With its grand old hotel and beachfront promenade backed by small mountains, Piriápolis is vaguely reminiscent of a Mediterranean beach town and exudes a certain old-school coastal-resort charm. It was developed for tourism in the early 20th century by Uruguayan 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.