Situated in the vast Aburrá valley, in the Antioquia region, Medellín is Colombia’s second largest city, where the Colombia of yesterday meets the Colombia of tomorrow.

Named the Most Innovative City in the World in 2013, Medellín’s ultra-clean public transportation, modernist architecture, and progressive civic infrastructure give it a cosmopolitan feel to rival any in the world. In addition to public transportation, the city has invested in public wifi in the downtown area. A visit to the city’s interactive science museum, botanical gardens, or simply a walk through the heart of the business district prove that Colombia has earned it’s reputation as destination for architecture and art lovers. Medellín in particular is one of the hubs for the country’s young adults attending one of the half-dozen universities and fueling the town’s vibrant cultural and nightlife scene.

This is the city of innovation and European influence, with bragging rights to the first and only metro system in Colombia and an impressive textile industry. A funicular system connects the city center to national park in the mountains above, passing over a massive modern public library famous among architecture lovers.

At the same time, Medellín is still deeply connected to its agricultural roots. Known as the City of Eternal Spring, it seems perpetually sunny and green, high in the equatorial mountains. In the hills surrounding the city, pay a visit to the flower farms, where the famed silleteros work for months on vibrant foot powered “floats” for the annual flower festival. The competition between the flower farms is a point of great pride for the winning team, and a high point of the year in Medellín.

Even with its cosmopolitan and agricultural depth, Medellín is perhaps most famous for being Fernando Botero’s hometown. The Museum of Antioquia is worthy of a stop for a singularly stunning display of the contemporary artists’ work. In the plaza fronting the museum, oversized Botero sculptures stand in the shadow of the Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture, one of the city’s most recognizable buildings.

Home to an international airport, Medellín also serves as the perfect gateway to Eje Cafetero, Colombia’s famed coffee region.