Author Anne Plau

Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay or more precisely the República Oriental del Uruguay. 1,38 million people live in the capital, which is almost 40% of the 3,5 million Uruguayans (2020 forecast) in total. The inhabitants of Uruguay are predominantly of European descent. The national language is Spanish.

Article overview Montevideo

Montevideo's skyline seen from the sea

Montevideo's skyline seen from the sea

Something about the history of the country

Spaniards founded Montevideo in 1726 in the area of ​​today's Cuidad Vieja, the old town. Military reasons initially played a role, such as the defense against the Portuguese advancing from Brazil. However, economic aspects quickly gained in importance. The port benefited in particular from the slave trade. In 1791 Montevideo received the import monopoly for the South American colonies.

After Uruguay's declaration of independence in 1830, Montevideo grew mainly through immigration. The first immigrants came from the Canary Islands, later people from France, Italy, Spain and England followed. In 1884 Montevideo had more than 104.000 inhabitants.

Montevideo - worth knowing 

Montevideo is the only major city in Uruguay and the cultural, political and economic center of the country.

Montevideo's sea of ​​houses

Montevideo's sea of ​​houses

Montevideo's residents

In 1730 Montevideo had 400 inhabitants, in 1880 there were already over 100.000 and according to the last census of 2011 almost 1,32 million.


The first soccer world championship was held in Uruguay in 1930. The final took place at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo. The Uruguayan team defeated Argentina and became the first soccer world champion in history.

Church life

Church and state have been separate since 1916. Montevideo is the seat of the only Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Uruguay. The Catedral Metropolitana, built between 1790 and 1804, is the episcopal church of the archbishopric.

Catedral Metropolitana - main altarCatedral Metropolitana - main altar

The climate

The climate is subtropical, humid and moderately warm. The average temperature in summer is just under 23 degrees and in winter around 13 degrees.

Arts and Culture

Literature, art and music play a prominent role in Montevideo. Tango is almost as popular as in Argentina. Montevideo has many theaters, the most important being the Teatro Solis, the second largest theater in South America.

Street theater on Calle Perez Castellanos

Street theater on Calle Perez Castellanos

Quality of life

The quality of life in the city is high; For years, most recently according to Mercer's Report 2017, Montevideo has been number one in Latin America.

Rambla of Montevideo

The Rambla runs along the entire coastline in the south of Montevideo along the Rio de la Plata. At 27 kilometers, it is one of the longest coastal promenades in the world. The sections of the Rambla are named differently. It is a lifeline of Montevideo. Walkers, joggers and cyclists meet here, or you can just relax while looking at the beach and the spacious bay.


Montevideo is one of the safest cities in South America. However, that does not mean to be careless with personal belongings. A good measure of caution is always required.


Tourists particularly appreciate the city for its historic old town, good shopping opportunities and nearby beaches.

The Puerta de la Ciudadela in Plaza Independencia

The Puerta de la Ciudadela in Plaza Independencia


Montevideo has an international airport and a major cargo and ferry port. The ferry connection to Buenos Aires only takes around 2½ hours. There are two train routes to the suburbs and a well-developed bus network.


Montevideo is the seat of Mercosur (South America's Common Market). The city has an important meat, fish and wool industry. Much of Uruguay's foreign trade is handled through the port.

Access to the port of Montevideo

Access to the port of Montevideo

Montevideo for crusaders

Cruise ships dock in the port of Cuidad Vieja at the pier next to the ferry terminal. It's not far to the old town, an easy walk.

Tours of Montevideo and the surrounding area are offered at the port. Taxis for private excursions are affordable and safe.

The currency is the Uruguan peso (UYU). US dollars are widely accepted in shops and restaurants, so ask beforehand.

Montevideo Cruise Terminal - Welcome Zone

Montevideo Cruise Terminal - Welcome Zone

Celebrity Eclipse at the Montevideo Cruise Terminal

Celebrity Eclipse at the Montevideo Cruise Terminal 

The Información Turística, the tourist information, has a small stand directly at the port exit and larger offices at the Mercado del Puerto and in the town hall.

We describe the attractions of Montevideo under Montevideo attractions.

Update February 2024

Excursions & Activities Montevideo - GetYourGuide