Medellín, nestled in a valley of the Andes, is known as the “City of the Eternal Spring” due to its pleasant climate. Colombia’s infamous civil wars are consigned to history; Medellín is now a safe hub of innovation. After the city’s inception in the 17th century, its remote distance from other areas of Colombia has allowed it to develop its own particular style.
One of Medellín’s most impressive features is the Metrocable gondola system. Climb aboard in the city’s east and travel over mountains past the Parque Biblioteca España (Spain Library Park) with buildings resembling giant rocks built on the hills. Continue south to Parque Arví nature reserve. Explore some of its 2,000 acres (800 hectares) of paths, farms and an archeological site.
Returning to the city’s center, browse 400 shops in the Palacio Nacional (National Palace) mall. A few blocks away, find the Museo de Antioquia (Antioquia Museum), a collection of works by Medellín natives, Fernando Botero and Pedro Nel Gómez. Elsewhere in the city look for graffiti and street art created during the annual Street Skills activities each November.
Explore the Jardin Botánico (Botanical Gardens) in the north. Capture photos of ducks in the lake, surrounded by stunning floral displays. Next door is the Parque Explora (Explore Park), a natural sciences center with 300 interactive activities and a large aquarium.
When on a break from sightseeing, enjoy some of Medellín’s traditional foods: mondongo (tripe and cassava soup), sancocho (chicken and plantain soup) and bandeja paisa (bean, beef, egg and rice).
In southern Medellín’s affluent Poblado area, find El Castillo Museo y Jardines (Castle Museum and Gardens). Learn about the Colombian philanthropist who lived there and see heirlooms from various European cultures. Enjoy a picnic in the charming gardens with a panoramic view of the entire city.
Most international visitors arriving by air will fly into José María Córdova international airport, which is 45 minutes east of Medellín. If you get to the city by bus from other Columbian cities, expect a journey through spectacular scenery.