Introducing Medellín

Nestled in a lush green valley that’s framed by the Andes Mountains, vibrant Medellín is Colombia’s second biggest city and the hip and happening capital of the Antioquia Department.

Why we love it…
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of a somewhat gritty past (we don’t need to mention the infamous Voldemort of the drug scene do we?) there’s a good reason why all the cool cats of travel are now descending on this upcoming hotspot. First off, the city of just over 2.5 million is damn easy on the eyes (think lush parks, colorful barrios and cool as street art). Secondly, it harbors a decadent food scene, a swag of “next level” coffee spots (the beans don’t have to travel far to get there either) and a state-of-the-art public transport system that makes it effing easy to get around town – whether it’s by bike, bus, metro, cable car or Uber.

 

A stone’s throw away…
Lastly, effortlessly awesome Medellín is parked in prime position to visit some of the nation’s most gorgeous pueblos and the famous coffee triangle which boasts acres upon acres of lush hillsides that meander into charming plantations where maestros pluck the red beans from bushes before loading them onto a donkey and sun-drying them.

It takes just a an hour or two in any given direction to find yourself in a multi-hued pueblo that looks as though it was trapped in time and just a few minutes more to have the pants charmed right off you by a motley collection of rainbow-colored homes that line an old cobble stoned street that winds its way into a peaceful town square. Our favorites are Guatapé, Salento, Jardín and Santa Fe de Antioquia.

 


Eating, shopping, and cool cityscapes…
Within the city itself natural beauty meets a plethora of innovative kick-starter projects and top-tier food (from the succulent buñuelo – essentially a drool-worthy dough ball – to high-end pizzerias to make even a Naples local drool). Visit Café Zorba for a ‘pie’ to make you cry with happiness or pull on your fat pants and consider fasting the day before at Hacienda – Junin, where they plate up the famous Bandeja Paisa – a gargantuan plate of meat, avocado, rice, eggs and more. In Medellín, the commercial shopping scene is as diverse as its food counterpart with tiny hole-in-the-wall “tienditas” (posh barrio Poblado is a great place to find these) selling hand-made garments from local designers, through to glitzy malls that house high-end labels and posh sushi stands (the heaving Santafe Centro Commercial comes to mind). Further witness cutting-edge architecture (the Museo Casa de la Memoria is an essential stop) just a few barrios over from grungy San Javier, where narcos once ruled but street artists now dominate to showcase walls adorned with incredible landscapes, portraits and surrealism paint-works (to a trip to Comuna 13 to see the best).

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
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My hands down favorite pizza in the city (or perhaps the world) at Cafe Zorba in Poblado. I could eat the entire pizza of the one half Margarita one half Espinica (although the Chimichurri is a close second).

 

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Exploring…
From rainforest-esque parks, to bustling markets and a bucket-load of museums that showcase the region’s history, Medellín has got you covered. Take some tranquil alone time in one of the many parks (our favs are Parque Arvi, Jardín Botánico and the spectacular Cerro El Volador Natural Park) or simply people watch at the popular Parque de los Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Park). If you’d rather explore by pedal power, drop by any Encicla rack around the city (you just need a Civica Card) to rent a bike and join thousands of Paisas on any given Sunday for the simply fabulous Ciclovías – which sees volunteers shut down a good chunk of the roads within the city to let bikers, walkers and bladers tear up the asphalt without the pesky problem of motorised traffic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
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