Wonders of Uruguay

El Candelabro in Uruguay
El Candelabro in Uruguay. / Marcelo Campi, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

If compared to the landscape of other South American countries, Uruguay is calm, idyllic, and refreshing. The country is not that rich with breathtaking natural landmarks, but this is compensated with a diverse man-made heritage. The most amazing wonders of Uruguay are:

  • Interesting and often – eccentric modern architecture. Casapueblo, Cristo Obrero Church, Palacio Salvo, Puente de la Barra – these buildings are daring and unusual. People in Uruguay have been not shy to test something new and different.
  • Archaeological heritage. Archaeological monuments in Uruguay are not visually impressive – but their research might change the way we look at the past of South America. The last decade has brought discoveries and now it seems to be possible that several thousand years ago here developed ancient agricultural societies.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Uruguay

Geological wonders

Quebrada de los Cuervos

Treinta y Tres

A unique landscape for the country – the largest river valley in the country. At the bottom of valley is subtropical climate, here grows lush, diverse vegetation.

Quebrada de los Cuervos, Uruguay
Salto del Penitente


More than 60 m tall waterfall. Water here slides down along a steep cliff face.

Biological wonders

Monte de Ombúes


Possibly the largest and most spectacular forest of the unique ombú tree (Phitolacca dioica) – herb of tree like form, reaching circumference of 15 metres. For most part ombú is solitary tree, but here it forms 20 km² large stand.

Monte de Ombúes, Arequita (Sendero de los Ombues)


Forest of ombú trees (Phitolacca dioica) at the western part of steep cliff – Cerro Arequita.

Timbó in Villa Soriano


This enormous Pacara Earpod tree (Enterolobium contortisiliquum) reportedly is the largest tree in Uruguay. Crown diameter – 40 m and trunk diameter – 3 m.

Vizcaino Creek fossil bed


Rich find of 29,000 years old fossils. Contains thousands of bones of glyptodonts, sloths and toxodonts in excellent state of preservation. Found possible stone utensils and scratches in the bones that may have been left by humans – thus hinting at possibility that humans came to Americas much earlier than it was thought before.

Archaeological wonders

Valle del Hilo de la Vida


Valley with some hundred enigmatic, cone shaped, up to 3 m tall stone towers. It is not known when and why these structures were built.

Architecture wonders

Colonia del Sacramento Old Town


The oldest city in Uruguay, established in 1680. There have been preserved many old buildings and cobblestoned streets of this Portuguese built city and this seaside city looks very romantic.

Calle de los Suspiros, Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay
Iglesia Matriz


The oldest church in Uruguay, built in 1695 – 1699. Simple, whitewashed building with two towers.

Iglesia Matriz, Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay
Palacio Salvo


Iconic building – a skyscraper in original Art Deco style forms. Constructed in 1925 – 1928, 100 m high, 27 floors.

Palacio Salvo, Montevideo
Puente de la Barra


Road bridge with a highly unusual design, built in 1965.



An enormous private house – sculpture of artist Carlos Páez Vilaró. The white colored house has been built since 1960 and now resembles a fantastic fairytale palace.

Casapueblo, Uruguay
Castillo de Piria


A private residence in Neo-Gothic style, built in 1897. Resembles a fortified castle. Built by Francisco Piria who developed Piriapolis as his private town.

Palacio Taranco


An ornate government building, constructed in the early 20th century. The ornate building contains the Museum of Decorative Arts.

Palacio Legislativo


The Uruguayan parliament building, built in 1904 – 1925. Enormous Neo-Classical structure with interesting architecture, ornate interior.

Palacio Legislativo, Montevideo
Museo Torres García


Art museum in a seven floors high Art Nouveau building. Centerpiece of exposition is a collection of cubist paintings by Joaquin Torres García.

Fuerte San Miguel


A well preserved fort, built by Portuguese in 1737 and rebuilt in 1933.

Catedral Metropolitana de Montevideo


Enormous and ornate cathedral in Neo-Classical style, built in 1790 – 1804.

Cristo Obrero Church (Church of Christ the Worker)


A unique modernist church, built in 1958 – 1960 after the design of Eladio Dieste. Church was built of single layer of shelled brick, with undulating walls.

Fortaleza de Santa Teresa


Well preserved military fortification. Built by Portuguese in 1762 in a form of enormous pentagon.

Monumento al Ahogado


Monument – warning to the people drowned in the sea. Represents a giant hand, with fingers sticking out of the beach sand. Made in 1982.

Basilica Cerrito de la Victoria


Ornate church building, built in 1849.

Artigas Mausoleum


Monument to José Gervasio Artiga – a national hero of Uruguay.

Posta del Chuy

Cerro Largo

A historical inn, built in 1855 from solid stone. Untypical historical building for this region.

Edificio Lapido


A skyscraper in Functionalist style, built in 1933.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Uruguay Focus Guide, 2nd

Stroll around the World Heritage Site Colonia del Sacramento and you will feel like you have traveled back in time: 17th colonial buildings grace the historic section, while the lively modern town extends around a bay. Go by horseback across the country’s rolling hills and stay overnight at a country estate. From historic gems to thermal springs, from charming riverside towns to gorgeous beach resorts: Uruguay is ideal for adventurous and leisurely visitors alike. Footprint Focus Uruguay also features detailed coverage of Buenos Aires, the main gateway to the country, plus comprehensive listings on where to eat, sleep and have fun.

Uruguay (Bradt Travel Guide)

This new, fully updated third edition of Bradt’s Uruguay remains the only dedicated English-language guide to a country that’s small yet bursting with character. Bradt’s Uruguay provides in-depth coverage of the capital Montevideo, where the once-derelict colonial Old City is undergoing a historic resurgence, plus detailed information on the UNESCO-listed coastal city of Colonia del Sacramento, as well as Punta del Este, where the Buenos Aires glitterati decamps to the beaches each summer.

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