How to Spend 48 Hours in Medellin, Colombia

Paragliding in Medellin | © scarebet / Pixabay
Paragliding in Medellin | © scarebet / Pixabay
Photo of Chris Bell
6 October 2017

Medellin is one of Colombia’s most popular travel destinations, but many visitors don’t want to linger too long in a city when there is such amazing nature and culture to enjoy in the rest of Colombia. The good news is you can easily enjoy the best of Medellin in a short period of time, so here’s a guide on how to spend 48 hours in Medellin (based on an itinerary of two nights and one full day).

Day 1

Arriving into Medellin in the late afternoon, the first thing you’ll want to do is check into your hostel or hotel. With just a couple of nights to spend in the city, it’s worth staying in Poblado neighbourhood: it’s certainly more touristy, but many of the best restaurants and bars are also there, so it’s a good place to be based. The Charlee Hotel is highly recommended if you’re after somewhere nicer to stay. Once you’ve checked in, you can head to the Charlee’s rooftop bar, Envy, for a drink (even if you’re not staying there it’s worth it for the view).

Parque Explora – seen in the foreground – is an essential stop in Medellin | © Iván Erre Jota / Flickr

Once you’ve had that sunset drink, you’ll want dinner: head to OCI.mde in Poblado. This hip, modern restaurant serves upscale Colombian classics and is easily one of the best restaurants in the city. You’ll need to make reservations in advance, but it’s totally worth it for the quality cuisine. Then you’ll most likely want to call it a night: tomorrow will be a long day!

Day 2

This is your one full day to enjoy Medellin, so you’ve got to take advantage of it! Get up nice and early and go for coffee and a pastry at Pergamino Cafe in Poblado – with some of the best local coffee in the city, it’s the perfect pick-me-up for a long day ahead. From Pergamino, head to the meeting point for the Free Walking Tour of Medellin, probably the best tour available in the city. It takes all morning, but you will be able to visit all the key tourist sights in the centre of Medellin, including Parque de Las Luces, Plaza Botero and Plaza San Antonio, learning about the city’s history at the same time.

Botero sculptures in the Plaza Botero | © Iván Erre Jota / Flickr

Once you’ve finished with the tour, stick around Centro and grab a bandeja paisa for lunch at Hacienda Junin – this hearty dish is easily the most representative dish in the region, so you don’t want to miss out! From there, jump on the Metro and head north towards the Medellin Botanical Gardens and Parque Explora. You can spend a great afternoon wandering the gardens, enjoying wonderful sightings of iguanas and even monkeys, before enjoying the fun interactive science and technology museum of Parque Explora – with a 3D cinema, aquarium and interactive exhibits, it’s a fun experience for sure.

If you still have time, head up nearby Nutibara Hill to visit the mock Antioquia village known as Pueblito Paisa, and enjoy the dusk views over Medellin – the sight of the lights coming on in the city as night approaches is one of the best vistas in Medellin. Then head back towards Poblado for dinner – try and visit Carmen restaurant tonight (although make sure to book if it’s a weekend). As one of the city’s best restaurants, it’s another practically unmissable Medellin dining experience.

Medellin from Pueblitp Paisa | © Mario Arcila / Flickr

If it’s a weekend and you still have the energy for a night out, then be sure to visit Calle 9+1 nightclub: this hipster-friendly establishment plays a great mix of techno, funk and electronic music, attracting a lively young crowd.

Day 3

Get up nice and early and head out of Medellin towards San Felix to enjoy a spot of paragliding! The views over the city are spectacular – easily the best view of Medellin – and there’s nothing quite like soaring through the air with nothing but the wind keeping you airborne.

Paragliding in Medellin | © nigel burgher / Flickr

Once you’re back in the city, grab some lunch then jump on the Medellin Metrocable and ride up to Parque Arvi, a pretty natural park in the mountains to the east of the city. Spend the afternoon hiking the forest trails and enjoying local snacks from the market stalls. Then head back down on the cable cars and Metro towards Poblado to pack your bags and call your taxi to the airport. You’ll surely be sad to be leaving such a beautiful and fun city, but satisfied that you packed as much as possible into your 48 hours in Medellin.

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