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Overview

On the left bank of the Río de la Plata, Montevideo is a capital city that, in a country of only three million, feels more like a provincial town — at least in comparison with the Argentine megalopolis of Buenos Aires, just across the river. Unlike Buenos Aires, Montevideo enjoys a rolling topography that gives the city some character, and a small but appealing colonial quarter in the Ciudad Vieja, with shady plazas and narrow cobbled streets, while the newer parts of the city can claim what may be the finest assortment of Deco-style buildings on the continent. The dining scene is improving rapidly, and it can even boast a cluster of ...

On the left bank of the Río de la Plata, Montevideo is a capital city that, in a country of only three million, feels more like a provincial town — at least in comparison with the Argentine megalopolis of Buenos Aires, just across the river. Unlike Buenos Aires, Montevideo enjoys a rolling topography that gives the city some character, and a small but appealing colonial quarter in the Ciudad Vieja, with shady plazas and narrow cobbled streets, while the newer parts of the city can claim what may be the finest assortment of Deco-style buildings on the continent. The dining scene is improving rapidly, and it can even boast a cluster of wineries within the city limits. In culture, it can’t quite match the Argentine capital’s diversity, but its museums, galleries and especially its fine arts facilities would be the pride of many larger cities. It's second only to Buenos Aires in its passion for the tango, but the Argentine capital can’t come close to matching the exuberance of Montevideo’s Carnaval, in which the city’s Afro-Uruguayan population is a visible and vigorous presence.

Wayne Bernhardson
About the Expert

Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires (including coastal Uruguay), Chile (including Easter Island), and Patagonia (including the Falkland Islands).

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Wayne Bernhardson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The capital city on the southern coast of Uruguay, 141 miles away from Buenos Aires
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Uruguayan Peso
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Montevideo is an all-year destination, but its summers can be hot and humid. The best seasons are spring (September to December) and autumn (March to May), which is the wine harvest season.