If you visit Uruguay, you will surely stop in its capital. There you will visit places such as Plaza Independencia, the Museum of Contemporary Art or Iglesia de los Carmelitas.
Many will look for the best restaurants of the city to enjoy the Uruguayan cuisine. And there will also be some travellers interested in having a look at different shops and markets of the city, for buying souvenirs of the country or just for seeing what is sold in this city.
In this article, we will accompany you in a little tour around Montevideo, looking for the shops and markets that will delight you.
Markets in Montevideo
In a big capital such as the one of Uruguay, you can find traditional markets at each of its neighbourhoods. We have selected those that we think that might appeal the travellers the most.
Mercado de la Abundancia
This market is also known as “Mercado de los Artesanos”. It was founded in 1836 and it was the first market in Montevideo. At that time, it was just a place to buy basic goods. After a fire that left it in ruins, it was rebuilt and it became a National Historic Monument in 1976. You can find in its streets beautiful antiques; you can enjoy its gastronomic delicacies and even attend a tango lesson.
Mercado de los Artesanos
There are two “Mercados de los Artesanos” in Montevideo. Those were born from the project of Uruguayan artists who more than 30 years ago decided to create a project to defend their creations and to look for a place where they could display their works independently. Today they have two points worth a visit. One is at Plaza Cagancha and the other one is at Calle Piedras. In both of them you can find handmade crafts made of clay, leather or wood. From the artist to the buyer, without any intermediary.
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You can visit this market built between 1905 and 1915 in the Gao neighbourhood. It is a perfect place for seeing a food market. There are fruit, meat and vegetables stands. It is, without any doubt, the best place for mingling with local people and, if you feel like it, to buy some food for a picnic at any of the parks of Montevideo.
Mercado del Puerto
Founded in the middle of the 19th century, this was the biggest market in South America during more than one century. Now it is an attractive place for Uruguayans and tourists thanks to its gastronomical options at good prices. You also have to notice the impressive building that houses Mercado del Puerto, an iron work with colonial style built in 1868.
Feria de Tristán Narvaja
If you are on a Sunday morning in Montevideo, you cannot miss this street market. Along the Tristán Navaja Avenue, there are dozens of stands in which you can buy anything from antiques, clothes or CDs to something to eat. It is a place in the capital of Uruguay for spending a good morning just looking around.
Besides big markets, there are many small and beautiful shops in Montevideo, perfect for buying anything from a mate bombilla to a city guide.
Drinking mate is something very Uruguayan-style. Whether you like it or not, you might want to come home with some object related to this infusion. If you do, you cannot miss Matebom, a shop in which you can buy beautiful bombillas. Not to mention the decorated mates, either in leather, metal or even rope. Moreover, they will pleasantly explain you the process of making a mate, always with a Uruguayan pumpkin.
This unique bookshop opened in May 2016. It is located in a house built in 1903, in one of the most beautiful streets of the neighbourhood of Cordón. It is a perfect place to find some book for the road. You can also enjoy a coffee surrounded by the latests arrivals sold in this beautiful place.
This shop is a family business where they sell fashion accessories such as hats and belts. They also sell bags and shoes. They use the best materials and every product is hand-made. Their prices are quite high, but they assure that all their products are of the best quality.
Recicla Second Hand
The shop’s philosophy is “whatever you don’t use, make it move”. With two streets in Montevideo, Recicla Second Hand is the perfect place for those who want to come home with new clothes or accessories that cannot be bought in their countries. Recicla Second Hand wants to give a second opportunity to all that clothes that otherwise could end up in a trash bin, something more polluting than we can even imagine due to chemical dyes.
Those are just some of the shops and markets that there are in the streets of Montevideo. If you know this city and you want to recommend some more shops to us, we are open to suggestions.
Where to change money in Uruguay
You will need Uruguayan pesos for going shopping in Montevideo. You can exchange your money for this one in the country itself. Global Exchange, the third biggest foreign exchange company in the world, has branches in Uruguay, in places such as airports, ships, at the Port of Montevideo and the Port of Colonia del Sacramento (Buque «Francisco», «Silvia Ana L.», «Eladia Isabel» and «Atlantic III»).
Check their location in the following map:
Global Exchange has foreign exchange branches at the principal airports of more than 20 countries. Check the branches in your country and travel without any worries, always without the money ready to pay anything you may need.
If you already are in Uruguay or you plan to change money upon your arrival, here you have a discount. Print this coupon and take it to our Uruguayan branches.