Things to do in Montevideo
Become a bookworm
Uruguayans love their literature; join them with their noses in a book at Libreria Puro Verso (tel: +598 2901 6429; www.libreriapuroverso.com). Reflected in a series of glorious art deco stained glass panels, the piles and piles of books in the shop invite study, while the frivolous upstairs restaurant is the place to chill and chat.
Have a sundowner in Mercado del Puerto
As the sun starts to set, sip one of the city's signature medio y medio (half dry white wine, half sparkling wine) vinos at Cafe Roldos, Rambla 25 de Agosto de 1825. Affording views over Montevideo's bustling port, this legendary drinking hole has been the meeting place for the city's intelligentsia since it opened in 1886.
Join locals enjoying afternoon cortado
The afternoon break, merienda, is an important tradition in Montevideo and nothing is more central to it than a good cortado (coffee with a dash of milk). For an atmospheric coffee shop packed with old furniture and dangling chandeliers, head to Cafe Brasilero (tel: +598 2 917 2035; www.cafebrasilero.com.uy), a cultural landmark in Montevideo since 1877.
Sip mate on La Rambla
Originating in Argentina, mate is a ubiquitous, warm herbal drink that is wildly popular in Montevideo. Hang out with the hip crowd, who sip the bitter beverage along the Pocitos promenade, by buying a drinking gourd, bombilla (metal straw) and some dried yerba mate leaves from the La Rambla shops.
Watch candombe dancers in the street
Candombe is a style of music and dance that originated from African slaves who immigrated to Uruguay from Argentina in the 19th century. The colourful, carnival-style choreography is infectious. For those in Malvín at midday on Sundays, it's easy to get caught up in the brightly decorated costumes and drummed rhythms.