The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay

The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay
The picturesque town of Colonia del Sacramento, lying on the Río de la Plata, is the oldest city in Uruguay, and was founded by the governor of Rio de Janeiro Don Manuel Lobo. It was commissioned by the ruling Prince Pedro II of Portugal to defend his empire. Since 1995, Colonia del Sacramento has been listed as a UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site. Take a look at the variety of activities to do in Colonia del Sacramento, one of South America’s most beautiful towns.

See Old Town Walls

The Old Town Gate is also called Puerta de Campo or Puerta de la Ciudadela, and was built in 1745 by the Portuguese governor Don Manuel Lobo. The region of the Río de la Plata was valuable and was regularly fought over, so this gate with its walls served to defend the strategically located town from attacks. Today, it is still well preserved and a frequently visited place. It marks the limit between the new part of the city and the historic part, also called the Barrio Histórico.

Manuel Lobo, Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Old Town Walls with Gate © Magalie L’Abbé/Flickr

Church Matriz

The Church Matriz is considered the oldest church in Uruguay, and it is also known as the Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento.Visitors will find it in the Plaza de Armas in the historic district of Colonia, and since 1995 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is nearly in the same condition as at the moment it was built, and is as old as the city itself. In the church, visitors will find two graves, one for the vicar Domingo Rama and the other one belonging to Father Barredo.
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El Faro Lighthouse

The El Faro lighthouse was built in 1857 and is worth seeing because of its special shape and design. The lower part is shaped in a square and the upper half is a cylindrical tower which reaches all the way up to the lantern. The lighthouse was built over the ruins of the Convento de San Francisco, which are still visible today. One thing not to be missed is to climb up El Faro and enjoy the beautiful view over the city and the Río de la Plata.

El Faro Lighthouse © Phil Whitehouse/Flickr


A must-visit in Colonia del Sacramento is one of the local wineries. You can choose from, for example, the Bodega Turística Bernardi, a family-run business established in 1892, Los Cerros de San Juan, the oldest and most traditional winery in the country, which opened in 1854, and the youngest winery, Bodega Familia Irurtia. These are located a bit outside of Colonia del Sacramento, but worth seeing. The Bodega Familia Irurtia winery has won several international prizes for their products. All of the mentioned wineries offer guided tours with tasting sessions that should not be missed.

Vineyard in Uruguay © Rodrigo Soldon/Flickr

Collection Museum Granja Arenas

Collection of pencils
Collection of pencils | © José Luis Merizalde/Flickr
This museum opened it doors in 1956, and was founded by Emilio Arenas. It is a very special type of museum, as it does not exhibit important historical artifacts. Instead, the Museum Granja Arenas presents 16,260 black graphic writing pencils, which is the biggest collection in the world, as declared by Guinness World Records. If that is not enough, visitors will find there 3,600 perfume bottles, and much more. For sure, it is worth visiting along with all the other museums in Colonia del Sacramento, like the Portuguese Museum and the Spanish Museum, to know more about the history of this area.
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Collection of pencils © José Luis Merizalde/Flickr

The Harbor

Puerto Viejo, the Old Harbor, is the main harbor for sports activities like sailing, the preferred place for walks, and, because of its beautiful bridge, for relaxed moments. It is also called Puerto de Yates de Colonia, because of its many sailboats, and lies on the Río de la Plata. This river connects Uruguay with Argentina and is important for the trading and the transportation of people between both countries.

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Old Harbor in Colonia del Sacramento © Ricarda Reininger


A very good place for having a relaxed evening and listening to local live music is Barbot. It is the first craft brewery in the city, and offers a huge range of different beers. They use only the best quality ingredients for their products, and they also offer to their guests Mexican food, pizza and other specialities. Every week, guests can enjoy great new musicians and delicious homemade beer.

Washington Barbot 160, Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, +598 4522 7268+598 4522 7268

Buenos Aires City

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, and situated further down the Río de la Plata. Because of its location it is the perfect destination for day-trippers from Colonia del Sacramento (or Colonia del Sacramento is a perfect location for a day trip from Buenos Aires). Using a ship, visitors will get there very easy and fast. There is a lot to see in Buenos Aires, such things as the Obelisc, the Teatro Colón, Recoleta Cemetery and the district of La Boca with its multicolored houses. If you do not have that much time, look for the things you want to do before arriving, and nothing more can stop to experience this impressive capital.

Mate Tea

During an exciting day everybody needs a break, and what could be better than a mate tea in the home country of mate. Mate is a brewing beverage where boiling hot water is poured over various herbs to create an infused tea. On tasting it the first time, it could be a bit unusual and strong, but by and by it changes into a tasty drink, and perhaps it will become a life companion.

Plaza de Toros Real de San Carlos

The Plaza de Toros Real de San Carlos is a bull ring built in a typically Moorish style. It is located a bit outside of the city center of Colonia, and is the only bull ring in the whole country. Plaza de Toros opened in 1910, and hosted eight fights in the first two years. The most famous bullfighters of the time, Ricardo Torres and his brother Manuel ,came from Spain and provided a spectacle of a special class, until bullfighting was prohibited by the government.

Plaza de Toros Real de San Carlos © Nico Giraldez/Fickr