If you like your steak rare, know a few steps of the tango and enjoy a good mountain trek, you’ll love Argentina. And if you’re partial to a glass of red or three, you might never want to leave.
This vibrant and wild country sits at the bottom of South America, stretching all the way from the border with Bolivia and Paraguay, right down to Antarctica. It’s home to some stunning beaches, fascinating cities and offers access to the Andes – so you’re definitely going to need more than a few days to explore it fully.
As well as its natural beauty, Argentina is also boasts an intense food scene, which means you can kiss that six pack goodbye. That said, many streets become a dance floor by night while cities like Buenos Aires have a big club scene, so you can sweat it out while you crack out those moves.
1. The Andes
Sitting at the peak of the Argentina must-see list is the Andes Mountains. Snow-capped and steep, they’re just as epic as you’d assume. You should probably brush up on your camera skills before you venture to Argentina, just so you can do the Andes justice.
From forests and glaciers to desert and volcanoes, the Andes are home to a powerful set of natural wonders all waiting to be explored. Get yourself a good pair of hiking boots before you leave!
The Andes actually span several countries but, from the Argentinian side, you can walk the Quebrada de Humahuaca to the ‘roof of the Americas’, or Cerro Aconcagua, as it’s formally known. This is the highest peak on the continent.
2. Iguazu Falls
In the northeast of the country, close to the Brazilian border, you’ll find 275 waterfalls. Who needs Niagara?
Iguazu Falls are the largest waterfall system in the world. The best way to reach the area is by plane, although bus is an option if you’re coming from Buenos Aires. While the ride may be long, the views are worth it.
The Devils Throat Falls are the ones to spot – a collection of 80-metre high falls with winding walkways that allow you to peer straight down into the flow. It’s been a World Heritage Site since 1984, and it’s easy to see why.
3. Buenos Aires
Of course the country’s buzzing capital has to make the list. On the east coast of the country, Buenos Aires combines beachside living with a more traditional Argentinian way of life. That means tango in the streets, music in the air, and the promise of a freshly cooked steak is never far away.
It’s easy to wile away the days at the nearby beaches, but make sure to check out such renowned spots like El Ateneo Grand Splendid, an old theatre with an ancient bookshop inside, and Casa Rosada, the presidential palace.
Come evening, it’s gladrags on and time to cha cha, but use the opportunity to fuel up on guilt free empanadas before you do.
4. Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego feels like the end of the Earth – it lies at the southern tip of Argentina and seems like a location plucked straight from the storybooks. With tales of shipwrecks and lost explorers, travellers are drawn here, fascinated by the area’s mystical energy.
All mountains and marshland, wildlife and water, Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago with Isla Grande as its main hub. Travel the highway from Rio Grande to the city of Ushuaia for the best views and make sure to stop and try some locally brewed bitter tea for the full effect.
From here, the next stop is Antarctica – just that thought makes it all the more magical.
Cordoba is for the gallery lovers, theatre goers and movie buffs. It’s among the country’s biggest cities and rivals Buenos Aires when it comes to cosmopolitan chic. It fully deserves the title of ‘cultural hub,’ with colonial heritage and a strong Spanish influence.
The four municipal galleries are worth a visit, as are the Jesuit ruins, but don’t be fooled, it’s not all historical landmarks. Around the city you’ll often see the latest designers and DJs exhibiting their creations.
As the heart of the wine region, Mendoza is an absolute must visit. This area of Argentina is the hub of all that is oaked, opulent and crisp.
To fully appreciate this, you can hop onboard an organised tour or rent your own scooter to whip around the wineries and olive houses. They’ll allow you to sip and sample; just remember to designate a driver.
7. Reserva Faunistica Peninsula Valdes
After drinking wine and travelling to the end of the Earth, how about finding Moby Dick? Reserva Faunística Península Valdés is another UNESCO World Heritage site in Argentina and home to a huge variety of wildlife. Whales are just one of the native creatures, but it’s here, for those of you who know your species, that the endangered ballena franca can be found swimming along the park’s 400km coastline.
Aside from dear Moby, sea lions, penguins and elephant seals also make this a special place.
So, tempted by Argentina?