Departing from Montevideo you will learn about its rural area, the fields and industries of the Department of San Jose until arriving in the Department of Colonia, which is distinctive because of its long-standing milk production that was originally driven by Swiss, German and Italian immigrants among others.
You will then visit the farm and museum that houses the Guinness World Record holder’s collection of pencils accomplished by the owner of the best-known jam and cheese factory in the area. In addition to learning about the collections and history of Don Emilio Arenas, you’ll enjoy the products by tasting the classic cheese, the different flavors of the home-made jams and marmalades and our distinctive “dulce de leche.”
Entering the Old Town through the Country Gate, more familiarly known as “Porton del Campo” you will find historical remains of a 17th century fort that was used during the fighting among the Portuguese and Spaniards who alternated governing the colony. You’ll walk along narrow and cobbled streets where squares, museums, and ateliers of recognized artists and artisans are found.
Portuguese and Spanish houses align this street where pink and yellow colours prevail. The beauty of this street and its surroundings arouses romance, but not all the different versions of the meanings of its name.
The traditional Lighthouse was built on the ruins of the San Francisco Xavier Convent in the mid-nineteenth century. It flashed during the night to warn the sailors they were getting close to the colony. You’ll be thrilled by the view of the Plaza Mayor and all the buildings from the old times which have been turned into museums.
The most important Catholic Church in the city is located next to the Plaza de Armas and it has been there since 1810. The Spanish architect Toribio gave it its current architectural features but the stones in the entrance reveal that the original style was Portuguese. In earlier times we could find the Blessed Sacrament in its façade but today it stands out on the major altar.
Beautiful seaside resorts are situated on the coast of the Plata river being the pioneer of the area known as “Real de San Carlos”. To get there you will travel along the extensive seafront and you’ll get to know the history of the visionary Nicolás Mihanovich, who created a magnificent bullring; an elegant hotel and casino, a Basque-ball court, a horseracing track and a small train station.