Medellín in Colombia has been a big talking point in recent years for its art scene, new architecture, and vibrant nightlife. It’s also a perfect weekend escape in South America. If you want to stay longer, consider it as a hopping off point before exploring the country’s Coffee Triangle in the central Andes. Medellín is a lesson in reinvention, developing into an exciting metropolis over the last decade. Make the upmarket district of El Poblan your base.
Stay: Charlee Hotel is a 42-room stylish property with art-covered walls and a rooftop pool overlooking Parque Lleras.
Eat: Ocio is one of the city’s new generation of excellent restaurants. Try the glazed pork shank glazed in balsamic and orange with mash potato, followed by house-made vanilla ice-cream with berries, chocolate cake bites, and hot chocolate.
Drink: Pergamino meaning “parchment,” is a popular spot for quality coffee in an airy, cool space in the El Poblan neighborhood.
Visit: Museo de Arte Moderno (MAMM), has been rehoused in a renovated 1930s steel mill and is the place to see Colombian contemporary art.
See: Every August the city’s 10-day Feria de Las Flores includes a beautiful parade of silleteros (flower farmers) who carry enormous floral arrangements on their backs.
Day Trip: Take a morning trip to Guatapé, a two-hour drive from Medellín. The picturesque town is famous for its colorful houses painted with pretty murals, and a 650-foot-high monolithic rock with 649 zigzagging stairs. From the top there’s a beautiful view of the surrounding lakes and islands.
Photographs: Courtesy of Hotel Charlee; Plaza de Botero, courtesy of ProColombia; Feria de las Flores, courtesy of Viceministerio de Turismo