Friday, December 29, 2017


By Eva Fydrych

The Magic of Medellin
10 Reasons to Visit the City of Eternal Spring

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Imagine a city surrounded by mountains, with vibrant culture, excellent nightlife, lots of museums, shopping malls, green spaces, and unique innovations. A city where you can enjoy a good cup of coffee on every street corner and indulge in mouth-watering Latin food.

Welcome to Medellin, the capital city of Antioquia, Colombia, which is currently getting more and more international recognition and well-deserved attention.

During the recent couple of years, Medellin has become one of the favourite tourist destinations in the country, just next to Cartagena, Tayrona National Park, and San Andrés island. The city also attracts a lot of entrepreneurs and digital nomads searching for comfortable living conditions (fast wifi!), affordable costs, and all-year-round warm weather.

Nicknamed “the City of Eternal Spring”, Medellin offers lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures that rarely drop below 16°C (at night). The city's average annual temperature is 22°C (72°F). Tropical plants and impressive palm trees add an exotic touch to the scenery.

City centre (Photo courtesy of Metro de Medellín) Click to enlarge

Medellin has excellent public transportation where cable cars are integrated part of the subway system and connect several neighbourhoods located on the hills offering breathtaking views of the city.

"The most recent survey on the global status of the Smart Cities by Indra Sistemas catalogs Medellín as one of the best cities to live in South America, sharing first place with Santiago de Chile, and alongside Barcelona and Lisbon in Europe. Medellín won the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2016. The award seeks to recognize and celebrate efforts in furthering innovation in urban solutions and sustainable urban development." - Wikipedia

There are several reasons to visit Medellin in 2018, but we narrowed them down to Top 10. Have a look at our favourite attractions below and don't forget to book your flight ticket soon!

1. Christmas Lights (El Alumbrado)

 Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Medellin’s Christmas Lights are a special part of the culture of the city and attract millions of international visitors each year (mainly from countries like United States, Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Panama, Germany, France, Canada, and United Kingdom).

This year, Medellin celebrates the 50th anniversary of this spectacular event with the primary lights display around Parque Explora and inside Parque Norte. The opening ceremony, which took place on the 2nd of December, featured impressive projection mapping show accompanied by electronic music and an explosion of colours. 

What's great about light displays in Medellin is the fact that they aren't located in just one place, but spread throughout the whole city. The lights can be visited until 8 January 2018 from 6:00 pm to midnight.

Opening ceremony, 2 December 2017

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

If you have a chance, visit Envigado, a town southeast of Medellin, which is easily accessible by subway (Metro Station Envigado). The lights are turned on a little earlier, the last weekend of November, and there is lots of entertainment options as well – live concerts in the park, interactive displays, and a Christmas Market where you can try traditional Colombian food.

Christmas Lights in Envigado (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Did you know?

The Medellin Christmas Lights display this year includes:

  • 37 million LED lights
  • 1,130 kilometers of LED light hose
  • 50,000 hand-woven figures
  • 5 tons of metallized paper

2. Plaza Botero (Parque de las Esculturas)

Sculpture by Medellin-born Fernando Botero (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

Plaza Botero, surrounded by the Museum of Antioquia and the Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture (designed by the Belgian architect Agustin Goovaerts), is home to 23 sculptures by Colombian artist Fernando Botero, who donated them in 2004.

Always full of tourists and local vendors selling everything from souvenirs to delicious street food, Plaza Botero is one of the must-see attractions in Medellin.

3. Museum of Antioquia

Ethel Gilmour, temporary exhibition (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

The Museum of Antioquia, founded in 1881 as the first museum in Antioquia department and the second in Colombia, houses a large collection of works by Medellin-born Fernando Botero and Pedro Nel Gómez

The museum has 17 rooms for the permanent collection and over 5,000 art pieces. The building itself is worth exploring  it has a spacious courtyard and interesting architecture. Don't miss the city view from the third floor as well.

4. El Poblado (Shopping & Dining Scene)

Massimo Dutti FW 2017, window display at Santafé (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

El Poblado, probably the most stylish district in the city, is a place to see and be seen. With lots of fashion boutiques and trendy restaurants serving both local and international cuisine, palm-lined streets of El Poblado have a hip ambience and are a perfect spot to spend time with a group of friends.

"Medellin is also known for its textiles industry, which has been established for more than a century. In recent years this has developed into a fashion scene. El Poblado’s Via Primavera (also called Carrera 37) is an open-air space for independent designers – especially of shoes, leatherware and accessories – trying to tempt shoppers away from the huge malls that dominate the city." - The Guardian

If you are a fan of big shopping malls, Centro Comercial Santafé Medellín with over 350 stores and countless entertainment options is definitely the place to be. You can find most popular Colombian brands in one place: Studio F, ELA, MAAJIAgua Bendita, ARTURO CALLE, AZULUbon-bonite, KOAJ, Punto Blanco, tennis, and a lot of international brands as well. Happy shopping!

5. Metrocable

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Medellin is currently home to three Metrocable lines which all became tourist attractions as they offer sweeping views of the city. Linea J and Linea K are both urban commuter lines that link directly to the city’s subway system. Linea L connects residents to Parque Arvi, a large park located on the outskirts of Medellin.

Metrocable was designed to improve travel time and quality of life in informal settlements located on the hills, home to some of the city’s most disadvantaged communities.

"Medellin pioneered the use of cable cars as a transit alternative in low-income informal settlements in hilly areas, moving 3,000 passengers per hour per direction. The city transformed violence and despair into hope and opportunity, using sustainable transport as one of the key levers to drive change." - said Holger Dalkmann, Sustainable Transport Judge and Director of EMBARQ, when Medellin was selected as a winner of the 2012 Sustainable Transport Award.

The views from the hills are really breathtaking. Don't miss it!

6. Parque Arví 

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Parque Arví, located 30 km from the centre of Medellin in the village of Santa Elena, is both an ecological nature preserve and Pre-Hispanic archeological site.

The park is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. It is advisable to wear comfortable shoes and take a warm jacket as the temperatures on the top tend to be a little lower than in the city centre and the weather can change rapidly.

Parque Arví is not only a great place for hiking, birdwatching or a picnic with a family, but also a place to buy fresh products at the local market situated just next to Arví station (last station on line L of the Medellín Metro). Highly recommended!

7. Comuna 13 (Graffiti Tour)

Eva Fydrych wearing Colombian brands - Studio F and ELA (Photo by Diego García)

One of my favourite parts of Medellin, Comuna 13, used to be a dangerous neighbourhood which managed to reinvent itself from the drug and gang wars. Thanks to installing the enormous outdoor escalator, Comuna 13 (located high on the hillside) became connected to the rest of the city.

Further government projects helped the community to move on from the troubled past and engage in business, art, and hip hop music providing not only income, but most of all a sense of security and hope for the future.

"Art saved the city as a vehicle for creative and political expression. The walls became a canvas to tell its history, beautifying the area and bringing optimism and peace of the residents, children, and visitors." - Travel Life Experiences

A must-visit place for all graffiti lovers!

8. Parque Explora

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Parque Explora is an interactive science and technology museum loosely modeled after San Francisco's Exploratorium and appealing to all ages, nationalities, and genders. It houses South America's largest freshwater aquarium, Explora Aquarium, which recreates wildlife and brings it into the middle of this cosmopolitan city.

Considered one of the best science museums in Latin America, Parque Explora should definitely be on everyone's travel list. You will be surprised how much there is to do and explore inside (even if you are not a science geek).

9. Nutibara Hill

View from Nutibara Hill (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

Nutibara Hill, an eighty metres tall mountain located in the middle of the urban area, offers beautiful views of the city and the surrounding mountains. At the top of the hill, you will have the opportunity to see a replica of a typical Antioquian settlement from the beginning of the 20th century  Pueblito Paisa. The site was opened in 1978 and was named after the indigenous Chief Nutibara.  

Another attraction is the Sculpture Park (Parque de las Esculturas) which is also free to the public and is open from 6:00 am to midnight. The park contains 10 modern and abstract sculptures by famous Colombian and international artists such as Edgar Negret (Colombia), Otto Herbert Hajek (Germany), and Sergio de Camargo (Brazil).

"The Sculpture Park was created in 1983 at the initiative of former Colombian President Belisario Betancur Cuartas. The Medellin Museum of Modern Art coordinated the installation of a permanent exhibition of sculptures made by 10 national and international artists installed in the natural environment of the hill." - Wikipedia

Nutibara Hill, considered one of the city's seven "guardian" hills, is one of the few ecosystems that is conserved in Medellin. It is also one of the best places in the city to watch the sunset.

10.  Botanical Garden

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

The Joaquin Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden of Medellin has more than 1,000 living species and 4,500 flowers and is a beautiful oasis of nature offering a much needed escape from the bustling city.  This city jungle is the perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life and get lost for hours.

Don't miss In Situ, an elegant restaurant located in the middle of the garden, which serves excellent food and is considered one of the best restaurants in Medellin.

See you in Colombia in 2018!

*Special thank you to Bureau de Medellín for hosting Fashion Studio Magazine in December 2017.

1 comment:

  1. Soy colombiana del departamento de Santander pero vivo en Medellín hace ya tres años y para mi este es el mejor centro comercial de Antioquia, es el mejor, me encanta la decoración en las diferentes festividades que hay como por ejemplo la navidad o Halloween


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