Argentina is a large and wild country that stretches from dust-choked desert plateaus to rolling Pampas grassland and the Patagonian icefields.
It’s a land rich in exciting Spanish conquest history and magnificent colonial artefacts, captivating aboriginal peoples, and breathtaking wilderness. Check out this list of the greatest places to visit in Argentina that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Let’s look at some of the top spots to visit in Argentina:
When Iberian seafarer Pedro de Mendoza first marked out the colonial streets of what is now Buenos Aires’ gorgeous Spanish come Francophone-styled historic heart, where Baroque churches rub shoulders with Parisian cafes populated by artists and bohemians, Argentina’s sprawling, seething capital rose on the banks of the Rio del Plata.
Meanwhile, the vibrant arts area of La Boca attracts thousands to its galleries and shops, while Palermo buzzes with dance performances and scented parrillas (casual roadside grills with perfect gaucho meat cuts).
Cordoba’s UNESCO-listed core is a stunning mosaic of 17th-century Spanish churches and convents, Jesuit ruins, and cobblestone streets, all situated between the Argentine Pampas’ undulating plains and the half-baked slopes of the Sierras Chicas.
Cordoba’s ancient heart, however, is not its main appeal. No sir, students continue to throng to the lecture halls of the National University of Cordoba, the country’s oldest and most prominent university.
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San Antonio de Areco
San Antonio de Areco is a genuinely beautiful Argentine town located on the outskirts of the gaucho heartland, where the rolling plains of the grass-clad Pampas claim the horizon.
Elegant colonial structures from the 1700s flank the streets, their red-tiled roofs slanting in an Andalusian way, their Baroque adornments resembling Madrid’s palazzos.
Swaying palms and ombu trees line the squares, which are home to earthy steakhouses, leather businesses, and weavers’ homes.
Mendoza is a jack of all crafts and master of none when it comes to wine. Tasters go from all over the world to try the city’s renowned Criolla Grande and Malbecs. But that’s not all. This 100,000-person city is also a beautiful spot to spend a week (or two), right up against the Argentine Andes.
Its walkways are lined with blossoming shade trees, parks around the bodegas, and Plaza Espana, as the name implies, exudes Spanish elegance.
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Ushuaia is isolated and icy in the very south of Argentina, under the shadow of the snow-capped Martial mountains. It cascades down to the frigid waters of the Beagle Channel, its docksides teeming with fishing boats and tough steel sloops bobbing in the waves.
Today, visitors throng to this lonely town, which is considered the world’s southernmost city, on the meandering rails of the so-called End of the World Train, which runs directly past the primary attraction: Tierra del Fuego National Park.
San Ignacio Mini
This complex of deteriorating cloisters and church walls, dwelling quarters and graves was designated by UNESCO in 1983 as one of the best examples of the Guarani Baroque architecture.
The ice-carved bulwarks of the Perito Moreno Glacier are a true sight to see, standing pearly-white like a peppermint against the deep blues and craggy rock granite hills of the Los Glaciares National Park.
They have almost single-handedly catapulted the remote backwater town of El Calafate into the spotlight, and now hundreds of intrepid people go to the Patagonian hinterland surrounding the city, eager to witness bobbing icebergs and the crags of Onelli Bay.
The final taste of Argentina before crossing the border into Brazil or Paraguay is a pleasant enough area, replete with a plethora of well-kept hotels and guesthouses, more than its fair share of eateries, and souvenir stores aplenty. But it is not the reason so many people come here.
They come in droves for the thundering cascades of the Iguazu Falls, which tumble over nearby rocks.
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El Chalten, a village of low-rise cottages and Austrian-style guesthouses positioned directly on the border of the Patagonian Andes and the northern icefields of Los Glaciares, with dramatic broadsides of the enormous Fitz Roy peaks delineating the horizon.
The country’s de facto hiking centre, the area is teeming with walkers, trekkers, and mountaineers looking for paths like the Laguna de los Tres and Condor Mirador, which ascend far above the town and close to the towering hills that surround it.
San Carlos de Bariloche
San Carlos de Bariloche (or just Bariloche to residents and regulars) is Argentina’s equivalent to New Zealand’s Queenstown, France’s Chamonix, and all the world’s other alpine, outdoory wonders.
The hamlet is surrounded by green swaths of lengas, Chilean cedar, and bamboo as it hugs the stunning waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Mar del Plata
Mar del Plata is Argentina’s premier beachfront resort, packed with sunbathers and fashionistas, volleyball players and Atlantic wave swimmers throughout summer.
The beaches here established their reputation in the early decades of the twentieth century, providing a golden period that may still be seen in the rare Art Deco high-rise along the coast.
Every evening, del Plata pulses to the beat of electric tango, with the pulsing cocktail bars on Alem Street attracting the greatest crowds.
Puerto Madryn, a village of sloping beaches and windswept Atlantic dunes where the rocky, seal-spotted bays of Chubut Province converge between the Valdes Peninsula and Punta Ninfas, is half sunbather heaven, part whale watchers’ utopia.
During the winter months, the large creatures gather to the coast and may be seen from the rocky headlands surrounding town, while the summer lures Buenos Aires residents to its less-traveled inlets and the penguin-packed cliffs of Punta Tombo.
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Antofagasta de la Sierra
Antofagasta de la Sierra, located 3,200 meters above sea level among the coal-colored cinder cones of the Puna and the massive crater peaks of Galan, is a world apart from the ice-caked Patagonian wilds and the Pampas plains.
Dust devils whirl in the air here, and the vast Andean plateaus are broken only by the odd bump of an old volcano.
Trevelin arose in the aftermath of the renowned Welsh adventurer and pioneer El Baqueano, who utilized this location as a base for his daring Pampas expeditions in the 1890s.
Today, this odd little backwater hamlet proudly recalls its Celtic heritage, and the Welsh language still resonates through the lovely, tree-lined streets.
Indeed, places like the Dyffryn y Merthyron pay respect to the slain warriors of the Welsh border caravans, while pastries from Brecon figure prominently on the menus of the town’s tiny tearooms.
Salta is sprawled out along the dust-caked, ochre-hued Lerma Valley’s base, a tangle of square-cut buildings and traffic-choked streets that masks one spectacular colonial core at its center.
Expect palm-peppered plazas like Julio Square and Ninth of July Plaza, where al fresco cafés pulse with Spanish banter, inquisitive tango-folk, and the aromas of yerba mate, theatres dazzle with lights, and magnificent Baroque frontispieces ooze with stories from the town’s 500-year past.
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