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Madrid - Montevideo
Leave London in the evening to meet your connecting flight in Madrid. You’ll land in Montevideo the following morning.
Montevideo is an intriguing place to explore, with its old town built mainly in the 18th century, its busy commercial district around Avenida 18 de Julio and its distinctive theatres, museums and galleries. Your city walking tour starts at Independence Square and takes in Montevideo’s original entrance to the citadel, plus the Solis Theatre, Torres Garcia Museum and the “Puro Verso” library. Not to mention Constitution Square, the Cathedral, the Cabildo and the Carnival Museum in the Old City.
A new day sees you visiting the New City with its boulevard-style streets, magnificent stores and grand residences. Plaza Fabini has an epic sculpture of a horse battle between the first Spanish settlers and the native inhabitants. Montevideo City Hall Observation Deck will give you impressive views of the city, whilst the Open City will give you a new perspective; one that includes green parks, famous monuments and elegant residential areas like Carrasco and Punta Gorda.
Stay: Two nights in a superior room at the Oliva Hotel.
A scenic journey of about three hours brings you to Mariscala where you’ll be able to hike along hidden trails, take horse rides through rolling hills and visit the famous Caves of Salamanca. And along the way you’ll be inspired by the diverse flora and fauna of this rural region of Eastern Uruguay. An unusual attraction; you’ll also visit Villa Serrana, featuring an architect-designed ‘large-scale garden’ and trees chosen for their various colours.
Stay: Two nights in a double room at El Balcon de Abra.
Jose Ignacio is definitely the place for visitors with refined palates. Here you’ll enjoy a private tour of the impressive Olive Plantation of Colinas de Garzón, set amidst astonishingly beautiful countryside. You’ll be able to wander around the plantation and tour the plant that processes boutique extra virgin olive oil to learn the secrets of the oil’s origin and its manufacture. You’ll then be invited to sample local wines and oils, accompanied by carefully selected cheeses and artisan breads.
The following day a tour will take you to the Casa Pueblo of Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vilaro, before moving on to Mansa Beach, the aptly-named Las Delicias area and Punta del Este – a fashionable resort, marina and port. Your excursion ends at the undulating bridge of La Barra, surrounded by antique, craft and souvenir shops.
Stay: Three nights in a suite at Estancia Vik.
Now the understated town of Jose Ignacio presents you with a different face – its unsurpassed beach and splendid modern architecture. You’ll be moving to a chic hotel next to the beach and – when you’re not relaxing in the sun on the fine sand – you can go on excursions to the beautiful lagoons of Anastasio and Garzon.
Here you’ll find an untouched natural world; the perfect place for a traditional parrillas – a sort of local barbecue – canoeing, paddle boarding and riding horses through the native forest. During your stay you’ll also be invited to take a cooking class with a respected Asador to learn the techniques of the local gastronomy and taste fine regional wines.
Stay: Four nights in a suite at Bahia Vik.
Montevideo – Madrid - London
A three hour drive takes you back to Montevideo to meet your international flight to Madrid, connecting to London and landing at Heathrow the next morning.
It was a great experience and now I have dipped my toes in the Ultimate waters I shall be back for more.- JE, October