The Best Sights in Argentina
So, you’re thinking about your next backpacking trip, but can’t quite decide where to go? You’re hoping for a place with fascinating, breathtaking landscape and natural spectacles, as well as noteworthy and lively cities? We just might have the perfect destination for you: Argentina in South America. This country deserves to be described as versatile, with its lovely people, great cities, sandy beaches, high palm trees, snowy mountain tops, and waterfalls in the rainforest. Discover all that and more in this country. If you don’t know much about Argentina yet, continue reading our guide to learn more about the best sights in Argentina. Get ready to move this South American country to the top of your bucket list.
Iguazú Falls are the best-known and most spectacular falls in the world. Quite a number of people decide to travel to South America specifically to see this breathtaking natural spectacle with their own eyes. A waterfall chain, consisting of more than a hundred waterfalls, adds up to a total of around three kilometres, which make Iguazú Falls the mightiest falls on the continent of South America.
You’ll have to head all the way to the north of Argentina, right up to the Brazilian border, to get to these roaring masses of water alongside the main fall that’s called Garganta del Diablo (in English: Devil’s Throat). Since most of the falls are on the Argentine side, you get the best panoramic view from the Brazilian side. While in Argentina, you can hike along little trails to get closer to individual waterfalls: both sides are definitely worth seeing. For a truly memorable experience, take a boat tour that will get you as close as possible to the water thundering down. Don’t forget to bring a raincoat!
To travel to this natural phenomenon, catch a flight from the bigger cities to one of the two small airports near the falls. There are also buses that will take you to Foz do Iguaçu or to Puerto Iguazú, and from there to the national park’s entrance. Make sure to do a price check; sometimes, flights are cheaper than the bus tickets.
This little place in Patagonia, in southern Argentina, is a paradise for mountain lovers and hikers. The village is right in the Los Glaciares National Park, at the foot of the imposing Mount Fitz Roy. This is where Patagonia is the most beautiful; there are high peaks, glaciers, blue mountain lakes and lagoons, green forests, and torrential rivers. You just have to see the unique mountains and wonderful landscape with your own eyes.
Five well-marked trails start in Argentina’s hiking capital and take you to amazing views of the most famous mountains, Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. You have to plan six hours for a hike to Cerro Torre. It is easy to cover the 24 kilometres; you just need a little endurance. One of the highlights along the hike to the three granite towers is Laguna Torre with its blue water against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
If you are up for more, tackle the 26-kilometre hike to Fitz Roy. This moderate, eight-hour hike takes you through Camp Poincenot up to Laguna de los Tres near Cerro Fitz Roy. We recommend starting your hike at sunrise to avoid the crowds. If you can’t get enough of this mountain scenery, the two-day loop might be for you. You can spend the night in one of the mountain camps.
In the Argentina’s north-western part, close to the Bolivian border, lie desert-like landscapes around the town, Salta. This area is perfect for a road trip into Salta’s high plains, where you can explore canyons, red and orange rock formations, and fields of cacti at your own pace. A must-see is Quebrada de Cafayate, an extraordinary canyon in the region of Valles Calchaquíes near Cafayate. You just have to see these unusual red sandstone formations.
Not only the landscape is interesting here. Salta itself is a gorgeous city with quite a few highlights. In the historic district, you will find a pink cathedral from the 19th century and other colonial-style buildings. To get a great city view, you can ride a cable car from downtown up the Cerro San Bernardo. The nightlife of this university town doesn’t fall short either. On Calle Balcarce, there are bars and clubs that get very busy, especially on weekends.
Of course, you can’t skip a visit to the capital city, Buenos Aires, on your backpacking tour through Argentina. One of the sights in this metropolis is the Plaza de Mayo, the central square with the presidential seat in the Casa Rosada. There are several beautiful buildings here to admire. The plaza is also a great starting point for walks through the city centre. Other points of interest are the Teatro Colón, one of the world’s most famous opera houses, Palacio Barolo, where you get a great view of the city from above, and Recoleta, the district with the most expensive mansions in the city.
In Buenos Aires, you’ll come across lots of historically relevant sight, impressive architecture and great food. You definitely have to try the famous Argentine steaks, but the Italian cuisine is also quite popular here thanks to the many Italian immigrants. Additionally, there is a lot going on to cater to young people in this city. In the district Palermo, parties usually continue into the early morning hours.
Did you know that the capital city is the birthplace of the Tango? So, how about some dance lessons while you’re in town?
A great place for a day trip from Buenos Aires is Tigre, one of the largest deltas in the world. Discover magnificent stilted houses, yacht clubs and amusement parks in this area.
The Patagonian peninsula of Valdés, on Argentina’s east coast, is the perfect place for animal lovers. You will get to see penguins, sea lions, elephant seals, and sometimes even orcas. This area is especially worth a visit between June and December, since that’s when the whales arrive off the coast to mate and give birth to their young. Book a tour to watch the whales from a boat.
Additionally, book a kayak tour or go snorkeling with sea lions. Other animals on the peninsula are foxes, guanacos, rheas, maras, and all kinds of birds. Valdés is one of the best places on the whole continent to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Make sure you don’t miss it.
Fun Fact: A little further south on the peninsula of Punta Tombo you will find the largest penguin colony with more than 600,000 of these animals.
Ushuaia is also worth a visit; it is Argentina’s southernmost city, and together with Puerto Williams in Chile, shares the title of the world’s southernmost city. It is right on the coast of the Beagle Channel and has quite a few outdoor activities to offer, which makes it a paradise for all adventurers. Interesting, many expeditions to Antarctica set sail right here. Penguins and sea lions live in the area as well. When you’re at South America’s southernmost tip, go visit the Tierra del Fuego National Park. If you hike up to the peak of Cerro Guanaco, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Beagle Channel and the Cordillera Darwin.
San Carlos de Bariloche, or just Bariloche, is a popular place among athletes and nature fans; it is in the northern part of Patagonia, close to the border with Chile. The landscape in the adjacent Nahuel Huapi National Park, which is the oldest in the country, is enchanting and gorgeous. The blue mountain lakes with mountains in the background are reminiscent of the Swiss Alps. All year long, there are endless opportunities to be active here. In the summer, mountain lovers can go parasailing, hiking and mountain climbing. If you’d rather be close to the water, go swimming or kayaking around Bariloche. Alternatively, if you prefer to visit this place during the wintertime, go skiing or snowboarding on Cerro Catedral. Bariloche is also famous for its chocolate specialities. Don’t miss out on getting a taste.
We have already mentioned Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia; the unique glacier, Perito Moreno near El Calafate, can be found here. Its polar ice sheets bump right into a small peninsula, so you can get really close and get a great view of the glacier. At the end of the peninsula, the ice breaks off at a height of 77 meters and noisily falls into Lago Argentino. Perito Moreno is one of the most accessible glaciers of all time, and it is still growing – about 2 meters every day. This place will definitely fascinate you.
Close to the Chilean border, in northern Argentina, is the wine-producing region around Mendoza. This city is the heart of Argentina’s wine production and is where the famous Malbec red wine originated from. If you visit Mendoza, you have to book a wine tour; don’t forget that the city itself is worth seeing as well. Green parks, tree-lined boulevards, and top-notch restaurants will impress you here. For adventurers, there are plenty of outdoor activities available like white-water rafting, horseback riding and biking. A little bit farther northwest, you will reach the town of Uspallata, a hiking paradise near the highest peak in America, the Aconcagua.
If you’ve had enough of big cities and crowds, but you still like hanging around people, you should stop in Rosario. This relaxed university town is in a great location right along the Paraná River, about 300 kilometres northwest of Buenos Aires. Even though it is the third-largest city in Argentina, it doesn’t give you that feeling, as there aren’t nearly as many travellers here as in other regions of the country. A few highlights in this town are the Monumento a la Bandera, the river walk, green parks, impressive architecture and lots and lots of street art.
Pack Your Bag to Go See the Sights in Argentina
Whether you are drawn by Iguazú Falls’ mass of water, Patagonia’s glacier, the mountains near Bariloche, the desert landscape around Salta, or the hustle and bustle of the country’s biggest cities, Argentina is worth a trip and a great location for a backpacking adventure. The climate varies depending on the region, the warmest time being their summer months (November through March). The further south you go, the colder it gets.
So, if reading this has put you in the mood to visit this wonderful country, known as the home of the Tango, then what are you waiting for? Why not get started planning your trip right now. Once you get there, the phenomenal sights in Argentina are going to leave you speechless.