Since its 17th-century inception, the hostilities of South American forces and European colonists made Montevideo something of a melting-pot chess match. However, this juvenile city has been sculpted into South America’s most easy-going and open-minded (as evidenced by its radically liberal former president José Mujica). Set just downstream from Buenos Aires, on the north east bank of the Río de la Plata, Montevideo shares the city’s European-influenced Beaux Arts beauty in its Old Town buildings and immaculate plazas, and its flair for tango, which Montevideans allegedly conceived. Contemporary and pre-Colombian culture is well represented by fascinating museums and galleries, and the city’s nightlife unravels with the quiet urgency of a fomenting poem; often post-apocalyptically quiet streets front tango clubs, bars and cafés effervescent with dance and debate.
Areas in Montevideo
When to go
The city’s elegant boulevards and plazas were made for flâneurs, so visit in February or March when the weather’s delightfully warm and the Carnival shimmies into town.
From the blog
Tales from our travels
PlanesCarrasco Airport (www.aeropuertodecarrasco.com.uy) is Montevideo’s main international hub. Flights from Buenos Aires or Santiago are around an hour; Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN Airlines run frequent services.
BoatsThere’s a high-speed ferry across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires, run by Buquebus (www.buquebus.com), the journey takes about two hours.
AutomobilesOnce you’ve grown accustomed to the city’s roundabouts and staking a claim on your lane, driving in Montevideo is fairly fuss free. There’s an Avis car-hire booth at Carrasco International.