Founded by the Portuguese in 1680 on the tip of a peninsula on the Río de la Plata estuary, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Colonia’s cobblestone streets are reminiscent of old Lisbon, lined with small museums, tiny bars, fine restaurants and arts and crafts shops.
Colonia Uruguay (population 30,000) is a lovely historic city.
It is one of the destinations we highly recommend you plan on visiting when you travel to South America. Uruguay is a magical travel destination in and of itself! Join our founder, Eric Sheets, on this self-guided walking tour of Colonia to step back into time.
A recommended Colonia walking tour
Start by the eastern end of the Historic District (Barrio Historico) at Puerta de Campo, the restored city gate in greystone (1754) and drawbridge. If you arrive by ferry, simply take the waterfront street to the left of the harbor (Florida) and walk to the end of the street. There, on the right-hand side is a narrow alley that leads across the lawn to the drawbridge of the Puerta de Campo. Cross the bridge and gate (note the Portuguese Coat of Arms), and take the first street to the left (San Miguel), the one that borders the Wall, and then right and right again by the lovely Calle de los Suspiros with bougainvillaea. You will reach the Main Square (Plaza Mayor), where you shouldn’t miss the Portuguese Museum (to the left, on Manuel Lobo), the lighthouse dating from 1857 (left) and Casa Nacarello (corner of Manuel Lobo and del Comercio), at least, so that you can have an idea of the Spanish and Portuguese influence. Walk the surrounding streets and just savor stepping back into the 16th Century.