Medellín is one of the most popular cities among backpackers in Colombia. Where this city used to be known for the violence and Pablo Escobar, today it is a popular destination for tourists. And there are some reasons for that; in 2013 the city won another prize for the most ‘innovative city in the world’. Take a few days off for your visit to Medellín and make sure you don’t skip the following things.
Comuna 13 graffiti tour
To make one thing directly clear; don’t miss the graffiti tour in the Comuna 13 neighborhood! We found this one of the coolest activities during our stay in Medellín. Join a guide and discover this creative city district. Behind the graffiti artworks there interesting messages hidden and your guide will be happy to tell you more about the history of Comuna 13. This neighborhood is built against a hill and during the tour you go up with escalators. On top of the hill you will not only find impressive street art but also the view over the city is breathtaking. The graffiti tour is offered by different companies, but there are large price differences. We have done the tour at Leandro Roman and have paid 40,000 COP per person for this, excluding tips. A nice guide with a lot of knowledge and he speaks English very well. Our tour started at 2 p.m. and we reserved our seats in advance via WhatsApp: (57) 3007776568
Personally we thought the tour was a bit long (around 4 hours) and we would have preferred to visit Comuna 13 on our own. There are plenty of taxis and the area is very touristic. The advantage of a guide is that you get more information about the meanings of the graffiti and the history of Comuna 13. And don’t forget to take the cable car at the end for another perfect view.
Do you want a beautiful 360-degree view of the city? Then visit the Pueblito Paisa. A short climb brings you to a beautiful viewpoint and a square with various (tourist) stalls. There is also a museum at the top. If you want to do it really well, go here around sunset and be enchanted by all the lights when the sun is down. In the dark we advise you to take a taxi/uber due to safety. This is also simply possible during the day, there is a taxi spot at the top.
Football match Atlético National
For football fans among us, a visit to the stadium of Atlético Nacional should be on the top of your list. But even if you are not a football holic, it is a very nice experience! The Atanasio Girardot Stadium is close to the Laureles district. We have visited the Atlético Nacional – Deportivo La Equidad match and the final score was 1-1. A nice competition where the temperament of the Colombian fans amazing. They sang and danced non-stop.
Where can you buy tickets for Atlético National?
There are various points of sale for football tickets in the city. We bought them at the Tienda Verde store in the Los Molinos shopping center. Our tickets cost 40,000 COP per person and we had perfect places (Oriental grandstand, section 14, row B, seat 280/281). Just next to the fanatic fans but in a quieter area. Outside the stadium you can buy a nice football shirt. After some bargaining, we have paid 15,000 COP per shirt for it.
Shopping in Medellín
If you feel like shopping in Medellín, you can go to one of the many shopping malls. In Los Molinos shopping center you will find a large selection of shops and eateries. We have also been to the Unicentro Shopping Mall but it was a bit disappointing.
Sleeping in Medellín
There are two popular neighborhoods to stay in Medellín: El Poblado and Laureles. Most tourists sleep in the busy El Poblado, here you will find many bars and restaurants. Find out which part of the city suits you best. We felt very comfortable in the Laureles district. You will also find a lot of restaurants and bars here, but it is less focused on tourists. You should also think about in wich neighborhood you would like to sleep. We slept in a really chill AirBnb in a quiet street in Laureles.
Eating and drinking in Medellín
In Medellín you will find many trendy restaurants and bars. Although you will find many typical snacks in Colombia such as empanadas and arepas, this country does not have its own unique kitchen, so in the evening you will soon come across Mexican / Italian / Indian dishes, hamburgers or rice with chicken. In Medellín we have eaten tasty and affordable tacos at Restaurant Orale and a delicious salad at the trendy Zeppelin Café. At this place they also offer a daily menu for 14,000 pesos. If you would like a pleasant evening among the food trucks, check restaurant Le Piqniq. For a nice drink you can go to the vintage bar Fidelina. You will also find the Bogota Beer Brewery pub in the middle of Laureles where you can enjoy delicious special draft beers.
Safety in Medellín
Although the city is becoming increasingly popular among tourists, it is important to look out for a number of things in Medellín. An important tip: do not walk on the street with your phone in your hand. Store it safely in your bag, as well as your camera. It is also wise to go on the street with as little expensive jewelry as possible. Pay close attention to your drink when you go out and although many people find it extra interesting in Colombia; don’t be tempted to use drugs and watch out for any (Tinder) dates. As a tourist you are extra vulnerable in certain areas and despite the positive developments in Colombia, the dangers have not yet passed. So keep thinking logically. And enjoy!
Medellín is an interesting city to visit and the people are really friendly. We thought it was definitely worth a visit! From Medellín you can also make cool trips to Guatape, Jardín and of course the palm tree valley Cocora near Salento.