Medellin
© LOC

Known as the City of Everlasting Spring, Medellin is the capital of Colombia’s Antioquia department. Founded on 2 November 1675 it is currently home to some 2,223,000 inhabitants, making it the country’s second-largest city.

Medellin is famed for the warmth of its citizens and is the only Colombian city to possess two airports. It also boasts Colombia’s only mass transport urban metro, which includes connected bus and cable car services, known as Metroplus and Metrocable respectively.

With its extensive cultural and event infrastructure, the city generates considerable business tourism and has hosted the likes of the 2008 General Assembly of the Organisation of American States, and the 50th Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Museum lovers should not miss a visit to the Museo de Antioquia, where a large collection of works by the Colombian figurative artist Fernando Botero are exhibited. Among many other attractions, the city also offers a wealth of theatres, theme and cultural parks, libraries and an impressive botanical garden.

It’s location in the scenic Aburra valley make it an excellent starting point for eco-tourism in the nearby foothills. Just minutes from the city limits, you can find wonderful colonial architecture in its traditional Antioquian villages, many of which have their own micro-climates.

Football
As in almost every corner of Colombia, football reigns in Medellin, where it has the backing of various state entities. In terms of club football, the city is home to two professional institutions, Atletico Nacional and Independiente Medellin, who are arch-rivals and perennial candidates for the national championships. The former shot to fame in 1989 when it become the first Colombian side to lift the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club competition.

Some of Colombia’s all-time greats have come from the ranks of the two clubs, including the likes of Rene Higuita, Faustino Asprilla, Ivan Cordoba, Amaranto Perea, Juan Pablo Angel and Mauricio Serna.