Montevideo’s Rambla is a riverfront promenade stretching from the Bay all the way down the coast to Carrasco on the city’s eastern border. It’s dotted with coves, parks and viewpoints thronged with locals as the summer days close in. Just off Ciudad Vieja, Cubo del Sur is a remnant of Montevideo’s battle-weary past, while the yacht club in Pocitos is graced with shiny sailing boats and an opulent atmosphere. Hire a bike, set out at dusk and stop at the best-looking spot for a sunset you’ll never forget.
This sandy stretch is endlessly popular in the summer months, packed with stripped-off locals basking in the relentless sun. In early February, Playa Ramirez hosts Uruguay’s most unusual celebration, Iemanjá. This one-night festival honours the Yoruba goddess of the sea and sees locals send offerings of white flowers and candles out into the waves. Parque Ródo’s old-timey amusement park and roller skating rink backs onto the beach, adding to its surreal feel. Linger as the sun goes down to witness the enchanting clash of orange and blue above the Montevideo skyline.
Jutting out into the bay like Montevideo’s pointed chin, Plaza de la Armada in Punta Gorda is a rolling park beloved by locals for its 360° view across the city and its coastline. Its focal point is the abstract bronze statue by Spanish artist Eduardo Diaz Yepes, honouring Uruguay’s fallen sailors. For a panoramic vista of the Río, you won’t find a better spot. Do as the locals do – pitch up with a pack of cold beers, a chivito and settle in for an unforgettable sunset.
The hill that rises from the flat streets of Montevideo was the obvious location for the city’s defences in the early 19th century. Perched atop the peak is the last Spanish fortress built in Uruguay, standing at 134 metres above sea level. Today it is home to a military museum, detailing the stories of Uruguay’s Spanish occupation and the civil war. The view from the top of the fortress is one of the most breathtaking in the city – a prime spot for watching the sun drop beneath the horizon.
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This pretty little faro in Punta Carretas was built in 1876 to guide trade ships and fishing boats into Banco Inglés and Buceo Port from Montevideo’s southernmost point. Wander down the dirt track that leads to the lighthouse for a panorama of the city’s skyline in the distance. Steady your sea legs, ask permission to enter and head up the steps of this working lighthouse at dusk, for a spectacular view of the setting sun.