Travel News

Should you visit Medellín or Bogotá?

A man performs at Botero Park during the Hip Hop Festival, Medellén, Antioquia, Colombia

International visitors are finally catching on to Colombia.

You could spend years exploring its mountain valleys and sprawling beaches, taking vigorous hikes and thrilling road trips, savoring a zesty culture born of its Afro-Caribbean, Indigenous and Spanish communities. 

And then there are its cities – dynamic centers of business, magnets for the arts and examples of urban regeneration looked to by planners around the world. Among Colombia’s urban areas, Medellín and Bogotá stand out. But what if you had to choose just one to visit? We asked two Colombia-based contributors to…go to town on arguing for their pick.

Explore the planet’s most surprising adventures with our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox.

There’s no place like Medellín

Alex Egerton is a journalist based in the rural Zona Cafetera, south of Medellín – but travels to the city regularly for a bit of big-town action, like watching a game of football or getting something fancy to eat.

If you plan on visiting just one city on your Colombia trip, it has to be Medellín.

There’s no other city like it – not just in the country, but around the globe. Medellín’s transformation from the troubled epicenter of a narco empire to a modern, innovative metropolis is nothing short of remarkable. But there’s so much more to the city than just a reformed image and a new sense of security.

Only a fraction the size of Bogotá, Medellín punches well above its weight. It’s a friendlier and more fun city than the capital – and way easier to get around, too.

In Medellín’s neighborhoods and leafy parks, there’s always a party going on © RAUL ARBOLEDA / Getty Images

Located at the bottom of a steep valley, the city is surrounded by imposing mountains, making it feel like a lost magical realm cut off from the world beyond.  As you cross the cusp of the ridge on the drive in from the airport, the bucolic mountain scenery suddenly gives way to gleaming modern towers running along the valley floor, while colorful neighborhoods defy the gradient and spread up the mountainsides like an enormous mosaic.

Medellín is fetching during the day and even more so in the evening, when the twinkling lights of the city reach upward toward the night sky. It’s a panorama that instantly enamors, invoking a desire to get to know the city in greater detail.

Fortunately, Medellín is home to Colombia’s most gregarious and outgoing residents, the paisas, who welcome visitors with open…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Stories – Lonely Planet…