The City of Eternal Spring is filled with picturesque nature, a rich history and vibrant culture – so it’s no surprise Medellín has become a hotspot for tourists from around the world. While things like Plaza Botero, Parque Lleras, Communa 13, Parque Arví, Museo de Antioquia and Pueblito Paisa are must-sees, Medellín is also home to a range of hidden gems for travelers looking to indulge in a little luxury. Whether you want to relax at a spa, explore a castle or savor the taste of the city’s fine-dining scene, here are the top boutique things to do in El Poblado, Medellín:
Take barista classes at Pergamino
Calle 10B No. 36 - 32
Colombia is the third largest exporter of coffee in the world (after Brazil and Vietnam) and the drink is a huge part of life in Medellín. Beyond sampling different roasts in cafes, there is also the option to take barista classes and learn more about the processes involved in producing a rich brew. Pergamino is an independent roasters and café with two locations in El Poblado offering coffee workshops. The classes teach students about sustainability, good preparation practices, and of course, taste testing. Each class costs $40,000 COP.
Brunch at Azul Selva
Carrera 37 #8A-60
Situated underneath Celestino Boutique Hotel, Azul Selva is a stylish brunch spot combing healthy eating with tasty dishes. The café is stylishly decorated, with an open balcony looking out on the picturesque streets and extremely friendly staff ready to welcome guests for a special meal. The menu has a wide selection of cooked dishes (such as pumpkin pancakes and eggs any style) alongside fresh juices, artisanal breads and rich coffee. Azul Selva doesn’t only serve up quality foods at very reasonable prices, it also caters to vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free diets. Guests staying at the Celestino Boutique Hotel can purchase an add-on breakfast package at Azul Selva for $25,000 COP per person with the direct booking here.
Eat sushi and sip sangria at Envy rooftop
Calle 9A #37-16
For travelers searching for lunch in style, Envy is the chicest spot in Medellín. Located on the rooftop of The Charlee hotel, Envy boasts incredible panoramic views of the city, alongside DJs playing music next to an aquarium-style swimming pool. The bar also serves up a range of delicious sushi, so be sure to order a platter to share with a jug of sangria – and be ready to take lots of photos. It’s worth noting that Envy has a dress code, so come looking smart. Entrance is free during the day on weekends if there are no private functions booked.
Go shopping along Vía Primavera
Medellín is no stranger to shopping – the city is packed with malls at every turn; however, the most impressive boutique shops are found on Vía Primavera. This quaint street is lined with leafy tress and small stores selling everything from handmade jewelry, clothes and shoes, to pottery, wines and souvenirs. Many of the shops are owned by Colombians and sell items that can only be bought in Medellín, meaning there are plenty of gift ideas to be inspired by. Galería Diseño, OnA, Caduto and Blanco & Negro are just a few of the most popular spots, and there are also sometimes craft markets held down the street.
For when shoppers need to refuel, Vía Primavera has a wide variety of cute cafes and eateries to take advantage of, and Celestino Boutique Hotel is located right next to the best boutiques and restaurants.
Dine out at Don Diablo
Carrera 36 #10A-45
El Poblado is renowned for its restaurant scene, having some of the top places to eat in all of Medellín. For travelers who are eager to sample Colombian cuisine with a familiar twist, Don Diablo is a relatively new steakhouse blending local ingredients and cooking methods with recognizable American dishes. The restaurant is so committed to high quality products that it has its own specially-made grill and dry-ageing room for meats, and the owners regularly travel around Colombia in search of new flavors. While primarily a steakhouse, Don Diablo also has options for vegetarians, as well as a notable wine list. The staff speak both Spanish and English, and the swanky décor makes the restaurant an excellent choice to wrap up the day.
Get artsy at Lokkus Arte Contemporáneo
Carrera 36 #10A-35
While the Museum of Modern Art (MAMM) is a fantastic choice for art-lovers in Medellín, the Lokkus Arte Contemporáneo gallery is a lesser-known gem. Having only opened in 2013, the space features the works of local artists focusing on political and social issues through contemporary art. The gallery holds a variety of events – such as openings and workshops – throughout the year, and is a brilliant place to learn about Medellín through different mediums. Lokkus Arte Contemporáneo is closed on Sundays but open from 11 am – 7 pm other days, except for Saturdays when it shuts at 4 pm.
Step back in time at El Castillo
Calle 9S #32-269
Nestled high in the hills in El Poblado, El Castillo is a Gothic-style castle built in 1930 with stunning surrounding gardens. The castle was once home to a medical pioneer of Medellín, and later a philanthropist, both of whom added impressive art collections throughout the building, as well as unique artefacts from around the world. Today, El Castillo is a cultural center where visitors can take a tour through the lavish rooms and winding staircases to appreciate distinct European and American influences.
Alternatively, the picturesque lawns, fountains and colorful nature are ideal to spend the day in the sunshine, soaking in the view of the Medellín skyline. There is a café on-site, as well as small food stalls on the weekend. Entrance is $13,000 for adults.