Argentina’s relaxed and bohemian capital, Buenos Aires frequently tops the list of star attractions in the country. But while this elegant capital undoubtedly merits its position at number one on any list of Argentina’s major cities, other charming places grant excellent access to the country’s expansive countryside and stunning natural landscapes.
Argentina’s major cities: The adventure capital, Bariloche
Positioned directly on the shores of vast, shimmering Lake Nahuel Huapi, Bariloche might seem as if it would be more at home in the alpine landscapes of Switzerland, with its Swiss-inspired chalets and penchant for chocolate. But with activities encompassing a wide spectrum of adventure (think skiing and hiking or even relaxing on one of its picturesque lake-side beaches), Bariloche ranks as one of Argentina’s major cities for those wishing to explore the great outdoors.
When to visit: Summer sees the city buzzing with local and foreign tourists, while winter is a more peaceful affair. The excellent ski resorts and accommodation facilities mean that even during the calmer winter months, this city remains a lively place to spend a few days.
Top Attractions: Cerro Catedral, one of South America’s top ski resorts and which offers over 50 runs, is open from June to October. During the summer, the pistes become hiking trails with spectacular lake views and camping facilities.
How to arrive: Flights from Buenos Aires take two and a half hours.
Argentina’s major cities: The wine hub, Mendoza
Responsible for over 60% of Argentina’s entire wine production, Mendoza is understandably the most popular wine region in the country. Home to Malbec wine – a globally-recognized symbol of Argentina – the promise of warm, relaxed evenings dining on steak and local wine are what inspires most visitors to venture here.
When to visit: Mendoza’s pleasant climate means that it can be visited year-round. However, the period between March and May balances cooler temperatures than the hot days of summer with fewer other tourists.
Top Attractions: The Maipu region receives the most tourist footfall, but the Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo claim to have the best quality wines, something largely supported by the fact that the oldest vineyards are located in these two areas. Sound like your type of tipple? Find out more with our guide to holidaying in Argentina’s best wine region.
How to arrive: Mendoza airport is closed until the end of 2016 so buses from Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires are the only viable alternative. Tickets can be booked from the bus terminals in each city. From January 2017, it is possible to fly from both Buenos Aires and Santiago.
Argentina’s major cities: Eclectic and artsy Buenos Aires
Few cities, let alone other capitals, even come close to challenging Buenos Aires’ reputation as a place brimming with culture and charm. Aesthetically bewitching and captivatingly romantic in character thanks to elegant 19th-century architecture and tango dancers gracing wide, stately plazas, Buenos Aires is an incomparable city. If flying into Argentina, you’ll have no choice but to explore one of the continent’s most memorable and dynamic capitals.
When to visit: The summer months of January and February are the busiest of all in terms of tourists numbers – and come complete with scorching temperatures and high humidity. If you’re not hugely comfortable in subtropical climates, consider the shoulder seasons of fall (September through December) and spring (April through June) as being pleasanter times for exploring.
Top Attractions: Barrio San Telmo is famous for its legacy of tango – Argentina’s archetypal dance, while Avenida de Mayo is the perfect place to wander and peoplewatch from one of its many street-side cafes.
How to arrive: International flights land at Ezeiza International Airport, located a 45-minute drive west of the city center.
Argentina’s major cities: The End of the Earth, Ushuaia
Skirting the Beagle Channel and set to a backdrop of the snowy, jagged peaks of the Martial Mountains, Ushuaia makes up what it lacks in architectural magnificence with its mesmerizing location. If you look beyond the gray of its buildings, it’s hard not to recognize the limitless possibilities for adventure offered in this, the world’s southernmost city.
When to visit: During winter, Ushuaia can become bitterly cold. For most activities, the summer and shoulder seasons (October through December and March through May) are ideal.
Top Attractions: Hike in the dramatic, sweeping landscapes of Tierra del Fuego National Park, visit Glacier Martial and its lofty views of the surrounding area or take a cruise to similarly impressive Cape Horn. Cruises disembark from the harbor and expedition cruise ship itineraries guarantee a full appreciation of the breathtaking landscapes surrounding this city.
How to arrive: Flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia take three and a half hours.