Crowned with UNESCO World Heritage status, Colonia de Sacramento continues to enchant visitors with its whimsical laid-back charm and Portuguese ambience.
Cobblestone streets bounded by painted houses and sycamore trees illustrate a peaceful scene that bears little resemblance to the town's turbulent history well depicted in the city’s three principal museums.
Nestled on the western fringes of River Plate, facing Buenos Aires, Colonia de Sacramento offers the main waterway crossing for all visitors arriving from Argentina. The historic quarter is safeguarded by the Portón de Campo, a drawbridge opening through the fortified walls of Colonia de Sacramento.
Once inside, stroll along Calle de los Suspiros or Street of Sighs. Steeped in legend regarding its namesake, this cobblestone stretch of tiled stucco houses leads out onto Plaza Mayor, an attractive market square festooned with flowers and palm trees. The many cafés dotted around Plaza Mayor offer ample opportunity to sample the youth enhancing properties of Mate tea or for relaxing with a glass of Uruguayan wine. Few miss the opportunity to visit the oldest church in Uruguay, the Iglesia Matriz, or the El Faro lighthouse constructed almost entirely from materials reclaimed from the ruins of Convento de San Francisco. Situated just beyond the Barrio Histórico fortress, the lighthouse captures the most impressive vistas across the tiled rooftops inside the old town and out toward the Rio de la Plate.
Despite vast investment and observing fewer than 10 bullfights before the sport was banned in Uruguay in 1912, the elaborate Moorish-style bull ring of Plaza de Toros Real de San Carlos still poses a popular attraction that provides a glimpse into the many Spanish influences brought ashore here.