The capital city of Colombia’s mountainous region known as Antioquia, Medellin is located in the somewhat narrow Aburra Valley but is connected to the surrounding barrios that all have impressive views of the scenery below (by an equally impressive Metro system).
The backdrop of the city is an amalgamation of high-rise buildings and the jagged peaks of the mountain range. Remote neighborhoods in Medellin rise up into the steep hillsides, in what is in many ways one of the densest cities in the world.
Thus it is a lively and vibrant environment packed with commercial, entertainment, and leisure areas. Each neighborhood has plenty to keep you occupied in its own way in the “City of Eternal Spring.”
Medellin is a modern fast-paced, densely-populated city, which can be a bit much for some people. Yet it can be balanced out by leaving the packed areas behind and escaping into the hills for an afternoon either on foot or by MetroCable.
To help you on your journey, I will take a look at where to stay in Medellin, Colombia by looking at the best areas and the attractions and accommodations available.
TL;DR – The Best Places To Stay in Medellin
Just need a quick answer to the best accommodations in Medellin? Don’t worry, we got you covered with our quick picks below.
- 🏨 Best Overall — Ayenda 1224 Pixel House
- 🌅 Best Luxury Hotel — The Hotel Dann Carlton
- 🏚 Best Budget Hotel — Hotel Premium Plaza
- 🏯 Best Boutique Hotel — Luum Guest House
- 👪 Best Hotel For Families — The Ayenda Seven Inn
- 🧍🏻♂️ Best Hostel for Solo Travellers — Rango Boutique Hostel
- 👫 Best Hotel for Couples — The Inntu Hotel
Now, let’s take a closer look at where to stay in Medellin by checking out its best areas and neighborhoods.
The 4 Best Areas to Stay in Medellin
1. El Poblado
A busy tourist area known for its vibrant nightlife
El Poblado is a large district in Medellin, with the central region being the place to head if you like your nightlife on the lively side.
The nightlife in El Poblado has been described as some of the best on the planet, and there is certainly a huge plethora of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in the city.
As far as the range of eateries and retail outlets go, you’ll find vibrancy and diversity, with people from all walks of life frequenting them during the day, although a large proportion of them are visitors.
This particular section of Medellin is sometimes on the crowded side, but it’s an ideal place to stay if you’re looking to socialize with other travelers.
Central Poblado has its fair share of reasonably cheap and authentic restaurants, but you’ll also find plenty along the lines of fine dining options.
Eating towards the high end of the range will work out way more expensive, but you can expect excellent service as well, especially in the more luxurious hotels.
El Poblado Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay in for Nightlife
- Best Hotels – Hotel Dann Carlton Medellin • Ayenda 1224 Pixel House • Luum Guest House
- Best Hostels – Rango Boutique Hostel • Viajero Medellin Hostel • Arcadia Hostel Medellin
- Best Apartments – 1 Bedroom Apartment • 4 Bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – Restaurante Mondongo’s El Poblado ($$), Alambique ($$), Il Forno Parque Lleras ($$)
- Where to Drink – Berlin Bar 1930, Envy Rooftop, Mosquito Rooftop
- Top Attractions – El Tesoro Parque Comercial, Lieras Park, Museum Pablo Escobar
Great for travelers that are not comfortable with being in a consistently busy area
Laureles is a safe bet if you’ve never been to Medellin before. Here you’ll encounter a slightly greener neighborhood than El Poblado, offering similar avenues in terms of amenities but with more of a local, toned-down vibe.
There’s also more of a prevalence of smaller cafes and restaurants than loud bars and clubs, and Laureles carries a distinctly more cultured vibe, even at night, than many of the central districts of Medellin.
Laureles’ Estadio Atanasio Girardot complex is the place to find Medellin’s major football stadium and home to the country’s 2 most popular soccer teams.
Even the surrounding streets near the football ground are pleasant enough to sit and enjoy a meal and a bottle of wine, although if you are not that big on crowds, you might want to avoid the La 70 region on game days.
Although it was a working-class neighborhood back in the 1940s when it was first founded, Laureles is definitely more of an upper-middle-class neighborhood these days, meaning that accommodation is quite a bit more on the expensive side. There are a few budget and mid-range options, but high-end hotels are the main option.
You’ll also find the artistic side of Medellin in and around the various art galleries and art museums, along with a dynamic theatre scene.
One downside of this otherwise ideal neighborhood is that it is a little bit further out from the major public transit hubs, which means taxis or buses may be more of a requirement unless you are energetic enough to make your way around on foot!
Laureles Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay in for an Authentic Experience
- Best Hotels – Ayenda Seven Inn • Inntu Hotel • Hotel Asturias Medellin
- Best Hostels – Hotel Palmas Del Estadio 2 • Hostal Rich • Experience Medellin Hostel
- Best Apartments – 3 Bedroom Apartment • 1 Bedroom Apartment • 1 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – Saludpan ($$), Il Forno Casa Laureles ($$), Cucayito Cocina Costena ($$)
- Where to Drink – Panorama Rooftop Bar, Del Patio Bar, Melody For Two
- Top Attractions – Atanasio Girardot Stadium, Sculpture Park Nutibara Hill, Pueblito Paisa
3. La Candelaria
For the seasoned traveler that wants to immerse themselves among the people of Medellin
La Candelaria is what might be considered the downtown district of Medellin. It is an area of the city with a shady rep because it is probably not entirely as developed or upmarket as the usual tourist hot spots.
It is becoming more popular, especially for those seasoned travelers who have no problem overcoming the stigma of red-light districts and the culture that surrounds them. The name comes from its central location, which means if you stay here you can easily access anywhere else in the city.
La Candelaria is, however, the area of the city where some of the most important historical landmarks are located.
You’ll see this in the daytime from the abundance of walking tours around the streets, as participants are guided through local cultural hot spots such as Plaza Cisneros, Plaza Botero, Antioquia Museum, and Casa de La Memoria.
These local landmarks are also close to the Medellin Metro.
La Candelaria Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay in for Sightseeing
- Best Hotels – Ayenda 1254 Mi Columbia • Hotel Nutibara • Hotel Premium Plaza
- Best Hostels – JEP Hostel • Medellin Backpacker Hostel • Hostel Alquimia Restaurant
- Best Apartments – 1 Bedroom Apartment • 1 Bedroom Apartment • 1 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – Versailles Restaurante y Pasteleria ($$), Restaurante Hatoviejo Centro ($$$), Delicias del Tolima ($$)
- Where to Drink – Salon Malaga, La Casa Centro Cultural, Rock Symphony
- Top Attractions – Plaza Botero, Museo de Antioquia, Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture
Greenspaces and easy access to the metro to explore Medellin
Belen has all the charm and authenticity of Laureles, but with the proximity to public transport, you would find in other central areas.
This is a place with an air of the middle class, although it is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, so it doesn’t quite have the classy vibe of Laureles. Like Laureles, Belen started as a working-class neighborhood, but the city area is considered safer to stay in.
Although Belen is one of Medellin’s most conveniently located districts, as far as Metro access goes, you’ll also find a wide expanse of natural space. It provides quite a contrast and a spot of relief from the densely populated areas like El Poblado.
Its central park is a great place to while away an afternoon in the mild Medellin weather, and you can find plenty of hiking and cycling opportunities in and around the surrounding trails of the small hilly region known as Cerro Nutibara, which has an authentic-looking replica village at its summit.
You will find plenty of options in terms of accommodation in Belen. Even though it is quite close to Laureles, it isn’t necessarily just about high-end hotels in this stretch of Medellin.
There are certainly plenty of choices when it comes to very reasonably-priced hotels and plenty of affordable apartments.
Belen Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay in for Budget Travellers
- Best Hotels – Hotel Ayenda Loft 32 • Jardin De Laureles • Casa Rozales
- Best Hostels – The Wandering Paisa • International House Co-Living Hostel
- Best Apartments – 2 Bedroom Apartment • 2 Bedroom Apartment • 1 Bedroom Apartment
- Where to Eat – Donde Dario ($$), Guadalupe Belen ($$), Asados La 80 – Belen ($$)
- Where to Drink – Bar Valhala, Mulenze Salsa Bar, El Tibiri
- Top Attractions – Pueblito Paisa, Parque Belen, Sculpture Park Nutibara Hill
FAQs About Where to Stay in Medellin, Colombia
What are the best places to stay in Medellin for first-time visitors?
The best areas to stay in Medellin for first-time visitors are the El Poblado and Laureles neighborhoods. El Poblado is perfect for visitors looking to stay in the heart of the action while having plenty of restaurants and attractions located nearby. Meanwhile, Laureles is the ideal area for hosting a cultural exploration of the city within its authentic setting.
Is Medellin safe?
Medellin is a safe city to visit. While once considered the most dangerous city in the world, Medellin has experienced a steep decline in violent crime, making it a safe destination for tourists.
Still, like any travel destination, visitors should practice caution when choosing where to stay in the city, with El Pablado, Laureles, La Candelaria, and Belen all being relatively safe neighborhoods.
What areas in Medellin have the lowest pollution levels?
One of the downsides of visiting Medellin is its high pollution levels. However, these levels are not uniform throughout the city and can be avoided by staying in the cleaner neighborhoods.
While pollution levels in heavily populated areas such as Belen and La Candelaria are considered moderate, El Poblado and Laureles promise a cleaner stay in the city with lower pollution levels.
What hotels in Medellin are best for families?
A popular tourist region full of parks, low pollution levels, and a safe and friendly neighborhood, El Poblado is the best area in Medellin to stay in when visiting with your family. Promising plenty of kid-friendly amenities, Hotel Dann Carlton Belfort and Lettera Hotel are two of the best accommodations for hosting your family holiday.
What are the best luxury hotels in Medellin?
What is the best area to stay in Medellin for nightlife?
With several nightclubs and bars lining its El Parque Lleras, El Poblado is the best area to stay in for nightlife. Alternatively, Laureles is a vibrant university district offering great nightlife hot spots with young and social crowds.
What are the best places to stay in Medellin for couples?
The cultural hub of Medellin, Laureles is a quieter, more authentic side of the community, promising a romantic getaway for visiting the city as a couple. From local Colombian restaurants to several cultural museums, Laureles is the perfect setting for your couple’s getaway to Medellin.
So, Where Should You Stay in Medellin?
- El Poblado — Medellin is best known for its nightlife when it comes to attracting tourists, and if you want to be in the thick of it El Poblado is the best area to stay in.
- Laureles — While Laurels is not as connected to the city metro system, this also means that the area is slightly more slow-paced than the busy life throughout Medellin–that is, unless there is a soccer game on. This area is ideal for those not as comfortable being constantly surrounded by people and noise in their travels.
- La Candelaria — Considered the downtown district, this area is best suited for seasoned travelers who want to immerse themselves in the culture of the people of Medellin. The area also boasts the most notable historical landmarks for those interested in learning more about the history of Medellin.
- Belen — This middle-class neighborhood is an excellent choice for first-time visitors, offering up green space and easy access to the metro system to allow leisure exploration.
Medellin is a fairly buzzing place that has come on in leaps and bounds since the days when it had a somewhat questionable image and reputation. It is developed enough to service tourism from the world over in terms of accommodation, leisure, and entertainment while retaining a touch of uniqueness garnered from its location and geographical disposition.
Whether you are an all-night party animal, a lover of coffee and culture, or an intrepid hiker, you will undoubtedly find something in Medellin to ensure a great holiday and travel experience.