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Wanderlist Discover: Colonia, Uruguay

Wanderlist Discover: Colonia, Uruguay

The picturesque town of Colonia del Sacremento - or Colonia, for short - is the oldest city in Uruguay, but was originally founded by the Portuguese in 1680. Its Portuguese heritage is reflected in the city’s architecture and narrow, cobbled streets. Once Colonia’s strategic location and value as a discreet smuggling port made it extremely valuable for both Spain and Portugal, and many wars were fought to gain control of the city. However, the original founders eventually lost the fight, and the city finally becam part of modern day Uruguay. Today, Colonia is famous for its traditional wineries, and the beautiful Old harbour, which is a popular attraction for applauding the setting sun, a traditional Uruguayan custom.


  • Old Town : The Old Town Gate, known as Puerta de la Campo was built in the mid-1740s by the Portuguese to defend the town from enemy attacks. It is a well preserved area and is very popular with tourists.
  • Church Matriz : Possibly the oldest church in Uruguay, the Church is located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site location. The remarkable point about this church is that it is almost exactly in the same condition as it was when it was built, despite being almost as old as the city itself.  
  • Wineries : The local wineries around Colonia are a must visit for any wine enthusiast. There are several traditional, family run wineries around the city which are worth visiting for their award winning wines. Almost every winery offers a guided tour and tasting of their award winning wines.

Best Time To Go: APRIL AND MAY 

The off-season months of April and May, are the best time to visit Colonia. The days are warm and nights are not too chilly. Most importantly, the accommodation costs are relatively cheaper as compared to the busy months of January and February.

Where in the world:

Colonia is located on the east bank of the Rio de la Plata, in Uruguay, about 50 kms away from Buenos Aires by ferry.

World Map - Colonia Uruguay.jpg

Fun Fact: The historic Old Town of Colonia is the only example of Spanish urban planning that does not adhere to the compulsive ‘checkerboard’ grid imposed by Spain under the “Laws of the Indes”. As a result, the city has a free flowing plan that adheres to the topographical features of the land, rather than any other design principles.

Useful Information:

  • Language : Spanish.
  • Currency : Uruguayan Peso (UYU)
  • How to Get Around : The Old Town of Colonia contains most of the attractions, and is a fairly small city to wander around on foot quite easily. Visitors can also rent bicycles and scooters for a day or so to ride around the city.

The Discover Series by Wanderlist

Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.

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Wanderlist Discover: Ushuaia, Argentina

Wanderlist Discover: Ronda, Spain

Wanderlist Discover: Ronda, Spain