17 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Argentina
Written by Bryan Dearsley Updated Jul 26, 2022
Argentina's diverse geography is one of the country's main attractions. It encompasses everything from harsh deserts to humid jungles, and long ocean beaches to the soaring Andes. Stretching from the subtropical north to the subantarctic regions of beautiful Patagonia in the south, Argentina's cultural, artistic, and architectural heritage is just as diverse, drawing upon influences from around the world.
With its wonderful barrios , including colorful arts neighborhoods such as La Boca, old-world Recoleta, and trendy districts like Palermo, Buenos Aires sometimes feels more like Europe than Latin America. This lively capital city is the best place to begin sightseeing (it's also the best place to learn to tango, the most iconic of Argentinian dances).
In addition to its many cultural attractions, the other big draws – and for some tourists, its greatest appeal – are the country's natural wonders, including the breathtaking Iguazú Falls, the world's largest group of waterfalls.
To make sure you find all the best places to visit and things to do, use this handy list of the top tourist attractions in Argentina.
1. Iguazú Falls
2. perito moreno glacier, 3. recoleta, la boca, and tango in buenos aires, 4. tierra del fuego national park, 5. puerto madryn and the valdés peninsula, 6. ushuaia: the end of the world, 7. bariloche and the route of the seven lakes, 9. historic córdoba cathedral, 10. beaches of mar del plata, 11. cafayate, 12. southern fuegian railway, 13. san ignacio mini ruins, 14. quebrada de humahuaca, 15. teatro colón, 16. aconcagua mountain, 17. salinas grandes.
The stunning Iguazú Falls lie along Argentina's border with Brazil, with Iguazu National Park on the Argentinian side and Iguaçu National Park on the Brazilian side. Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site , these huge waterfalls are undoubtedly one of the most spectacular sights in South America.
Visitors can get quite close to these thundering falls thanks to a network of easily accessible walkways and viewing platforms designed to provide the best possible views, including some at the bottom of the falls, an area known as the Devil's Throat.
Iguazu is, in fact, made up of between 150 to 300 individual falls along its nearly three-kilometer edge, a number that changes depending on the season, varying in height between 60 to 82 meters and each as spectacular as the next. Served by an international airport in Argentina (and one in neighboring Brazil), it's relatively easy to visit, particularly if flying from Buenos Aires.
The main hub for tourists visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Patagonia's Los Glaciares National Park , the small town of El Calafate offers plenty of accommodation options and other amenities for visitors.
It's here that most visitors join excursions to see the park's popular glaciers, most notably the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, a massive 30-kilometer-long ice formation (and the world's third-largest freshwater reserve) just 78 kilometers from the town center.
Named after a 19th-century explorer, it's just a two-hour trip from El Calafate to the glacier's large visitor center, and from here just a short walk to the glacier. For those wanting to climb the glacier, ice trekking tours are available that range from an hour's walk over the ice formation to longer five-hour excursions.
Another important feature of Los Glaciares National Park is the 3,359-meter-tall Monte Fitz Roy , a stunningly beautiful mountain straddling the border with Chile that is reputably harder to climb than Everest.
Official site: www.losglaciares.com/en/index.html
One of South America's most attractive cities (also one of the largest), Buenos Aires is often the first glimpse of Argentina most visitors will have before heading off to popular tourist destinations such as Patagonia.
But the smart ones will linger here and take in the many delightful museums and art galleries housed in the splendid old colonial buildings spread across the city's districts or barrios .
Be sure to visit La Boca , Buenos Aires' most colorful neighborhood and home to the quirky Caminito Street Museum , a splendid pedestrian zone and open-air museum popular for its brightly painted houses, amusing sculptures, cafés, music, and tango dancers in the streets.
Fashionable Recoleta is another must and is where you'll find the Recoleta Cemetery , with its elaborate mausoleums containing the remains of such famous Argentinians as Eva (Evita) Perón, along with numerous public gardens, museums, art galleries, cafés, and boutique shops.
Other districts to explore if time permits are Palermo and Belgrano with their wide boulevards and palatial mansions, and, in the downtown core, the delightful Plaza de Mayo .
- Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Buenos Aires
The 156,000-acre Tierra del Fuego National Park extends all the way from Beagle Channel to the Chilean Border and northwards to Lago Kami. It's a paradise for hikers, with trails for all experience levels.
Using the town of Ushuaia as a base, adventurers head out onto the park's hiking trails or along the coastline to explore its dramatic scenery, which includes everything from tall waterfalls, dense forests, and mountains, to beautiful glacier-fed lakes such as Roca and Fagnano.
One of the most popular routes is Senda Costera , a coastal path to Lake Roca from Ensenada Bay that offers a chance to see a rich diversity of wildlife including Andean condors.
Those who prefer to see the sights in comfort can take a ride on the superb Southern Fuegian Railway , an elegant antique steam train through the park to Cañadon de Toro.
The city of Puerto Madryn lies on the shores of Golfo Nuevo in one of the most sheltered places on the Patagonian coast. Founded by Welsh settlers in 1886, the city's deep-water port and abundant nature reserves make it one of the most popular cruise destinations in Argentina.
Its rugged coastline attracts water sports enthusiasts, particularly windsurfers who enjoy defying the strong Patagonian winds. Nature lovers find plenty of things to do on the Valdez Peninsula, an important nature reserve listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its diverse wildlife.
Guided tours of the reserve are a must, and visitors normally leave having seen everything from right whales (here to mate and calve), along with elephant seals, sea lions, and orcas. It's also an important breeding ground for migratory shorebirds, in particular Magellanic penguins.
Learn more about the environment of this beautiful coast at the Natural Science and Oceanographic Museum , set in a beautiful heritage building overlooking the harbor. The museum features displays of Patagonian flora and fauna, including a whale skeleton and a fascinating exhibit about giant squids.
At the southern end of Argentina, Patagonia is famous for its spectacular landscapes: a dramatic mix of the Andes and long stretches of plains and plateaus. Most adventures here start in Ushuaia , the world's southernmost city.
Established as a penal colony in the early 20th century and now a popular jumping-off point for trips to Antarctica or around Cape Horn, this town on Beagle Channel is surrounded by a unique landscape of mountains, sea, glaciers, and woods on the edge of the Tierra del Fuego National Park, with its spectacular scenery and diverse flora and fauna.
Popular places to visit include the San Juan de Salvamento Lighthouse - also known as the End of the World Lighthouse - built in 1884 on the Isla de los Estados, and the End of the World Museum . Here, you'll find exhibits relating to the region's natural history, aboriginal life, and early penal colonies.
The Maritime Museum of Ushuaia is housed in the town's notorious former military prison, is worth visiting for its many maritime artifacts and scale models of famous ships such as Darwin's Beagle .
Named for Darwin's ship, the Beagle Channel cuts through the heart of the national park, and you can board a boat in Ushuaia to cruise through this historic waterway.
Usually simply referred to as Bariloche, San Carlos de Bariloche is a lively city set in the midst of Nahuel Huapi National Park , and Patagonia's northern Lake District.
Skiers, especially those from the Northern Hemisphere seeking snow in the height of the northern summer, flock to Bariloche for nearby Cerro Catedral , the tallest of its peaks and a popular ski resort.
One of the largest ski resorts in South America, Cerro Catedral includes more than 100 kilometers of ski terrain and is particularly popular for its stunning views over Nahuel Huapi Lake, in the middle of the national park.
Bariloche is a center for active adventure and for exploring the park's mountains, lakes, waterfalls, forests, glaciers, and extinct volcanos. Although the region is rich in opportunities for hiking, rafting, cycling, and climbing, a driving circuit known as the Route of the Seven Lakes takes tourists to the alpine lakes of Nahuel Huapi, Espejo, Escondido, Falkner, Villarino, Correntoso, and Machónico .
Undoubtedly one of Argentina's most beautiful cities, filled with Art Deco architecture, Mendoza is as popular with outdoor enthusiasts in winter as it is in summer. When the snow flies, skiers from across South America experience some of the Andes' best ski slopes at the popular resorts of Las Leñas, renowned for its steep terrain, and Los Penitentes , just 25 kilometers from the border with Chile.
In the summer, these same areas are popular among hikers and climbers, many aiming for the top of the 6,960-meter-tall Aconcagua mountain. Other outdoor activities include whitewater rafting and trail riding, with some riding stables offering overnight adventures with camping under the stars.
Also famous for its olive oil production, Mendoza has many other attractions, including a number of museums and annual festivals, as well as a bustling Central Market (Mercado Central) where locals buy produce, meat, and fish, and where visitors can find food stalls and restaurants.
In central Argentina, a five-hour drive from Buenos Aires, Córdoba is the country's second-largest city and is often used as a stopover on trips into the Andes. Most of the city's finest old buildings date back to the early colonial period of the 16th century.
Explore the historical center of the city around Plaza San Martin , now a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Here, you'll find the beautiful Cathedral of Córdoba , a splendid mix of Baroque and Neoclassical styles that can trace its roots back to the original Roman Catholic church built here in 1580.
Highlights of the structure, much of which dates from the 18th century, include an ornate interior with exquisite 20th-century frescoes and murals painted by leading Argentinian artist Emilio Caraffa, a native of Córdoba.
Note also the unique silver altar and an important collection of gold votive offerings. Below, the crypts are the final resting place of a number of important Argentinians.
One of the favorite things to do in Argentina is learn to tango , and you can take classes at the Cabildo, a cultural center, and mix with locals who go there to dance.
Some of the best beaches in South America are in the relatively modern city of Mar del Plata, on the Atlantic coast 400 kilometers from Buenos Aires. Here, the beautiful beaches sprawl for more than eight kilometers of coast that's also marked by windswept dunes and dramatic cliffs.
Nearest Mar del Plata's modern cruise ship ports are the Chica and Grande beaches (they're also popular among sea lions, many of which hang out in the waters around the city's fishing wharves).
Once a playground for the rich, the city is a mix of fine old mansions, which mingle with newer resorts along the city's splendid waterfront with its numerous parks, squares, and gardens.
Mar del Plata is home to the excellent Juan Manuel Fangio Museum , dedicated to one of the world's greatest Formula One drivers and containing more than 100 cars and 500 trophies. A highlight is an exhibit dedicated to the first automobile, an 1886 Daimler.
One of the most popular things to do for families is a visit to the Mar del Plata Aquarium with its many marine attractions, including dolphin and seal shows, penguins, tortoises, and flamingos.
Located in the northwest of the country in the province of Salta, Cafayate is a small town of just over 12,000 residents. Although charming and with a few attractions worth visiting – including an archeological museum featuring objects from the local Indigenous people – most people arriving here are on their way to the Quebrada de Cafayate (or Quebrada de las Conchas).
An area known for its towering reddish rock formations, the quebrada offers one of the most stunning drives in South America on Route 68. More than 60 kilometers of paved roads cut through colorful sandstone, offering plenty of stops to discover narrow canyons, natural amphitheaters, towers of sandstone and clay, and the shores of the Rio de las Conchas.
Better known as the " Train of the End of the World ," this gauge steam railway is considered the southernmost railway in the world. Although it once provided a less happy service of connecting Ushuaia's penal colony with nearby cities, today it offers a beautiful tourist ride into the Tierra del Fuego National Park.
The train departs on new tracks (the original ones can still be seen nearby) from the End of the World station, riding alongside a thickly forested gorge and beautiful peaks all around. In winter, everything is covered in snow here; in other seasons, you'll appreciate the greens and reds that take over the valley throughout the season. The train makes one stop, so travelers can snap some photos at a local waterfall before continuing on into the national park.
First-class passengers will get a chance to taste some local specialties while onboard, including alfajores , biscuits filled with thick caramel, and empanadas , a fried or baked pastry filled with cheese or meat.
Back in the 1600s, during the Spanish colonial period, a number of Jesuit missions were founded in the northern province of Misiones, near the border with Brazil. At one point, over 3,000 Indigenous people lived in the mission, but as the Jesuits left the country, the buildings fell into ruins. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site , the San Ignacio Mini are the largest and still best-preserved mission ruins in the country.
The original mission – built in red-brown stone in a style known as Guaraní Baroque -– was massive and included a monastery, a cabildo (administrative office), a cemetery, and a number of living spaces. The mission's church, which measured 74 meters long by 24 meters wide, is the best-preserved part of the ruins.
A small on-site museum tells the story of the mission, and there's a scale model of the original San Ignacio Mini.
Quebrada (which literally translates to "broken") is a name used in Argentina to refer to deep ravines. And the 155-kilometer-long Quebrada de Humahuaca in the northwest of the country is a perfect example of a beautiful ravine with a wild river running through it in summer (the river dries up in winter).
A UNESCO World Heritage Site , this arid valley was once part of the Inca Empire and an important trade route. Today, most people arriving here come for its beauty – a mix of reds, pinks, and oranges that look almost painted on the hills around.
The tiny town of Iruya (only 1,000 people live here), not far from the quebrada, is a must-see as well. Built directly into the mountainside at an elevation of over 2,700 meters, it offers stunning views over the mountains and fertile valleys all around it. In town, the dirt streets, old houses, and colorful celebrations that incorporate Indigenous details offer great photo opportunities.
Buenos Aires' main opera house is considered one of the best opera theaters in the world because of its amazing acoustics. Built in 1908 to replace an earlier theater located in the same place, Teatro Colón was once a very popular destination for some of the biggest international opera companies and a favorite of Luciano Pavarotti. Rudolf Nureyev, Maria Callas, Plácido Domingo, and Julio Bocca have all performed here.
As beautiful as the building itself is on the outside, the inside of the theater is even more stunning. It offers just under 2,500 seats and it's completely decorated in reds and golds, with touches of both Italian and French architecture. Artist and production designer Raúl Soldi painted the theater's stunning cupola.
The theater is also famous for its outstanding costume and scenic departments.
As the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere , Aconcagua is certainly impressive. The peak has a summit elevation of 6,961 meters and is part of the Andes, close to the border with Chile. For climbers, Aconcagua has special meaning, as it's one of the Seven Summits , the ultimate climbing list that includes the highest mountains in each continent.
The mountain falls within the limits of the Aconcagua Provincial Park, a protected area that offers a number of activities for outdoor lovers, including hiking and skiing. For those who are up for something a bit more challenging, the Horcones-Confluencia trail takes hikers up to the basecamp on the route up to the summit. It's a 14-kilometer-long trail with an elevation of 538 meters.
Laguna Horcones, a stunning blue lake fed by glaciers, is another popular attraction within the park.
Sitting 180 meters above sea level, these stunning salt flats (the third largest in the world) cover an area of over 4,700 square kilometers, stretching over two provinces. This is a solitary and desolated, but stunningly beautiful area, past deserted routes, walnut tree plantations, lagoons, red sandstone mountains, and the odd herd of adorable vicuñas.
As this is an active salt flats, you'll likely find workers if you arrive during the daytime. If you can manage some Spanish, they'll happily show you around and explain how the salt is washed and scrapped. Otherwise, you can simply walk around to admire their beauty, which extends as far as the eye can see.
Most visitors start their trip at the nearby town of Purmamarca, where just over 2,000 residents make their living either working in the salt flats or selling handicrafts to tourists in the town market. Tours to the salt flats also leave from here, including trips to the nearby Cerro de los Siete Colores (The Hill of Seven Colors).
More on Argentina
The 12 best places to visit in Argentina
Feb 2, 2023 • 7 min read
Plan your trip to Argentina with this guide to the very best places to visit © Alex Eggermont / Getty Images
Argentina is one of the most popular destinations in South America, and it isn't hard to see why – lively cities and tranquil wildernesses, majestic waterfalls and soaring mountains, not to mention wildlife-filled wetlands, glorious architecture, rich culture and renowned steakhouses. It's the whole South American package.
But Argentina is a big country, measuring 3800 km (2360 miles) from end to end, so there's some serious ground to cover. For those unsure where to start, we can help you narrow it down with this list of our favorite 12 places that shouldn’t be missed, from national parks carved by glaciers to vineyards in the shadow of the Andes.
1. Buenos Aires
Best for eating out
Sultry tango clubs and cacophonous football matches, beautiful barrios (neighborhoods) and historic cemeteries, world-class museums and raucous nightlife – Buenos Aires has everything you need for an immersive, big city experience.
Above all, the Argentinian capital is a fantastic place to eat out . Its parrillas (steakhouses) – such as Don Julio , named the best restaurant in Latin America by 50 Best in 2020 – serve what could be the finest beef on the planet. You'll also find a multitude of international joints, serving everything from Armenian to Peruvian cuisine, plus an ice cream parlor on virtually every block.
Planning tip: Buenos Aires is a big city, so it pays to base yourself close to the areas you want to explore. The neighborhoods of Recoleta, Retiro, Palermo and San Telmo offer a great mix of sights, places to eat, and local character.
2. The Pampas
Best for experiencing cowboy life
The flat, fertile grasslands that cover much of central Argentina are known as the Pampas , dominated by the cattle industry and synonymous with gaucho (cowboy) culture. For an introduction to rural life, head to the town of San Antonio de Areco , whose museum and annual Dia de la Tradición festival showcase all things gaucho .
Planning tip: To get the best from a trip to the Pampas, stay a few nights at one of the many estancias (ranches) scattered across the region, which offer horse-riding, polo lessons and traditional asados (barbecues).
Want some help? Let Elsewhere plan your next trip.
3. Buenos Aires province
Best for beaches
Argentina isn’t well known for its beaches , but the Atlantic coast south of Buenos Aires is dotted with appealing seaside resorts. Although big, brash Mar del Plata draws the biggest crowds, there are several smaller, quieter and more appealing stretches of sand. They include the forest-fringed beaches of Cariló, Mar de las Pampas and Mar Azul, great spots for sunbathers and novice surfers alike.
Planning tip: Although you can explore the beaches of Buenos Aires province by bus, hiring a car makes things a lot easier.
4. Iguazú Falls
Best for epic waterfalls
Shared between Argentina and Brazil, stretching for 3km (1.85 miles) and flanked by subtropical rainforest, this magnificent string of waterfalls is one of the greatest natural wonders on Earth. A network of trails, walkways and bridges run through the surrounding national park, allowing visitors a close-up look at the 250-plus cascades and cataracts. The centerpiece is the Garganta del Diablo (“Devil’s Throat”), a seething mass of white water that produces a deafening roar and sends up great clouds of spray.
5. Parque Nacional Iberá
Best for birdwatching
The hot, humid wetlands of this recently created national park in northeastern Argentina are home to more than 360 species of birds, including kingfishers, jabiru storks and roseate spoonbills. Dubbed the “Argentine Pantanal,” the reserve is undergoing a major rewilding process that is introducing rare or endangered creatures, such as red-shouldered macaws. Its reed-lined channels and lagoons are best explored by boat, from which visitors can also expect to spot an abundance of mammals and reptiles, from caimans to capybaras, the world’s biggest rodent.
Planning tip: The best way to explore Parque Nacional Iberá is on the water. Guided boat and kayak trips are easy to arrange in the village of Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, the main gateway to the park.
Best for historic architecture
In the far northwest of Argentina, near the Chilean and Bolivian borders, this charming city is known as “Salta la Linda” (“Salta the Beautiful”). On the edge of the Lerma valley, overlooked by mountains, Salta is filled with historic mansions, churches, municipal buildings and plazas, some of which date back to the city’s foundation in 1582. It also has a varied cultural scene encompassing excellent museums and galleries – such as the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña , which explores Inca culture and the practice of human sacrifice – and atmospheric folk-music clubs called peñas .
7. Mendoza province
Best for wine tasting
Argentina is the world’s fifth biggest wine producer and the industry’s heartland is Mendoza province. In the midwest of the country, close to the Andes, the region is carpeted with vineyards and wineries, many of which offered guided tours, tastings, accommodations, and even the chance to help out with the harvest. And while Mendoza is rightly famous for its Malbec, plenty of other delicious wines – reds, whites and rosés – are also produced in the province.
Planning tip: Try to time your visit to coincide with the grape harvest from February to April. Expect plenty of demand for accommodations during the popular Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia wine festival in March, Mendoza's biggest celebration.
8. The Argentinian Lake District
Best for stunning landscapes
Glimmering bodies of water, emerald-green forests, and towering mountains and volcanoes dusted with snow – it’s not hard to understand why Argentina's Lake District is a traveler hot spot. The gateway to this verdant region, the northwestern part of Patagonia, is the attractive lakeside city of Bariloche . Here you can pick from a wealth of outdoor activities – from hiking and mountain biking to fishing, kayaking and skiing – inside the surrounding Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi .
Planning tip: In winter (corresponding to the northern hemisphere summer), Bariloche becomes Argentina's premier ski hub . It's a busy time at the resorts around the city, but the powder is some of the world's best.
9. Cueva de los Manos Pintados
Best for ancient art
In a remote canyon surrounded by the Patagonian steppe, the Cave of the Painted Hands has an enigmatic collection of rock art created between 13,000 and 9500 years ago. This Unesco World Heritage Site takes its name from the 800-plus stenciled outlines of human hands covering the walls. Red, white, black or ochre in color, their purpose remains a tantalizing mystery. There are also images of pumas, guanacos (a wild relative of the llama) and rheas, as well as hunting scenes. Guided tours are offered from the towns of Perito Moreno and Posadas.
10. Península Valdés
Best for whale watching
The frigid waters off Península Valdés , a chunk of northeastern Patagonia jutting out into the Atlantic, teem with life. A breeding ground for endangered southern right whales, who arrive in their hundreds between mid-June and mid-December, they are also home to elephant seals, sea lions and orcas, as well as more than 180 species of birds.
Accessed from the town of Puerto Madryn, this Unesco World Heritage Site offers a variety of boat, kayaking and diving trips, though marine life can often be spotted from the shore. Further down the coast, 250km (155 miles) south of Puerto Madryn, Punta Tombo has South America’s largest colony of Magellanic penguins.
Best for uplifting isolation
A famous sign in Ushuaia informs you that this is the “Fin del Mundo” – the physical end of the world. The far-flung capital of Argentine Tierra del Fuego sits on the shore of the Beagle Channel, more than 3000km (1865 miles) south of Buenos Aires. It is the gateway to rugged Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego , the world’s most southerly railway line, and several winter sports centers, as well as the embarkation point for cruises to Antarctica, just 1000km (620 miles) to the south.
12. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Best for awesome glaciers
Spanning more than 5956 sq km (2300 sq miles) of iceberg-filled lakes, jagged Andean peaks and – most notably – gigantic glaciers, this park in southern Patagonia is one of Argentina’s signature tourist attractions. The southern section – famous for the Perito Moreno Glacier – is accessed from the touristy town of El Calafate , while the northern part, a haven for hikers and climbers, is best visited from the rustic village of El Chaltén .
Planning tips: All manner of treks are possible from El Chaltén and El Calafate, from day hikes to multi-day adventures, and many routes can be attempted without a guide.
This article was first published October 2021 and updated February 2023
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Most Popular Cities
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The Top 15 Places to Visit in Argentina
Buenos Aires is home to cobblestone boulevards, sensual tango halls, century-old cafes, and designer boutiques. If you venture to the east, the Atlantic Ocean offers surfing and the chance to see whales, and penguins. To the north, explore mountains, cactus forests, and lunar landscapes that give way to subtropical jungle, wetlands, and waterfalls. And in the south, Patagonia is filled with the adventure of snow-capped peaks and turquoise glacial lakes. Including both city and countryside, these are the top 15 places to experience Argentina in all of its richness.
A cosmopolitan hub that’s both gritty and glamorous, Buenos Aires is a huge city the size of four Chicagos and is composed of many manageable barrios (neighborhoods). San Telmo is the bohemian historical district filled with cobblestone streets, picturesque old bars such as El Federal, and a tango scene with clubs like El Viejo Almacen. Palermo is filled with cute cafes, some lovely vegetarian restaurants (not easily found elsewhere in this red-meat-loving country), shopping, and an abundance of charming boutique hotels such as Fierro and Home Hotel. Recoleta is a refined old-money neighborhood with upscale shops and the ultra-luxury hotels Alvear Palace, Palacio Duhau, and the Four Seasons.
Museums in Buenos Aires are inexpensive or free—art lovers should not miss MALBA, the contemporary art museum. Buenos Aires comes alive at night, with dinners beginning around 9 p.m. and drinks lasting until the early hours of morning. Hit up iLatina restaurant in Chacarita for an exquisite Latin American food experience and follow it up at a speakeasy such as The Harrison or Floreria Altantico.
At the very southern tip of Argentina, Ushuaia is a starting point for most Antarctica trips. A rugged land filled with glaciers and towering mountains, the best of this destination lies outside of the city center. Tierra Turismo is the most reputable guiding company for trips into the National Park, to kayak or to off-road, and for visiting nearby Harberton to see the penguins. Foodies should make a reservation at Kalma , where chef Jorge Monopoli celebrates the native wild foods of the region, or stop into the casual and quirky Volver for local king crab or other fresh seafoods. For even more perspective, travelers can scuba dive the chilly Beagle Channel with Ushuaia Divers or get an aerial view with Heli Ushuaia.
In what feels like another world from nearby bustling cruise-hub Puerto Madryn, wildlife lovers will appreciate this tranquil haven set on a jutting peninsula where southern right whales, orcas, and penguins can be seen in abundance. Oceano is the go-to hotel in Puerto Piramides, set right on the beach so at certain times of the year guests can laze in bed with coffee and watch whales breaching in the morning. There is a small sandboarding hill, incredible mountain biking through the dunes and along the beach, and scuba diving with sea lions (this is the scuba diving capital of Argentina, after all).
Giving Napa Valley and the wine regions of Italy and France a run for their money, Mendoza is known for its sunny skies, highly Instagrammable vineyards right at the foot of the Andes, and Malbec, Argentina’s national varietal. Horseback ride with Nino Masi from El Viejo Manzano, fly fish with Trout and Wine, or raft the nearby Mendoza River. There’s even hot springs nearby en-route to Aconcagua, South America’s highest peak.
Vineyard tasting rooms range from tiny and cute (Carinae), eclectic and poetic (El Enemigo), homey (Matervini), to large and modern (anything in the Clos de los Siete complex). If budget permits, a stay in a villa at the Vines of Mendoza with dinner at Francis Mallmann’s onsite open-fire restaurant Siete Fuegos is the ultimate Mendoza experience.
Looking more like the Swiss Alps than Latin America, Bariloche is a town in northern Patagonia set on the coast of Lago Nahuel Huapi and bordered by the Andes that are dotted with wildflowers. It is known for its chocolate (here’s looking at you, Mamushka and Rapa Nui!) and its microbreweries (Blest is a local favorite). It’s an outdoor paradise with some great day hikes and multi-day treks, kitesurfing, and Cerro Cathedral for skiing in the winter months of July to September. Bariloche gets crowded with tourism in the middle of summer and winter, so a visit in spring when the wildflowers bloom or in autumn when the leaf colors begin to change is recommended.
Still relatively unknown outside of serious rock-climbing circles, Piedra Parada is about an hour and a half from Esquel and a few hours south of El Bolson. It’s Argentina’s sport climbing paradise in the desert of rural Chubut Province and has some of the continent’s best single pitch sport routes going all the way up to 5.14d (very difficult). Nearby climbing hotspots include Cochamo in Chile or Frey in Bariloche, but Piedra Parada has much easier access. There’s a campground, or for more comfort, there is Hosteria Mirador Huancanche in the nearby town of Gualjaina run by a wonderful couple who can not only recommend routes, but can teach about the history, wildlife, indigenous culture, and unique geology that makes this place so special.
El Bolson has one of the most spectacular artist markets in South America (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and around half-capacity on Sundays). Drink the local microbrew (the raspberry beer from Cerveceria El Bolson is delicious), or devour Argentina’s most revered gelato at Jauja, where everything is organic and all-natural, with no artificial flavors or colors. Hike the Cajon de Azul, ski the super relaxed and family-friendly Cerro Perito Moreno, or grab a bus or hitch to nearby Lago Puelo where locals flock in the summer to swim in the gorgeous yet chilly lake.
Mar del Plata
Mar del Plata is a modern and developed resort city on Argentina’s Atlantic coast. It is the second most visited city in the country after Buenos Aires, due mostly to its 10 miles of sandy beaches like the wide Punta Mogotes and the popular Playa Grande with its surf breaks. It is a cross between a seaside escape and a bustling city, with museums, an aquarium, and a vibrant nightlife. While Argentina is famous for its red meat, seafood fresh from the ocean rules here. Right around the port there are a ton of reasonably priced restaurants to try the day’s catch. Mar del Plata is family-friendly but also home to a raucous party vibe that enjoys clubbing and drinking until the wee hours of morning, so it definitely has a little something for everyone.
Just an hour by train from the center of Buenos Aires, Tigre is the ideal day trip to get out of the city. This town is home to its delta of hundreds of islands and waterways. There is even a museum of yerba mate, the herbal drink that Argentines are crazy about. The best way to experience Tigre is by small boat or kayak (recommended is Sudeste Paseos), as these can go down the smaller, less traveled waterways where there is a better chance to spot wildlife.
Villa La Angostura
In the picturesque Lakes Region, this is a main town along the Siete Lagos drive. Most activities revolve around the lake, as Lago Nahuel Huapi is a center point here. There’s sunset sailing, fly fishing in Correntoso (the world’s shortest river), and gorgeous hiking in myrtle (arrayan) forests. It is local legend that Walt Disney was so inspired by the magic of the forests in the region that he based the scenery of Bambi on them.
This place is like Avatar, if only the land in the movie Avatar was overrun by tourists with cameras. But no matter how many tourists crowd the walkways, it’s still worth a visit. Iguazu National Park has some of the most stunning waterfalls on this planet, and these are accessible from both the Argentine side and the Brazilian side of the border. There are around 275 falls in total, ranging from gentle trickles to full-on powerhouses like Devil’s Throat. Walk the trails, explore up close and personal from a boat tour, or if there is cash to spare, do a fly-over in a helicopter.
If Argentina has some of the world’s best waterfalls, mountains, and deserts, why shouldn’t it also get a huge glacier that puts on a show every time it calves in thunderous breaks? While the town of El Calafate is overpriced and not that interesting (nearby El Chalten is much more charming), it happens to have the draw of the National Park that has one of the country’s most visited attractions, Perito Moreno glacier. For those really into that sort of thing, there are multi-day boat tours that get to lesser-known and even more stunning glaciers. But for those with the time or budget to just see one, an adventurous trek atop Perito Moreno with crampons is the way to go.
TripSavvy / Maria Ligaya
In the northwest of the country, this is the place to unwind and experience live folkloric music, some of the best empanadas in the country, and local varietals of wine, such as Torrontes, in droves. Salta city is colonial and cultured—take time to see the world’s most well-preserved mummies, the Children of Llullaillaco, on exhibit at the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology. Heading just north of town are laid-back pueblos such as Tilcara and Purmamarca, where the famous seven-colored mountains can be hiked and photographed in all their glory.
Bahia Bustamante is a private sheep farm in Patagonia sprawling over about 210,000 acres. It welcomes up to 18 guests at a time from August through May, who mostly come for the unique wildlife experience. It's a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and an IBA (Important Bird and Biodiversity Area) due to its diversity of both seabirds and marine mammals.
In full transparency, the town itself is congested and leaves much to be desired. But it makes the list for one strong reason: dinosaurs. The Ernesto Bachmann Municipal Museum exhibits the remains of Giganotosaurus carolinii (the name means “great lizard of the south”), considered to be the largest carnivorous dinosaur of all times. And the Argentino Urquiza Palaeontological Museum has the most complete Titanosaur in the world. In San Patricio del Chañar, an Aeolosaurus (wind lizard) was discovered during the building of Familia Schroeder Winery. It's currently on display in one of its rooms.
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Nahuel Huapi National Park: The Complete Guide
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Los Glaciares National Park: The Complete Guide
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12 Best Places to Visit in Argentina
Last updated on November 2, 2023 by Kay Pierce and Becky Griswold - 6 Comments
Bright, daring and brilliant, Argentina entices with its energetic cities, passionate culture, and vast selection of natural wonders. The home of the tango, there is more to Argentina than first meets the eye. Along the paved European style streets of bustling Buenos Aires, a captivating cosmopolitan creativity oozes from the numerous cafes and street side hangouts. There’s the city of Cordoba with its selection of Spanish architecture, and Mendoza located deep in Argentina’s wine region.
On a visit to Argentina, wildlife and natural attractions are never too far away. The subtropical north of Argentina is where the impressive Iguazú Falls are located, with the surrounding area ideal for hiking.
Map of Places to Visit in Argentina
Taking a trip the Los Glaciares National Park in the Patagonia region means the chance to see penguins and graceful glaciers. Visiting the Golfo Nuevo brings the amazing opportunity to glimpse Southern Right Whales. Plan your trip to this delightfully diverse travel destination with our list of the best places to visit in Argentina.
In this post, we'll cover:
12. Mar del Plata
Once a retreat for Argentina’s aristocracy, Mar del Plata today is the country’s top beach resort city. Located on the Atlantic Coast in the Buenos Aires Province, Mar del Plata attracts millions of tourists every year to its sandy beaches and lively culture. During the summer weekends it can get very crowded here but outside the summer months, the city takes on a much more relaxed feel.
Mar del Plata is a beautiful city of both historic and modern architecture from charming Spanish chalets and Victorian homes to high rise hotels and casinos. In addition to a wide range of restaurants, the city also offers an aquarium, zoo, five golf courses and a major sports stadium.
By far, the main attractions in Mar del Plata are its sandy beaches. The most popular beaches are the ones conveniently located near the city center such as Bristol, La Perla and Popular. Other favored choices are Playa Grande and Playa Mogotes.
Although crowded during the summer months between December and March, these beaches offer restaurants, shops, bars and numerous water sports and activities. The Southern Beaches are where young people often hang out with live music and parties.
11. Quebrada de Humahuaca
Dating back thousands of years, the Quebrada de Humahuaca is an arid and underrated mountain valley in the Jujuy province of north-western Argentina. During its heyday, it was known for its convenient caravan road that was part of an important ancient trading route during the Inca Empire.
The valley is defined by cacti, lamas, rugged mountains and colorful sandstone escarpments. Authentic little towns are dotted around, such as Humahuaca (the main town the valley is named after) that’s home to just over 10,000 residents, and smaller, lesser-known mountain villages like Iruya and Purmamarca, with its lovely market.
Surrounded by the Sub-Andean hills to the east, the Altiplano to the west, and the Valles Templados in the south, the mountain scenery of the Quebrada (which means ‘broken’) is truly exceptional, particularly the Sierra de Siete Colores with its unforgettable rainbow-colored hills.
For those interested in history, the Quebrada de Humahuaca valley was the site of many bloody battles during the Argentine War of Independence. The historical fortress in Tilcara is also worth a visit. This ancient Incan site has been restored to its former glory.
10. Ibera Wetlands
The Ibera Wetlands is a protected natural reserve boasting marshy swamps, moss-covered bogs, and shallow lagoons. It also happens to be one of the largest wetlands on the planet, only surpassed in size by the Pantanal in Brazil.
The wetlands are located in the northeastern province of Corrientes, roughly 400-miles from the capital city of Buenos Aires. Due to its remote location, the Ibera Wetlands have remained virtually untouched by mass tourism, giving visitors the chance to see nature at its most stunning.
The wetlands are the place to go in Argentina to see an abundance of exotic wildlife. Alligators, giant otters, capybaras , monkeys, and anacondas can be found lurking throughout the wetlands. The wetlands are also home to over 350 different species of birds: it’s common to see herons, eagles, magpies, and even the giant, ostrich-like great rheas.
At the geographical center of Argentina is Cordoba, the country’s second largest city . The city is tknown as La Docta (the Learned) because of its abundant colleges and universities.
Surrounded by three mountain ranges and set along the banks of the Primero River, Cordoba boasts a beautiful collection of old colonial architecture juxtaposed by much more modern buildings. Its 17th-century Jesuit churches are a must visit. Because Cordoba is home to more than 200,000 students, there is also a surprisingly good nightlife scene and a social calendar jam-packed with cuarteto music and rally car racing.
One of the best ways to soak up the spirit of Cordoba is by deep diving into its culture. The city is home to a collection of theaters, cultural complexes, and arte bars, so you can pick the experience that suits you.
8. Puerto Madryn
Located on the shores of Gulfo Nuevo, the city of Puerto Madryn is best known as the gateway to Peninsula Valdes . It is also a popular place to visit in summer because of its beautiful beaches although the water can be very cold.
With the explosion of tourism in recent years, Madryn has undergone rapid growth, and the town’s small permanent population swells exponentially during the summer months. Whale Watching tours are also popular as the Southern Right Whale uses the waters of Gulfo Nuevo for breeding and giving birth. From July to September the whales are so close they can be viewed from the mainland.
Jutting out into the South Atlantic , the mushroom-shaped Peninsula Valdes is connected to the mainland by a thin strip of land. The peninsula is a breeding ground for a variety of fascinating marine mammals , such as seals, penguins, orcas, and sea lions. The headland is a superb spot for bird watchers as there are over 180 species of birds recorded here. Bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for the migratory Snowy Sheathbill, Patagonian Canastero, Rusty-backed Monjita, and much more.
The only settlements on the peninsula is the small village of Puerto Piramides and a few ranches. The village consists of two main roads, offering a market, souvenir shops and several good restaurants serving fresh seafood. There are also a few bars as well here to enjoy drinks, music and socializing.
It should be noted that Peninsula Valdes is privately owned and visitors are not allowed to explore on their own. All visits to the peninsula should be arranged with tour operators from the nearby city of Puerto Madryn. These operations include bus and boat tours.
San Carlos de Bariloche, also known simply as Bariloche, can be found nestled on the slopes of Cerro Otto in Argentina’s enchanting lake district. Overlooking the magnificent royal blue lake and avocado mountain slopes of the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi , the views from Bariloche are simply sensational.
With prime real estate along the shores of the lake, the town has its own beach, but it’s small, and certainly not the major drawcard . Instead, Bariloche is one of the country’s most popular sporting destinations – tourists descend on this lakeside town to enjoy its skiing, trekking, rock climbing, and water sporting opportunities.
During the winter, the town has the feel of a Swiss ski resort, with plenty to tempt avid skiers and snowboarders. Home to Cerro Catedral ski resort, San Carlos de Bariloche is a winter wonderland, with Argentinian chocolate boutiques and breweries to lure you out of the cold.
West of Bariloche are stunning waterfalls and glaciers near Pampa Lenda while the Seven Lakes Road north of the city offers breathtaking vistas of the lakes and mountains. During the summer, the lakes are excellent for fishing, and the beaches offer swimming, sun bathers and water sports.
Serving as a popular base for Antarctica cruises, Ushuaia is the largest city in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province. Tucked within the Beagle Strait, it’s one of the most southerly-located cities in the world – something that’s earned it its nickname as the ‘ End of the World ’.
Despite its out-of-the-way location, Ushuaia is now a popular resort town and you’d never guess the city’s once dreary history with a glance at its modern-day casinos and upmarket hotels. Dig a little deeper though and you’ll discover the city was once served as an exile prison and an Argentinian naval base.
Today, the city’s main tourist attractions are split from east to west: the End of the World Train and Tierra del Fuego National Park can be found to the west while Fagnano Lake and plenty of scenic hiking trails can be found to the east. A visit to the Beagle Channel offers views of sea lions and penguins.
There’s plenty to discover closer to the city center too. Highlights include the chance to explore the Maritime and Old Prison Museum with its eerie prison cells and a hike to the blissfully snow-capped Martial Glacier for a bird’s eye view over the city.
Located in Latin America’s largest wine producing region, Mendoza is a popular tourist destination not only for its wine but also for its proximity to Aconcagua , the highest mountain in the Americas. Furthermore, Mendoza offers access to beautiful scenery and outdoor adventures such as hiking, horse riding, river rafting and more.
At the heart of Mendoza is its main square, Independence Plaza, which is surrounded by restaurants, shops and beautiful buildings that are illuminated at night.
What makes Mendoza such a great spot for wine-making is unusual. Despite being a vastly arid desert region, Mendoza has an interesting irrigation system that keeps the region well-watered. You’ll find these natural waterways on either side of the road, with bridges for pedestrians and cars.
Many of the bodegas (wineries) in the Mendoza region run regular vineyard tours and wine tasting sessions. Each winery offers something a little different for visitors to enjoy, whether it’s private tastings with the estate sommelier or wine tasting by bike.
Whatever time of year you visit, you can likely find some wine events on the social calendar; many offer walk-in tours, so you don’t have to book in advance. However, if you visit Mendoza during March and April, the region’s harvesting season , bear in mind that the wineries are often booked up weeks in advance, so plan accordingly.
4. El Chalten
El Chaltén is a delightful frontier town that was initially formed as an outpost in the late 70s in the Patagonian region of southern Argentina. Small it may be, but Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torres – two of Patagonia’s most extraordinary peaks – have put this scenic little village on the map for hiking, mountain biking, and trekking adventures. In the summer months, you can expect to find the town heaving with tourists.
Overlooking the northern part of Los Glaciares National Park , the village of El Chaltén is the starting point for an abundance of hiking trails. The one you choose depends on your personal preference.
Popular hikes include the relatively easy trek to the isolated Lago del Desierto , the sunrise spot at Laguna Capri, and the longer, more challenging hike to Laguna de los Tres or Laguna Torre. After a day on the trails, the village’s La Cerveceria local brewery is the go-to hotspot in town for a post-hike thirst-quencher.
3. Los Glaciares
The gorgeous Los Glaciares or Glaciers National Park is Argentina’s second-largest park, and one of the largest and most easy-to-get-to ice fields on the planet. Numerous boardwalks and boat rides allow visitors to view these spectacular displays up close in addition to floating ice bergs of remarkable colors and shapes.
The repeated advancing and retreating cycle of the glaciers presents a never ending show of cracking ice and thunderous booms as giant blocks break away and crash into the lakes with enormous splashes. While the glaciers are located in the southern section of the park, the northern section features majestic mountains such as Mount Fitz Roy , offering hiking and mountain climbing.
Despite the captivating scenery of turquoise lakes and forest-clad slopes, Glaciers National Park is most famous for the Perito Moreno Glacier , which draws trekking and rock climbing enthusiasts from far and wide. Its continual movement causes sheets of ice to plunge dramatically into the water below, which is truly a sight to behold.
2. Buenos Aires
Pulsating with vitality and seductive charm from colorful European architecture to animated neighborhoods, sensational shopping and sizzling nightlife, it is no wonder that Buenos Aires gave birth to the captivating tango dance . Located off the southeastern coast of South America, Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina and one of Latin America’s largest cities.
Within the sprawling cityscape, with its French and Italian-style architecture, there is plenty to tempt tourists, from theater shows and glitzy bars to stylish art galleries and an exciting party scene. Everything happens late here – from dinner to late-night clubbing – so if you want to do it all properly, don’t expect to get a lot of sleep in Buenos Aires.
The vibrant cosmopolitan city is composed of several districts called barrios . Some of the most visited of these barrios include the Microcentro where The Obelisco is located. San Telmo is popular for its flea markets while La Boca ’s multicolored architecture and tango street dancing make it a world famous district.
Overflowing in museums, art galleries and world class theaters, the city boasts one of Latin America’s most active cultural scenes. One of the most popular things to do in Buenos Aires is attending the tango dances frequently performed in various streets and venues.
1. Iguazu Falls
The thundering Iguazu Falls (meaning ‘Big Water’) is one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in the world. Straddling the border between Brazil and Argentina, these massive waterfalls are made up of hundreds of individual cascades.
Interestingly, the tallest waterfall, known as Devil’s Throat , is almost double the height of Niagara Falls! The falls in and of themselves are a breathtaking spectacle, but their beauty is all the more enhanced by the surrounding lush forest teeming in exotic wildlife.
The waterfall is located within its own national park near Puerto Iguazu – Parque Nacional Iguazú – that’s filled with some fantastic flora and fauna, including some of the last surviving Atlantic rainforests on Earth. The park features many excellent walkways while boat rides are available which take people close enough to the falls to get wet from the spray.
But while Iguazu Falls are undeniably the main attraction here, a fascinating array of wildlife is another major lure to Iguazu. On a jungle safari through Iguazu National Park, you can see howler monkeys, giant anteaters, jaguars, ocelots, caymans, and over 2,000 species of plants.
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Argentina Travel Guide
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15 Best Things to do in Bariloche, Argentina
March 5, 2020 at 5:23 am
YOU guys don’t mention the NORTH. Best area of Argentina, amazing landscapes and hotel. Impressive
July 22, 2019 at 9:43 am
the city, 9 julio ave, and the Momuments were beautiful – a bustling downtown area full of life
October 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm
There´s a special corner of our country, not well know yet, therefore visitors are few, but the destination is well worth a visit. I am talking about Mocona Longitudinal Falls, located only aprox. 260 km from Iguazu most magnificent waterfalls, and who doesn´t visit that place!?? If you visit Iguazu, and you want to see real nature, real jungle, more butterflies than ever in your life, and hundreds of species of birds, this is the place. Book a Lodge in the jungle (and there are many!!) and start enjoying the real power and energy of nature and wildlife. I suggest a place called La Perla de la Prelva Lodge. Great food, merged in the jungle, and most relaxing spot ever.
November 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm
Also Capilla del Monte from Córdoba province is a great place to visit if u luv mountains, adventure tourism and of course … the ufo sightings.
February 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm
Since El Calafate is just a town close to the Perito Moreno Glacier, I would drop it from the list to include the beautiful North-West: Salta and Jujuy. I would also rename Bariloche as Lake District, given that there are several beautiful towns in the area, such as Villa La Angostura, San Martin de Los Andes and Esquel. Travellers should know that it’s impossible to know the whole country in just one trip.
September 8, 2013 at 9:56 pm
Iguazu Falls is simply stunning, Definitely a place to visit when you where in Argentina.
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The 25 Best Places to Visit in Argentina: For Hikers, Sightseers and Wildlife-Lovers Alike
By Author Steph Dyson
Posted on Last updated: 6th October 2023
Argentina, one of the popular gateways to South America, plays host to some of the southern hemisphere’s most dramatic landscapes: think vast, millennial-old glaciers, historic bodies of water, and the weather-chiseled ridge of the Andes Mountains separating it from its neighbor, Chile.
But Argentina isn’t just a place defined by its natural magnificence.
It’s also home to one of the most bewitching capital cities – an unmissable destination for foodies and football lovers alike – as well as curious Welsh settlements, chaotic colonies of animals, and sunkissed vineyards producing world-class wines.
I’ve had the fortune to explore practically the entire country, traveling slowly along the length and breadth of Argentina as part of multiple trips spanning a couple of months in total.
Off the back of that research, here are what I consider to be the best places to visit in Argentina.
What's in this article:
1. track rare wildlife in the world’s second-largest wetlands, the esteros del iberá .
Home to the world’s second-largest wetland in the world, the Esteros del Iberá (Iberá Wetlands), are a remote, pristine, and hugely important ecosystem in Argentina.
Comprising a 13,000-km 2 nature reserve in the north-central province of Corrientes, this protected area is one of the most important freshwater reservoirs in South America and houses an abundance of wildlife.
Over 320 bird species are resident here, making it a top destination for birders, while capybara, maned wolves, giant anteaters and even a thriving population of jaguar – reintroduced in 2021 by conservationists – make the Esteros del Iberá one of the best places in Argentina to spot wildlife.
Situated a three-hour journey from the nearest airport, getting here is part of the adventure and explains why it remains such a remarkably untouched and unvisited part of Argentina.
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Going to a new and exciting place is an adventure AND has its challenges. Being able to carve out an in-depth plan with someone that has been there and whom you can trust was extremely helpful. We felt comfortable embarking on a six-week backpacking trip with kids ages 8 and 11 with Steph on our team. Her expertise and ability to hear what we wanted gave us a great jumping point for planning. Her advice and wide array of options also allowed us to be flexible. It also gave us peace of mind knowing that we had someone we could call if our plans went awry. Every one of Steph’s recommendations panned out to be incredible pieces of our trips and we would highly recommend her!
2. Appreciate one of the world’s natural wonders, Iguazu Falls
Step aside, Niagara Falls: there’s a much more impressive set of waterfalls awaiting in Argentina. Comprising 275 cascades and spanning an area 2.7 kilometers wide, Iguazu Falls are a remarkable 195 meters high – dwarfing Niagara, which is a measly half the size.
Though you cannot see all of the falls that make up this vast fury of water from the Argentine side – you’ll need to cross into the Brazilian side to tick off them all – visiting Parque Nacional Iguazú (Iguazu National Park) in Argentina will still grant you spellbinding views of these dramatic falls.
Hike through the dense jungle of the national park – where toucan and brown capuchin monkeys might be glimpsed – to the Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat), where a platform perched above this fall gives you utterly unforgettable views as the water cascades down with a deafening roar.
3. Road trip to the land of “white gold”, Salinas Grandes
Neighboring Bolivia might take the crown for the world’s largest salt flats , but Salinas Grandes in the Argentina puna remains a dreamlike destination and a worthy place to visit in Argentina.
Spanning more than 500 kilometers and with salt melting away into the distance as far as the eye can see, this curious, high-altitude landscape lends itself to comical perspective photography. Visit by hiring a vehicle or taking a tour from Purmamarca, Jujuy, or Salta; en route, you’ll catch dazzling views of splendid lagoons and walnut plantations.
4. Photograph the rainbow hues of the Quebrada de Humahuaca
Argentina’s northwestern provinces are packed with otherworldly sights and the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Humahuaca Canyon) is no exception. This 155-kilometer-long mountain valley is famous for its vibrantly colored rock formations as well as for its historic, Quechua-speaking villages.
To the south, the Cerro de Los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colours) lives up to its name with a magical rainbow of hues caused by the mineral content of the soil and towers over the colonial village of Purmamarca.
Adobe houses rub shoulders with the centuries-old Iglesia de Santa Rosa, while a daily market on the town square makes this an excellent place to purchase sweaters and blankets wove from llama wool.
5. Discover the enchanted village of Iruya
Still within Quebrada de Humahuaca, but miles away from the typical tourist trail, the enchanting village of Iruya lies within the sheer walls of the canyon, with many of its adobe houses built up into the valley sides.
The setting is dramatic; clamber up to the Mirador de la Cruz to appreciate the full magic of this village or head to Mirador del Condor to catch sight of Andean condors, which typically take to the sky around 3pm.
6. Appreciate colonial architecture in Córdoba
As the country’s second-largest city, Córdoba is an easy pick when it comes to choosing the best places to visit in Argentina. You can feel both the pre-Hispanic and colonial influences in much of this pretty city, which houses some of the best-preserved colonial buildings in the whole of Argentina.
Crowned the Cultural Capital of the Americas in 2006, Córdoba thrives on its blend of old and new. With three universities in the city, it’s no wonder there’s plenty to do here.
Browse one of its four municipal galleries – covering everything from fine art to contemporary work – and spend an evening in the Güemes neighborhood, where independent craft stores and crowded bars attract students and visitors alike.
7. Tour Talampaya National Park in a 4WD
The dusty stone pillars of Parque Nacional Talampaya (Tamlampaya National Park), chiseled away by millennia of rain and wind count as some of the most surreal rock formations you’ll find in Argentina.
Lying in the eastern province of La Rioja, this desert landscape is best explored by 4WD and you must take a guide; visit Talampaya’s official website to arrange a tour.
Most head directly to the Cañón de Talampaya, where guanaco, rhea, and condors can be sighted, as well as its focal point, the Cajon de Shimpa, a deep gorge with towering, 80-meter-high walls that are only seven meters wide at its base.
8. Learn about Andean cultures in Salta
Much of Argentina’s northwestern regions have more in common with Bolivia than they do Argentina. Salta is a fine example. While its handsome buildings and ornate church, the Iglesia San Francisco, belie its colonial origins, this city is packed with museums dedicated to the pre-Columbian cultures that came before.
One of the best is the Museo de Arequeología de Alta Montaña , which specializes in the Inca and their child sacrifices – with the bodies of three such children discovered on a nearby mountain peak now, controversially, on display in this museum.
There’s so much to see and do in the city, and our comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Salta will see you adding it to your Argentinian itinerary in no time.
9. get familiar with argentine literature in san antonio de areco.
Located about an hour and a half northwest of Buenos Aires, the town of San Antonio de Areco is the perfect day trip from the capital. Known as the National Capital of Tradition, it’s rich in the history and culture of the Argentine countryside and blessed with a wealth of museums, including the Museo Gauchesco Ricardo Güiraldes .
Dedicated to the author Ricardo Güiraldes, it also covers the culture
of the local gauchos, the name for the cowboys who are both a folk symbol and a typical feature of pampas life in Argentina.
10. Drink, dance, and dine in Buenos Aires
Most visitors to Buenos Aires pass a few days in its dazzling capital, home to Parisian architecture and Latin passions.
Unsurprisingly, Buenos Aires is home to many of Argentina’s top and most well-known tourist attractions, and it’s remiss to spend time in this city without dancing in a tango hall ( milongas ), dining like a king in a local steak house ( asado ) or making pilgrimage to the Cementerio de la Recoleta to track down Eva Perón’s grave .
In the south, the working-class neighborhood of La Boca has transformed into a prime tourist destination.
Wander through the open-air museum of El Caminito, where tenement shacks have been transformed with a lick of brightly colored paint, before catching a beautiful game at La Bombonera, where legendary team Boca Juniors play.
For a truly porteño experience, don’t miss the Feria de San Telmo, a weekly Sunday market hosted in one of the city’s prettiest neighborhoods. Craft stalls and tables groaning beneath the weight of countless antiques await, while you can even catch music performances and impromptu tango dancing, too.
11. Surf the waves of Mar del Plata
Mar del Plata, a city 415 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, is a popular escape for porteños during the hot, summer months. With its beachside hotels and 47 kilometers of beaches, it’s got everything for a spot of relaxation – although, during summer, you’ll find it’s got too many other visitors, as well.
However, surfers have found their Mecca, particularly as the best surfing conditions are found between April and October.
Head to Playa Grande for the most consistent breaks and, if you’re new to surfing, sign up with one of the many surf schools to guide you in choosing the location and practicing your moves before you hit the water.
12. summit the lofty peak of volcán aconcagua.
The highest mountain outside of the Himalayas, Aconcagua invites adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies looking to summit one of the “Seven Summits” – the highest mountains in each continent.
Just a few thousand people try to reach its 6,960-metre peak every year and even the easiest route – the route up the Northwest Ridge – isn’t technical but still poses a real challenge due to the altitude.
All hikers must apply for a permit in nearby Mendoza and travel with experienced trekkers or, better still, a guide, is highly recommended.
13. Go wine tasting in viticulture capital Mendoza
With its vine-slung valleys fed by a clever system of irrigation and backdrop of snowy Andean peaks, Mendoza is itself a remarkable place to visit in Argentina. However, oenophiles from across the globe head here in order to sample the region’s most famous export: malbec.
Local wineries abound and those in nearby Maipú can be easily visited either on a wine tour directly from Mendoza or using public transport. Head further afield to the wineries of the Valle de Uco or Luján de Cuyo to encounter those at the forefront of Argentine wine production.
Southern Argentina (Patagonia)
14. conquer the summit of volcán lanín.
Lying in the far west along the ridged backbone of the Andes Mountains, Parque Nacional Lanín (Lanín National Park) is another of Argentina’s most spectacular protected areas .
If you’re keen to summit a volcano but don’t quite have the expertise – of the lungs – for Aconcagua in the north of the country, the perfectly conical Volcán Lanín might be the perfect alternative.
Set within forests of southern beech typical to Patagonia and with other easier hikes available, the route to the 3,776-metre summit of Volcán Lanín normally follows the north face and takes two days.
While it remains a challenging activity and one for which it’s highly recommended to use the services of a local guide, hiking to the top of this mountain – and absorbing the incredible panoramic views of lakes and mountains from its peak – will be utterly unforgettable.
15. Drive the Ruta de los Siete Lagos
Ruta 40, the highway that slices down through Argentina from the very northern tip of the country to the far south, is considered one of Patagonia’s finest road trips . But the section dubbed Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Route of the Seven Lakes) is perhaps the most picturesque of all.
Connecting San Martín de los Andes in the north with Villa La Angostura 108 kilometers south, this drive takes you along the banks of seven shimmering lakes, with the scenery tied to the seasons.
Drive it in summer (December through February) for landscapes vibrant green or travel here in autumn (March and April) when the trees turn burnt umber.
16. Go hiking and biking from Swiss-inspired Bariloche
Sitting at the heart of the Argentine Lakes Region and within the mountain and lake-scattered landscapes of Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi (Nahuel Huapi National Park), Bariloche (sometimes known as San Carlos de Bariloche) attracts visitors in their droves.
Summer is peak season for visitors, who head to this town on the banks of Lago Nahuel Huapi to enjoy everything this capital of adventure has to offer.
Whether you’re keen to mountain bike on lakeside gravel paths or head up into the snow-dappled peaks of Cerro Catedral (which becomes the region’s most visited ski destination in winter), Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi has it all.
Best of all, Bariloche, with its Swiss-inspired architecture, surprisingly good craft beer, and even more surprisingly fantastic chocolate, make this a town where you won’t regret whiling away a good few days. Be aware that Bariloche can be packed in the summer months between December and February.
17. Go wildlife watching in Península Valdés
Considered one of the best places to see wildlife in Argentina (and South America), the Península Valdés has been recognized by UNESCO for its abundance of wildlife, which includes everything from sea lions and elephant seals to Magellanic penguins.
But it’s the fact that the waters off this peninsular are the habitat for the largest breeding population of southern right whales in the world is what makes this region so unique.
Between June and mid-December is when these mammals arrive to reproduce and the best way to catch sight of them is as part of a boat tour , which can be arranged in nearby Puerto Madryn or on the peninsula itself at Puerto Pirámides. Between mid-February and mid-April, orcas can also be seen at high tide on the beaches snatching sea lions from the shore.
18. Meet Welsh settlers in Gaiman
You’ll likely be surprised to learn that Argentina has the highest number of Welsh speakers outside of the United Kingdom. It’s all down to the Welsh settlements found in the Patagonian steppe, where 153 hardy arrivals from Europe landed on the shores of the Chubert Province in 1865.
Now over a hundred years later, these remain the epicentre of Welsh-Argentine culture. Tours from Trelew (itself an attractive but useful base) take you to quintessentially Welsh Gaiman where you can indulge in a very Welsh activity – afternoon tea – in one of the traditional teahouses dotted around the town.
19. Discover the 10,000-year-old cave paintings at the Cueva de las Manos
Tucked into the recesses of a large cave lie one of Argentina’s most significant prehistoric discoveries. Now known as the Cueva de las Manos – the Cave of Hands – this site is covered by around 800 handprints, which are thoughts to have been marked on the wall around 7370 BCE.
You can take a tour from Perito Moreno or Los Antiguos or drive yourself here with a hire car ; one-hour tours ($12 USD) depart from the entrance to the site.
20. Stretch your legs in Los Glaciares National Park
Those who crave adventure should add Los Glaciares National Park to their Argentine itinerary. Situated deep into Argentine Patagonia near the Chilean border, this national park stretches north to south along the eastern edge of the incredible hielo sur , the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
In fact, a quarter of this national park sleeps beneath ice, with much of it high above ground level and caught in the granite spires of the mountains that dominate this terrain. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Patagonia and Argentina as a whole.
The most iconic is the 3,405-metre Monte Fitz Roy, beneath which sits the glacier-meltwaters of Laguna de los Tres – and to which hikers make their pilgrimage along a challenging one-day trek. This hike departs from the nearby town of El Chaltén, which is considered the national trekking capital.
Other paths abound for nature lovers and trekkers alike, including the 70-kilometre Huemul Circuit, while visitors will fall swiftly in love with the park’s glorious blend of high-altitude mountains and low-elevation steppe, that’s punctuated by freshwater lakes and rich in wildlife, including Andean condors, rare huemul deer and even pumas.
21. Stay at a traditional Patagonian ranch
Sheep ranching in the late 19th century saw both Argentine and Chilean Patagonia become some of the most important sheep farming areas in the world. Ranches built to house the farmers are some of the only remaining relics of this boom and you can even stay in one of these historic, and often remote, homes.
One of the best is Estancia La Estela , a family-run ranch that sits on the shores of Lago Viedma equidistant between El Calafate and El Chalten and offers horseback riding excursions, as well as traditional lamb barbecues.
22. Catch calving icebergs at the Perito Moreno Glacier
Glacier El Perito Moreno is Argentina’s most famous glacier , sitting within the mountainous terrain of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Los Glaciares National Park) in Patagonia and one of the reasons why Argentina is among the best countries in South America for dazzling natural landmarks .
Situated just a short bus journey from the town of El Calafate, this ice giant kneels in the grey-blue water of Lago Argentino – one of Argentina’s most stunning lakes – covers an incredible 25,000 hectares and calves egg-blue icebergs at a remarkable frequency from its frigid tongue.
The best way to catch this remarkable phenomenon is from the boardwalks situated a few hundred metres from its snout; late afternoon after the ice has warmed during the day is the most likely time to see it happening.
23. Go to the ends of the earth in Ushuaia
Right at the very tip of the South American continent sits Argentina’s southernmost city: Ushuaia.
Described by many as at the very ends of the earth, Ushuaia has a magical quality, aided no end by its spellbinding scenery: situated at the edges of Tierra del Fuego island, it’s hemmed in by the Beagle Channel in the south and snow-heavy mountains in the north.
Founded as a penal colony, Ushuaia has a curious history. There’s no better place to learn about it than at the vast and fascinating Museo Maritimo y Museo del Presidio , which is set in the city’s former prison.
Alternatively, head for the White Continent from here to go to the true ends of the earth: expedition cruises to Antarctica leave from here, many of which visit Cape Horn along the way.
Need some advice for choosing an Antarctica cruise? I highly recommend Swoop Antarctica, whose staff have extensive, first-hand experience of sailing to Antarctica and, because they sell cruises for all the well-known companies, can give you handy, impartial advice for choosing the one that best suits you.
Check out their cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula – for a chance to set foot on mainland Antarctica and explore some of the most beautiful parts of the continent – and to South Georgia and the Falklands – for a wildlife bonanza.
We’ve also explored when’s the best time to visit Antarctica – which I highly recommend reading before you start considering a trip. The Antarctica travel season is short and the experiences in different months vary wildly.
24. Hike in the superlative scenery of Tierra del Fuego National Park
West of Ushuaia lies another of Patagonia’s finest national parks. Packed with day hikes that take in stupendous views across dense forests of southern beech and onto the watery depths of the Beagle Channel, Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego (Tierra del Fuego National Park) is one of the must-visit destinations in Argentine Patagonia.
You’ll find plenty of birdlife, including condors and albatrosses, as well as the Southern Fuegian Railway.
Better known as the Train to the End of the World , this 500 mm gauge steam railway was originally used to transport prisoners working to chop timber and now takes you deep into the national park on the final seven kilometers of track. It’s a bit of a tourist trap, but if you love your railways, then it’s a must-do activity.
25. Visit Tierra del Fuego’s first estancia
Founded in 1886 by Anglican missionary Thomas Bridges, Estancia Harberton takes the title of the island’s first ranch. Now operated by Bridges’ descendants, and with the excellent Museo Acatushún that showcases the area’s marine mammals and bird species at its heart, it’s a worthwhile place for a day trip.
Boat tours from Ushuaia take you via the Beagle Channel, the 240-km strait separating Tierra del Fuego from Chile, and where colonies of fur seals, Magellanic penguins, and cormorants can be spotted. Keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins in the water.
FAQs about Argentina
What is the most beautiful part of argentina.
Patagonia is arguably the most beautiful part of Argentina. Some would not agree, as much of it is wild and barren, but it’s these qualities that equally make Patagonia so enchanting. In this vast region, you’ll find towering glaciers, vast, unspoiled lakes, and endemic wildlife, with renting a car and taking a road trip around Patagonia , as well as hiking in the region’s national parks , two of the best ways to dive into the region’s beauty.
Is Argentina safe to visit?
Argentina is ranked 68th in the 2021 Global Peace index and third among the safest South American countries . With that said, it’s best to keep some safety considerations in mind. For instance, avoid dark alleys at night and don’t wear anything flashy when wandering the city’s streets. Read our guide to safety in Buenos Aires for more information.
Is Argentina expensive to visit?
On average, the cost of living in Argentina is lower than in the US or Western Europe, meaning Argentina is affordable for travelers. However, flights can be expensive (considerably more so than in neighboring Chile ), with long-distance bus travel often a much more affordable way to cover large distances. Staying on a budget is not impossible here; cooking your own meals, not dining out often, and using public transportation can help trim down your expenses. Learn more about traveling to Patagonia on a budget .
Is English widely spoken in Argentina?
Many people in Argentina speak English, although only a small percentage speak it fluently. In cities familiar with tourism, such as Buenos Aires and Mendoza, you can get by with English as most restaurants provide English menus and museums have English-speaking tour guides. This may not be the case in a small town deep in Patagonia. In that case, we recommend learning basic Spanish so you’ll be able to ask for directions and prices, hire a local guide, or join a group of experienced travelers.
25 Best Places to Visit in Argentina (Chosen By Experts!)
Argentina: the land of wine, art and magnificent landscapes. From Patagonia to Buenos Aires, this beautiful country reaching to the tip of South America is one of the most inspiring in the world. Whether you’re looking for nature, culture, gastronomy or a crazy good vino (wine in Spanish), here are the top 25 places to visit in Argentina.
- Buenos Aires
- Perito Moreno Glacier
- Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
- El Calafate
- Tierra del Fuego National Park
- Nahuel Huapi Lake
- Puerto Madryn
- Beagle Channel
- Iguazu National Park
- San Antonio de Areco
- Mar del Plata
- Antofagasta de la Sierra
- Torres del Paine National Park
- Valle de la Luna
- Talampaya National Park
- Valdes Peninsula
- Punta Tombo National Reserve
1. Buenos Aires
The Buenos Aires tango scene. Photo by ArtTower on Pixabay
Ah, Buenos Aires. Sometimes referred to as “Paris of the South,” this is the capital of Argentina and an absolute cultural epicenter. It’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular places to visit in Argentina. Between the world-renowned European architecture, famous cuisine, fascinating museums , romantic boulevards, vibrant entertainment, historical sites, trendy shopping and overall “chill vibe,” this is a stop you don’t want to miss on your trip to Argentina. City lovers can easily spend a week here, but in three days you can get a nice overview of the city.
Insider tips :
Palermo neighborhood: Monique Loayza, Director of Peru for Less, recommends this neighborhood. “Palermo is in my opinion the best for tourists who are most interested in small shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and more boutique-style hotels,” she shares. “It’s also very pedestrian-friendly. Many restaurants and cafes also have charming outdoor sidewalk/patio seating.”
San Telmo Market: Travel Advisor Michelle Talsma shares, “The San Telmo Market on Sundays in the Recoleta neighborhood will have you wide-eyed all day with its interesting things for sale. Recoleta also has an interesting cemetery, great restaurants and the downtown area has architecture that transports you to Europe“
Teatro Colon : Travel Advisor Jackie Becker loved her tour of the theater. “I highly recommend doing the tour of Teatro Colon ,” she says. “I literally gasped when I walked into the auditorium because it was so beautiful! The tour also takes you through the underneath of the theater where costumes were/are made, explains the history of the theater, etc.”
Food : Since Argentina is famed for its beef, Loayaza highly recommends a visit to the traditional steakhouse Don Julio – a must-try for steak lovers. For a scenic meal, Becker recommends Puerto Madero, with river views and typical Argentinian dishes.
Day trip : Senior Travel Advisor Rylee Mcgowan suggests, “a day trip to Uruguay (Colonia or Montevideo), the La Tigre/Delta area and/or Estancia are great day trips from the city.”
The stunning views of Bariloche.
San Carlos de Bariloche, more commonly referred to simply as Bariloche, is a picturesque mountain town in Patagonia. The town borders the icy blue glacial lake Nahuel Huapi. Loayza shares, “This was a totally gorgeous region with lots of beautiful lakes, forests and mountains. Although I haven’t been to the mountains in Switzerland I definitely think it has that feel to it. There are many parks and spots for hiking so spending a few days here if you really enjoy the outdoors is highly recommended. The town itself is very small and walkable and right on the lakeside.”
Day hike and chill . Loayza shares, “It was super easy to do day hikes, even self-guided ones, in Llao Llao Park and Cerro Otto. The trails are pretty easy and you can spend up to a few hours on them or as long as you wish. After several hours of hiking we would head over to some of the local breweries, which are spread out on the road back to the center of town – they have pretty simple, hearty food that seems German-inspired as well as good beer of course, but I think it’s just perfect for the setting and a great way to wrap up a long day outdoors.”
3. Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Merino Glacier. Photo by Acuatro.
Located in Los Glaciares National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most important attractions in all of Argentina’s Patagonia. The impressive glacier spans 97 square miles and is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the world’s third largest reserve of freshwater. Located about 50 miles from the city of El Calafate, tourists enjoy walking circuits and boat rides to get different perspectives of this humongous natural structure. Despite glaciers worldwide losing mass due to climate change, Perito Moreno maintains its equilibrium because it accumulates mass at the same rate it loses it. Truly ones of the most jaw-dropping places to visit in Argentina.
Big Ice . Alexandra Aguinaga, Product and Accounts Manager for Peru for Less, suggests doing the Big Ice tour. “If you don’t just want to see the glaciers from far away and want to have a unique experience, I highly recommend doing Big Ice, which is a hiking experience around the glaciers, of Perito Moreno,” she says. “The bright blue and white ice colors will just pop in your lens view, and it’ll make a long lasting memory to say you have climbed a glacier. At the end you have chocolate and whisky ice with glacier ice to give that last goodbye to Perito Moreno.”
The desert landscape of Salta la Linda .
Nicknamed Salta la Linda, or Salta the beautiful, this city at the foothills of the Andes is the most popular tourist destination in Northwest Argentina. Salta is known for its beautiful colonial architecture, mountainous surroundings and…. wait for it…. empanadas! This is an excellent place to get a glimpse into Andean and Quechuan culture. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, foodie, history lover or bar hopper you will find something to do.
Nature spots : Take a day trip to Las Salinas Grandes, where you can see amazing salt flats plus the Cerro de los Siete Colores, or Hill of Seven Colors. Also just 30 minutes away is La Quebrada de San Lorenzo , a nature reserve bursting with greenery where you can hike, horseback ride, bike ride and birdwatch.
Great views . Get an amazing birds eye view of the city at Cerro San Bernardo. This hill provides awe-inspiring vistas of the city. Here you can sample some local bites from the vendors or take a ride on the cable car that goes up and down the hill.
The southern Patagonian town of Ushuaia.
This icy port town is the capital of the Tierra del Fuego province of Argentina. Known as “the gateway to Antarctica,” Ushuaia is actually the southernmost town in Argentina. It is situated on the Beagle Channel, 680 miles from Antarctica. The tourist town is replete with hotels, restaurants, bars and museums. Also, since it’s at the foothills of the Andes, there are many nice opportunities to hike and partake in winter sports.
Main attractions: The main attractions of Ushuaia are Tierra del Fuego National Park, Beagle Channel, Laguna Esmeralda and Martial Glacier.
Fresh catch : Mcgowan says she recommends indulging in some super fresh king crab at a local restaurant.
Hop aboard a train . El Tren Del Fin Del Mundo , or End of the World Train, is the southernmost train in the world. It was a train for prisoners in the early twentieth century, so this is an eerily fascinating (and beautifully scenic) historic experience to round off your visit to Ushuaia.
Mendoza is a wine-lover’s paradise.
Known as “Napa of Argentina,” Mendoza is a wine-lovers paradise, with a backdrop of the Andes Mountains. Set beside two main wine valleys, Valle de Uco and Lujan de Cuyo, this is the ultimate access point to Argentina’s famous wineries and vineyards. The city itself has a colonial feel and there are five unique plazas to relax in. According to Talsma, “Mendoza for me was my favorite place to visit in Argentina during my trip! The weather was perfect and there were so many adorable cafes serving fantastic cups of coffee — perfect for travel journaling.”
Bike the Vineyards. A unique way to experience the area is by bike. You can do a half or full day tour of biking and sampling delicious wines and cuisine. It’s an excellent way to take in the natural beauty of the area while savoring the local products. Loayza says, “The landscape in the region is super pretty and there was nothing nicer than taking the time to sip good wine with great views.”
Dining . Loayza also shares that a must-try in Mendoza is Azafran restaurant , which is located on a main strip in the center of the city. “Sidewalk dining is available and I thought the food here was sophisticated and modern without being pretentious,” she says. “Since it’s Mendoza they had a very comprehensive wine list and have their own wine room where you can go to select a bottle to accompany your meal.” Also, if it’s in your budget, check out the restaurant 1884 of famous Argentine chef Francis Mallman, who was featured on Chef’s Table .
7. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Hike the glaciers and mountains of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.
For nature lovers, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is a must-see. This national park is home to Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most important sites in Argentinian Patagonia. Here you can also find Fitz Roy Peak, with trails that take you across the Southern Patagonian Ice Fields. As a plus, within the park is the largest freshwater lake in Argentina, Lago Argentino. The nearest towns to lodge in are the city of El Calafate and the small whimsical mountain village of El Chaltén.
Hike a glacier . While it’s amazing to see a gigantic glacier from the ground or a boat, there is nothing quite like hiking right on top of one! For the adventurous, there are tours that allow you to take a mini trek on Perito Moreno Glacier — so strap on your crampons and hit the ice.
8. El Calafate
“Gateway to the Glaciers” is a nickname for El Calafate.
El Calafate is a city in Argentinian Patagonia, with easy access to the famous Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. It borders the crystal blue Lago Argentino and is known as Argentina’s “gateway to the glaciers.” Visitors come far and wide to see the 48 glaciers of the Southern Patagonian Ice Fields, particularly the Perito Moreno Glacier. This tourist hub has ample lodging and dining options, making it an excellent resting point during your Patagonian experience. McGowan says, “I found the town very charming and would have loved an extra day to see one of the nearby Estancias (ranches).”
Souvenirs . Alexandra Aguinaga, Product and Accounts Manager for Peru for Less, says “I recommend getting some jam from the Calafate berry and some black tea as a nice souvenir.”
Visit the museum. If you want to learn more about glaciers, ice and the Southern Patagonian Ice Fields, visit the Glaciarium. This gorgeous museum and interpretation center has informative exhibitions about how glaciers are formed and move, plus there is an ice bar constructed entirely of glacial ice where you can have a drink.
9. Tierra del Fuego National Park
Penguins can be spotted at Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Tierra del Fuego National Park is located in southern Argentina, where the Andes Mountains plummet into the icy waters leading to Antarctica. The land beholds Patagonic forests, snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, rivers and waterfalls. The mystical beech tree forests are home to foxes, beavers, guanacos and more. Travelers can take to one of the many hiking trails and explore this area in all its natural wonder. The nearest town to lodge and dine is Ushuaia, one of the southernmost settlements in the world. Actually, many of the natural features of the park cross into Chile, such as Fagnano Lake. For hikers, this is one of the best places to visit in Argentina.
Full day tours . Mcgowan recommends delving into a full-day nature adventure. “I’ve had lots of travelers that loved a full day in Tierra del Fuego to do canoeing/kayaking, 4×4 or hiking,” she says.
10. El Chalten
El Chalten’s Rio de los Vueltas.
El Chalten is a tiny, remote mountain village regarded as the hiking capital of Argentina. Nearby the popular Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, this town is ideal for those hikers and climbers who prefer a rustic lodging experience while exploring the marvels of Argentinian Patagonia. This little spot is home to the famous Fitz Roy Mountain, and is set at the banks of the Rio de las Vueltas. There are a handful of restaurants, bars and supermarkets in town along with some basic backpacker hostels and campsites.
Company logo . The outdoor clothing company Patagonia got inspiration for its logo from the rocky slopes of the Fitz Roy Mountain located right by the little town of El Chalten.
11. Nahuel Huapi Lake
Nahuel Huapi Lake. Photo by Bruno Camargo on Unsplash.
Located in northern Patagonia, Nahuel Huapi Lake looks like it’s from a fairytale. With greenery and rugged mountain expanses surrounding, it’s located in Nahuel Huapi National Park — the oldest national park in Argentina. Edging against the mountain town of Bariloche, visitors can sail across the glacial lake or hike one of the many surrounding trails. Alternatively, they can sit back relax and marvel at it from one of Bariloche’s many lakeview cafes or lodges.
Cerro Llao Llao . This 3.8 mile out-and-back trail provides amazing views of Nahuel Huapi Lake. It is less commercialized than Cerro Campanario, yet can provide incredible views after just an hour of hiking to the summit. Pro tip : This is one of the best spots in the Bariloche area to catch the sunset.
12. Puerto Madryn
Whale breaching off the coast of Puerto Madryn.
Though you wouldn’t guess by the looks of it, Puerto Madryn is still technically in Argentina’s Patagonia. Located on the east coast of the country on the Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf), this city is known for its sand beaches and amazing wildlife viewing opportunities. It is situated near the Valdes Peninsula, known for its abundance of penguins, elephant seals and even whales breaching right off the shoreline. In fact, whale watching is the main attraction in this city and really the only notable place to spot whales in the country. The town has plenty of lodging, shopping and dining for visitors.
Optimal whale watching . Visit during Argentina’s winter, between the months of June and December, for a chance to see whales — even from the shoreline! The main whale you’ll spot in this vicinity is the Southern Right Whale, which grows to be up to 65 feet (20 m) long.
Colonial cathedral in Cordoba. Photo by Vitoolariaga on Pixabay.
We had to include Cordoba in our top 25 places to visit in Argentina. This hip metropolis with gorgeous Spanish colonial architecture throughout is too often overlooked. Cordoba is a must-visit destination for fun nightlife and artistic daylife. There are lots of bars and clubs in the Nueva Cordoba area where you can party all night. By day, check out the impressive museums, galleries, theaters and parks (like Parque Sarmiento). Or, you can hippie out in the mountains, especially the mystical Cerro Uritorco. Here there are many ritualistic ceremonies, energy vortexes and apparently even some UFO sightings. Be sure to hop over to Cordoba to creatively complete your Argentinian adventure.
Visit a museum : Talsma says, “I really enjoyed visiting the Evita Fine Arts Museum — the collection is housed in a huge mansion so the architecture and detailing of the house was just as much a work of art as the paintings hung on the walls! I also enjoyed Museo Emilio Caraffa . This had a lot more modern pieces than Evita. It’s a huge collection of varied works.”
14. Beagle Channel
The Beagle Channel is off the southern tip of Argentina. Photo by Pedro Ramos-Gonzalez on Unsplash.
Beagle Channel is a narrow, navigable waterway all the way at the southernmost tip of South America. It is located between Chile and Argentina, right off the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago. It’s about 150 miles long and three to eight miles wide. It separates the mainland from smaller islands at the end of the continent, and leads into the South Atlantic Ocean. Short boat tours provide the opportunity to see wildlife and the mountainous shorelines of Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego National Park. Longer boat rides can take you through the icy blue Glacier Alley and mystical forested landscapes. You’ll have a chance to spot dolphins, sea lions and many sea birds on either of these tours.
Darwin . The Beagle Channel is named as such because of Charles Darwin’s journey down the strait in the 1830s aboard the HMS Beagle. He was spellbound by the magnificent scenery, and it was the first time he had seen a glacier.
15. Iguazu National Park
The stunning Iguazu Falls crosses from Argentina into Brazil.
Iguazu National Park is famous for its long expanse of huge waterfalls bursting from the subtropical rainforest between Argentina and Brazil. As Becker vividly describes, “ Iguazu Falls is literally one of my favorite places on earth. I cried at the falls a few times because they were so beautiful! It felt like a literal paradise watching these enormous falls and the tropical birds flying in and out of the water spray while you’re walking through these luscious green trees.” If you’re looking for lush natural beauty, this is definitely one of the top places to visit in Argentina.
Helicopter tour : Talsma recommends taking your Iguazu experience to the next level. “I really recommend splurging on some adventure activities here like a helicopter ride over the falls. Iguazu is a wonder of the world and most people only see it once in their lives so I think this kind of experience levels up a trip from awesome to incredibly awesome!”
Boat tour. Becker recommends taking a boat tour, “I really enjoyed the boat tour that takes you right up next to the falls. You just appreciate how powerful they are in a whole new way! However, you will get 100 percent soaked. Bring a change of clothes and maybe even a plastic bag to put your phone in, if you want to bring it to take pictures.”
16. San Antonio de Areco
San Antonio de Areco has a strong gaucho (cowboy) culture. Photo by Nicolas Taylor on Unsplash.
Located in the Pampas region just an hour and a half north of Buenos Aires you find the small colonial town of San Antonio de Areco. It’s a great place for tourists and Argentinians alike to relax and stroll the peaceful streets. Here there is a strong gaucho (cowboy) influence, with many estancias (ranches) surrounding the town. You can find a lot of beautiful handmade silver products and saddlery to take home as a souvenir. Try an organized day tour to the town from Buenos Aires, or spend a night at one of the estancias for a unique experience.
Fiesta de la Tradición . For the full experience of San Antonio de Areco, align your trip with Fiesta de la Tradicion. This cowboy-inspired holiday takes place in early to mid-November. It features an amazing display of horseback riding, folk dancing, artisan markets and regional foods.
17. Mar del Plata
The popular beach town of Mar del Plata. Image: Mar del Plata ” by Juan Enrique Gilardi , used under CC BY0SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
Mar del Plata is the most popular beach destination in all of Argentina. This seaside resort town has tons of hotels, restaurants, clubs, museums and other attractions to accommodate the influx of tourists that come through every summer. The beach can get very crowded during peak season (December-February), so it is recommended to reserve your spot or even rent a private tent. The city is also one of the major fishing ports of the country and has a thriving fishing industry, which can be glimpsed with a visit to Puerto Mar del Plata.
Insider Tips :
Pick your beach . For popular beaches with dining and shopping nearby, hit Playa Varese or Playa Iglesia. If you’re interested in surf lessons, visit Playa Grande. Quieter beaches with less nearby tourist attractions can be found further south at Punta Mogotes or Playa Serena.
18. Antofagasta de la Sierra
Alpaca at Antofagasta de la Sierra. Photo by javier dolfi on Unsplash.
Located in the Catamarca Province of northern Argentina you’ll find the volcanic field known as Antofagasta de la Sierra. The town is set in the Andes mountains 11,100 feet (3,400 meters) above sea level. The main feature of the area is the Antofagasta Volcano, a cinder cone volcano soaring to 13,100 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level. You can make the most of your visit by touring the volcano, along with the Coyparcito archaeological site and Lake Colorada, a red lake where you can spot groups of Andean flamingos.
Best view . For the best view, you can actually climb the Antofogasta Volcano. The 2.6 mile out and back trail is rated as moderate.
The town of Trevelin has a large Welsh population. Photo by Marcela Rogante on Unsplash.
Trevelin is a super unique town located in western Argentine Patagonia. The town has a heavy Welsh influence because it has been inhabited by Welsh people and their descendants since the mid-1800s. In fact, trevelin actually means mill town in Welsh, and the village is home to the first flour mill in the region. A fascinating blend of Welsh and native Mapuche cultures, you’ll notice the distinct blend of celtic and native names in the surrounding hills and streams. There are many peaceful lodges in the area that allow you to relax and take in the picturesque scenery on the banks of the Percy River (Rio Percy).
Visit the museum. You can visit the Regional Historical Museum, located where the first flour mill of the area once was. Here you’ll learn about the arrival, history and culture of the Welsh in Trevelin and see various artifacts.
Humahuaca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo by Jonas Wurster on Unsplash.
This small village in northwest Argentina was founded in the late 1500s and is a resting point for exploring the surrounding area. Bursting with things to do, the colonial town is most commonly known for the fascinating Quebrada de Humahuaca. Located in a narrow mountain valley along the Rio Grande, Quebrada de Humahuaca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its colorful natural rock formations. Notable points of interest along the 100 mile valley include Serrania de Hornocal and Cerro de los Siete Colores, or hill of seven colors. When you’re not hiking the surrounding natural wonders, you can enjoy walking the cobblestone streets, viewing the church and clock tower, browsing artisan markets or sampling local cuisine in town.
DIY . This can be a really great spot to rent a car and explore the region just you and your group. While there are excellent organized tours available, the roads here are good and there are car rentals in the area. Cruise along and stop at any of the colonial cities and natural attractions that you want.
21. Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park is in Chile, but so close to Argentina that it’s a popular stop on any Argentina itinerary.
Technically located in Chile, this National Park is so close to the border that many people visiting southern Argentina will hop the country line just to see this magnificent place. Located in Chilean Patagonia, the national park comprises winding rivers, lakes, glaciers and mountains. Here the Magellanic subpolar forests meet the Patagonian Steppes to create a natural landscape like nowhere else. There is so much hiking to do around the park that you may find your favorite trail ever here. Actually, National Geographic named this park the fifth most beautiful place in the world. And the best part is you don’t have to leave — you can stay at a hotel, lodge or refugio right within Torres del Paine National Park.
Extra days . Loayza points out, “Spend several days here if possible. Sometimes it’s added as a one or two day visit but that just seems way too short to fully appreciate this expansive park. It’s truly a great destination if you enjoy hiking — just such a wide variety of scenery and landscapes to take in.”
All-inclusive. Loayza also suggests, “I do believe it’s totally worth splurging on an all-inclusive lodge so you can make the most of this destination via well organized tours and hikes, excellent guides, and luxury amenities (if that’s your thing).”
22. Valle de la Luna
Valle de la Luna. Image: PB141166 ” by t_y_l , used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Adjusted brightness and compressed from original.
Yes, the moon is on our list of top places to visit in Argentina. Well, not technically the moon but the landscape sure will make you feel like you’ve landed there. Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), also known as Provincial Ischigualasto Park, is located in northwest Argentina. The dry, grey desert landscape is accented by fascinating rock formations created by millenia of wind and rain. This otherworldly place was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2000. Here travelers come to be awe-struck by the sensation of walking the moon or some other distant planet. The nearest village, Valle Fertil, is 55 miles (90 km) away, but there are hotels and hostels just outside this lunar oasis where you can spend the night.
Dinosaurs ! This valley contains some of the earliest known dinosaur remains, from the late triassic period (approx. 230 million years ago). Fossils of rhynchosaurs and cynodonts are most prevalent.
23. Talampaya National Park
Talampaya National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Image: Talampaya National Park ” by NH53 , used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
This national park located in Argentina’s La Rioja district was also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 (along with Valle de la Luna). Actually the two parks border each other, though Talampaya is more known for its stunning red rock canyons and formations. This is quite an archaeological and paleontological wonderland. It beholds fossils from millions of years ago (though not as many as neighboring Ischigualasto) plus petroglyphs of ancient indigenous settlements. In the present day, you won’t find dinosaurs or settlements, but you can spot guanacos, hares, maras, foxes and condors wandering about.
Name meaning . The most accepted meaning of the word Talampaya is “the dry river of Tala, which comes from the native and extinct Diaguita language. Tala is a local plant that exists to this day ( Celtis spinosissima ).
24. Valdes Peninsula
Valdes Peninsula wildlife viewing area. Image: Península Valdés ” by Qu1m , used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
Jetting out into the Atlantic, the Valdes Peninsula is located at the northern edge of Argentina’s Patagonia region, in the Chubut Province. A crucial nature reserve, the peninsula is known for its abundance of wildlife — particularly sea lions, Magellanic penguins, elephant seals, southern right whales, orcas, dolphins and 181 bird species (66 migratory). It is one of the most spectacular places to see wildlife in all of Patagonia and it is one of the most revered animal conservation sites in the world. Some popular activities in the area include whale watching, shore cruise, nature walks to Valdes cove and more. You can truly spend a whole day exploring the peninsula, hitting destinations like Puerto Piramides, Caleta Valdes, Punta Delgada and more.
Orcas . If you are very lucky, you may have a chance to see orcas do their intentional stranding at Caleta Valdes during the months of October and November. The Valdes Peninsula is one of the best places to visit in Argentina for wildlife viewing.
25. Punta Tombo National Reserve
Punta Tombo National Reserve is a great place to see penguins. Photo by Sergio Martínez on Unsplash.
Another epicenter for wildlife, the Punta Tombo National Reserve is also located in the Chubut province. The wildlife sanctuary is known for its Magellanic penguin colony and has been protected since 1979. The peninsula itself is about 1.3 miles long and is a part of a marine national park at Golfo San Jorge. Seeing these penguins is a highlight during many animal lovers visit to Patagonia. In fact, you can even do a “walk with the penguins.” During this experience you hike by these waddling little cuties in their natural habitat. You would want to avoid visiting between May to August as this is when the penguins are out to sea.
Avoid crowds . To avoid crowds, you will want to visit Punta Tombo National Reserve on a day when there is not a cruise ship in Puerto Madryn. Most of those passengers make their way to the reserve to see the penguins so opt for a cruise-ship free day for a more peaceful visit.
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Gina loves the hidden turquoise rivers of the Andes, the magical pink dolphins of the Amazon, and the lush ocean-view parks of Lima. She finds Peru to be the most inspiring country in the world, and has been exploring and writing about this sacred place since 2014.
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Home » Travel Guides » Argentina » 15 Best Places to Visit in Argentina
15 Best Places to Visit in Argentina
A land at once vast and wild, bustling and serene, Argentina goes from dust-choked desert plateaus through rolling Pampas grassland to the icefields of the Patagonian reaches.
It’s a country that’s laced with fascinating Spanish conquistador history and elegant colonial treasures, enthralling native peoples and gorgeous backcountry aplenty. Check out this selection of the top spots that should be on every itinerary through Argentina.
Let’s explore the best places to visit in Argentina:
1. Buenos Aires
The sprawling, seething capital of Argentina rose on the banks of the Rio del Plata when Iberian seafarer Pedro de Mendoza first marked out the colonial streets of what is today San Telmo district; Buenos Aires’ gorgeous Spanish come Francophone-styled historic heart, where Baroque churches rub shoulders with Parisian cafes populated by artists and bohemian types.
The artsy district of La Boca, meanwhile, shimmering with multicolours, draws crowds to its galleries and boutiques, while Palermo pulses with dance shows and aromatic parrillas (casual roadside grills with perfect gaucho meat cuts). And then there’s the night time, ushering in one throbbing scene of tango and Latin jazz, sleepless dub bars and all-night steakhouses.
Yes sir, there’s plenty to fall in love with in uber-passionate BA!
Cordoba’s UNESCO-attested center is a gorgeous patchwork of 17th-century Spanish churches and convents, Jesuit sites and cobblestone alleys, all nestled between the rolling plains of the Argentine Pampas and the half-baked ridges of the Sierras Chicas.
But a fine historical heart is not Cordoba’s only draw.
No sir, students still flock here to the lecture rooms of the National University of Cordoba – the oldest and one of the most prestigious in the nation.
This erudite population breathes life into paleontological museums and the Caraffa Fine Arts Museum alike, theatre productions and public art displays, all whilst fuelling a particularly hedonistic nightlife in the Ex Abasto area.
3. San Antonio de Areco
Set on the cusp of the gaucho heartland, where the rolling plains of the grass-clad Pampas claim the horizon, San Antonio de Areco is one truly handsome Argentine town.
Elegant colonial builds from the 1700s line the streets; their red-tiled roofs slanting in an Andalusian fashion; their Baroque adornments mirroring the palazzos of Madrid.
Swaying palms and ombu trees pepper the squares, where earthy steakhouses mix with leather workshops and weavers’ homes.
This rustic outback town is a great place to get a taste of Argentina’s rich cowboy history, and perfect if you love the sleepy siesta routines of the Pampas hinterland!
Jack of all trades and master of one, Mendoza does nothing better than wine.
Tasters flock from all over the planet to sample the famed Criolla Grande and Malbecs betwixt the city’s cellar doors.
But that isn’t it.
This 100,000-strong cityscape is also one darn charming place to spend a week (or two), edged right up to the Argentine Andes.
Its streets are lined with blooming shade trees, parks ring their way around the bodegas, and Plaza Espana – as the name suggests – oozes Spanish charm.
And as if that’s still not enough, Mendoza has risen as one of Argentina’s prime outdoors bases, rivalling even Patagonia with its offering of soaring Aconcagua, the treeless plateaus of the high plains and ski fields to boot.
Icy and alone at the far reaches of the Argentine south, Ushuaia sits in the shadow of the snow-topped Martial ranges.
Here it can be found cascading down to the chilly waters of the Beagle Channel, its docksides awash with fishing vessels and hardy steel sloops bobbing about the waves.
Today, travelers flock to this remote town – considered the southernmost city in the world – on the meandering tracks of the so-called End of the World Train, which cuts right the way through the main attraction: Tierra del Fuego National Park.
After stocking up on boots and camping gear in the outfitters of Ushuaia, travelers can strike out into this Patagonian wilderness, spying the Martial Glacier, rugged Lapataia Bay and mirror-like Lago Roca on the border with Chile.
6. San Ignacio Mini
Close to the tristate join of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, amidst the red-hued fields and yerba plantations of Misiones Province, travelers will discover the fascinating ruins of San Ignacio Mini.
Tagged by UNESCO back in 1983, this collection of crumbling cloisters and church walls, living quarters and cemeteries is one of the prime examples of what’s come to be known as the Guarani Baroque style.
Fusing together elements of tribal art and craft and regal Spanish architecture, the remains belie the curious meeting of cultures that took place here during the decades of the Conquistadores, and are regular chart toppers on lists of Argentina’s must-see attractions.
7. El Calafate
Standing pearly-white like a peppermint against the deep blues and rugged rock granite ridges of the Los Glaciares National Park, the ice-carved bulwarks of the Perito Moreno Glacier are a real wonder to behold.
Almost singlehandedly have they thrust the far-flung backwater town of El Calafate into the limelight, and today thousands of intrepid travelers make their way to the Patagonian backcountry around the city, eager to seek out bobbing ice bergs and the crags of Onelli Bay alike.
The settlement has grown up in recent decades too, going from a wool trader outpost to a series of paved streets lined with outdoors outfitters, quaint timber homes and the cutting-edge exhibitions of the Glaciarium.
8. Puerto Iguazu
The last little taste of Argentina before crossing the border into Brazil or Paraguay is a friendly enough place, complete with oodles of well-honed hotels and guesthouses, more than its fair share of restaurants, and souvenir shops ten to the penny.
But that’s not why so many people come here.
No sir, they come in droves for the roaring cataracts of the Iguazu Falls, which cascade over the cliffs close by.
Trips to the bucket-list waterfalls are uber-easy to organise, with a tourist train weaving through the jungles and designated walking paths opening up onto the famous Devil’s Throat section of the site, where the waters crash a whopping 82 meters from top to bottom.
Remember the waterproofs!
9. El Chalten
Dramatic broadsides of the mighty Fitz Roy peaks delineate the horizon at El Chalten; a town of low-rise cottages and Austrian-esque guesthouses that’s perched right up on the edge of the Patagonian Andes and the northern icefields of Los Glaciares.
The de facto trekking capital of the nation, the spot is packed with walkers and hikers and mountaineers, all coming in search of trails like the Laguna de los Tres and Condor Mirador, which soar high above the town and close to the towering peaks that encase it.
A spa is at hand for any who want to sooth the muscles post-adventure, while a clutch of breweries and backpacker bars makes for an interesting evening complete with pilsners and black beers.
10. San Carlos de Bariloche
Argentina’s answer to New Zealand’s Queenstown, France’s Chamonix and all the world’s other alpine, outdoorsy gems comes in the form of San Carlos de Bariloche (that’s just Bariloche to the locals and regulars). Hugging the sparkling waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake, the town is encompassed by verdant swathes of lengas and Chilean cedar and bamboo.
Luxurious hotels looking plucked straight out of Geneva meet wooden snow cabins between the city streets, while Swiss chocolatiers belie the town’s long Germanic historical connection – as does the glorious Gothic cathedral! Skiing at Cerro Catedral causes the town to boom during the colder months, as riders come in search of one of the continent’s largest ski areas, complete with 120 kilometers of groomed piste.
11. Mar del Plata
Chock-a-block with sunbathers and fashionistas, volleyball hitters and Atlantic swell swimmers right throughout the summer, Mar del Plata is the Argentinian seaside resort extraordinaire.
The early decades of the 1900s was when the beaches here made their name, giving a golden age that’s still visible in the occasional Art Deco high-rise along the shore.
Today, del Plata pumps to the tune of electric tango each evening, the throbbing cocktail bars of Alem Street drawing the biggest crowds.
Fantastic fish eateries also abound, while Mirador Waikiki offers something a little more secluded than the major sand stretches that line the city.
12. Puerto Madryn
A town of sloping beaches and windswept Atlantic dunes, where the rugged, seal-spotted coves of Chubut Province meld together between the Valdes Peninsula and Punta Ninfas, Puerto Madryn is one part sunbather paradise (great if you fancy leaving behind the booming crowds of Mar del Plata!), one part whale watchers’ mecca.
The great mammals (southern right whales to be precise) flock to the shore during the colder months, and can be seen from the rocky headlands around town, while summertime draws Buenos Aires locals to its less-trodden inlets and the penguin-packed rocks of Punta Tombo alike.
Welsh heritage is very much alive here too, so don’t be shocked if you hear the odd diolch mixed in with the Spanish!
13. Antofagasta de la Sierra
A whopping 3,200 meters above sea level, amidst the coal-coloured cinder cones of the Puna and the colossal caldera tops of Galan, Antofagasta de la Sierra is a whole world away from the ice-caked Patagonian wilds and the grasslands of the Pampas.
Here, dust devils twirl in the air and the sweeping Andean plateaus are interrupted only by the occasional bump of an ancient volcano.
Llama calls are the backing track, and farmers squeeze a living from the wastelands and the high-altitude lakes.
Antofagasta itself is little more than a village, the prime gateway to this truly breathtaking region of Argentina, although increasing annual visitor numbers are slowly beginning to change things.
Trevelin rose in the wake of the fabled Welsh explorer and settler El Baqueano, who used this spot as a base for his intrepid excursions in the Pampas during the 1890s.
Today, this curious little backwater settlement still remembers its Celtic roots with pride, and the Welsh tongue still echoes amidst the pretty, tree-lined streets.
In fact, spots like the Dyffryn y Merthyron pay homage to the fallen heroes of the Welsh frontier caravans, while cakes straight out of Brecon feature heavily on the menus of the quaint tearooms in town.
The setting is beautiful too, as the rising peaks of the Andes dominate to the west and the Chubut lowlands roll out, undulating forever into the east.
Salta can be found spread out along the base of the dust-caked, ochre-hued Lerma Valley, a mass of square-cut blocks and traffic-choked streets that hides one magnificent colonial core at its heart.
Yes sir, expect palm-peppered plazas like Julio Square and Ninth of July Plaza, where al fresco cafes throb with Spanish chatter, curious tango-folk and the smells of yerba mate, theatres twinkle in lights and elegant Baroque frontispieces ooze with tales of the town’s 500 years of history.
Of course, the backcountry is another draw (it always is in Argentina), and after devouring all the empanadas possible, many travelers make a beeline for the wild Valles Calchaquies, or even across the Andes, to the saltpans of southern Bolivia!
15 Best Places to Visit in Argentina:
- Buenos Aires
- San Antonio de Areco
- San Ignacio Mini
- El Calafate
- Puerto Iguazu
- San Carlos de Bariloche
- Mar del Plata
- Puerto Madryn
- Antofagasta de la Sierra
23 Top Tourist Attractions in Argentina (Updated 2023)
Argentina is a dynamic and unique country and is considered the land of wonders be it natural or man-made. Many places will amaze you such as glaciers and sky-scraping peaks of the Andes, the bustle of Buenos Aires, and the vineyards of Mendoza.
To be on the list of some of the top tourist attractions in Argentina has some remarkable places to visit . There is the largest waterfall, the highest peak in the Americas and travelers can find beautiful sceneries anywhere. Argentina is quite variable when it comes to tourist attractions, therefore, the visitors keep on coming here again and again.
How to reach Argentina
Argentina is one of the most popular countries in South America. From football to travel destinations, from food to traditional culture, everything is in abundance in Argentina. Many travelers visit Argentina throughout the year for different purposes. So, reaching Argentina is almost a cakewalk.
This is the most popular mode of transport to reach Argentina. Flight travel here in Argentina is a bit more expensive as compared to other South American countries. Even then, flights are the most availed mode of transport. Ezeiza is the most popular airport in the country based out of Buenos Aires. It is a prominent air hub with a direct flight connecting different countries. Direct flights operate daily from the United States of America. Many travelers travel from the United States to Argentina.
The second most popular mode of transport after air travel is the bus journey. It provides a great experience of the natural beauty of South America. Moreover, it’s cheaper than air travel indeed. There are many bus services crafted for long-distance travel. They are comfortable and connect with most of the neighboring countries. International bus services are available from Brazil, Uruguay, Chile , Paraguay, and Bolivia. Make sure you have reserved the seats beforehand, otherwise it is will be a bit tough for you to get tickets on the spot.
Ferry or cruise is not that a preferred option to reach Argentina. However, if you are traveling from neighboring countries like Uruguay, a few ferry services will take you to Puerto Madero.
Top 5 cities to stay in Argentina
1. buenos aires.
Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina. Undoubtedly most of the tourist attractions of Argentina are easily accessible from the capital city. Just lazing around in the city is also quite enjoyable. The European and Latin influence covers a lot of the old city of Buenos Aires. This is also the cultural capital of Argentina. If you are on a trip to cultivate the cultural heritage of the country, Buenos Aires is the best city to stay in. It has all the tourist attractions of Argentina concerning cultural heritage, within reach.
This city produces the best wines from Argentina. The city has a laid-back vibe. So, for a leisure trip with the family, Mendoza is quite a choice. Wander around the beautiful squares, walk down the tree-lined streets. The snow-capped mountains are also not that far away. You can arrange some adventure trips from here. No matter what you do, do not forget to taste a glass of wine before leaving wine.
One of the most beautiful cities along the coastline, Ushuaia is as pretty as a city can get. The low-lying buildings along the coastline are a view to cherish forever. Kayaking is one of the popular tourist attractions of Argentina, especially in Ushuaia. If you want to engulf the beauty of Antarctica and the Andes, this is the best city to kick off the exploration.
Tradition and contemporary essence of art and culture meet each other at Cordoba. The colonial architecture is one of the best tourist attractions in Argentina. The students come to visit Cordoba, hence the pubs and restaurants are always beaming with vibrant colors. There are many galleries and museums which you can explore.
Rosario is one of the most important port cities. The city is full of galleries, cafes, restaurants, and bars. The contemporary buildings and old buildings stand side by side. The nightlife is also very lively. It is often overlooked and is much underrated, but trust us, Rosario is one of the prettiest cities in South America
Popular Tourist Attractions in Argentina
Apart from the cities, here are a few popular tourist attractions in Argentina that you must also check out. Here are the popular tourist attractions that you must cover
1. Volcan Lanin
Often covered with the snow-capped route, Volcan Lanin between Argentina and Chile, is a volcano popular amongst hikers and rock climbers. Those who wish to visit must take permission from the Lanin national park office. They need to show proof of supplies and then trek to the peak. Visitors also sometimes take a short walk of about an hour to the Volcan Lanin’s Cara Norte. This has a view of the lake Lago Tromen and also the forest surrounding it.
2. Quebrada de Cafayate
In the Valles Calchaques region, a huge valley is established made up of unusual rock formations from Sandstone having bold colors. It is known as Quebrada de Cafayate. To create a picture-perfect, there are Sierras de Carahuasi as a backdrop, giving a bold contrast. El Obelisco (iconic monolith), Los Castillos (rock formation castles), and the chalk quarry are the landmarks that you can look for. The chalk quarry is also known as El Fraile is an unusual rock formation. The tours along the Rio de las Conchas are well organized, it takes you to the gorge and then to the heart of the valley.
3. Tigre Delta
Buenos Aires is the city of Tigre. It serves as a center for the surrounding estuary. The real tourist attraction of the city is to escape Tigre and exploring the river delta by boat. The city also has some all-embracing museums , lively markets and a variety of shops. You can choose to either book a guided tour or just go with the local water taxis. While on the floating means of transport you get the experience of watching some local homes along the canals and there are many floating vendors as well who trade in the river itself.
4. Recoleta Cemetery
Buenos Aires is also a popular destination for Recoleta Cemetery, which dates back to the early 18th century. It includes nearly 5,000 crypts. The flourished architectural features of the Recoleta Cemetery consist of Doric columns, mausoleums, and countless statues. The tombs are made in remembrance of people from the political or cultural note of the last two centuries.
5. Talampaya National Park
The most important archeological and paleontological site of the country is Talampaya National Park situated in La Rioja Province. Dinosaurs used to roam in this region around 250 years ago, confirmed by the fossil remains found there. The wonderful tourist attractions include the dry bed of the Talampaya River, the rich red of the valley, the splendid sceneries, and the extraordinarily shaped rocks.
6. Iglesia San Francisco
The most impressive colonial structure of Salta is the Iglesia San Francisco which is known for its white pillars and multi-tiered tower, lightened in the night. This popular attraction in Argentina is an architectural landmark for its church’s interior has a domed ceiling and archival library.
7. Cerro Catedral
Yet another popular attraction in Argentina is Cerro Catedral in South America, a well-established ski resort. It is situated in the Lake District near San Carlos de Bariloche. It is a tourist attraction full of adventurous sports like challenging terrain, snowboarding, and ski festivals. People also love to visit the resort during the offseason to tame the terrain and also take the amazing mountain views.
8. Mar del Plata Beaches
The country’s top beach resort is the Mar del Plata. It was once a retreat for Argentina’s aristocracy located on the Atlantic Coast. The lively culture and the sandy beaches make it a top tourist attraction. The city is much more relaxed in non-summer months than the summer weekends when it is fully packed.
9. Cueva de las Manos
It is a popular attraction for the ones who appreciate art or history, having a collection of prehistoric cave paintings which were made 9,000 years ago. It includes some iconic stenciled outlines of overlapping hands as well as painted hunting scenes and symbolic pictographs.
One of the world’s Seven Summits, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Andes. It is an exceptional tourist attraction in Argentina for its immense height and accessible climb. The climbers reach the summit without using any ropes or technical equipment. It is surrounded by glaciers and Mendoza’s Aconcagua Provincial Park.
11. Quebrada de Humahuaca
Quebrada de Humahuaca is another tourist attraction in Argentina situated between the Andes and Valles Templados. It has a desert-like atmosphere consisting of cacti, lamas, and colorful sandstones.
12. Street Tango
Street Tango is amongst the popular tourist attractions in Argentina where someone is always performing Tango on the street. Many tourists find it fascinating as the crowd gathers, the dancers put on their show while the music is played.
Ushuaia is now a major tourist attraction in Argentina while it has a missionary base. It is located on the Beagle Channel. It is mostly used for hiking and cruises to Antarctica.
14. Ibera Wetlands
After the Pantanal in Brazil, Ibera Wetlands are the second-largest wetlands. It is home to many animals such as anacondas, capybaras, and more than 350 rare and endangered bird species. It is mostly explored by foot or on horseback.
15. Mendoza Wine Regions
Mendoza Wine regions are located in the eastern foothills of the Andes. It is considered amongst some of the highest altitudes in the world. Being the heart of the winemaking industry, it’s a great place for skiing and adventures in the Andes.
16. Monte Fitz Roy
Monte Fitz Roy is a granite mountain which is situated in southern Patagonia. It is surrounded by glacial lakes and ice fields. The mountain was first climbed by French alpinists Guido Magnone and Lionel Terray in 1952. It is one of the iconic points as the terrain and rock faces are loved by the photographers for their beauty and the challenge for the mountain climbers.
17. Staying on an Estancia
Staying on an Estancia has become a popular attraction amongst the day-trippers. The visitors usually go for a horse ride after breakfast, come back for a barbecue, and then a quick hammock siesta before they get into their trails.
18. Beagle Channel
Along with the Straits of Magellan to the north and the open-ocean Drake Passage to the south, the Beagle Channel in the extreme south of Argentina is the third navigable passage. It is a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago. It is best visible via boat trip, with some other tourist attractions – the sea-lion colony and Isla de Pajaros.
19. Valdes Peninsula
One of the popular attractions is the Valdes Peninsula for viewing endemic wildlife. Visitors can see a variety of marine mammals, depending on the time of visit. Whales are usually seen between May and December and are located between the Valdes Peninsula and the Patagonian mainland.
It is that tourist attraction that appeals to the photographers as it is filled with colorful cafes, shops, houses, and statues. It is located in La Boca and celebrates the arrival of Italian immigrants in the 1800s. The place feels alive where music fills the air, tango dancers give their performances and artists sell their paintings.
21. Route of the Seven Lakes
The best tourist attraction in Bariloche is the Route of the Seven Lakes, incredible for its beautiful sceneries. It is a drive of 105 km in total. One can also admire waterfalls and a walk to the foothills of the Andes Mountains.
22. Perito Moreno Glacier
Located in the Los Glaciares National Park, it is one of the most lovable tourist attractions because of its size and accessibility. Though it takes two hours by bus from El Calafate, the most popular way to visit Perito Moreno Glacier is by boat.
23. Iguazu Falls
Near the borders of Paraguay and Brazil, Iguazu Falls are situated in the northeastern corner of the country. It is the crown jewel of Iguazu National Park and amongst the largest waterfalls in the world.
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Explore the diverse and captivating wonders of an enchanting South American nation as we unveil the 10 best places to visit in Argentina. From Buenos Aires’ vibrant streets to Patagonia’s beautiful landscapes, Argentina offers diverse experiences. Immerse in tango beats, wander Iguazu Falls, marvel at glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park, and explore Cordoba, and enrich Mendoza’s rich culture. Whether you're seeking vibrant city life, awe-inspiring wilderness, or rich cultural encounters, this article will guide you through the most beautiful places to visit on your trip to Argentina , each offering a unique and unforgettable experience.
1. Buenos Aires
Known as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires is glam meets grit and an intoxicating blend of European and Latin American influences. With neoclassical architecture at its helm and international influences, Buenos Aires is the heart of the complex and chaotic Latin American lifestyle. From the eclectic mix of historical architecture to the overindulgent supply of pastries and South American festive flair — a visit to Buenos Aires allows travelers to experience true Latin American hospitality. Argentina’s capital city offers visitors a range of sites, attractions, and activities. Learn to tango, go watch a football match, visit the captivating barrios (neighborhoods) such as La Boca and Palermo, or simply enjoy the nightlife. Buenos Aires also boasts a rich art and literary scene, not to mention great places to eat.
Quick tip: Enhance your Buenos Aires adventure by obtaining a SUBE card for convenient public transportation.
- Visit Argentina’s most iconic, First Lady Eva Peron, at the La Recoleta Cemetery.
- Watch an opera show at Teatro Colon.
- Immerse yourself in the arts at Teatro Colon, a majestic opera house that showcases the city's deep appreciation for culture and performance.
- Pay homage to Argentina's iconic figure, Eva Peron, in the historic La Recoleta Cemetery, where ornate mausoleums bear witness to the nation's storied past.
2. Iguazu Falls
Spanning 2.7 kilometers wide with 275 waterfalls at its disposal, Iguazu Falls is one of the best places to visit in Argentina, is revered as one of the world’s most riveting sights, and has drawn travelers from all over to witness and experience the cascades in person. Originating from the Guarani name for “big water”, Iguazu Falls plays a significant part in the political and geographical structure of South America. Situated on the border splitting the Argentina province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Parana, Iguazu Falls is surrounded by South American rainforests and the noise of wildlife that calls the cascades home.
Quick tip: Shield your electonics from the mist with protective covers.
Distance from Buenos Aires: Approximately 1,100 kilometers.
- Experience the power of Iguazu Falls from up close on a thrilling boat tour.
- Hike in Iguazu National Park .
- Encounter a variety of bird and animal species, including toucans and curious coatis, that inhabit the surrounding rainforest.
3. El Calafate
Part of the Patagonia region of Argentina , El Calafate hinges on the southern shore of Lago Argentino in the southwest province of Santa Cruz. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful, glacial scenery and Patagonian plains — an El Calafate trip is a must for those who thrive on outdoor pursuits. Its strategic location between El Chaltén and the Torres del Paine of Chile makes it an irresistible place to stop and rest in the infinite scape of Argentina’s south shore.
Quick tip: Reserve glacier tour spots in advance to ensure availability.
Distance from Buenos Aires: Approximately 2,600 kilometers
- Tour the Perito Moreno Glacier and witness the marvel of glacial formations.
- Embark on a kayak adventure up the Upsala channel, surrounded by stunning Patagonian scenery.
Also known as the “End of the World,” Ushuaia is a haven for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. Nestled between rugged mountains and the glistering Beagle Channel, Ushuaia also offers a getaway to Antarctica and an array of exhilarating outdoor activities. Embark on trekking expeditions through Tierra del Fuego National Park, sail alongside playful sea lions, and witness the mesmerizing beauty of glaciers. If you are searching for cool places to visit in Argentina, look no further than Ushuaia.
Quick tip: Consider hiking by hiring a local guide to the Marital Glacier trail if you wish to avoid the crowd.
Distance from Buenos Aires: Approximately 3,200 kilometers.
- Cruise the Beagle Channel, seeking out the Yámana archaeological ruins and enjoying the pristine waters.
- Explore the stunning landscapes of Tierra del Fuego National Park, offering diverse ecosystems and scenic trails.
Falling on the shoreline of Lago Nahuel Huapi, a large glacial lake surrounded by the Andes Mountains, the town of Bariloche sits in Argentina’s Patagonia region. Known for its Swiss alpine-style architecture and chocolate, Bariloche is surrounded by thousand-year-old forests, crystal lakes, and snow-capped mountains. The city is known as one of the most breathtaking places in Argentina, popular both in the summer and winter seasons for the array of activities Bariloche offers . The city exudes what it means to be Patagonian and has brought travelers from many places to seek arguably one of Argentina’s most beautiful natural spots.
Quick tip: Take a trip to Colonia Suiza to avoid the tourist rush and enjoy authentic experiences during your trip to Bariloche.
Distance from Buenos Aires: Approximately 1,600 kilometers
- Explore the charming town with its Swiss-inspired architecture, wooden chalets, and cobbled streets.
- Marvel at the beauty of Nahuel Huapi National Park surrounded by the breathtaking Andes Mountain.
6. El Chaltén
Sitting within the northern sector of the Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina’s Santa Cruz region, the colorful village of El Chaltén boasts trails and rich mountaineering heritage that have gathered climbers from around the world. Founded in 1985, going to El Chaltén will introduce you to a town that is flourished in the hippie and quaint way of life. El Chaltén has increasingly become a destination for those seeking a true off-the-beaten-path experience.
Quick tip: Set your sights on the breathtaking Laguna de los Tres hike for an unforgettable adventure off the usual path in EL Chalten. THis hidden gem offers an extraordinary viewpoint of the iconic Mount Fitz Roy.
Distance from Buenos Aires: Approximately 2,200 kilometers.
- Trek out to Mount Fitz Roy and capture breathtaking views of Laguna de Los Tres, a pristine glacial lake.
- Take a glacier boat trip to Lago Viedma and witness the stunning beauty of the region's water bodies.
Bordering Bolivia in the north and Chile to the west, Salta is one of the best places to visit in Argentina. This region in northwest Argentina is embraced by the towering peaks of the Andes, creating a dramatic backdrop for its rich history. Explore the historic charm of Salta city’s cobblestone lanes, be mesmerized by the kaleidoscope of colors in Quebrada de Humahuaca’s rock formations and sip on Torrotes wines in the heights of Cafayate. This province masterfully fuses history, culture, and nature, creating an unmissable Argentina’s beauty.
Quick tip: Embark on a journey along the Cachi Backroads for a unique adventure during your trip to Salta. This scenic route offers a chance to explore the picturesque landscapes and charming villages that lie beyond the beaten path.
Distance from Buenos Aires: Approximately 1,500 kilometers.
- Discover the UNESCO-listed Quebrada de Humahuaca, a stunning gorge with vibrant rock formations and indigenous villages. This area provides a unique opportunity to experience Andean culture, traditions and breathtaking landscapes.
- Traverse the historic Train to the Clouds, a remarkable railway journey that takes you through breathtaking landscapes, soaring over viaducts and winding through tunnels, offering an unforgettable perspective of the region's natural beauty.
A hidden gem in Argentina’s northwest, Jujuy beckons travelers with its authentic Andean charm and captivating landscapes. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Tilcara’s Pucara ruins, be awed by the surreal beauty of Salinas Grandes’ salt flats, and journey through the traditional markets of Purmamarca. Explore the Quebrada de Humahuaca’s UNESCO-listed wonders, from colorful towns to historic trails. With its indigenous heritage, breathtaking scenery, and cultural richness, Jujuy offers an off-the-beaten-path adventure that’s both enriching and awe-inspiring.
Quick tip: Pack layers to adapt to the changeable temperatures of Jujuy and consider hiring a local guide who can provide valuable information about the indigenous culture, history, and natural formations for your Jujuy trip.
Distance from Buenos Aires: Approximately 1,500 kilometers
- Venture to the Hill of Seven Colors, where nature showcases its stunning palette in the landscapes.
- Discover the Puacara de Tilcara, a pre-Inca fortress that provides insight into the area's ancient history and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
In the western region of Argentina in the desert of Cuyo, is Mendoza, the heart of Argentina’s wine industry. Surrounded by the highest mountainside of Aconcagua, visit Mendoza to see an extensive artificial irrigation system that allows greenery to grow throughout the city, in particular, an overabundance of grapes for wine creation. Bustling with cosmopolitan cafes, leafy avenues, large plazas, and long stretched sidewalks, Mendoza is a lively city ready for all travelers to spend a night.
Quick tip: Take a trip to the enchanting Valle de Uco, a hidden gem of Mendoza and consider seeking the expertise of a local guide for an enhanced tour experience.
Distance from Buenos Aires: Approximately 1,000 kilometers.
- Cycle through the vineyards and visit the many popular wineries of Argentina .
- Enjoy an impressive view of Mount Aconcagua from Confluencia Base Camp, offering a rewarding trekking experience.
Located 700 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires, experience Córdoba 's different personality than its sister city of Buenos Aires. Set in the Las Sierras mountains of central Argentina, Córdoba is renowned for its fun-loving and welcoming character. The city is a fusion of 17th-century Jesuit colonial architecture with modern art galleries and rising new designs. Córdoba leads a more laid-back way of life with its rugged outskirts as the perfect draw for those with an adventurous heart.
Quick tip: Venture into the lesser-known Calamuchita Valley, a tranquil haven away from the crowds.
Distance from Buenos Aires: Approximately 700 kilometers
- Embark on a rock climbing adventure at Los Gigantes, surrounded by stunning natural rock formations.
- Hike the caves and find indigenous cave paintings at the Cerro Colorado Reserve.
Defiantly unique, a trip to Argentina is a must. The country gives travelers an experience of a lifetime filled with city bustle, natural wonders, wildlife, tango, and unrivaled views of some of the world’s greatest sights. Make 2020 a stamp year and discover some of the best places to visit in Argentina.
Are you planning a trip to Argentina ? Check out our travel guide on how many days to spend in Argentina for more ideas and insights. If you need help with planning a customized trip to Argentina , you can always reach out to our local travel experts who can devise a tailored itinerary for you.
Check out our Argentina itinerary for a comprehensive list of the things to do in Argentina within the prescribed period.
- One week in Argentina
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The 15 best places to visit in Argentina
Living in Argentina for several months was one of the most significant experiences of my life. Everything appealed to me about this country. Its culture, its gastronomy, the diversity of its landscapes, and the blending of different cultures and heritages. What is particularly appreciable in Argentina is the diverseness of its regions, each one is so unique and full of surprises. I suggest you take a look at the list of must-see attractions in Argentina we have prepared for you. To begin with, why not take a visit to the main cities? Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza, Salta and San Carlos de Bariloche. The cultural richness and architectural diversity of these Argentinian cities will amaze you. Moreover, Argentina is full of wonders, it's not surprising that it has so many sites listed as UNESCO World heritages. To see the most beautiful sites, don't miss out on the Iguazupour Falls for its heavenly waterfalls, the Valdes Peninsula for its marine animals, the Perito Moreno for its incredible glacier, the Quebrada de Humahuaca for its rainbow mountains, the Jesuit missions of the Guaranis and its impressive ruins, and the Ischigualasto and Talampaya National parks to discover their unique Palaeontological discoveries. During your trip to Argentina, you will wander amongst plains, lakes and mountains. Explore iconic destinations by going to El Chalten, Ushuaïa, Aconcagua and La Pampa. Argentina is more than a country! It’s an exciting destination that will delight you.
Our selection of must-see places.
The charming capital city of Argentina is both cosmopolitan and dynamic. Each district is in itself worth-seeing. San Telmo for its bohemian side, Palermo for its nightlife and trendy atmosphere, Puerto Madero for a stroll along the docks, the Micro Centro to see the main monuments such as Plaza de Mayo or the Obelisk, Recoleta for its cultural activities and its famous cemetery, and finally La Boca and its Caminito, a multicoloured and authentic district, which is without any doubt the most emblematic of Buenos Aires. The city bears witness to this cultural blending shared by its Italian and Spanish heritage. It can be found in the architecture, in the cuisine but also in the Argentinians very expressive way of speaking. Finally, it is here that you will have the most beautiful demonstrations of the Tango, this passionate dance typical of Argentina.
Hidden in the middle of the tropical forest, on the Argentine and Brazilian border, Iguazu Falls are a natural wonder. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these gigantic waterfalls are one of the largest and most impressive in the world. Thanks to its easy access, you can get as close as possible to the falls and enjoy the show: the water flowing with a deafening noise, the mists that make us come out all wet in less than a minute, all the rainbows forming in the falls, the palm trees, the luxuriant fauna and flora that make the setting even more magical. The site leaves us speechless for its splendour and beauty. It is a real wonder that reminds us of how exceptional nature can be.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Valdes Peninsula is located off the coast of the city of Puerto Madryn. Bordered by cliffs, the peninsula is the ideal place to meet all kinds of marine animals. Penguins, elephant seals, guanacos, and birds all gather around the shores. But it is off the peninsula that you can watch the most impressive spectacle. Take the opportunity to observe killer whales and Astral right whales that are now considered an endangered species. Whales often approach the seaside and love to come and play with boats. It is quite easy to observe them in these conditions. To have even more emotion and thrills during this experience, you can also organize a dive or kayak trip to get as close as possible to these enormous and mighty animals.
From the city of El Calafate, you can discover a natural wonder made entirely of ice. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Perito Moreno is one of the most spectacular glaciers in the world. Located on the Lago Argentino, this 60m high ice wall, glacial blue colours and imposing size will amaze you. The most impressive thing is undoubtedly the fact that it is alive. The glacier is constantly in motion, advancing a little more every day. We can also see pieces of ice breaking off and falling into the water with a huge thumping noise Footbridges are installed all around the site and allow the observation of the Perito Moreno from different points of view, each one just as fabulous as the other.
El Chalten is a lovely little village lost among the mountains. The wooden houses, the flowered balconies, the warm welcoming inhabitants, the cafés which serve delicious hot chocolates, here you'll find both a peaceful and timeless atmosphere. In addition to inviting visitors to relax, El Chalten is the starting point for the Fitz Roy hike. The summit of this mountain offers treks of different levels and durations. You can enjoy a superb walk whatever your inclination for sports. The ideal programme: hike in the morning, picnic in front of the Fitz Roy, and enjoy a good hot chocolate on the way back to the village.
San Carlos de Bariloche
Argentina looks like Europe sometimes. San Carlos de Bariloche is a perfect example. The mountainous landscapes and the finely crafted wooden houses remind us of the Swiss Alps. Take your time and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city with a nice walk in the streets and admire its fine architecture. Bariloche offers superb walks. Surrounded by forests and lakes, it is very pleasant to leave the city for a bit and discover its nature on foot, by bike or by car. It is even said that these landscapes inspired Saint Exupéry to write "The Little Prince". Many excursions are available from the city, especially boat trips to discover the lakes, islands and waterfalls. Don't miss out on the Camino de Los Siete Lagos, a road that will take you to incredible landscapes and viewpoints.
Mendoza is known as Argentines wine capital. It is true that when it comes to wine, the Argentinians have nothing left to prove! We can taste some exquisite grape varieties. But in Mendoza, wine is not only served in restaurants, but the tradition is also to go directly to the cellars. Tours are organized all over the city. You can explore vineyards of all sizes, visit their cellars, discover how they produce their wine, and of course taste their best wine varieties. Vineyards and mountains offer breathtaking views. Enjoying a glass of wine in such grandiose settings is simply delicious.
The second largest city in Argentina, Cordoba is the home for 7 leading universities. The student population contributes to the freshness and energy of the city that is quite exceptional. As for cultural heritage, the city also has a lot to offer: don't miss out on the famous Jesuit quarter, Manzana Jesuita, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also the cathedral, Cabildo, Paseo del Buen Pastor, the Caraffa Museum, and Barrio Gûemes. The best way to get to know each of these places is to stroll around at your own pace. You will be able to immerse yourself in this incredible atmosphere and you may even want to extend the duration of your stay! Around the city, you can also discover the adorable villages of la Cumbrecita or Alta Gracia, the hometown of Che Guevara.
A typical colonial city, both vibrant and surprising! The beauty of its squares, its churches and colours will astound you at every street corner. Look up to observe the emblematic balconies of Colonial architecture, and explore the city's nooks and crannies to discover the old houses once inhabited by the noble. A mixture of Spanish and Andean culture, there are museums dedicated to the history of the Incas such as the MAAM museum. Salta is also well known for being lively both by day and night. The inhabitants love to walk down the main street, stroll around the squares, and at night, music and life flow everywhere from the bars and clubs.
Quebrada de Humahuaca
Northern Argentina is one of the most beautiful regions of the country. It's desert landscapes and Quechua culture are extremely charming. Change of scenery assured with its ochre-coloured earth, cactus forests, coloured fabrics, llamas, prepare yourself for a real change of scenery. Among all the adorable small villages, don't miss out on the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a natural wonder listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. Overlooking the Humahuaca Valley, this mountain is a real rainbow formed of multi-coloured rocks. An incredible sight to see as you walk between both the hills and the vast extents of cactus'. The village is also worth seeing: the cobblestoned streets, the square and the handicraft stands make it a choice destination for strolling around.
Ushuaia is the most southern city of the world, it’s the gateway to Antarctica, which makes it pretty unique. Located in the province of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaïa is essentially a port city, but it has developed several tourist attractions over the past years. Sports enthusiasts will have the chance to ski, trek or dive. For more relaxing activities, you can go horse riding or take a flight over the area by plane. Don't hesitate to take a boat trip to visit the surrounding islands and see the famous lighthouse at the end of the world. You can also observe several marine animals such as cormorants, penguins and sea lions. Finally, if you are interested in local heritage and history, visit the end of the world museum.
Aconcagua is the highest peak on the American continent. Located in the middle of the Andes Cordillera, between Argentina and Chile, it reaches an altitude of nearly 6962m. The most experienced climbers in the world try to conquer it each year. A thrilling adventure but accessible only to experienced hikers. Even if you don't make it to the top, it’s also beautiful from below! Various hikes are organized and adapted to all levels. Put on your best walking shoes and discover these postcard-like landscapes. The mountains of exceptional beauty are home to a rich fauna and flora. Take your time to observe them, and admire the "Roof of the Americas" wherever you are.
Les parcs nationaux Ischigualasto et Talampaya
Welcome to the paradise of Palaeontologists. Without mentioning the beauty of its desert landscapes, Ischigualasto and Talampaya National Parks which are particularly famous for sheltering Scientific treasures. Here, you can admire particularly rich collections of animal and plant fossils dating back more than 200 million years. These unique sites have helped us to understand both the Environmental and Animals evolution over that time, as well as the end of the "Age of the Dinosaurs" or Mesozoic era. These findings are therefore of inestimable value to Science. As a traveller, you can visit these parks either by car or bicycle. With an area of 63ha, the best thing to do is to be guided by a local expert who will show you the most interesting places, from ancient rock formations to discovery areas.
The Argentine countryside occupies a large part of the southern area. The Pampa is specific to Argentina for several reasons. First of all for its extraordinary landscapes and its wild and indomitable nature. But it is also the ideal place to discover the "Gaucho" culture, the famous Argentine cowboys. Immerse yourself in this region to discover how these communities live and all the folklore around it. Ride to explore the wildest hills and share the love of the inhabitants for their region. Discover their customs, their dances, their gastronomy, far away from the big cities and their European influences, this other perspective of Argentine culture will both surprise and delight you.
Les missions jésuites des Guaranis
Located in the rainforests of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, you can see the most beautiful Jesuit missions in the Argentine towns of San Ignacio, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreta and Santa Maria la Mayor. These towns built between the 17th and 18th centuries are both architectural and cultural wonders. Originally, this region was inhabited by Guaraní indigenous communities villages. The Jesuits then built towns in the area to help these communities. You can still see through these ruins how the village was organized: church, priests' residence, schools, handicraft workshops, prisons, cemeteries and dwellings. Today, these missions are the testimony of an important era in the history of Argentina.
The main advantage of Argentina as a destination is the variety and diversity of activities thanks to its vastness. Whether you are more interested in culture, sports or relaxation, the ideal is to remain open to discover the typical activities of each city. Let yourself be guided and play the game, wonderful surprises are waiting ahead for you. For instance, even if you’re not particularly sporty, you could opt for an easier hike which does not require much hiking skills, it would be a shame to miss out on such wonderful landscapes! Don't hesitate to try all the dishes offered to you, the Argentine gastronomy is particularly tasty. Finally, take advantage of your trip to discover Argentine's culture: dance, language, the diversity of their heritage, there is much to learn, and the local guides of each region will be more than happy to share their knowledge with you.
45+ of the Best Things To Do in Argentina
Argentina. Before I became an expat in Argentina, the name conjured up images of sultry tango, juicy steaks, deep red wine, gauchos on horseback. Living there showed me that it was all of this but so, so much more.
Across the country’s almost 3 million square kilometres you will find so many amazing things to do in Argentina : bustling cities that elegantly meld the old with the new, waterfalls so powerful you’ll need to plant your feet to stay still, glaciers that crack majestically, and a vast variety of landscapes that will blow your mind. Here’s just a taste of some of the incredible things to do in Argentina.
I originally started this blog post about what to do in Argentina with just a few bucket list items, but it has grown and grown! I think you’ll find plenty of inspiration here for your Argentina travel planning. If you’re planning a trip, sign up here to receive my downloadable 2-week Argentina itinerary .
This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).
Explore Buenos Aires
In my humble opinion, Buenos Aires is up there with the top cities in the world , and it should be on everyone’s bucket list to visit. There are so many Buenos Aires attractions to lure you here: European architecture, award-winning restaurants, secret bars, green parks to relax in and museums to explore.
Buenos Aires is most likely the first place you’ll visit when you arrive in Argentina (unless you’re crossing into the country by land) and it’s a good starting point to get a handle on the food and culture of the country.
You could easily spend a week here, but if you don’t have that much time, check out my guide to 3 days in Buenos Aires , or browse my list of more than 101 things to do in Buenos Aires . Trust me, I lived here for almost two years and didn’t tick off everything on my Buenos Aires bucket list !
If you want to get your head around Buenos Aires with the help of a local guide , book this full-day bike tour or this 3-hour, small-group tour or this customisable tour with a local . I love landing in a city and starting off with a tour to understand a bit more about the layout of the city and get the best food recommendations .
How to get to Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is usually the first city you’ll land in when you arrive in Argentina. There are two airports in Buenos Aires , but if you’re flying in from another continent, you’ll most likely be landing in Ezeiza airport (EZE). If you’re flying in from Uruguay or Brazil, you’ll probably come in via Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP). EZE is 22 kilometres outside of the city, while AEP is right in the heart of Palermo.
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
As a cosmopolitan city, there are plenty of accommodation choices in Buenos Aires to suit all budgets and styles. I’ve got a whole guide to where to stay in Buenos Aires , but if you’re after some quick recommendations, the best hotels in Buenos Aires include:
- Luxury: BE Jardin Escondido by Coppola will make you feel right at home, with rooms filled with gorgeous touches like vintage suitcases and cozy little reading nooks. There’s also a lovely garden pool. Check rates and book online with Booking.com | Read reviews of BE Jardin Escondido by Coppola online
- Mid-range: In the heart of Recoleta, the Hotel Club Frances has rooms that are spacious and comfortable. The attentive staff can point you in the right direction for anything you need during your stay. Check out the latest rates at Booking.com and HotelsCombined | Read reviews of Hotel Club Frances online
- Budget: At Caravan BA Hostel Boutique , a lot of effort has been put into adding all the touches every traveller wants and needs in a hostel. The gorgeous garden has a pool and bar, rooms are clean with comfy beds and the staff can help visitors with tips for Buenos Aires or onward travel plans. Check the latest rates on Booking.com | Read reviews of Caravan BA Hostel Boutique online
- Looking for something else? Search more Buenos Aires hotels at Booking.com or HotelsCombined .
READ NEXT: How to spend 3 days in Buenos Aires
Watch tango – or learn a few steps yourself
Tango. The sultry dance with its origins in the lower-class neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires is now world famous and some people visit Argentina with the sole focus of learning how to dance.
If you wander some of the more touristy areas of Buenos Aires – La Boca, San Telmo (especially on Sundays) or Calle Florida in the centre of the city – you’re bound to come along couples with their cheeks pressed against one another, slowly dancing to the famous tango songs that you’ve probably already heard before.
You can take tango lessons in Buenos Aires or head to a milonga , basically a tango dance party. Some milongas welcome beginners and even have free tango lessons before the serious dancers step in, while other milongas are for dancers who know what they’re doing.
If the thought of just turning up at a milonga makes you nervous, then book a tour like this one or book a private tango lesson before you hit the milonga floor.
Some popular milongas in Buenos Aires are:
- La Catedral, Sarmiento 4006
- La Viruta, Armenia 1366
- Salon Canning, Raúl Scalabrini Ortíz 1331
If you’re not interested in dancing yourself, then there are plenty of tango shows in Buenos Aires where you can marvel at the moves and the music. Here are a few recommended tango shows:
- Bar Sur, Estados Unidos 299
- Café Tortoni, Avenida de Mayo 825
- Rojo Tango, Martha Salotti 445 (inside the Hotel Faena), book online here to guarantee tickets.
- Café de los Angelitos, Avenida Rivadavia 2100, book tickets online .
- El Viejo Almacen, Avenida Independencia 299
Dine at a puerta cerrada
One of the most unique things to do in Buenos Aires is to dine at a puerta cerrada , which literally means “closed door” in Spanish, and refers to the wave of secret restaurants that have popped up in Buenos Aires.
These restaurants can be found in people’s homes or in spaces owned by people with a passion for food. Most only open a few nights of the week, and usually have a set menu. For some, you likely won’t get the address until a few days beforehand, and you need to reserve in advance. Others are now more mainstream. They’re a great way to taste local ingredients, meet Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) and chat with other travellers.
While the puerta cerrada scene has certainly changed recently – many of the original puerta cerradas became so popular and profitable that the owners have opened up permanent businesses – there are still many great restaurants you can check out. A few recommended puerta cerradas in Buenos Aires are:
- Casa Saltshaker
Visit the world’s most beautiful bookstore
Of all the places to visit in Buenos Aires, make sure you head to El Ateneo Grand Splendid. Squeezed in between the stores that line bustling Avenida Santa Fe in Buenos Aires, this is one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores . Housed in a former theatre, El Ateneo is a beautiful spot to flick through the rows and rows of books on sale. Reading a book and sipping on a cortado in the on-site café is one of the best things to do in Buenos Aires.
Avenida Santa Fe 1860, open daily
Eat your bodyweight in steak
One of the top things to do in Argentina ? Eat!
It’s no secret that Argentines love their steak . In fact, they eat almost 50 kilos of beef each year. Compare that to the United States where people consume around 38 kilos.
You can’t walk down a street in Argentina without smelling an asado underway. Argentina’s steaks are famous worldwide and for good reason.
Where to find the best steak in Buenos Aires:
- Don Julio, Guatemala 4691
- Parilla Peña, Rodriguez Peña 682
- La Carniceria, Thames 2319
- Secret Parilla Tito’s, Dorrego 2720
- La Brigada, Estados Unidos 465
If you’re a foodie, book a night at The Argentine Experience to learn more about food culture. It’s touristy but it’s really fun!
But it’s not just about the steak in Argentina. You will be kept well-fed with empanadas, facturas (the most famous of all, medialunas, were served every Wednesday in my office and were responsible for giving me several cavities), choripan, milanesa, dulce de leche, ice cream, provoleta and alfajores. When you visit Argentina, come with an appetite and some stretchy pants!
READ NEXT: Where to eat and drink in Buenos Aires
Wander among the dead
One of Buenos Aires’ most famous landmarks is the Recoleta Cemetery , home to the remains of Eva Perón, many Argentine presidents and generals and other notable people.
You could spend hours wandering through the tombstones, marvelling at the grandiose monuments. I recommend taking a guided tour to hear the fascinating stories of its less famous residents. It may be macabre, but this is one of the top Argentina tourist attractions.
The cemetery is located in Recoleta and is close to parks, museums and restaurants. The nearby park hosts a bustling weekend market every Saturday and Sunday.
Junín 1760, open daily
Learn about Evita
If you want to know more about Recoleta Cemetery’s most famous resident, visit the Evita Perón Museum to learn about how Argentina’s beloved Eva Perón met her husband and became a key figure in Argentina’s history. The museum is filled with her outfits and mementos from her life, from childhood up until her death at the age of 33.
Lafinur 2988, closed Mondays
READ NEXT: 101+ things to do in Buenos Aires!
Shop for antiques in Buenos Aires
For unique souvenirs, head to the San Telmo market in Buenos Aires. On Sundays you will find more than 15 blocks of stalls featuring arts and crafts, local souvenirs, clothing and all sorts of bric-a-brac from days past. The market starts mid-morning but is best visited in the early to mid-afternoon to experience the vibrancy of this area.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds, San Telmo is filled with antique shops that are far quieter during the week.
Watch a game of fútbol
There’s only one way to attempt to understand Argentina’s fanatic football (soccer) fans, and that’s to go to a fútbol match . Here, you’ll be pressed against the heaving crowd, joining in the mayhem and singing the songs that echo endlessly off the stadium walls.
It can be hard for visitors to get tickets to a fútbol match (not to mention that sometimes the fans go a little too far and matches can quickly descend into violence), so consider booking a tour with a local guide . They’ll organise the tickets, tell you more about fútbol, and keep you safe.
Try Fernet and Coke
While Argentina is most famous for its wine, there’s another drink you should try when visiting: Fernet .
This bitter Italian spirit is incredibly popular in Argentina, with more than 75 percent of production consumed here. In Argentina, you’ll find most people mixing it with Coke, but it’s also served in cocktails or sipped solo.
It’s got a bitter, medicinal flavour, so it’s not for everyone (I’m definitely not a fan but my husband loves it!), but it’s worth trying when you visit Argentina.
Even the Pope is apparently a fan of Fernet and Coke!
Visit secret cocktail bars
Along with secret restaurants (see the section on puerta cerradas above), you’ll find plenty of hidden bars around Buenos Aires. While hidden, they’re no longer so secret, as locals and visitors alike have caught wind of this trend. A few speakeasies in Buenos Aires you should check out are:
- Frank’s (Arévalo 1445) – you’ll need a password to get into this bar (which you enter through a phone booth!).
- Florería Atlántico ( Arroyó 872 ) – probably the most popular speakeasy in Buenos Aires, this bar is below a gorgeous florist in the Retiro barrio . You enter the bar through a giant refrigerator door.
- Harrison Speakeasy (at the back of Malabia 1764) – the only way to get into this bar is to eat at Nicky NY Sushi. When you get your bill, ask the waiter for access details.
- Uptown (Arévalo 2030) – one of the newest speakeasies on the Buenos Aires scene, this bar is a reconstruction of the New York City subway. You’ll need to call ahead to put your name on the guest list.
If wine’s more your thing, then book a wine tasting tour here .
On your first visit to Argentina, you may be curious about what people are pouring out of thermoses and drinking from gourds. It’s mate (mah-tay) , a bitter, caffeinated tea that is part of the cultural fabric of Argentina.
This drink is all about sharing and socialising. Friends (and even strangers) sip from the same mate (the cup) and bombilla (straw).
Argentines are ridiculously friendly people and love to meet friendly foreigners. I have no doubt that if you see a group of people sipping mate in a park in Buenos Aires and you ask a few questions about mate, they’ll happily ask you to join them!
READ NEXT: How to spend 2 weeks in Argentina
Visit the Casa Rosada
Argentina’s version of the White House is in fact pink. It’s located in the Plaza de Mayo, a square that’s a great place to wander through when you first arrive in Buenos Aires.
The Casa Rosada now offers public tours , so you can go inside to see the luxe interiors and stand on the balcony from where Evita addressed her adoring fans below. Tours are only offered on weekends, with tours in English on Saturdays at 12.30 p.m. You’ll need to book online in advance.
Balcarce 50, book a tour online
Relax in Buenos Aires’ parks
Like any big city, Buenos Aires can be noisy and exhausting at times. Luckily, there are plenty of green spaces to escape to. Most parks are well-maintained and filled with Argentine families or groups of friends, especially on weekends. My favourite parks in Buenos Aires are:
- Tres de Febrero (also known as the Bosques de Palermo)
- Rosedal de Palermo , a rose garden with more than 8,000 roses
- Jardín Japonés , one of the largest Japanese gardens outside of Japan
- Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays
- Floralis Genérica , with its giant metal flower sculpture
- Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur , a huge park in Puerto Madero
If you’ve got more time in Argentina, consider taking a few Spanish lessons . The accent in Argentina is different to the rest of South America and it takes a little while to get the hang of it, but there are plenty of affordable Spanish schools across the country.
One of the most popular Spanish schools in Buenos Aires is Expanish . My husband studied here when we first moved to Argentina, and they’re equipped to teach everyone from total newbies to advanced speakers.
You’ll also probably pick up a few lunfardo words (Argentine slang) along the way. Che is an interjection that you’ll hear everywhere and of course refers to the Argentine revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Quilombo is my absolute favourite lunfardo word and basically means “a mess” or “chaos”, as in “Que quilombo!” – what a total mess. I’ve used the word in reference to the traffic situation in Buenos Aires more than once.
Indulge your sweet tooth
No country does sweet stuff like the Argentines do. I think I’ve had about five fillings since I left Argentina. No joke. This is one cavity-inducing country.
Start with dulce de leche , a creamy caramel sauce that we used to eat with a spoon out of a jar. It’s also usually stuffed into other desserts or treats, including alfajores , cookies that are sandwiched together with dulce de leche and then often dunked in chocolate.
Facturas in Argentina can either refer to invoices and bills, or a range of delicious pastries (I prefer the latter). One of the most famous is the medialuna , a croissant-like pastry that’s shaped like a half moon. Most Argentines will start the day with one or two of these with their morning coffee.
With a strong Italian heritage, ice cream is also something that’s done really well in Argentina. Rich and creamy, there are ice cream shops to be found almost on every street block. My favourite ice cream shop in Buenos Aires is Rapa Nui ( multiple locations around the city) , while Freddo is a chain store that even delivers ice cream to your door.
Visit Buenos Aires’ many markets and malls
You have to pick up a souvenir or two when in Argentina, and one of the best places to shop in Buenos Aires is at one of the city’s many markets.
Outdoor markets pop up every weekend across the city. Some of the best markets to visit include:
- Feria de San Telmo , held every Sunday in San Telmo
- Recoleta’s Feria de Plaza Francia , an open-air market held every Saturday and Sunday
- Feria de Mataderos , a market that “brings the country to the city”. You’ll need to take a bus about an hour from the city, but it’s worth the trip to see gauchos (Argentine cowboys) performing and taste some great food
If you love to shop, click through to read my guide to what to buy and where to go shopping in Buenos Aires .
See a performance at the Teatro Colón
The legendary opera singer Luciano Pavarotti once complained that the only flaw of the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires was that the acoustics were so perfect that if you made even one tiny mistake the audience would hear it.
If you’re ever wondering what to do in Argentina, visiting this gorgeous theatre should be one thing you add to your Buenos Aires itinerary. Book tickets for the ballet, a play, orchestra, concert or any other performance at the Teatro Colón during your visit to Buenos Aires.
If you can’t time your trip to catch a show, then you can take a guided tour of the theatre to gawk at the rich red tapestries, dripping chandeliers and gold leaf details. Guided tours are held daily, every 15 minutes between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (English tours at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.), and cost ARS$1,800. Book at the door or sign up online with this guided tour .
Experience gaucho life at an estancia
Not far from Buenos Aires are a number of estancias (ranches) where you can experience the life of a gaucho . Gauchos are essentially Argentine cowboys, and on a day trip you can learn how to ride a horse, enjoy an asado (barbecue) and some local wine, or simply relax. If you don’t have a car to get out to an estancia, this tour and this tour look like fun!
If you’ve got a night or two, you can even stay at an estancia. Here are a few of the best estancias near Buenos Aires .
Learn about history in La Plata
If you’ve got a car, head to La Plata, about an hour outside of Buenos Aires for city life on a smaller scale.
One of the best things to do in La Plata is visit the Museo de La Plata , which houses dinosaur bones, rooms and rooms filled with taxidermy animals, and artifacts from Incan times.
This is a day trip from Buenos Aires for history lovers or the budding paleontologist.
Take a day trip to Uruguay
Uruguay is just a short ferry ride across the Rio de La Plata and can easily be visited on a day trip from Buenos Aires .
If you’ve only got a day, spend it in Colonia del Sacramento . You can time the ferries to leave Buenos Aires early in the morning and then return later in the day. You can have someone arrange the ferry ticket for you, if you’d prefer, by booking this tour option here (which includes an optional walking tour in Colonia del Sacramento).
In Colonia del Sacramento, wander the cobblestoned streets, climb the historic lighthouse and eat some delicious Uruguayan food.
If you’ve got some more time, hire a car and take a coastal Uruguay road trip .
Walk on a glacier
One of the most incredible things to do in Argentina is walk on a glacier . In Patagonia’s Los Glaciares National Park, the Perito Moreno Glacier is unusual in that it is advancing up to two metres per day – when most glaciers are retreating .
You can see the glacier up close by hiking on it. There are two tours you can take, both of which afford the opportunity to hike across a small portion of the 30-kilometre-long glacier. The Minitrekking tour is a 1.5-hour experience, while Big Ice is more physically demanding with 3.5 hours on the glacier.
Of all the Argentina tourist attractions, this is one you should definitely add to any Argentina itinerary. It’s not cheap but it’s worth the splurge .
READ NEXT: How to trek on Perito Moreno Glacier
How to get to Perito Moreno Glacier
Don’t get confused – the closest town is not Perito Moreno (which is actually 600 kilometres away!). Rather, the nearest hub El Calafate, a town about 80 kilometres to the west of Los Glaciares National Park. It’s a nice town on Lago Argentina with plenty of tour operators and restaurants. You can fly here, connecting from Buenos Aires, Ushuaia or Bariloche, or take a bus (but be warned it’s a long ride; coming from Bariloche, for example, is a 24-hour journey).
To get to the actual glacier, join a tour (not cheap but definitely worth it for the opportunity to trek on the glacier) or you can travel independently as I’ve outlined here.
Where to stay near Perito Moreno Glacier
- We stayed at the gorgeous Hosteria La Estepa , which has amazing views over Lago Argentina
- A popular budget option is America del Sur Hostel
If you’re looking for something else, search accommodation in El Calafate on Booking.com or HotelsCombined .
Watch the ice calve at Perito Moreno
Nothing quite compares to the first time you hear a thousands-of-years-old glacier calve . Chunks the size of cars crack and then crash into the icy waters below with a deafening boom.
I saw this first hand while visiting Perito Moreno Glacier , and it’s a sound and sight I’ll never forget. It is without a doubt one of the most magical things to see in Argentina.
The best place to see the ice calve is from the catwalks that cross in front of the glacier. They’re the first section you’ll visit in Los Glaciares National Park.
Sip whiskey at a glacier
If you’re not interested in hiking across Perito Moreno Glacier, then take a boat trip instead. From the water, you’ll gaze up at the enormous glacier – and hopefully see a few chunks break off.
You might even be lucky enough to end the trip with a glass of whiskey cooled with a chunk of the glacier itself.
Hike in El Chaltén
Patagonia is even more incredible than you can imagine – photos do not do it justice. Hiking in Patagonia is one of the top things to do in Argentina and something for the bucket list.
One of the best places to hike in Patagonia is El Chaltén , a small town in the south of Argentina. From El Chaltén, there are several trails that offer views of Monte Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. I’ve written a guide to the best El Chaltén hiking trails .
When you’ve had enough of hiking, you can go horseback riding, mountain biking or rock climbing, or simply enjoy the local craft beer scene. For such a small town, El Chaltén boasts a surprising number of cervecerías (breweries) – all perfect for relaxing after a long day of outdoor activities.
READ NEXT: The best El Chaltén hiking trails
How to get to El Chaltén
There’s no airport in El Chaltén, so you will need to take a bus from El Calafate (220 kilometres) on the smooth, paved road. There are several companies that operate the El Calafate to El Chaltén bus route , including TAQSA and Caltur and Chalten Travel. We chose Chalten Travel, and found that the buses were very comfortable. If you’re travelling in high season, book tickets online (recommended in high season) or buy a ticket at the office in advance. Check online for the latest timetable.
Where to stay in El Chaltén
There are several options in El Chaltén, but make sure to book ahead if you’re planning to visit in January or February (the busiest months). We stayed at Patagonia Travellers Hostel which is centrally located and has both private rooms and dorms.
Journey to the end of the earth
The jumping off point for ships headed to Antarctica, Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world.
It’s also a hub for adventure , with tour operators offering boat rides, trekking, off-road 4×4 exploring and horse-riding excursions, as well as snow-related activities in winter. Filled with scented forests, nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park is a stunning spot for easy day hikes.
READ NEXT: The best things to do in Ushuaia, Argentina
How to get to Ushuaia
Like all other major regional cities in Argentina, there are regular flights to Ushuaia from Buenos Aires. Long-haul bus travel to Ushuaia is not as easy but is possible if you have the time – the trip takes almost 50 hours!
Where to stay in Ushuaia
I can’t recommend the place we stayed in Ushuaia (it was noisy and crowded), but Posada del Fin del Mundo comes highly recommended.
Cruise the Beagle Channel
One of the most popular things to do in Ushuaia is a boat cruise on the Beagle Channel .
On the trip, you’ll see birdlife, sea lions, seals and penguins; it’s one of the best places to visit in Argentina to see wildlife . On board the boat is often an expert who can tell you the difference between a seal and a sea lion, and point out the various birds that roost on the rocky islands.
Boats also circle the Les Éclaireurs lighthouse , a picturesque red-and-white-striped lighthouse that is often mistaken for the lighthouse made famous in Jules Verne’s The Lighthouse at the End of the World .
It’s easy to book a boat ride. Book online here or simply head down to the tourist wharf in the morning and book a ticket. Boats head out regularly.
There are plenty of places in Argentina to spot penguins , but one of the best places to see them is around Ushuaia.
You’ll need to leave town to see this lovable creature and take a boat to one of the surrounding islands. On some tours you’ll only be allowed to see the penguins from your boat. On other tours you can walk (in small groups) among the waddling penguins.
The islands around Ushuaia are home to three types of penguins: Magellanic, Gentoo and King penguins.
The other places to see penguins in Argentina are along the Península Valdés and the coastal area around the peninsula.
Eat huge crab in Ushuaia
One of the specialty foods in Ushuaia is centolla or king crab . There are plenty of restaurants serving this sweet-tasting crustacean. The crabs are huge, so plan to share it with a few friends.
My favourite place to try centolla in Ushuaia is El Viejo Marino ( Av. Maipú 227 ).
La Cantina Fueguina de Freddy ( General San Martín 318 ) and Volver ( Calle Maipú 37 ) are also highly recommended.
Head to Antarctica
While I don’t want to encourage you to leave Argentina just yet, if Antarctica is on your bucket list, then Argentina is the place to head first.
Boats leave daily from Ushuaia and make the journey to the world’s southernmost continent.
Most people book their Antarctica trips months (if not years) in advance, but it is still possible to get discounted deals for Antarctica trips in Ushuaia, as companies fill the last open seats. Companies place signs around the wharf advertising any available passages.
See dinosaurs in Patagonia
Parts of Patagonia are literal dinosaur cemeteries , and discoveries are still being made to this day. The province of Neuquén is a particular hot spot. There are several museums (and perhaps some more bones?) to discover on drives from the capital of Neuquén City.
The Museo Municipal Carmen Funes houses a replica of Argentinosaurus huinculensis , the largest known dinosaur. Bones from this dinosaur were discovered in the late 80s, and paleontologists figure that the dinosaur measured around 40 metres long!
The Centro Paleontológico Lago Barreales is another museum close to Neuquén City. There are other smaller museums and facilities to explore, including the Museum Argentino Urquiza in the town of Rincón de los Sauces.
These dinosaur bones are one of the secret Argentina attractions I don’t think many people know about.
Marvel at the beauty of Salta
Salta isn’t called Salta La Linda (Salta the beautiful) for no reason. It’s a city full of attractive buildings and peaceful plazas, and is the perfect a base for exploring the north of Argentina .
Salta is full of gorgeous churches and grand architecture. You can easily pass a day or two wandering the streets, hanging out in Plaza 9 de Julio or taking a walking tour to see the best of the city.
READ NEXT: Road tripping through the north of Argentina
How to get to Salta
There are daily flights from Buenos Aires to Salta, or an 18-hour bus ride.
Where to stay in Salta
Design Suites is modern and centrally located and where we stayed on our trip to Salta. It’s comfortable with spacious rooms.
See Incan children in Salta
Before I visited Salta, I had no idea that the Incans even made it as far south as Argentina. If you visit the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (and you should – it’s one of the best things to do in Salta) you’ll learn this and more about Incan culture .
The highlight of the museum is the three Incan children whose bodies are on display. These children were found in 1999 and were believed to have been sacrificed on Volcán Llullaillaco. The three bodies are rotated every six months. It’s fascinatingly eerie to gaze at their faces, so perfectly preserved because of the icy conditions on the top of the mountain where they were discovered.
Take a road trip through the north of the country
One of my favourite places to visit in Argentina is the north of the country . It’s the perfect area for a road trip .
Remote towns and villages, ancient culture, out-of-this-world landscapes and wine all meld to create the perfect road trip itinerary. On parts of the trip you’ll even be driving along the famous Ruta Nacional 40 , the longest route in Argentina.
I’ve done this amazing north Argentina road trip and recommend starting and ending in Salta. I’ve written a longer blog post which details a 9-day north Argentina road trip itinerary along with some tips.
Gaze at the Cerro de los Siete Colores
No doubt you’ve seen the Cerro de los Siete Colores in your Argentina guidebook: a geological phenomenon that’s made up of layers of pink, purple, orange, yellow, green and white sediments, formed over hundreds of millions of years.
This stunning sight is located on the edge of the tiny town of Purmamarca in north Argentina. Base yourself here so you can catch a glimpse at the Cerro de los Siete Colores as the sun is coming up or going down – it’s most spectacular in this lighting.
Take photos at the Salinas Grandes
Argentina is home to the second-largest salt pan in the world, the Salinas Grandes in Salta province. These salt flats are located more than 3,000 metres above sea level, and are the result of a dried-up lake.
You can reach the Salinas Grandes from the town of Purmamarca. It’s easiest to do it with your own car (or hire a driver) rather than relying on public transport.
Once at the Salinas Grandes, guides take you out on to the flats (they know where to drive and where not to). Here, you can practice forced perspective photos . You know, those photos where people look like they’re squashing each other? We found out that it’s actually a lot harder to create than it looks!!
Sip wine in Cafayate
When we moved to Argentina, I discovered a love for Torrontés , a fresh, aromatic grape varietal. In Cafayate, Argentina’s “other” wine region, you’ll find the source.
We spent a few days exploring this relaxed area and tasting as many wines as we could. Visiting this region is one of the more unique things to do in Argentina, as not many visitors make it to this wine-growing area.
READ NEXT: How to explore the wineries of Cafayate in northern Argentina
How to get to Cafayate
Your best bet is to rent a car and drive to Cafayate from either Salta or Tucumán. Combine it with a road trip through north Argentina.
Where to stay in Cafayate
I highly recommend Grace Cafayate , a stunning spa hotel with a vineyard on site. Rooms are comfortable, with huge bathtubs.
Travel through moon-like scenery in northern Argentina
The north of Argentina surprised me with its variety of landscapes, none more so than the Quebrada de las Flechas (Arrow Ravine). It is named for the thousands of rocks shaped like arrow heads. It’s a barren but beautiful area, and the famous Ruta 40 winds through this area.
How to get to Quebrada de las Flechas
You’ll discover Quebrada de las Flechas as you’re driving between Cachi and Cafayate on Argentina’s famous Ruta Nacional 40.
Wind your way up to Iruya
More than 300 kilometres from Salta is Iruya , a tiny, cloud-shrouded town perched on the side of a mountain. The last 50 kilometres of the trip is on a bone-jarring dirt road that winds through, over and around mountains. It’s a route best done in a four-wheel drive.
The journey will take you to 4000 metres above sea level at the crossing between the Salta and Jujuy provinces. It comprises an array of stunning landscapes , from dusty flat towns to mountains rippled with layers of brown, red, green, purple and grey earth. Iruya itself is laidback and it’s easy to pass a few days wandering the cobblestoned streets or hiking nearby.
How to get to Iruya
Come by car or brave the local buses that zoom around every corner. Don’t look down as you hug the edge of the road. The journey is 288 kilometres from Salta.
Where to stay in Iruya
Hotel Iruya is a good option, at the top of the hill and with a nice restaurant on site.
Chug beer at Oktoberfest
The last place I ever thought I’d experience Oktoberfest was in Argentina.
German Argentines apparently are the fourth-largest ethnic group in Argentina. In many enclaves around the country you can still find German language newspapers for sale.
Each year, a special village opens up in Villa General Belgrano , near Córdoba city, serving thousands of litres of cerveza to beer lovers. If you happen to be in Argentina at the time, make sure to add Oktoberfest to your list of things to do in Argentina – it’s a fun experience.
Also nearby is the quaint German village of La Cumbrecita . It’s a pedestrian-only town with a huge cuckoo clock that greets you at the entrance. There are German restaurants, shops selling homemade goods, walking trails through the alpine forest, and swimming holes and waterfalls. It’s one of the cutest places to visit in Argentina.
If you want to stick around the area, read on for how to spend two days in Córdoba .
How to get to Villa General Belgrano
Fly (1.5 hours) or take a bus (10 hours) from Buenos Aires to the provincial capital of Córdoba. Córdoba is one of the loveliest cities to visit in Argentina city, worth a day or two of your time. From here, either take local buses or rent a car to travel to Villa General Belgrano.
Where to stay near Villa General Belgrano
The hosteria we stayed at is unfortunately no longer open. However, Terrazas de Belgrano looks amazing, with a great pool and beautiful views.
Visit Che Guevara’s house
The famous Cuban revolutionary was in fact an Argentine. Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Rosario just north of Buenos Aires, but spent most of his childhood in Alta Gracia, near Córdoba, after a doctor recommended the move to help with Che’s asthma.
The family’s home is now a museum. The Museo Casa de Ernesto Che Guevara has mementos from Che’s early life, including a reproduction of his childhood bedroom.
Avellaneda 501, open daily (hours differ each day)
Wind along the Ruta de los Siete Lagos in Bariloche
Bariloche is one of the most popular places for an Argentina vacation. In the winter, Bariloche draws avid skiers. In summer, people flock to this part of the world for other outdoor adventures.
One of the most picturesque things to do in Bariloche is take a drive along the Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Road of the Seven Lakes), which can be easily done by car or bus in a day trip. Each of the seven lakes is a calm, deep blue or green, with snow-capped mountains providing a stunning backdrop. It’s one of the most beautiful things to do in Argentina. For those without a car, you can book a full-day trip from Bariloche .
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can even bike the Ruta de los Siete Lagos . Over three days, you can bike from Bariloche to San Martin de los Andes to enjoy the views at a slower pace. There are several hospederias to stay the night. We did this trip, with the help of Bike Cordillera .
READ NEXT: How to visit La Ruta de Los Siete Lagos by bicycle
How to get to Bariloche
There are daily flights or a 21-hour (!) bus ride to Bariloche from Buenos Aires. There are several bike rental companies in town and all hostels have maps of the walking trails.
Where to stay in Bariloche
Design Suites Bariloche has spacious rooms with views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Bike the Circuito Chico
There’s no shortage of stunning scenery around Bariloche, and one of the best short drives is the Circuito Chico . This loop winds from Bariloche, around lakes and through forests, before returning to Bariloche.
As well as driving the route, you can bike it. Catch a bus to Bike Cordillera and hire a bike there, which will cut out a significant chunk of the route and leave you with just the most stunning spots. The ride is hilly in many parts, but manageable, and there are restaurants and shops to stop along the way for sustenance.
Taste chocolate in Bariloche
As one of the premier action-packed cities in Argentina, Bariloche has plenty to keep you occupied. But after all that activity you’ll need some fuel, and the chocolate in Bariloche will most definitely satisfy.
This Swiss-styled town is known as Argentina’s capital of chocolate, and there are plenty of stores in town just waiting to tempt you. I recommend starting at Rapa Nui or Mamuschka , and then just make your way down Calle Mitre, stopping to try all the delectable chocolate!
Explore Mendoza by bike
Mendoza is one of the most famous wine regions of the world , known mostly for its malbec.
People often choose to explore this area by car or on a guided tour, but one of the most fun things to do in Mendoza is to visit the wineries by bike . Try Martin’s Bikes and they’ll even arrange transportation for any bottles you pick up on the way. A must-do when you visit Argentina.
READ NEXT: The 8 most romantic places for an Argentina honeymoon
How to get to Mendoza
There are several daily flights from Buenos Aires to Mendoza. Mendoza is a major transport hub for buses (15 hours to Buenos Aires, 20 hours to Bariloche).
Where to stay in Mendoza
Bohemia Hotel Boutique is located in the quiet residential streets of Mendoza, yet still close to the main areas. It’s a good choice.
Relax at the Termas Cacheueta
Just outside of Mendoza is the town of Cacheuta, known for its medicinal thermal waters .
The Termas Cacheuta has a range of indoor and outdoor pools with waters from 30 to 42 degrees Celsius. Here, you can relax in the pools, gaze out at the rocky mountainous scenery or get a massage.
There’s also a thermal waterpark next door which is more suited to families and groups of people.
Be amazed by Mother Nature at Iguazú Falls
Iguazú Falls deserves at least two days of your time – one day to see it from the Argentina side, and another to see it from across the border in Brazil. The thunderous waterfalls will leave you drenched and in awe of Mother Nature.
Depending on water levels, there are between 150 and 300 waterfalls that make up the 3-kilometre chain. They vary between 62 and 80 metres high. The catwalks and infrastructure around the falls are well-maintained. In some parts you can get up so close that you’ll end up absolutely soaked through.
READ NEXT: Visiting Iguazú Falls from both the Argentina and Brazil sides
How to get to Iguazú Falls
Iguazú Falls is one of the most popular places to visit in Argentina. There are several daily flights to the town of Puerto Iguazú from Buenos Aires (two hours). Alternatively, you can brave the 17-hour bus ride from Buenos Aires.
Where to stay near Iguazú Falls
We wanted to make the most of the weekend we visited, so we stayed at the Melia Iguazú (formerly the Sheraton Iguazú). It’s located in Iguazú National Park, a few minutes’ walk from the catwalks that surround the waterfalls, which means you can beat the crowds in the morning. It has a great pool, and we saw a flock of toucans fly overhead one evening.
Argentina travel guide
If it’s your first time visiting Argentina, check out my extensive guide to planning a trip to Argentina . I cover how to get to Argentina, where to visit, what to eat and how to get money, among many other things.
ARGENTINA TRIP ESSENTIALS
- Book your flight to Argentina online with Skyscanner or Kayak . I usually compare flights on the two sites to find the best deals.
- Find a great hotel in Argentina. Check prices on Booking.com and HotelsCombined online.
- Check out the huge range of day tours throughout Argentina on GetYourGuide or Viator . There’s something for everyone.
- Keep those bottles of wine you’ll be buying safe in these wine bags .
- A copy of the Lonely Planet guide to Argentina will be handy. Also pick up a Spanish language guidebook to help you navigate your visit.
- One thing I always purchase is travel insurance ! World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Are you planning to visit Argentina? Let me know if you need any more tips on things to do in Argentina in the comments below.
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I'm a travel junkie who started dreaming about seeing the world from a very young age. A former expat, I've lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and the United States. I share travel resources, tips and stories based on my personal experiences, and my goal is to make travel planning just that bit easier.
19 thoughts on “45+ of the Best Things To Do in Argentina”
A place that you can not miss in Argentina is San Isisdro located in Buenos Aires, where you find organic food stores such as Benjamin Organic Market located in intendente Alfaro 186, Acassuso is a safe and trustworthy site.
San Isidro is a lovely place to visit. I only went there once when I lived in BA.
Info on the tour and the dates. For 2.
Which tour is that Fred? Happy to help if I can.
You’ve seen so much of my Argentina bucket list!! I’m leaving for Salta and Jujuy tomorrow morning actually! I’m so excited, and Valle de la Luna in San Juan is very high on my list as well.
Have THE most amazing time – I love that part of the world. Look forward to reading all about your travels.
I have always wanted to go to Argentina. But for some reason it seems like it’s quite hard for Indonesians to get a visa to go there. A few years ago a famous Indonesian travel writer who had traveled to many countries around the world was denied entry to Argentina. Then a friend of mine who works for a Hong Kong-based airline had his visa application rejected. Another friend who used to work for a travel agency told me that he wouldn’t take any visa application to Argentina. I would be surprised if one day I can actually go there.
That’s so disappointing. What about other countries in South America, the visa situation? I do hope you get there one day!
Chivilcoy and General Viamonte. The best not-known-for-anything-other-than-the-warmth-of-the-people places you would ever (EVER) hope to find. Explore. Enjoy.
Oh man, wish I’d got there!!
I’ve been living in Buenos Aires for 8 years now, I love your list! We’re going to salta and Jujuy in May so I can’t wait to sip on wine in Cafayate or see the “moon”
I’m so bummed we never met! Where do you live in BA?? Enjoy Salta and Jujuy, possibly my fave provinces in the whole country!
Ahh I’ve always wanted to go to Argentina!! ???????? mostly for the hikes and the falls but dayum you’ve sold me with that giant steak and the fact that’s there’s an Oktoberfest. I needa go ASAP!
It is SUCH an amazing country – get there soon!! 🙂
Love this List! I was actually in Buenos Aires and Perito Moreno a year ago!!!! I honestly wish I had more than two weeks to explore this beautiful place! I also went to Torres del Paine in Chile which was worth it as well but I was so upset I didn’t have time to see El Chalten. Just means I have to come back 😛 Seriously I told myself I would come back! Haha
I had no idea that Oktoberfest was a thing there! So cool!
Me neither! It was a lot of fun.
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The Cool List 2024: the 30 most exciting destinations to visit in 2024
From Argentina to Australia and Norway to Nova Scotia, these places chosen by National Geographic Traveller (UK) will be making headlines in the year ahead.
Ahead of the new year, we’ve crossed the world to find the 30 most exciting destinations for 2024. With landmark hotels opening, ambitious rewilding projects under way and new train routes making travel easier than ever, there’s a lot to choose from for your next trip — whether you’re looking to connect with nature in Norway, scale Himalayan peaks in Sikkim or savour the culinary stars of Lima.
Albanian Alps, Albania
A wild escape in Europe's rising star
Travellers on the hunt for something a little different from their next European adventure are increasingly looking towards Albania. This piece of the Balkan jigsaw is drawing a rising number of visitors thanks to its Adriatic and Ionian coasts, intriguing Ottoman and Communist past, and relatively nascent tourism scene.
Tucked into the northern interior, the Albanian Alps are equally part of the draw. Known, rather ominously, as the Accursed Mountains, this realm of jagged karst peaks is a dream for hikers, where lynxes roam spruce forests and wildflowers cover valley floors. Those looking to tackle the region’s challenging trails can set off on a new, eight-day, self-guided tour with Walks Worldwide , which offers an itinerary that includes treks through mountain passes, traditional homestays and a visit to the village of Theth, starting point of the Peaks of the Balkans hiking trail.
Albania is also more accessible than ever thanks to a raft of new air routes. Ryanair has recently started flying to the capital Tirana from Edinburgh, Manchester and Stansted, while Wizz Air will operate from Birmingham, Edinburgh and Liverpool from 19 December 2023.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
A long-promised year of culture comes to the home of the Titanic
If city pride in Belfast is like a flower that’s managed to grow in difficult soil, then 2024 should see a super-bloom thanks to the Northern Irish capital’s year of culture. It’s been years in the making — the 2010s saw an unprecedented rise in the number of visitors, drawn in part by the new Titanic Experience museum , its use as a Game of Thrones filming location, and a chance to look back on turbulent history with some peaceful distance. Belfast’s 2017 bid to become a European Capital of Culture aimed to build on this, but it was scuppered by Brexit. Not wanting to waste the work it had already put in, the city continued with plans for a year of cultural celebration. Most details are still under wraps, but Belfast’s riverfront and maritime heritage will loom large, with a mass boat-building initiative, among others. There will also be a collaboration with Cornwall’s Eden Project to explore the city’s relationship with nature, and following its 2021 listing as a UNESCO City of Music, the birthplace of Van Morrison and home of over 80 music venues is sure to put on a performance to remember.
Tour the gastronomic heartland of Italy on two wheels
The Tour de France kicks off in Italy next summer, with the Grand Départ happening in Florence on 29 June. But most of the action on this first stage will take place not in Tuscany, but in the villages and vineyard-draped landscapes of neighbouring Emilia-Romagna. The finishing line will be in the beach resort of Rimini, while Bologna and its famous cuisine await at the end of the second stage. Riders will then push off from historic Piacenza on their final leg to Turin.
Not that you need a support team to discover the region by bike — this is one of Italy’s greatest cycling destinations, perhaps best explored on a gentle, self-guided itinerary visiting Bologna, Parma and Modena with scenic stops in between. A growing number of tour operators are offering trips, including Inntravel and Skedaddle . More seasoned cyclists can tackle the Ciclovia di Dante under their own steam: starting in Ravenna, where the poet died in 1321, the trail winds for 139 miles back to his birthplace, Florence, passing hilltop towns and chestnut forests along the way.
( Exploring Emilia-Romagna's gourmet heritage on a city food tour of Parma .)
Europe by train
The night-time railway renaissance continues
After decades in decline, Europe’s network of once-fusty sleeper trains is having a revival. Leading the charge is Austrian rail operator ÖBB, which is in the process of rolling out 33 new trains on its Nightjet sleeper service and a host of new routes, including Paris to Berlin. Elsewhere, European Sleeper is extending its recently launched Brussels-Berlin route to Prague via Dresden, with plans to make tracks into Scandinavia and Spain, too. Midnight Trains — which is billing itself as a 1920s-inspired “hotel on rails” — is also set to launch its first service, from Paris to Venice via Milan, in 2025. Other routes in the offing include Paris to Edinburgh and Porto, meaning travellers from Scotland could soon reach Portugal with just a single change in the French capital, bedding down in slick carriages on the way.
These companies aren’t the only ones to tap into a sense of nostalgia, either. Next year, the Orient Express La Dolce Vita sleeper train is poised to roll out six itineraries spanning the length of Italy, from the snow-capped Alps to the shores of Sicily. Naturally, it’s a seriously stylish affair, evoking the golden age of rail travel, with a cream colour palette, five-star service and top-notch Italian cuisine.
( How to plan a family rail adventure around Europe .)
Galloway and Southern Ayrshire, Scotland
A bright future for Scotland's original biosphere reserve
From windswept slopes to dense forests threaded with streams, the richness of landscapes in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire region helped it become Scotland’s first UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2012. Just over a decade later, the reserve has further cause for celebration after being granted an extra 10 years of protection by the organisation. Its boundaries have also been extended, upping the area from 2,034sq miles to over 3,780sq miles. The expansion is culturally significant, as the village of Alloway now falls within the new borders. The birthplace of Robert Burns, it features in his epic poem Tam o’ Shanter. Budding bards can channel the poet on a writing retreat, or try one of the tours offered by the Biosphere Guides, a group of locals whose expertise ranges from creative writing to bushcraft.
The biosphere is also part of Scotland’s new UNESCO Trail, unveiled earlier this year. It connects all 13 of the country’s listed locations, from Glasgow, a City of Music, to the pine-covered hills and lochs of Wester Ross Biosphere Reserve on the northwest coast.
( A journey along Scotland's Ayrshire & Galloway coast .)
Off-grid innovation in the Arctic Circle
Nordland is a region of glaciers and soaring peaks, tiny fishing towns and remote villages, where Sámi traditions play out beneath the midnight sun or the Northern Lights. Next year, its powerful landscapes will be celebrated with the much-anticipated opening of Six Senses Svart — the world’s first energy-positive hotel, running entirely off-grid from its own solar power. The pioneering design will be complemented by a Nordic spa and zero-waste dining.
There’s much to attract adventurous travellers to this fjord-frayed coast year-round, with mountain biking and fishing in summer, and dog sledding when winter creeps in. The twisting drive along the E10 through the Lofoten Islands, which rise like humpbacked dragons from the Norwegian Sea, takes some beating. Nordland also offers plenty of culture: the town of Bodø is marking its turn as one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2024 with artistic and musical events.
North Yorkshire, England
New shoots of hope in the edge of the Dales
Deep in the Yorkshire countryside, around a third of 3,000-acre Broughton Sanctuary estate is being returned to nature to help visitors reconnect with the wild environment. Intensive sheep grazing is being reduced, peat bogs and waterways are being restored and tens of thousands of newly planted saplings will boost tree cover from 6% to over 20%. All this is intended to help boost the area’s biodiversity, which already includes otters, hares and kestrels.
The project is a natural move for Broughton, which already offers experiences such as foraging tours, woodland dining and even moon bathing on its grounds. The rewilding initiative is part of a long-term vision for the estate. “It’s going to take decades to get to the point where we’ve rewilded so much that nature is truly looking after itself at scale,” says Broughton’s environmental adviser, Professor Alastair Driver. In the meantime, visitors can explore the changing landscape on one of the Sanctuary’s walking trails — perhaps with a picnic in hand, prepared by the estate’s in-house chefs.
A fresh way to reach an old classic
Those who want to delve deeper into ancient Italy after a few days exploring the Eternal City can now head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pompeii in under two hours, thanks to a new direct train from Rome. Day-trippers previously had to change at Napoli Centrale station on the 150-mile journey south. The new service, on Sundays only, means it’s possible to swoop straight through, leaving Rome Termini station at 8.53am, arriving in Pompeii at 10:40am. The return train departs at 6.40pm and pulls into Rome at 8.55pm — just in time to head to a trattoria for a bowl of Rome’s legendary carbonara.
The service has come at a good time, too, with Pompeii’s frescoed, first-century House of the Vettii having recently emerged from a 20-year renovation. Meanwhile, in the Regio IX area of the site, more discoveries were made in 2023, including jewellery, human remains and a still-life fresco depicting food. As Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano put it: “Pompeii is a treasure chest that always reveals new treasures.”
A taste of the lakes in the European Region of Gastronomy
It’s not just the fresh air and peace that draws Finns to the woods and lakes of Saimaa — it’s the food, too. And its star is set to rise in 2024 when it becomes the European Region of Gastronomy. Much of the region’s best-loved produce comes from its forests and waters: wild game, chanterelles and blueberries from the woods, perch and vendace from the lakes. Smoked reindeer hints at the region’s Arctic influences, while producers like the Ollinmäki Winery fly the flag for Finland’s burgeoning wine industry.
Food makes for a helpful compass when exploring a corner of Europe full of hiking trails, manor houses and historic towns. Särä, a dish of roasted lamb and potatoes, is a speciality of Lemi, while the markets in the nearby city of Lappeenranta and town of Mikkeli sell everything from local pickles and Finnish caviar to fresh strawberries and meat pies. The town of Savonlinna, a 65-mile drive east, is worth a detour — home to a fortress, it’s also the birthplace of lörtsy , a crescent-shaped pastry filled with meat and rice.
The second city steps into the spotlight
Estonians have long considered Tartu — 110 miles from capital Tallinn — to be their country’s cultural and intellectual heart, due to its top-notch museums, lively cafes and the country’s oldest university. Little wonder, then, that this UNESCO City of Literature has been selected as one of three European Capitals of Culture for 2024, alongside Bad Ischl in Austria and Bodø in Norway.
Tartu and the wider southern Estonia region are marking the occasion with a year of events, from classical concerts and film screenings to edgy outdoor art installations. One of the highlights will be Kissing Tartu, a nod to the city’s Kissing Students fountain. Its roster of events will celebrate the joy of locking lips — with a kissing demonstration set to take place in Town Hall Square and broadcast live. Stencibility, the annual roving European street art festival, will also hold a special edition in the city, showcasing Europe’s biggest sticker exhibition. The Curated Diversity scheme, meanwhile, will oversee a major drive to spruce up Tartu’s public spaces with new greenery.
The Euros, Germany
A year of art, culture and first-class football
For a month from mid-June, football mania will descend on Germany during the 17th UEFA European Championship , providing travellers with a fresh reason to visit the country’s beer halls, gothic churches and Berlin Wall in the 35th anniversary year of its fall. Munich, Hamburg and the capital, Berlin — where the final will be held on 14 July — are among the 10 host cities, but the Euros also gives new grounds to explore Germany’s lesser-known outposts.
Visitors to host city Dortmund can tour the National Football Museum at Signal Iduna Park, which charts the sport’s colourful history in Germany. It’s around a 30-minute walk from Phoenix West, the reclaimed bones of Dortmund’s old steelworks, which can be explored on an 85ft Skywalk. Leipzig, another host city, has made admission to four of its biggest museums free of charge, including the City Museum and Natural History Museum. An hour east by train, Dresden should also be on travellers’ radars in 2024 as it marks 250 years since the birth of Caspar David Friedrich, the Romantic painter who lived in the city. The celebrations include a major exhibition at Dresden State Art Collections, opening 24 August, to showcase his work — much of which was inspired by the surrounding Saxon countryside.
( 5 of Europe's best family city breaks for football lovers .)
Gladiatorial combat returns to a Mediterranean city of epic views
A sequel to the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator is in the works, set for release in late 2024. And, just as with the original, director Sir Ridley Scott has used the Mediterranean light and golden rock of Malta as his canvas for recreating ancient Rome and its arenas. Photos of the set show a mocked-up Colosseum and other Roman buildings taking shape behind the 17th-century ramparts of Fort Ricasoli in the east of the island, next to the capital, Valletta. Ridley’s new biopic Napoleon also uses the Grand Harbour area, linking the city with neighbouring walled strongholds, as a double for the French naval city of Toulon. It’s little surprise that filmmakers would be impressed by Valletta. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, its skyline of battlements and cathedral domes was shaped by a multinational order of knights who ruled Malta from the 16th to 18th centuries. Scenic terraces are set above a glittering waterfront, where wooden townhouse balconies overhang the narrow streets — add in year-round warm weather and it’s not just filmmakers who should be inspired to visit in 2024.
Whisky in Wales
Raise a glass to the Welsh distilleries renaissance
Scotland and Ireland may be the cradles of whisky/whiskey, but Wales has a centuries-old tradition of its own, too. Whisky production here declined in the 19th century and it wasn’t until the 1990s that the craft saw a slow, steady revival. Since then, the industry has blossomed — so much so that Welsh single malt whisky was awarded UK GI (geographical indication) status in July, joining the likes of Welsh lamb and Anglesey sea salt in receiving the coveted protection.
Nothing beats sipping it at the source. Connoisseurs can learn more about the production methods involved — and have a dram or two — at one of Wales’s four UK GI-sanctioned single-malt distilleries. These include In The Welsh Wind , set in the rolling fields above Cardigan Bay, and Penderyn , located in Bannau Brycheiniog (formerly the Brecon Beacons). The latter is just a few minutes from the gorges of the Vale of Neath, also known as Waterfall Country — it became Wales’s first commercial distillery in over 100 years when it opened in 2000.
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Celebrating a decade of West Coast adventures
Winding for 1,600 miles along the rugged west coast, the Wild Atlantic Way has become one of Europe’s most exciting road trips, not least because it ticks off some of Ireland’s most memorable experiences: the edge-of-the-world lighthouse at Fanad Head; Galway’s legendary oysters; the lunar-like landscape of the Burren; and the paintbox-palette town of Kinsale. It’s celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2024, and a string of new experiences along its route means there’s more to enjoy than ever.
This summer saw the opening of the National Surf Centre at Strandhill in County Sligo, where the Atlantic swells draw novices and seasoned surfers alike. In nearby Sligo town centre, the development of Queen Maeve Square is continuing apace on the banks of the Garavogue River and will offer a scenic spot for farmers’ markets, craft fairs and live music when completed later in 2024.
Down in County Cork, the final county on the trail, Ireland’s only cable-car has recently reopened after a major upgrade, whisking passengers across the sea from the Beara Peninsula to the windswept silence of Dursey Island in just 10 minutes, a favourite spot for birdwatchers with its guillemots and razorbills.
Atacama desert, chile.
A new oasis in the driest place on Earth
On rare occasions (around once every three to 10 years) for a few weeks in spring, carpets of wildflowers erupt from the parched floor of the Atacama, transforming one of the world’s most arid environments into a riot of colour. It was this ‘desert bloom’ event in 2022 that prompted the Chilean government to establish the Desierto Florido National Park in 2023 — 141,000 acres of protected landscape around 20 miles south of Copiapó in northern Chile.
The park was created to safeguard the region’s flora, much of which is endemic to the Atacama. It will allow scientists to study more closely how 200-plus species of plants — such as the yellow mallow and fluffy pussypaw — survive in some of the planet’s starkest conditions. It’s also hoped the drought-resilient vegetation can offer solutions to the challenges posed by climate change, while the microorganisms living on trace amounts of water inside rocks here could even offer clues to life on Mars. The new park is best admired on a drive from Copiapó to Vallenar along Route 5 — ordinarily, the region’s largely flat landscapes have their own stark beauty, but in superbloom years, the scene makes pulling over in awe an inevitability.
( The ultimate Andes road trip, from Chile to Bolivia .)
Get a taste of the exciting culinary capital
Lima’s culinary star shows few signs of dimming. It was the only city with two spots in the top 10 of the most recent World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. The Nikkei cuisine (Japanese-Peruvian fusion) at Maido earned it sixth place, while Central, regarded by many as having placed Lima on the global food map, came first for its innovative focus on indigenous ingredients.
Away from Michelin-starred restaurants, rooftop bars have fast become the hangout of choice for Limeños. Most are in the Barranco and Miraflores neighbourhoods, including Hotel B, which serves small plates such as trout ceviche and suckling pig tacos, and slick Insumo at AC Hotel, which goes big on Nikkei.
If all that’s whetted the appetite, the good news is that the Peruvian capital will be even easier to reach from December this year, when LATAM Airlines will begin flying direct from Heathrow up to five times per week.
( A guide to Lima: South America's culinary capital .)
New York State, USA
Milestone museum openings across the Empire State
In 2024 there’s a lot to look forward to across the state of New York. It’s going to be a hundred years since the creation of New York State Parks, and Niagara Falls — the nation’s oldest state park — has some additions to celebrate: the Niagara Falls Heritage Gateways Project will offer panoramic views from a new spiralling observation deck, while the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center will transform into Great Lakes 360, showcasing local wildlife.
Meanwhile, New York City is opening the American LGBTQ+ Museum on the Upper West Side. Several years in the making, the space will be the first in the city dedicated to both international and local LGBTQ+ history and culture. Over on Christopher Street, the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center will explore the legacy of the 1969 protests through exhibitions when it opens in June.
And while the eyes of the world will be on Paris in summer 2024, fans of the Olympic Games can enjoy a slice of sporting excellence at the new Lake Placid Olympic Museum, which focuses on the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, held in the scenic upstate town.
Creative openings are taking the beachside city in fresh directions
After the High Line in New York repurposed an abandoned Manhattan rail viaduct into a leafy, green space, Miami has embarked on a similar project: the Underline, where land beneath the elevated Metrorail is being transformed into a 10-mile linear park. The second of its three phases is about to open, greatly adding to the small initial segment. Public art has been a big part of the project, with new works adding to the dazzle of a city already known for the murals of Wynwood Walls, and the recently expanded Museum of Graffiti alongside it.
Next door to Wynwood, the Allapattah neighbourhood is set to gain an artistic reputation of its own: Marquez Art Projects (MAP) has just opened a gallery there dedicated to emerging artists, with works picked by major local collector John Marquez. For the boldest turn in Miami’s creative transformation, though, look offshore from Miami Beach, where the Reefline should soon receive the first works in what will be an underwater sculpture gallery open to snorkellers and scuba divers.
A new trail highlights the wild isle's beaches and swim spots
Dominica is that rare Caribbean island where the coast is often bypassed by visitors in favour of its magnificently wild interior. The Waitukubuli Sea Trail is a step to redressing the balance, while staying true to the island’s focus on adventure activities and low-impact tourism. It’s the first dedicated sea kayaking route in the Caribbean, running along the west coast for almost 40 miles. The 14 stages take in sculpted cliffs, fishing villages, hidden beaches and rewarding spots to go snorkelling, with strategically placed rest stops for the night. Local outfitters rent out equipment to experienced sea kayakers, and offer guided multi-day expeditions for beginners.
‘Waitukubuli’ is the name of the island in the language of the Indigenous Kalinago people, and the sea trail is a conscious companion to the 115-mile Waitukubuli National Trail, which opened over a decade ago as the longest hiking route in the Caribbean, and helped to establish Dominica’s nature-loving reputation.
Nova Scotia, Canada
A feast of music and seafood comes to the Atlantic coast
Atlantic Canada, comprising most of the country’s east coast, is best known to travellers for its seafood, thrillingly high tides and traditional lighthouses clinging to the craggy shore. But in August 2024, its 400-year-old Acadian community will be in the spotlight, as the Congrès Mondial Acadien (Acadian World Congress) takes place among the villages at the southwest tip of Nova Scotia.
While family reunions are part of the programme for those descended from the original French settlers, travellers can look forward to concerts showcasing the ever more diverse Acadian music scene, which is heavily influenced by the community’s bluegrass-style roots. Cooking demos will also draw on traditional foods, including the coast’s rich larder of lobsters and scallops.
The congress rotates every four years between different places linked to the Acadian diaspora, and this will be the first time in two decades that the nine-day event will be back in Nova Scotia, taking place right beside the Atlantic swells.
All eyes on the sky for a solar eclipse
Texas may be the Lone Star State, but in 2024 attention will be on the sun and moon as they align in a total solar eclipse. On 8 April, a huge band of central Texas will be plunged into darkness as the moon passes between Earth and the sun (following the path of totality), meaning the state offers great opportunities to catch the spectacle. Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio are some of the cities expected to offer the best view of the phenomenon, along with the Dark Sky Parks of the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.
The Texas Eclipse Festival, just outside Austin, will mark the occasion with four days of live music, lectures from expert speakers and immersive art experiences. Space enthusiasts can also join a specialist tour with companies such as Intrepid Travel , which will combine the eclipse with observatory visits, stargazing sessions and visits to historic Fredericksburg, with its German heritage and up-and-coming local wineries.
Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Discover ancient cultures in the Maya heartland
Few archaeological discoveries stir the imagination quite like the unearthing of a lost city, and that’s just what happened this year in the jungle-cloaked depths of the Yucatán Peninsula. While the remote site of Ocomtún is still being properly unearthed, and travellers can’t yet visit, it adds a piece to the puzzle about what is known about the Maya civilisation, which spread across parts of Mexico, Guatemala and northern Belize before its mysterious collapse around 900 CE. Now all that’s left are the great stone buildings and pyramid temples, but some six million people in the region still speak Mayan languages, and this living culture is increasingly reflected in how visitors can experience the region. Hotels such as the newly refurbished Maroma, on the Riviera Maya south of Cancún, follow Maya design principles and offer traditional treatments in their spas. The Camino del Mayab, meanwhile, is an 80-mile hiking and mountain biking route that weaves between less-visited Maya communities and cenotes to end at the Maya city of Mayapán.
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina
South American wildlife returns to a sub-tropical reserve
Not long ago, you’d have had zero chance of finding a giant anteater in the watery maze that skims Argentina’s northern border. Now, as rewilding efforts in the Iberá Wetlands reach a turning point, there are around 200 of these distinctive creatures, recognisable for their thin faces and big, shaggy tails, under which they often sleep. The wetlands lie within a finger of Argentina that squeezes between Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil to reach sub-tropical Iguazu Falls. Once largely given over to cattle ranches, the core of the Iberá area became a national park in 2018. Giant anteaters were an early priority for reintroduction, but other creatures have followed in their wake. Following the release of eight jaguars in 2021, their population is now a dozen strong; a small number of giant river otters is being readied for reintroduction, too. The chance to spot these creatures alongside capybaras, caimans and 370 types of bird makes the Iberá Wetlands a haven for wildlife-watching.
A shining example of safari success
Marking its 90th anniversary in 2024, the 433sq-mile Akagera National Park is a patchwork of swamps, savannah and woodland that teems with wildlife. But it wasn’t always this way. One of Rwanda’s oldest national parks, it was decimated after the country’s civil war in 1994, when formerly exiled farmers returned to the area, razing the land and wiping out wildlife to make way for cattle grazing. In 2010, the Akagera Management Company was established with the vision of restoring the park to its former natural glory. Conservation successes have included the reintroduction of lions and black rhinos in 2015 and 2017, and the introduction of white rhinos in 2021. Giraffes, elephants, crocodiles, leopards and birds thrive here, too. And it’s not just the wildlife that’s benefited: 2,000 schoolchildren visit each year as part of the park’s education programme, and the increased need for guides, rangers and anti-poaching staff offers employment opportunities.
Andrefana Dry Forests, Madagascar
An expanded World Heritage Site honours a unique environment
In Madagascar’s wondrous western flanks, the rocks are razor-sharp, the trees bulbous and the lemur species adapted to thrive in an otherworldly region. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, famed for its maze of jagged limestone pinnacles and first inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1990, saw its boundaries expanded this year to include the Andrefana Dry Forests. Although these are home to fewer species overall than the rainforests of the east coast, those that are found here are more likely to be endemic. This is especially true in Tsimanampetsotsa National Park , in the country’s southwest. Its most visible attractions are its thick-trunked baobabs, but it’s also home to the critically endangered Verreaux’s sifaka, a lemur often spotted skipping and jumping along the forest floor.
An upgraded airport makes this natural beauty easier than ever to visit
Fresh shoots of tourism are finally springing up in Sierra Leone, with new infrastructure making it easier than ever to access the West African country. The international airport opened in Freetown, the capital, got a major upgrade in 2023, and many miles of roads are in the course of being revamped.
Nature is a major part of the appeal here, with wide, sandy beaches lapped by Atlantic waves and a mountainous inland plateau that’s home to the country’s national animal, the chimpanzee. Community-led projects have been key to showcasing its natural beauty, including the nation’s first surfing school, at Bureh Beach, and the Tasso Ecotourism Project, on mangrove-rich Tasso Island, which runs a rescue programme for the endangered Timneh grey parrot. Meanwhile, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bunce Island makes for a poignant visit, chiefly for its role in the transatlantic slave trade.
Travellers will soon have more accommodation options to choose from, with hotels springing up across the country. In Freetown, boutique hideaway Toma is adding more suites, while later in 2024, the country’s first Hilton will open its doors, offering a clutch of luxurious rooms. Estuary Resort, a laid-back beach retreat on the banks of an inlet, is also expanding, with new chalets and a pool.
An overlooked Himalayan kingdom steps into the limelight
A corner of the Himalayas wedged between Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet, Sikkim often gets overlooked. One of India’s smallest states, it was its own kingdom until 1975. It was also the last state in the country to get an airport — in 2018 — although teething difficulties and Covid-era travel slumps have meant that regular services have been patchy. Direct flights from Delhi and Kolkata resumed in 2023, a move that has seen an upsurge in domestic tourism — the alternative route involved a mountainous drive of five hours to the next-closest airport. Travellers can also join in after getting the necessary permits to visit this frontier region. As in neighbouring Bhutan, visitors are drawn here by trekking opportunities, mountain monasteries and dazzlingly coloured festival displays. Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain, rises 8,586m on the border with Nepal. It’s a stand-out sight on the 10-day, 50-mile Goechala trek. Shorter walks are also possible in this land of glaciers, where hillsides are bright with rhododendrons and forests are home to red pandas.
The country's oldest city marks its 400th birthday
Where Taipei sparkles with steel and glass, Tainan — Taiwan’s former capital — cuts a more historic figure, its skyline dotted with fortress towers and soaring temple roofs. And in 2024, the city’s quadricentennial puts its intriguing heritage under the spotlight and offers a fresh reason to visit.
The area has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, but it wasn’t until 1624 that the foundations of Tainan were laid by the Dutch, who named it Fort Zeelandia. Centuries of international influence followed, from Chinese and Spanish to Japanese. The history is evident in the wealth of architecture, from the Old Japanese Martial Arts Academy to the Qing-era facades of Shennong Street, festooned with red lanterns. Street food is a major draw, too: look out for prawn-rich danzai noodle soup and hollowed-out ‘coffin bread’, filled with a deliciously creamy chowder.
Tainan is also known for its calendar of events, the most unforgettable being the raucous Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival . Taking place 15 days after the Lunar New Year, the day sees rockets being let off from large, apiary-like structures in the streets — it’s not for the faint-hearted.
A 2,200-year-old wonder marks five decades above ground
It’s strange to think that just 50 years ago, an icon of Chinese culture was resting unknown beneath the fields of Shaanxi province. Farmers digging a well on 29 March 1974 discovered the head of a figure who turned out to be one of more than 8,000 soldiers in the Terracotta Army. Their duty was to guard the nearby tomb complex of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, after his death in 210 BCE — the low, forest-covered pyramid remains unexcavated to this day. The nation’s cultural sector isn’t standing idle, though: 382 new museums were registered in 2022 alone, including Xi’an’s Shaanxi Archaeology Museum .
China had the longest-lasting Covid-related travel restrictions of any major country, so visitors have a lot of catching up to do, from sailing down the river between the mist-draped peaks of Guilin to finding a banquet of regional cuisines in Beijing or Shanghai. But where better to start than Xi’an, the historic capital, and the earthen army still being reassembled under a vast hangar in its outskirts?
Take the plunge on the country's steamiest new road trip
Australia’s beaches feature high up on many travellers’ itineraries, but Victoria’s lesser-known hot springs might be about to tempt travellers away from the surf and sand. Drawing on a rich history of open-air bathing, thanks to the mineral-rich waters bubbling underground, the Great Victorian Bathing Trail links thermal springs and sea baths across the state to form a 560-mile road trip, with state capital Melbourne at the heart of the route.
Six spots are already open, including the luxurious Alba thermal springs and spa, on the Mornington Peninsula, and Metung Hot Springs, where a soak in a bathing barrel full of thermal water can be followed by a night in a safari-style tent. Two more additions are planned for the trail in 2024: Phillip Island Hot Springs and the 12 Apostles Hot Springs and Resort. Just a short drive from the iconic sea stacks of the same name, the latter will be the largest hot springs complex in Australia when completed, featuring 150 rooms and 3,363sq metres of bathing facilities, drawn from natural hot springs.
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