Are you thinking about where to go on your next trip, but can’t quite decide yet? You want an area with fascinating, breathtaking landscapes and natural spectacles, but also worth seeing and lively cities? Then we have the perfect destination for you: Argentina.
This country truly deserves the term versatility. Whether it’s warm people, great cities, sandy deserts, tall palm trees, snowy mountains or rushing waterfalls in the rainforest, it has it all and more.
You don’t know much about Argentina yet? Then read our guide to the 21 best places to visit in Argentina. Get ready to put the South American country at the top of your bucket list.
21. Buenos Aires
Those who visit Buenos Aires will find a modern metropolis, but also a city to which the traditions of the colonial era are still important today. Buenos Aires has an abundance of historic buildings that characterize the cityscape. These include the magnificent cathedral on Avenida de Mayo. The oldest church in the city is the Church of San Ignacio de Loyola, built in 1710.
The Palacio de Congreso once served as a residence for colonial rulers and is now a government building. The Casa de Gobiern was also built at the time of the Spanish conquistadors and is now the seat of the head of government. The most famous theater in the country is the Teatro Colón, built in the neo-baroque style in 1900.
In addition to its architectural monuments, Buenos Aires has many interesting museums and, above all, many beautiful parks that seem like oases in the hectic metropolis. The Parque Tres de Febrero in the Palermo district is one of the most beautiful parks in Buenos Aires. There you will find, among other things, the zoo and the beautiful Japanese garden, the botanical garden and a rose garden with rare cultivars, which will delight not only rose connoisseurs.
Parque Norte as well as Parque Pereyra Iraola are very popular among the inhabitants of Buenos Aires. The parks with their wide green spaces invite to a barbecue and a relaxed picnic, there is a swimming pool, especially the children can romp and play there to their heart’s content. For athletes, Parque Sarmiento is a good choice, because there is also a soccer field.
Córdoba is not only the capital of the province of the same name, but also the second largest city in the country. It is located near the geographical center of Argentina, east of the Sierras de Córdoba mountain range. Because of the numerous educational and teaching institutions or churches located here, the metropolis is also known simply as La Docta, “the learned”, or Ciudad de las Campanas, “City of Bells”. Due to the many students, Córdoba conveys a rather young and lively impression – the cultural offer is also extremely diverse. But the city can also boast a lot of colonial buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries, most of which are now protected monuments.
Cordoba is home to countless historical and architectural monuments, most of which date back to the Spanish colonial era. Most of them are located around the city’s central square, Plaza San Martín.
Particularly noteworthy are the buildings of the Catholic Church, such as the block of houses of the Jesuits. The building complex from the 17th century includes the university or the historical museum of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, the Montserrat School and the church of the Society of Jesus.
Other interesting sights include the Compañía de Jesús, the oldest preserved church in Argentina, the Monasterio de Santa Teresa – a pink monastery built in 1717, the historic Cabildo government building (a colonial-era arcaded structure with a large exhibition center), or the Palace of Justice with the Paseo de Sobremonte – reputedly one of the most beautiful squares in Córdoba. One of the most popular green spaces in the city is the Parque Sarmiento, about 6 km², with its zoo, amusement park (Super Park), rose garden and even a small lake.
19. Ibera Wetlands
The Esteros del Iberá, the Iberá Marshes, are a marshy area in the Argentine province of Corrientes and is thus part of the Mesopotamia region. The area, which covers between 15,000 and 20,000 km² (13,000 km² are in Argentina), is composed of a mixture of swamp, marsh, lakes and lagoons. It is the largest wetland in the world after the Pantanal in Brazil and forms one of the most important freshwater reservoirs of the entire continent.
The Esteros del Iberá have a high biodiversity and are home to the Neotropical otter, maned wolf, pampas deer and swamp deer, among others. It is also home to aligators, caimans, the capybara (capybara) and about 350 species of birds.
18. San Antonio de Areco
San Antonio de Areco is located amidst lush farmland, just 115 km (70 miles) from the capital, and is considered one of Argentina’s most historic towns. Located in the pampas, it is a good place to learn about the colorful Argentine cowboys, also known as gauchos. The only real attractions in town are a few museums, but what makes Areco truly memorable are the quaint colonial streets in the center of town. The city is also a good place to buy leather goods, silverware and ropes in workshops where they are made. In November, the city hosts the annual Fiesta de la Tradición, Argentina’s most important festival celebrating pampa culture.
The capital of the province of the same name was founded in 1561 by Pedro de Castillo and is also called the “city of sun and good wine” because of the climate and viticulture in the region. Around Mendoza, the barren dry steppe of the Cuyo region characterizes the landscape. The city and surrounding area are irrigated, so massive, shady avenues of trees line Mendoza’s streets, and the country’s best grapevines grow in the surrounding area.
Several plazas in the center such as Plaza Independencia, Plaza San Martin, Plaza España or Plaza Sarmiento, a lively pedestrian zone with many street cafes, restaurants, bars and stores as well as street musicians give the city its typical flair.
The historical monuments of the city are grouped around the Plaza Pedro del Castillo. Here, for example, you can visit the Iglesia San Francisco, and just across the street is the Museo del Área Fundacional, which houses numerous archaeological finds. Under Plaza Independencia is the Museo Municipal de Arte Moderne, which regularly hosts temporary exhibitions by local artists. On the sidewalk of Av Las Heras de Mayo is the extraordinary Museo Popular Callejero, which uses diorama boxes to document the history of one of Mendoza’s greatest streets.
Mendoza’s green lung, the Parque General San Martin, with over 400ha of land as well as a small lake, is a true recreational paradise and is popular with locals and visitors alike. From there, we recommend a short climb up the famous Cerro de la Gloria, as it offers a magnificent view of the city and the adjacent valley.
Actually, Ushuaia is not quite the end of the world, but the capital of Tierra del Fuego has at least the title of the southernmost city in the world. Unique landscapes, fascinating glaciers, diverse wildlife and extremely unstable temperatures make the city at the southern tip of South America a real event. Even a lighthouse named “Fin de Mundo”, meaning end of the world, is appropriately located near Ushuaia.
A special attraction when visiting the city is the unique Tierra del Fuego National Park, but Ushuaia in itself also offers some interesting sights and helps you see the world differently. Go to the southernmost city of the entire continent and experience unforgettable natural spectacles – after all, Ushuaia is not that far from the South Pole anymore.
The sights in Ushuaia are mainly scenic highlights, as the extraordinary landscape around the city is a special event. A boat trip on the Beagle Channel, hiking in the diverse landscape of Tierra del Fuego National Park or observing sea lions in their natural habitat: there are many unforgettable things to see in Ushuaia.
15. Quebrada de Humahuaca
Humahuaca is a city in the province of Jujuy in Argentina, located on the Río Grande de Jujuy in the gorge “Quebrada de Humahuaca”. Located in a desert climate, the city is a popular destination for travelers mainly because of its well-preserved colonial buildings and its lively weekly market.
The 150-kilometer-long gorge, which rises from the mountain town of San Salvador de Jujuy at an altitude of 1,200 meters to nearly 3,000 meters at Humahuaca, is one of the most impressive sights Argentina has to offer. The most famous section is certainly the one from Tilcara to Purmamarca, because here are the “Siete Colores”, the “Mountains of the Seven Colors”. The mountains shine with their yellow, white, red, turquoise, blue, orange and purple layers of rock.
The vegetation in this area is sparse, yet at sunrise or sunset the Quebrada shines with almost supernatural beauty as the colored rock layers begin to glow. The interesting colorations are the result of sedimentary deposits, a process that took over 600 million years. Unlike the other regions of Argentina, the Quebrada is home to many indigenous people who have retreated to their villages here.
The Catholic Church was only able to gain a foothold in the Jujuy region by adding a few Christian elements to the myths of Pachamama, the Earth Mother, and otherwise not trying to take away the Indians’ culture and religion. The breathtaking scenery and the history of the land make a trip through this valley an unforgettable experience.
14. San Ignacio Mini
San Ignacio Mini is a former Jesuit reduction in northeastern Argentina. Around 1610, the first Jesuits arrived for missionary purposes in the border region where Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil meet. In 1696 the Mission San Ignacio Mini was founded. From there, the Guarani Indians were to be converted to the Christian faith. In its heyday, San Ignacio Mini housed around 4000 inhabitants, consisting of Indians and missionaries.
Because the Jesuit bases produced high yields within a short period of time, the Jesuits were expelled from the area by the Spanish colonial rulers. When the Jesuits were chased away by the Spanish, the Indians also left the reduction, and the city remained abandoned from then on.
The reductions were intended to serve both as a mission for the resident Indians and to protect them from slave traders. Nevertheless, scholars differ in their opinions about this. Some consider the missions to be shining examples of development aid, while others consider it to be nothing more than colonization and enrichment at the expense of the Indians. UNESCO elevated San Ignacio to World Heritage status in 1984, along with 4 other Argentine missions.
13. Iguazu Falls
The Iguazú Falls are the largest in South America and also the most popular attraction in the Iguazú National Park. They are described by many visitors as an impressive natural beauty. The gigantic masses of water and the loud roaring create goosebumps feeling as soon as you arrive at the thundering place and the Argentine side of the falls is even more spectacular than the Brazilian side, as you are closer to the water there.
The falls stretch for 2.7 km with 20 larger waterfalls as well as 255 smaller ones and are separated by several larger and smaller rock islands. Some of them reach heights of up to 82 m, while the majority is about 65 m high. The amount of water passing the falls varies from 1,500 to more than 7000 m³/s.
12. El Chalten
El Chaltén is the best starting point for unprecedented trekking tours in Argentina. You can do the different tours on your own without hesitation or take a guided tour where you stay overnight in a tent. The most popular destinations are Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, two striking granite rocks. But there are many other tours, in several degrees of difficulty.
But for all trekking destinations the principle “the way is the goal” applies. Because during the trek you will see condors circling in the sky, you can drink water from any stream or lake without hesitation, you will discover native plant species and you will always have incomparable views and photo opportunities.
The name of the town “El Chaltén” comes from the Tehuelche language and means “smoking mountain”. The name was originally applied to the mountain of the town (Cerro Chaltén or Fitz Roy), although it is not a volcano.
Undoubtedly, it is the two granite mountains Cerro Torre (3,133 m) and Cerro Chaltén or Fitz Roy (3,406 m) that make the trekking around El Chaltén so special due to their picturesque scenery.
The name “Fitz Roy”, which Cerro Chaltén also bears, was given to it by Perito Moreno, who first saw the mountain in 1877. Fitz Roy was the commander of Charles Darwin’s research ship “HMS Beagle”. Climbing the two mountains is considered extremely difficult. Year after year, entire expeditions of climbers fail here.
11. San Carlos de Bariloche
The Argentine city of Bariloche could also spring from a Swiss Alpine postcard idyll. Its nickname, the Switzerland of Argentina, is justified when you look at the mountain-and-lake panorama that surrounds the town. Peaked glaciers in the background, green meadows, cypress and myrtle forests and clear mountain lakes surround the town, which reflects Swiss-style Alpine chalet architecture. Strictly speaking, it is called San Carlos de Bariloche and is located in northern Patagonia on the Chilean border in the Andes, right on Lago Nahuel Huapi.
The surroundings of Bariloche offer summer and winter activities for different sporting interests and are the starting point for hiking and skiing excursions in the nearby mountains as well as for exploring the surrounding lake area.
Particularly interesting is the Nahuel Huapi National Park, where you can hike through the typical Argentine lenga forests. A hike along Lago Mascardi and the valley of the Rio Manso is highly recommended. Not only the extinct volcano Cerro Tronador, but also the Ventisquero Negro, Patagonia’s only black glacier, comes into view.
10. Mar del Plata
Mar del Plata is a city located in the southeast of Buenos Aires province in Argentina. It is mainly known for being the largest and most famous seaside resort in the country. Mar del Plata has about 600,000 inhabitants.
When it was founded, Mar del Plata was only a small and insignificant place and at most known as a port town with a salt factory. After 1886, however, the town was connected to the rest of the country by the railroad network, and this was to change its notoriety. More and more visitors came and so already in 1888 the first hotel could be opened. Pedro Luro, a businessman, ensured within a few years that Mar del Plata became a seaside resort modeled after Biarritz in France. In 1890 the city was already the fashionable vacation resort of Argentina and thus the further growth could not be stopped.
As befits a famous seaside resort, the beach is the city’s most important asset. Around three million tourists come here every year, doubling the number of inhabitants to 1 million in the summer. Nightlife is one of the city’s specialties; it is home to the largest casino in Argentina, as well as a number of theaters, variety shows and discos. During the summer, the cultural scene moves from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata. Then the Mar del Plata International Film Festival is one of the most famous and important events in the country. Almost the entire population lives from tourism in some form, although another economic factor is fishing.
9. Los Glaciares
Los Glaciares National Park is located in southwestern Argentina near the border with Chile. With almost 727,000 hectares, it is the largest national park in Argentina and, along with Torres del Paine, the most famous protected area in Patagonia. In 1981, the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 30% of Los Glaciares is covered by ice, with some smaller glaciers and larger ones, such as the Perito Moreno Glacier or the Viedma Glacier.
The park’s ice cover is also the largest ice cover in the world, excluding Antarctica and Greenland. The entire park area is crisscrossed by numerous lakes, such as Lago Argentino or Lago Viedma. Along with the adjacent Torres del Paine National Park, the park is one of the most popular places for visitors in Patagonia. The starting points for trekking tours through the park are the villages of El Calafate and El Chaltén. The highlights of the national park are the famous Mount Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.
8. Tierra del Fuego National Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park is located at the southwesternmost tip of Argentina and is part of the most famous Argentine archipelago called Tierra del Fuego. On the Argentine side, the pristine Tierra del Fuego is the last national park on the way to Antarctica. In 18 km to the east one meets the city of Ushuaia.
About the founding history of the national park, which is proverbially located at the end of the world: Founded in 1960, the park’s goal was to protect the southernmost sub-Antarctic forests. In the southern part, the Beagle Channel forms the natural boundary and only this part is accessible to visitors. There, beach, primeval forest and grassland alternate.
The scenic attractions of the national park include glaciers and waterfalls, deep valleys and gorges, rivers and lakes, and peat bogs.
In the southern part of the park, there are numerous hiking trails to various viewpoints and impressive landscape formations. Bahía Lapataia, a bay on the Beagle Channel, invites you to paddle in idyllic surroundings and observe water birds.
Another attraction is the so-called “El Tren del Fin del Mundo” (“Train at the End of the World”), a narrow-gauge railroad, used between 1909 and 1947 for transporting materials for a prison as well as for transporting the wood cut by the prisoners. In 1994, the line was reopened to tourists and since then it has been the southernmost operating railroad in the world.
7. Puerto Madryn
South of the famous Valdés Peninsula (UNESCO World Heritage Site) lies the rapidly growing city of Puerto Madryn.
Many sunny days a year as well as the relatively warm Atlantic Ocean make the city a popular seaside resort. Also, the dry climate with sometimes strong winds has created a steppe-like scrubland. Above all, Puerto Madryn has made an excellent name for itself internationally as a diver’s paradise.
The EcoCentro in Puerto Madryn is mainly concerned with the marine ecosystem and especially with the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean. The institution works for a harmonious, gentle treatment of the marine environment and advocates for the protection of the oceans. Decades of scientific research are presented in the museum in a very interesting way. Marvel, for example, at the reproduction of southern right whales or “talking” dolphins.
Numerous taxidermied land and sea creatures can be discovered in the “Museo Provincial de Ciencias Naturales Y Oceanografic”. The exciting exhibitions are also interesting for “non-Spanish” speaking visitors, as they are very imaginatively designed.
Puerto Madryn can also be called the Argentine “capital of diving”, where you can find numerous spectacular diving areas.
About 19 kilometers from Puerto Madryn is the Playa El Doradillo, where you can also watch whales. A tour to the Peninsula Valdés or to Punta Tombo – the largest penguin colony outside of Antarctica – is also recommended. Between September and April, thousands of Magellanic penguins breed here, and you can also observe cormorants, oystercatchers and Dominican gulls.
6. Antofagasta de la Sierra
The department of Antofagasta de la Sierra is located in the northwest of the province of Catamarca. In the north/northeast borders the province of Salta. The border with Chile is in the west.
Antofagasta is one of the largest among the more than 200 volcanoes of the department. Many pumice fields testify to the former volcanic activities. Surrounded by the Sierras de Antofalla and the Sierras de Calalaste are several salt lakes. Well known are the Salar del Hombre Muerto, where lithium is extracted, or the Salar de Antofalla, which with its length of 163 km and a maximum width of 12 km is the longest salt lake in the world. At an altitude of 3300 to 4600 m are the lagoons Laguna Blanca, Laguna Grande and Laguna Diamante.
At the end of 2014, Laguna Blanca was completely dried up. Therefore, those who would like to see flamingos and other waterfowl of the lagoons have to drive offroad further north to reach the bird-rich lagoons Grande and Diamante. Altitude and long distances to inhabited settlements require special safety precautions for these tours. Therefore, please never travel with only one car. 4×4 is mandatory here.
The colonial city called Salta is found at 1187 meters above sea level in the northwestern part of Argentina in the middle of the Valle de Lerma. Salta is home to over half a million inhabitants, most of whom are of Highland Indian descent. Here, old colonial architecture of its Spanish founding masters, who raised the city from the seams in 1582, comes to the fore.
There is an archaeological museum (Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña de Salta) just off Plaza 9 de Julio, a central plaza that is also home to Salta’s magnificent 19th-century cathedral. The plaza is lined with restaurants and sidewalk cafes where you can end the evenings with empanadas and tamales.
Also worth seeing are the Museo Historico, the Carmelite Convent of San Bernardo and the Rococo-style church of San Francisco. On Calle San Martín there is a farmer’s market with local products such as fish, meat, vegetables and fruit.
4. San Martin de los Andes
Those who have chosen the small town of San Martin de los Andes with its 22,500 inhabitants as their travel destination will certainly enjoy spending time in magnificent natural landscapes. The town is located on the mirror-like and wonderfully dreamy Lake Lácar and is considered a scenic paradise. It is the summer destination of vacationers who want to explore nature through hiking. Mountain bikers also find their routes here, but above all it is the tranquility that impresses here.
The mountains around San Martin and in the nearby Andes are perfect for any sporting activity. Throughout the region you can find forests, rivers and more lakes that can be challenging. Whether on the lake, around it or in the mountains, sports are the name of the game here and attract people from many parts of the country and the world.
A very special theme in San Martin de los Andes is bird watching, another reason to spend your vacation in the region. There are about 180 species of birds here, which have been attracting birdwatchers from all over the world for a few years now. Together with the so-called field guides, the rarest bird species can be observed with binoculars, these experiences are unique. Vacationers who enjoy spending time in nature will find exactly the right environment and the right offer in San Martin de los Andes.
3. La Plata
The architect Pedro Benoit designed La Plata practically on the drawing board between 1873 and 1884. He wanted to separate it from the state capital Buenos Aires, which is only about 60 kilometers away. But this was also done by transforming Buenos Aires into the federal district Distrito Federal.
Just one year after the end of planning, more than 21,700 people had already settled. All of them initially lived in wooden houses. At the same time, construction began on the double canal that would connect La Plata with the port of Ensenada.
Today La Plata is the seat of heavy industry. Even the city’s administrative apparatus is among the most important economic sectors, since the province is the most populous in the country. Other special features include the Observatory, the Natural History Museum, the La Plata Museum and the state university, the Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
Those arriving for a visit should not miss the cathedral. It was built between 1885 and 1999 and is one of the largest churches in South America.
During the week, Tigre is a relaxed, quiet little town. It lies idyllically in a marshland with numerous river arms and countless small islands overgrown by the diverse flora. On sunny days, this results in a fantastic play of color contrasts, when the rich green of the plants in the middle of the rust-brown river contrasts with the light blue sky. Add to this a rusty barge chugging past a gleaming white colonial mansion on an island, and the still life is perfect. Thus, the numerous canals and the islands connected by jetties offer endless opportunities for discovery for everyone. The marshland can be explored from an exclusive yacht, on a guided tour, by public boat or by rented kayak.
The peace and quiet ends when half of Buenos Aires arrives in Tigre on the weekend. Then also in the city the post goes off, without however to degenerate to the quiet party mile. On the contrary, Tigre reveals the same stylistic authenticity of Buenos Aires, just in a relaxed atmosphere and picture-perfect surroundings. The chic but not snobby fruit harbor with its beautiful stores, chill bars and extravagant restaurants becomes a visitor magnet from Friday evening.
Rosario is located in the province of Santa Fé and about 300 km northeast of Buenos Aires. With 1 million inhabitants, it is Argentina’s third largest metropolis and has become an attractive tourist destination. Rosario is also an important national and international cultural and educational center.
The Río Paraná is located directly on the outskirts of the city and is especially interesting for water sports fans. Kitesurfing, canoeing, windsurfing and water skiing are just a few examples of enjoying the Río Paraná. On the sandy beach of the Florida neighborhood you can go swimming and enjoy the sun and the beautiful panorama. In water cabs you can visit several islands in only 10-15 minutes from Rosario, which are popular destinations for the Rosarinos (that’s how Rosario’s inhabitants are called), especially on weekends.
In Rosario, the national flag was hoisted for the first time in Argentine history. Directly on the Río Paraná, the “Monumento a la Bandera” (Monument to the National Flag) is located for viewing.
A few years ago, the largest and most modern casino in South America, the City Center Rosario, opened in Rosario and invites you to a superlative casino.
The nightlife in Rosario leaves nothing to be desired, as there are numerous bars, restaurants and discos. Especially recommendable are the bars and restaurants along the Río Paraná, which have a special flair especially at night.