tourists. I love visiting local markets, and Port market looks great! I have heard of beer being sold in liter bottles – A thing I would love to try, again 🙂

  14. Vicky April 16, 2017 at 3:55 am - Reply

    I love going to markets abroad, and just walking around, soaking it all in – the Port Market looks awesome, too! It’s good to know that it’s a safe city and getting around is relatively easy – since I’m travelling on my own most of the time, safety is definitely important. Montevideo sounds like a fantastic place to visit! 🙂

  15. Baz April 16, 2017 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    I’m a chance of slipping down to Buenos Aires after I finish up here in Brazil in a few months. So cheers for that info! Could come in handy down the track 😛

  16. Izzy April 17, 2017 at 12:57 am - Reply

    I love any sort of market setup and so Mercado del Puerto seems right up my alley! You have an incredibly thorough way of writing by the way, a real gem for those who appreciate attention to details 🙂

  17. Simon April 18, 2017 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Great article. I’ve not seen much about Uruguay so this is very useful. We’re planning a South American trip next year so we need all the information we can get 🙂 thanks for sharing.

  18. Lisa November 28, 2017 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    That’s so great there’s a beach from Montevideo! Pocitos looks so beautiful, and I love the sound of your steak at the mercado. I’m a real steak girl, and I hope to see Montevideo for myself one day!

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