So you’re planning a trip to Colombia and are searching for the perfect Medellin Itinerary! (That’s awesome, and we can definitely be friends because it sounds like you love fun!) And now you’re looking for the best things to do to fill your time there. You’re in the right spot!
What I love about Medellin is that there is so much to do beyond food/drinks/museums, which are what you’ll find yourself doing in most cities. There are indoor and outdoor activities, day trips, and city sites that can keep you busy for days.
I put together a cumulative itinerary below with recommendations on what to do for up to four days in Medellin. It’s set up so that the essentials are covered in day one and you can extend your experience for up to four days. You could easily fill more days in Medellin (we spent 19), but four days is a good average amount of time spent in the city.
So let’s go!
Medellin Itinerary: 1-4 Days
Day 1: The Essentials
- Coffee: Grab a coffee to go (“llevar”) from Starbucks (likely the only spot open early enough) or a street vendor on your way to Poblado station (be sure to finish it before you get to the Metro!)
- Morning: Take the Real City Free Walking Tour. Be sure to sign up in advance and also plan to tip your guide what you’re able to as they don’t get paid (we tipped about 10,000 COP/$4 USD per person).
- Lunch: You’ll have the chance to purchase some street food during the tour. Your guide will recommend some places; we recommend you try the buñuelos.
- Afternoon: After the tour, hop on the metro north to Acevado station and take a roundtrip ride on the Cable Cars (as long as you don’t exit the station, one ticket will get you from city center to Acevedo, up and down the cable cars and then back on the metro to wherever you need to go).
- Dinner: Once back in the Poblado neighborhood (oh yeah, you should be staying in Poblado), head to Cafe Zorba. I know, you’re thinking “vegetarian pizza place in Colombia?” To that I say get the beer mustard pizza, and you’ll understand. I’m sure everything is great, but we wouldn’t know because we only ever ordered the beer mustard pizza. The matcha affogato is also great for dessert.
- Evening: Walk up to Parque Lleras and pick a bar. Seriously, any bar, they are all great! We can recommend Medellin Beer Co, Thai Co and Beer Store for nice park views, and our favorites were Niagara 5 Puertas & La Octava just down the street.
Day 2: The Local Experience
- Coffee: Toucan Cafe & Tours. Try the limonada de café, which is a blended beverage of coffee and lemonade and is insanely refreshing and delicious.
- Morning: Take theComuna 13 Graffiti Tour with Toucan (which starts from the cafe where you just had coffee). They’ll take you up to Comuna 13 where you’ll see the beautiful artwork, great views, and interesting history while supporting a local cause (Casa Kolacho). Be sure to try the mango popsicles!
- Lunch: You’ll have the chance to grab food during the tour. I didn’t have time to order, but they have a dish called Aborrajados, which is a fried plantain and cheese thing that got rave reviews.
- Afternoon: Your tour drops you off at Toucan around 2-3 pm. Take some time to change and plan to head out for an early dinner since you had a light lunch.
- Dinner: Pick up street food from one of the many stops around Parque Lleras and Calle 10. There’s an empanada shop, called Empanadas Express, across Calle 10 from Poblado park that has tons of flavors, including several vegetarian options. You can also pick up super cheap beers (like, <$1 USD) next door at Lealicor.
- Evening: Park beers in Poblado Park and/or Parque Lleras. There are a couple convenience stores near both parks where you can get beers for cheap. If it’s not a weekend, you can take them into the park and watch the street performers and people. It’s technically illegal though (even though everyone does it) so you might get stopped on a weekend and told to drink your beer near the store you bought it. Both options will give you a great night of entertainment and cheap drinks.
Day 3: Day Trip
Medellin is great, but we also have to recommend getting out of the city for some beautiful views, fresh air and even more of what Colombia has to offer. Here are two day trips that we’ve tried and recommend and a third very popular option that we didn’t personally experience.
- Coffee Farm Tour with Toucan Cafe & Tours: Colombian coffee is known world wide. On this tour, you get to go straight to the heart of it: the family coffee farm. With a small group, you’ll be bussed into the mountains of Antioquia where you’re treated to homemade, delicious meals, a hike up into the farm, lessons on the coffee preparation process and even a coffee seminar. If you haven’t been to a coffee farm before, we’d absolutely recommend this one. (Don’t miss our recap video of our Coffee Farm Tour here.)
- Guatape & El Penol Tour: This day trip will take you to three small towns outside of Medellin and is full of smaller, really fun activities. At El Penol, you’ll have the opportunity to pay 18,000 COP to climb 740 stairs to the top of the third largest rock in the world and you should absolutely do it. The views are incredible. You also get to take a nice, long boat ride through the mountain lakes and then explore the colorful town of Guatape. (You can read our full recap of our Guatape & El Penol Tour here.)
- Parque Arvi: This popular park is located two cable car rides up into the mountains north east of the Medellin valley. It ranks high on all the list of things to do in Medellin and I can’t share a suggested itinerary without mentioning it. To read a recap and directions, I’ll defer you to Goats on the Road’s experience here. The only reason we didn’t do it was because we’d had a lot of nature on our trip and were about to spend 3 days at an ecolodge so we opted out of another outdoor activity.
Day 4: Bonus Fun Day
- Coffee: Pergamino. This was our FAVORITE coffee shop in Medellin and I’m disappointed I didn’t fit it into the itinerary until day 4! We recommend the cold brew soda.
- Morning: Take the metro to the Universidad stop and you’ll be right at Parque Explora. Yeah, I know I said museums are common everywhere, and while there are science museums in a lot of cities, this one is just an absolute blast (and I’m from Chicago with MSI in my backyard!). As two adults, we easily spent 4-5 hours here, and with kids, you should plan for even more. (You can read my complete Parque Explora review here or watch our Parque Explora recap video here.)
- Lunch: Depending how long you spend at Parque Explora, you may want to eat at one of the restaurants there. If you can hold off, we recommend you head over to Jardín Botánico and eat lunch there. The train car restaurant offers great arepas con mozzarella and coconut popsicles, and there’s also a sit-down restaurant near the main entrance.
- Afternoon: Spend the rest of your afternoon at Jardín Botánico. You can easily spend a couple hours walking around the grounds. There’s a nice butterfly garden, but the highlight is definitely the giant iguanas you can find lounging on rocks near the pond. There’s also lots of fun turtles, birds and cats to watch. Bring a blanket if you have one.
- Dinner: Make your way back to Poblado and eat dinner at Chef Burger. This place offers whole menu of creative burger options for vegetarians and carnivores alike. They have delicious fries and delicious non-alcoholic fruit beverages like fresh strawberry soda and grape lemonade (also beers though, don’t worry).
- Evening: Walk back over to Parque Lleras. I swear it’s worth another night. Grab a drink from a different bar or two and enjoy the views, people watching and street performers. If you’re lucky enough to catch the tumblers, they’re a real show!
More Planning Materials
If you’re building a Medellin itinerary, we’ve got plenty more tools to help you fill it up. Be sure to check out our favorite things to eat, drink and do in Medellin plus a video of our Top 10 Medellin experiences. And what’s more important than coffee? Check out our Medellin Coffee Guide for details on all things coffee. And if you’re curious about how much this trip is going to cost, you won’t want to miss our Medellin travel cost infographic.
I hope you enjoy your time in Medellin! If you have any questions or feedback on your perfect Medellin itinerary, let us know about it in the comments below.