Montevideo is a modern city that feels like a town. Barrios retain their personality while the city gels into one. The main areas, from west to east are: the shipping port, downtown, several riverside and central neighbourhoods (Palermo, Punta Carretas, Pocitos), the suburbs and Carrasco International airport, all connected by the Rambla. Everything blends together - architecture, markets, restaurants, stores, malls, stadiums, parks and beaches - and you can find what you need in a short walk.

Montevideo, the capital, was officially founded in 1726 on a promontory between the Río de la Plata and an inner bay, though the fortifications have been destroyed. Spanish and Italian architecture, French and Art Deco styles can be seen, especially in Ciudad Vieja. The city not only dominates the country's commerce and culture: it accounts for 70% of industrial production and handles almost 90% of imports and exports. In January and February many locals leave for the string of seaside resorts to the east. The first football World Cup was held in Centenario Stadium and won by Uruguay in 1930.

Getting there

Carrasco International
is east of the centre, with easy connections by bus or taxi (20-30 minutes to downtown). Many visitors arrive at the port by boat from Buenos Aires, or by boat to Colonia and then bus to the Tres Cruces bus terminal just north of downtown. Both port and terminal have good facilities and tourist information.

Getting around

The Ciudad Vieja can be explored on foot. From Plaza de la Independencia buses are plentiful along Avenida 18 de Julio, connecting all parts of the city. Taxis are also plentiful, affordable and generally trustworthy, although compact.
(private driver and car) can be rented by the hour. Full details are given in Local Transport.
 Street names are located on building addresses, not street signs. Some plazas and streets are known by two names: for instance, Plaza de la Constitución is also called Plaza Matriz. It's a good idea to point out to a driver the location you want on a map and follow your route as you go. Also, seemingly direct routes rarely exist owing to the many one-way streets and, outside the centre, non-grid layout.

Tourist offices

Tourist information for the whole country is at the
Tres Cruces bus terminal
. For information on Montevideo, inside
Palacio Municipa
l. Check at the municipal website for weekend tours, www.montevideo.gub.uy.
Guía del Ocio
is recommended; it's sold at news-stands on Fridays and has information on museums, cultural events and entertainment. See also www.pimba.com.uy, www.montevideo.com.uy, www.cartelera.com.uy, www.aromperlanoche.com, www.bandajoven.com and www.eltimon.com.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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