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15 Essential things to see in Medellin + Excursions

If you are thinking of traveling to Colombia, your flight will surely arrive in Bogotá or Medellín. And although the true charm of Colombia can be found in its towns and its natural wonders, its cities should not be left out, which are also an essential stop on the trip.

Medellín is a city of contrasts in which you will not be short of places to visit. In this post I tell you what to see in Medellin and what places to visit nearby. In addition, I add my recommendations for accommodation.


1. Start visiting the city by doing a Free Tour of Medellin

Take the opportunity to visit the most emblematic places of the city doing a Free Tour of Medellín. It's free! And, in addition, you will be able to know curiosities of the city, its history with drug trafficking and how the city has evolved since then...

Remember at the end of the tour to tip the guide, who surely deserves it.

2. Visit Commune 13

Although the city has had a complicated history and has been involved in numerous problems and conflicts, it has been able to re-emerge and be a new city. One of the main attractions of the city is Comuna 13.

This commune is known as "The cradle of Pablo Escobar". A few years ago, this place was one of the epicenters of violence in the city, where people lived in precarious conditions and in continuous violence. It was one of the centers of drug trade, and a large number of criminals lived there. Great bloody operations took place in this place and they will always be remembered by the city. Some examples are Operation Mariscal and Orion.

Currently it is a place full of street art. True works of art adorn its streets and it is a must-see in Medellin.

There is the possibility of reserving a tour of Comuna 13. I highly recommend it! Not only will you tour the area with a local guide visiting the graffiti, but he will explain many of the events that took place a few years ago. You can see more information about the graffiti tour through Comuna 13 and book from this link.

3. Enjoy a natural environment in the Arví Park

Parque Arví is the green lung of the city. The Arví Regional Ecotourism Park has made it possible to promote the conservation of green spaces and exalt the country's cultural and environmental wealth. The Colombian government decided to commit to sustainable nature tourism.

In the park there are many trails where you can take walks and enjoy the forests and the flora and fauna of the park. The weather is usually humid and rainy with an average temperature of 15º, so it is recommended that you bring a raincoat, comfortable clothes and something warm.

If you feel like it, you can book an excursion to Parque Arví, where you will have a Spanish-speaking guide, transportation, entrance to the park and access to all the attractions, food…

4. Learn and enjoy Colombian (and international) art at the Museo de Antioquia

The Museo de Antioquía has a large amount of Colombian art, as well as other world-renowned artists. It has several exhibition halls of different contemporary art and it is a very interesting visit. The museum is not small, so keep in mind that you can easily spend about 2 hours walking through its rooms.

5. Botero Square

One of the essential things to do in Medellín is to visit the Plaza de Botero and photograph the voluminous sculptures by Botero that are scattered around the square.

There are a total of 23 bronze sculptures donated by Fernando Botero. Here are also two of the most essential buildings to see in Medellín: the Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture and the Museum of Antioquia.

6. Metrocable San Javier

If you want to see some of Medellín's neighborhoods from the air, you can do it from the San Javier Metrocable. You will be able to see Commune 7 (Robledo) and Commune 13 (San Havier).

Thanks to this metro cable and others in the city, thousands of locals have improved their quality of life as it is the only possible means of public transport to access the highest parts of these areas full of narrow streets and houses built without any type of order. Keep in mind that the metro ticket (2550 pesos) is used to take any cable metro.

7. Fly over Medellin

Another way to fly over the city of Medellin is to do it with a Helicopter ride. It is a walk of about 20 minutes that will allow you to see the city from above.

If you are more adventurous you can also do a paragliding flight. In addition to enjoying incredible views of the city and the mountains that surround it, you can do a very fun activity and get your adrenaline pumping.

8. Berrio Park

Berrío Park is located in the heart of the city. In it you can visit the first church of Medellín, the Basilica de la Candelaria dating from 1659, the statue of the politician Pedro Justo Berrío, the sculpture of La Gorda by Botero and the sculpture of El Desafío, by Rodrigo Arenas.

9. San Antonio Park

Parque de San Antonio is also located in the center of Medellin. It is a very large square, full of trees and seating areas.

In it is the church of San Antonio de Padua, popular for its enormous dome. In the square there is also the statue of El Pájaro, by Botero. This statue was damaged due to an attack that killed 23 innocent people, including children. The artist asked that the statue be left in this state as a reminder of Colombia's criminality and as a wake-up call that these events should end. At his side, 5 years after that attack, is the statue Pajaro de la Paz, also created by Botero.

10. Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture

This impressive Gothic-style building is located in Plaza Botero. This Palace was declared a National Monument and can be visited for free.

On the first floor of the palace there is an exhibition on the history of Colombian leader Rafael Uribe Uribe, while the other rooms house the historical and photographic archive of the city, the library, a music library and an art gallery.

The building is beautiful and does not go unnoticed, take time to get to know its interior.

11. Park of lights

The Park of Lights is a large square with 300 light towers that provide shade during the day creating the effect of being in a grove and at night they illuminate. Is beautiful!

A few meters from the Parque de las Luces, in the Alpujarra square, is one of the most important sculptures to see in Medellín, the monument to the Race, a work in the form of a curve 38 meters high and made by the Antioquia sculptor Rodrigo Arenas Betancur, who pays homage to the history of the conquered peoples.

12. Murals by Pedro Nel Gómez

Between Parque Berrío and Plaza Botero you will find an immense mural of 20 pieces by the Antioquian artist Pedro Nel Gómez that represent the history of Antioquia, from the indigenous people until a few years ago. With the free tour of Medellín you make a stop at this mural and they tell you about each scene. For free it may be something difficult to interpret or at least know the history of each moment, even so it is beautiful and you cannot miss it.

13. Viewpoint of the Palms

The Mirador de las Palmas is undoubtedly the most spectacular in the city. A great time to visit is around dusk to watch the sunset. Of course, to get here you can only do it by taxi and I advise you to agree with the taxi driver who waits for you and return with him.

14. Pueblita Paisa

At the top of Cerro Nutibara and with a privileged perspective over the valley, we find a life-size reproduction of a traditional Paisa village. Here you will find a few very colorful houses and several little shops.

If you do not have the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful towns in Colombia, this little town is a similar "representation", made for tourists.

15. Pablo Escobar Tour

If you are interested in learning about the history of drug trafficking in Colombia, in Medellín you have the possibility of doing the Pablo Escobar tour.

During the tour they will tell you about the Medellín Cartel and the rivalry with the Cali cartel, as well as their famous escape in 1992 or their death.


16. Excursion to Guatapé and El Peñol

One of the most beautiful and popular places in Colombia is El Peñol. An immense rock from where you can enjoy spectacular views. It is one of the 15 Places to see in Colombia and you can do it with this excursion.

17. Medellin Coffee Tour

On this tour you will get to know San Sebastián de Palmitas, very close to the city of Medellín, about 40 minutes away.

During the excursion, apart from enjoying a coffee landscape, you will learn about the process of one of the best coffees in the world, you will be able to do a tasting and try some traditional Colombian dish.

If during your trip to Colombia you do not have the opportunity to add a tour of Salento and the Cocora Valley Coffee Region, doing a Coffee tour is a good option to learn more about the country's gastronomy and its coffee.

18. Excursion to Santo Domingo, Cisneros and Yolombó

If you have the opportunity to add one more day to your trip and stop in Medellin, I recommend you do this excursion. It is a long excursion, you will be visiting places and traveling about 15 hours, but it is a very interesting route through Antioquia that you cannot miss.

In addition to that you will know places not so popular with tourists. Although you could do this tour on your own, more days are needed.

With the excursion you will have a guide in Spanish all day, pick up at the hotel, transfer, breakfast, lunch and stop at all the emblematic places of Santo Domingo, Yolombó and Cisneros.


The best option to stay in Medellín is in the center or a little further away in “El Poblado”. Some great hosting options are:


I hope you enjoy your trip to Medellin very much and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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