With its elegant old hotel and beachfront promenade backed by small mountains, Piriápolis is vaguely reminiscent of a Mediterranean beach town and is arguably Uruguay’s most picturesque coastal resort. Less pretentious and more affordable than Punta del Este, it was developed for tourism in the 1930s by Argentine entrepreneur Francisco Piria, who built the imposing landmark Argentino Hotel and an eccentric hillside residence known as Castillo de Piria (Piria’s Castle).
Almost all the action happens in the 10-block stretch of beachfront between Av Artigas (the access road from Ruta 9) and Av Piria (where the coastline makes a broad curve southwards).
Streets back from the beach quickly become residential.
The surrounding countryside holds many interesting features, including two of Uruguay’s highest summits.