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Piriápolis: a seaside resort modeled on European seaside resorts of the late nineteenth century

The town of Piriápolis is a major seaside resort on the coast of Uruguay, located along the Rio de la Plata, about 50 km east of Montevideo, is located between the cities of Atlantida and Punta del Este. Piriápolis is a town recently founded, it was founded in 1890 by Francesco Piria who called it by the name of El Balneario del Porvenir, in the early years after its founding there were built a few hotels and a small harbor, for most of the buildings the founder was inspired by the most famous seaside resorts of Italy and France. The town grew slowly as a seaside resort, there were built summer camps and other hotels, today Piriápolis presents a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets from the most elegant and expensive to simple and cheap apartments to finish to campsites and summer camps.

The most fashionable street of Piriápolis and the heart of the city is the Rambla de los Argentinos a promenade that runs along the Playa de Piriápolis. Here are concentrated the major hotels and casinos, there are shops and restaurants and is the center of nightlife in Piriápolis. The small port of the town is located at the eastern end of the Rambla de los Argentinos, while on the opposite side, to the west by the sea, lies the Plaza Armenia a kind of a terrace along the beach. The Avenida Jose Gervasio Artigas intersects the Rambla de los Argentinos and leads to the most important park of Piriápolis: the Parque la Cascada.

Along the coast in the direction of Montevideo and Atlántida follow each other small seaside settlements including Playa Grande, Playa Hermosa, Playa Verde, Las Flores, Bella Vista until you reach Solis. On the opposite side – the one that goes to Punta del Este – past the harbor lies the village of San Francisco with the Playa Parador Movistar, Punta Colorada, and then there is a long beach where there are the seaside resorts of Punta Negra, Sauce de Portezuelo, Ocean Park, Chihuahua and Solanas Green Park up to Punta Ballena near Punta del Este.

Among the excursions to do near Piriápolis there is one at the Capilla de San Antonio which is situated on a hill overlooking the city from which have beautiful views of the beach and the sea. Another interesting excursion to do is the one that leads to visit the Trilogía de las Fuentes: a series of three elaborate fountains (Fuente de Venus, Fuente del Toro e Fuente de Stella Maris or Gruta de los Patos) built in 1920 and reminiscent of the historical fountains present in many  Italian and French villas and palaces. Nature lovers can visit the Reserva de Flora y Fauna del Pan de Azúcar which is located about 6 km north of Piriápolis, the Cerro Pan de Azúcar, which reaches 389 meters above sea level is the third highest “peak” of Uruguay. Near the Pan de Azúcar is also the Castillo de Piria which was the residence of the founder of Piriápolis and is now a museum (Museo Parque Municipal Castillo Francisco Piria).

HOW TO GET THERE: Piriápolis is served by bus connections with Montevideo and Punta del Este, but to move freely is much more convenient to use a rental car. It is usually cheaper to book car hire on the internet before you go and collect it at the airport in Montevideo on arrival.

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