Medellin Rooftops (Colombia)

How Many Days In Medellin? 3 Great Itineraries From 3-7 Days

How many days in Medellin is enough? Whether you're a time-crunched traveller, an explorer seeking the full experience, or a digital nomad enjoying the city as part of an extended Colombian adventure, here are three itineraries from 3 days to a week, to help you have the best time in Medellin.

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How Many Days Do You Need In Medellin?

Medellin is a city pulsating with life, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. 

 

I would recommend a minimum of 3 days to see the best that Medellin has to offer but 5 days is ideal to take things slower and really enjoy the highlights without feeling rushed.

 

Here are some recommendations:

 

  • 3 Days In Medellin: Ideal for those on a tight schedule, 3 days in Medellin allows you to capture the city’s essence. Highlights include iconic landmarks, cultural experiences, and a day trip to Guatape.

 

  • 5 Days In Medellin With 5 days in Medellin, you can delve deeper into its diverse offerings. Beyond the must-see attractions, this timeframe accommodates paragliding, salsa lessons, and a comprehensive food tour. This itinerary is perfect for those seeking a well-rounded experience without feeling rushed.

 

  • 7 Days In Medellin: For a more leisurely exploration or for digital nomads seeking a temporary home, 7 days in Medellin is ideal. This itinerary allows you to extend your adventures to Guatape and is perfect for those incorporating Medellin into a more extensive Colombia itinerary.
Medellin Rooftops (Colombia)

Medellin 3-Day Itinerary

This 3-day Medellin itinerary is suitable for first-time visitors seeking a taste of the cities culture, breathtaking views and food scene.

 

I recommend 3-days only if you are short on time (for example, spending a total of two weeks in Colombia) and need to visit the many other beautiful parts such as the Caribbean coast.

 

Otherwise, 5 days is the preferred option.

Day 1 – Walking Tour / Gondola

Morning: Go for breakfast at Café 11:11 Del Depertar, Hijamia or Mija Masa Madre. The breakfast/brunch options are all incredible from these places.

 

After food, take a free walking tour in Medellin’s downtown (El Centro) with a friendly local guide.

 

You’ll explore the historic areas and learn about the city through stories and urban legends. Discover traditional parks, squares, and streets, and get to know Medellin’s history, culture, and people along the way. It’s a great way to see the city and learn interesting facts from a local perspective.

 

Real City Tours have tours at 10:00AM and 2:30PM weekdays, and only 10:00AM at the weekends.

 

Afternoon: Take a scenic Gondola Ride to Parque Arvi to get great views of Medellin and explore the lush forest landscapes.

 

When you reach the top, take a walk in the forest of Arvi Park, you can choose to take a quicker 45-minute route or a longer route of 2 hours. I would recommend 45-minute walk if you’re short on time, make sure you climb on top of the look out point to spot birds and see Arvi from higher up.

 

Make sure you check out the local market too. This is a good place to grab a quick snack and I had some of the best strawberries I’ve ever eaten here, along with some good empanadas and arepas.

TOP TIP: Take cash as there’s no ATMS at the top. Also take a jumper as it gets cold as you’re high up.

Medellin Gondola

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Day 2 – Comuna 13 Tour / Rooftop Bar

Morning: In the Manilla area, try Urbania Cafe, Campesino Café or Hijamia for the best coffee.

 

Afternoon: After a coffee and some breakfast, join a tour to one of Medellin’s most famous neighbourhoods. Comuna 13 went from being the most dangerous neighbourhood in Colombia to a bustling art district.

 

Over the past decade Comuna 13 has had an almost complete transformation and now it’s associated with colorful street art, street performances and walking tours.

Afternoon: Relax at one of Medellín’s many rooftop pools and bars for a couple of hours. Escape the heat, enjoy a cocktail, and watch the sun set over the rooftops of El Poblado.

 

Most of the rooftops in Medellin won’t let you go in the pool unless you’re a guest of the hotel, but you can use the loungers or visit the bar for free.

 

Here are some of my favourites:

 

  • La Deriva – good sized pool
  • Envy – best views but you need to dress up. No shorts or sandals.
Comuna 13, Medellin

Day 3 – Guatape Day Tour

Full Day: Guatape is an hour a half journey from Medellin, known for its colourful town, gigantic rock formation El Peñol and the huge man-made reservoir surrounding it.

 

Most tours start by taking you to El Penol. Visitors can climb the 740 steps to the top for panoramic views of the reservoir. Grab a beer at the top to celebrate!

 

After you’ll visit the town for lunch. Guatapé’s unique charm stems from its vibrantly painted houses. If you don’t have food provided by your tour, I would recommend eating at Namaste Vegan Food for huge and tasty salads and refreshing smoothies. For a sweet treat, grab a cake from Zocarolls or grab a fresh gelato from one of the many shops.

 

Depending on which tour you book, you may also get a boat tour of the reservoir which provides great views of the towering El Penol. The tour linked below is a great option and includes breakfast and lunch!

Guatape is a short trip from Medellin but you have a few options for how to get there. Head to the post below for all the information you need:

 

 

El Penol, Guatape, Colombia
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Medellin 5-Day Itinerary

This 5-day Medellin itinerary is designed for travellers with an extra couple of days to spare during their time in Colombia.

 

I personally recommend 5 days to see the best this city has to offer, and this itinerary emphasises adventure, salsa, and culinary delights.

 

Follow the same 3 days as the above itinerary and then you have two extra days to see more of this incredible city.

Day 4 – Coffee Tasting / Paragliding / Salsa

Morning: this is an action-packed day so best to start off with some coffee on a tasting experience.

 

This experience is hosted by a professional barista named Javier who will coach you through a coffee tasting experience and leave you feeling much more knowledgeable about the best coffee to drink.

 

You’ll learn about the process of making coffee from plant to bean, taste 5 different coffees and try to guess the best ones using smell and taste.

 

After you’ll leave with recommendations by Javier himself for the best cafes in Medellin to sample the best Colombian blends.

 

The experience is also hosted at the Marquee Hotel and you’ll be able to go up to the rooftop after for a drink and to take in the view.

Afternoon: Soar through the skies with a thrilling paragliding experience, taking in stunning aerial views of Medellin.

 

It takes about 45-minutes to get there so leave around 3 hours for this if you plan to do it.

 

Here are the costs:

 

  • 15 minutes flight approx: 220.000 COP
  • 20 minutes flight approx:  270.000 COP
  • 30 minutes flight approx:  400.000 COP
  • Pick up service round trip 1 to 4 people: 140.000 COP

I would recommend the 15-minute flight. This is more than enough time to enjoy the views of Medellin. I got a bit bored on my 30 minute one!

 

You’ll get all the GoPro footage and pictures included in the price too. 

Evening: Time to enjoy a free salsa lesson at Dance Free.

 

The lesson starts from 8PM but it can get crowded. Don’t worry though as the teachers are great at moving the crowd around so everyone gets closer to the front so they can see the moves better.

 

The bar then turns into a salsa dance night afterwards so stick around and practice your new moves.

 

If you enjoy the free lesson, they also offer private classes that can fit most schedules. We did two 1-hour lessons and left feeling much more confident.

Paragliding (Medellin)

Day 5 – Laurelles / Food Tour

  • Time: 2:30PM (2 hours)
  • Cost: 100,00COP per person (roughly $25 dollars / £20)

A food tour is a must in Colombia but this ones great as you also get to explore the up and coming neighbourhood of Laureles; declared by TimeOut Magazine as the #1 in their list of cool neighborhoods in the world.

 

The tour includes a variety of typical Colombian foods and beverages at the best local spots, providing cultural insights into the traditions surrounding each food.  

 

This was one of my favourite things I did in Medellin, and I much prefer a food tour to a standard one as you still learn a lot about the area whilst also getting fed.

 

We tried empanadas, bunuelos, arepas, mangostine and a weird fruit salad desert that also had cheese in it. It sounds weird but I liked it!

 

I recommend booking with Real City Tours again. Our tour guide was enthusiastic and spoke superb English.

See how you can spend a month travelling through Colombia with this epic one month itinerary:

 

 

Medellin From Above

Medellin 7-Day Itinerary

This 7-day Medellin itinerary is for those seeking a comprehensive experience, combining the best of Medellin and the serene beauty of Guatape.

 

Follow days 1,2, 4 and 5 from the previous itineraries and then head to Guatape on the 5th. 

 

This option perfect for slow travellers who have no time restrictions or for digital nomads who are staying for longer than a week and want to see everything the city has to offer.

Day 5 – Guatape – Lakeside Airbnb and Jetskis

With 7 days in Medellin, I recommend extending your stay in Guatape and enjoying it from the tranquillity of an incredible lakeside Airbnb.

 

There are many Airbnb’s that can be found with great lakeside views but at Milagros Home you’ll get the full experience.

 

Tatiana is a fantastic host and provides so much. We were picked up from the town in their 4×4 and taken to the Airbnb. They organised a boat tour and jet skis for us, ordered take out for us and picked us up little bits like groceries when they went into the town.

 

The Airbnb is out of the way but that’s the whole point. You can spend mornings cooking breakfast (provided for free) in the open kitchen and then swinging lazily in the hammock.

 

I recommend you book a jetski or boat tour for around 5PM to enjoy the lake as the sun goes down.

 

  • Jetski – 300,000 for an hour
  • Boat tour – 300,000 for an hour (includes wakeboard or donut)

The best part about going through Tatiana is that she has lived in Guatape for a long time and takes you to the best place for renting jetskis or boats. This mean you won’t feel like a tourist getting overcharged if renting from the town.

 

In the evenings, they will light the fire pit for you and provide marshmallows and chocolate to make smores. They also have a projector if you want a personal movie night.

Guatape Reservoir, Colombia

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Day 6 – Guatape

Tatiana and her husband Alejandro offer their own taxi service to explore Guatape. They charge the exact same as a taxi would.

 

Whilst it is necessary as you are out of the way, its worth it to enjoy the day at your own pace.

 

I recommend leaving around 8:00-8:30AM to arrive at El Penol for 9.00AM. You’ll miss all of the crowds that arrive on tour buses from Medellin at around 10:00AM and have the rock mostly to yourself.

 

You’ll understand why this is necessary as you’re descending. You’ll see the narrow stairway packed full of tourists barely moving.

 

Once you get down, you’ll need to take a motochivo (tuktuk) into Guatape town to explore and have some lunch. Alejandro can pick you up whenever you want.

 

Once you are back at the Airbnb, enjoy a breathtaking sunset from the comfort of the hammock or jump in the heated pool with some drinks.

Day 7 – Relax In El Poblado / Tejo

Utilize your last day to relax and revisit your favourite food spots.

 

You can explore Medellin’s cafe culture at Hijamia, Pergamino, and Bettys Bowls. Then in the evening,  enjoy a delightful dinner at Alambique, Delirio Exquisito, or OCI.

 

If you want to do something more active then try playing Tejo.

 

Tejo is one of Colombia’s favourite sports and it’s well worth spending an evening learning how to play.

 

It’s pretty simple, throw a heavy metal disk at a board of clay that has a metal ring in the middle. Surrounding the ring are small packets filled with gunpowder. If you one of the packets, it will crush the gunpowder against the ring and explode. 1 point for you.

 

Throw in lots of beer and you’ve got yourself a great evening.

 

I recommend booking a tour so that you can get a lesson alongside.

Tejo (Medellin, Colombia)

Where Is The Best Place To Stay In Medellin?

The best area to stay in Medellin according to many is El Poblado.

 

This is the most popular area for travellers, with the highest concentration of cafes, bars and restaurants. If you are a first-time traveller visiting Medellin then this is the best place to stay.

 

El Poblado is split up into many smaller barrios (neighbourhoods). I recommend staying in Manilla where you can find two of the best hostelsViajero and Los Patios. Both have great rooftops, but Los Patios has a pool.

 

Manilla is also full of great restaurants and cafes so you’ll never have to go far to get a good meal. My favourites include Hijamia and Café 11:11 El Despertar.

 

If you prefer somewhere cheaper and less touristy, Laureles is the next up and coming neighbourhood in Medellin.

Which Is Better? Medellin Or Cartagena?

This is a common question for people visiting Colombia. Both cities are great but have their differences.

 

If you love the sea and the beach, then definitely go for Cartagena over Medellin. Spending time at the rooftop bars looking over the ocean is always great, and your about an hour away from Playa Blanca which is one of the nicest beaches in Colombia.

 

If you prefer a less touristy destination with great cafes, bars and restaurants then pick Medellin. Medellin will also be a lot cooler temperature wise.

For more on Cartagena and how to spend your time there, head to the itinerary post below:

 

 

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