Sometimes overshadowed by its neighbours, Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay offers its visitors a wide range of experiences. Its towns and cities offer a delightful blend of architectural styles, its beaches gave way to sweeping views and its picturesque interior are a welcome break to relax, enjoy fine wines and local cuisine. Uruguay is easily combinable with neighbouring Argentina, but definitely merits a visit on its own.
Ancient Colonia, with its cobblestoned streets and many Portuguese colonial buildings, was once a rival to the Spanish-dominated Montevideo. Today Uruguay’s oldest town has retained its immense charm, and its compact city centre is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set on a point with views over the River Plate, this is a ‘must-see’ on any trip to Uruguay. Many people choose to visit Colonia on a day trip from Buenos Aires.
Head inland to discover fertile plains, rolling hills and sleepy villages such as Carmelo and Garzón. Known for gourmet food and with a reputation for production of excellent wines, stay in traditional estancias or at luxurious wineries to get a real flavour of Uruguay. Discover historic working ranches still representative of the country’s pastural background – and look out for Uruguayan gauchos!
The ritzy resort of Punta del Este is the place to soak up some glamour. There are miles of beautiful beaches, luxury hotels, exceptional restaurants and thriving nightlife. For a more laid-back coastal retreat, head to the former fishing village of José Ignacio; home to gourmet eateries, trendy boutiques and beautiful art galleries. Don’t miss the town’s iconic 1877 lighthouse that sits on a rocky promontory at the town’s windswept edge. A little further up the coast from José Ignacio, find Cabo Polonia and Rocha, where you will discover azure lagoons, golden sand dunes, verdant nature reserves and picture-perfect fishing villages.
Uruguay Fact File
December - March
15 hours 30 approx via Madrid or Sao Paolo
London Gatwick, London Heathrow
- 3 hours