Medellín is a top stop for travelers visiting Colombia. It has it all: historic sites and cultural experiences to discover, plus great food. But, because of its location, there is more to this city than meets the eye for tourists. Find out how to make the most of your stay with this selection of day trips from Medellín.
Medellín is the capital city of the department of Antioquia, in north-west Colombia. Antioquia is known for its traditional ways and charming people. This is more than evident in its many quaint small towns, some of which have been declared national heritage towns. If there is one place to best sample small towns in Colombia, Antioquia is definitely it.
People from Antioquia are known as Paisas, a word derived from Paisano: a person from your own place of origin. The town of Santa Fe de Antioquia is well known for being one of the original Paisa towns. A little under 2 hours driving from the city, it is a great choice regarding day trips from Medellin.
Founded in 1541, as Antioquia’s then capital, Santa Fe is filled with architecture from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Churches are one of its main attractions. Do not miss crossing the 328-yard long bridge called Puente Colgante de Occidente. Hanging above the Cauca River, it connects Santa Fe with the neighboring town of Olaya.
Guatapé is probably the number one destination when taking day trips from Medellín. It is about a 2 hours drive from the city, and it is a town for all tastes.
The El Peñol monolith, just outside Guatapé, is the star of the show. It offers a fantastic view of the Peñol-Guatapé reservoir from the top, which is about 721 feet high. You can get there by climbing a 740-step stairway built in a natural crack in the monolith. If you are experienced enough, you can also climb up the rock wall on one of the routes established by local tourism companies.
If you are looking for a more adventurous Colombia itinerary, Guatapé is also a great spot for extreme sports. Flyboarding, paragliding, and hang-gliding are some popular activities in the area, as well as mountain biking and trekking. Jet skis are available too, so you can explore the reservoir’s many lakes in style.
Furthermore, Guatapé is perfect for taking frame-worthy pictures. The town is filled with colorful colonial architecture and cobbled roads. Most of the houses feature flamboyant wainscoting depicting indigenous history, as well as the occupation of the house’s owners.
In Guatapé, “Memory Street”, or Calle del Recuerdo, and Plazoleta de los Zócalos, are both must-see stops.
You know what they say: when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So, a stay in Medellín is not complete until you visit a traditional coffee town nearby.
Only 3 hours away from the city lies Jardín. Established in 1863, it is known for its white-walled houses, completed with colorful doors and windows. It is the perfect place to lounge around the town square, sipping on some world-class coffee. It is also a treat for your sweet tooth. The Dulces del Jardín confectionery is famous for savory cookies, jams, chocolates, and other delights.
Jardín also stands out when thinking about day trips from Medellín thanks to its ecotourism activities, such as rappelling, and birdwatching.
We included Jardín in our top 5 of most beautiful colonial towns of Colombia. Check out the other 4 here.
Jericó, 3 hours from Medellín, is a must-see destination for religious tourists in Colombia. Founded back in 1850, it was home to the only Colombian saint as of today, known as Madre Laura. Born Laura Montoya Upegui, she was a missionary nun, who was canonized by the Catholic Church in 2013, 64 years after her death.
While in Jericó you can also visit the Los Balsos Botanical Garden, as well as the Las Nubes ecological park.
As you can see, travelers spending 2 weeks in Colombia often visit Medellín when trying to make the most of their stay. Remember, not only will you be able to discover the city, but also plenty of enchanting small towns nearby. The allure of everyday Colombia is waiting for you.
With this information, you will be armed to be a more informed traveler and therefore enjoy even more your upcoming trip to this marvelous country. Check out our information on how to build the ideal Colombia itinerary here. or get some inspiration by checking out our tips for 2 weeks in Colombia itineraries.
If you need help or guidance with the planning process of your trip to Colombia, don´t hesitate to contact us. We have a team of travel experts looking forward to help you have the best holiday of your life.