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Colonia del Sacramento: Everything you need to know for a daytrip

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

A crumbling terracotta stone wall and lamp post set amid a black cobblestone street with thick green, hanging ivy on the Calle de los Suspiros in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. ©AlonzoWright for Manifesting Travel
A crumbling 17th century wall on the Calle de los Suspiros in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. ©AlonzoWright

Thinking of a day trip to Uruguay from Argentina? Colonia del Sacramento is a popular day trip from Buenos Aires, and an easy way to visit two South American countries on one vacation. From its sun-dried and faded facades to winding cobblestone alleys leading to the sea, this sleepy colonial town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a photographer’s dream.

What is Colonia del Sacramento known for?

Barrio Histórico

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Colonia del Sacramento is known for its Barrio Histórico, an impeccably-preserved colonial quarter with a rich and tumultuous history. It was founded by the Portuguese in 1680 on the Río de la Plata and became a military stronghold in the resistance against Spain. With its wide stone walls, tiled roofs and single-story stucco buildings, the architecture is a stunning example of European colonialism.

The 17th century village is surrounded by water on three sides with a towering lighthouse facing Buenos Aires and its own drawbridge, making it feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s so well preserved for the period, it feels like a pirate may come around the corner at any moment.

A wide cobblestone plaza with tables and chairs set between colorful 17th century colonial buildings in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. ©AlonzoWright for Manifesting Travel
Wide cobblestone plazas are typical in Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage site. ©AlonzoWright

Things to do in Colonia del Sacramento

Puerta de la Ciudadela

Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse

Calle de Los Suspiros or Street of Sighs

Portuguese History Museum

Museo Municipal