Fray Bentos is in Río Negro department of Uruguay, at the border with Argentina. The town is best known, at least among travellers, for its former meat-packing plant, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The bus terminal, lodging, and most of the stuff in Fray Bentos is located in the downtown area, which faces the Uruguay River. As in other riverside Uruguayan towns, there is a waterfront path (rambla or costanera). But the most famous tourist attraction is in the World Heritage–listed Anglo Neighborhood (Barrio Anglo), located on the river a kilometer or two west of downtown.
As this is the southernmost road bridge between Uruguay and Argentina, you'll likely pass near the city if you travel between these two countries overland. The city is less than 50 km from Gualeguaychú in Argentina.
Within the downtown area, it's easy to walk around. It's possible to walk to the Anglo Neighborhood as well, though it takes about a half hour. Driving or biking is faster. To get to the Anglo Neighbrhood, just head west on Brasil or the rambla (waterfront path).
Anglo NeighborhoodThe Anglo Neighborhood (Barrio Anglo) is the historic district including the industrial landscape that was declared a World Heritage Site in 2015. The star attraction is the museum, but it's worth wandering around the neighborhood a bit, especially the large former meat-packing plant.
Museo de la Revolución Industrialphone: +598 4562 2918address: Rambla Andres MontañoThe UNESCO World Heritage listing "Fray Bentos Cultural Industrial Landscape" comprises the premises of the former Liebig's Extract of Meat Company, founded in 1863. From 1899 onwards the Anglo Meat Packing Plant functioned here. In its heyday it was one of the largest industrial plants in all of South America and attracted many of the region's European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Closed in 1979, the area now includes this extensive museum of the plant's history. The displays are mostly in Spanish, but a few are in English.
Barrio ObreroThe area east of the industrial complex is where the workers lived. Together with the industrial complex itself, it formed a particularly large company town.
Casa GrandeHouse built starting in 1868. Inhabited by Liebig's managers when the plant was operating.
Zona de RomeríasA nature area overlooking the river that is also of historic value. Celebrations of the end of the sugar harvest were once held here. Tent camps were set up, and people of all classes of society would participate in the festivities, including from neighboring cities. The space is now available for public use.
Puerto Angloaddress: Ruta PanorámicaThe company's old port (or what's left of it). Originally there were two docks used by the Anglo company, but they were joined into one. Later damaged by a fire and a flood, it was never fully repaired and is now a crumbling fragment of the former structure. It has two old rusted cranes and is located pretty close to the museum.
ANGLO meat processing plant in actionPhoto exhibition along a walkway in the industrial plant, with interesting black-and-white photos of the plant in its heyday.
Museo Solariphone: +598 4562 1057address: Treinta y Tres Orientales 1879Art museum, mostly featuring the work of the Uruguayan painter Luis Alberto Solari, who was born in Fray Bentos. His signature theme is figures with human-looking bodies but animal heads or masks. In addition to a substantial collection of his work, the museum has two rooms of paintings by other Uruguayan artists.
Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Pilaraddress: 25 de MayoA church, financed by Liebig's, that includes a clock imported from France.
Plaza Constituciónaddress: 15 de Mayo and 18 de JulioBeautiful plaza with a gazebo at its center. The gazebo, unique in Uruguay and originally built in England, was financed by Liebig's.
Teatro de VeranoAn amphitheater by the water, surrounded by a park. Sometimes there'll be some kind of community event going on, or a performance. Even when there isn't, it's a nice place to relax and drink mate.
Teatro Youngaddress: Zorrilla de San Martín and 25 de Mayo
El Inmigrantephone: +598 4562 0774address: 18 de Julio 1118Typical Uruguayan food: pizza, pasta, milanesas, etc.
phone: +598 4562 2260address: 25 de Mayo 3295Budget option with fast wifi and a nice, friendly lobby/common area. Private or shared bathrooms available. Breakfast and air conditioning cost extra.
phone: +598 4562-0566address: Paraguay 327263-room hotel near the river.
phone: +598 4562-2363, +598 4562-3815address: 18 de Julio and 25 de Mayo