The UNESCO World Heritage City of Colonia del Sacremento is small but very picturesque town on the banks of the River Plate across from Buenos Aires .
Colonised at various times by the Portuguese, British and Spanish and, more recently, by the huge numbers of Porteños, Buenos Aires residents, who descend upon the town every weekend. It is a beautiful town of cobbled streets and colonial buildings, mostly of Portuguese origin.
Five reasons we love Colonia del Sacremento
- Colonial Architecture – Walk up any street and you are greeted by some amazing, mostly Portuguese style buildings all kept in immaculate condition. Bougainvillea and other flowers in a abundance make it one of the prettiest little towns we have visited in South America.
- Museums – I think there must be something like ten museums in the town. All quite small and some more interesting than others. We didn’t manage to fit them all in but it is worth trying a few. When we were there we bough a card allowing access to all the museums which was cheaper than paying individually. Before doing this do check opening times as not all museums are open every day.
- Beaches – OK they are not pristine white sand and blue water you will find on the coast, this is a an estuary after all, but the locals seem to make the best of what they have. We rented a golf cart and drove to the beaches outside of the town, grabbed couple of beers and watched the guys playing football on the beach. This must be one of the most football crazy nations on the planet. Perhaps its because they hosted and I think won, the first ever World Cup.
- Sunsets – Colonia face west across the River Plate and the sunsets can be quite incredible. We quiet often used to saunter down to the Harbourside and have a drink at one of the bars and watch the sun go down (I wish I had remembered to take the camera!)
It is a great place to chill out – at least it is during the week when we visited. It is the sort of place where you can just wander aimlessly through its cobbled streets soaking up the atmosphere of a different age. Stop for a coffee or a glass of wine. There is always something pleasant to look at. There are some superb restaurants in the town – be warned, dinner seems to start at around 11pm.
- Most people will visit from Buenos Aires on a day trip an hour or two each way by ferry. We think it is worth spending a night if you have the time
- At weekends there will be lots of Porteños visiting from across the water. it can get very crowded an room rates a=can rise considerably. Having done both, we much preferred the relative calm of midweek.
- It is easy to combine with Montevideo. From BA get a ferry to Colonia and then bus to Montevideo and then another ferry back to BA ( or vice versa)
- We stayed at Hostal Viajero an nice place, close to but not in the centre. There are lots of lovely places to stay but do book in advance, especially at weekends