Often referred to as “the Paris of South America”, the stunning city of Buenos Aires is full of fascinating contrasts. Culturally it’s quintessential Latin America, but the architecture has a distinctly familiar European feel, boasting leafy green parks and wide boulevards. The capital of Argentina oozes passion, fire and life but remains laid back and relaxed at the same time. It’s a fascinating mix that is totally unique to this wonderful city, and one that will leave you longing for more. Here are the top things to do in Buenos Aires.
San Telmo is renowned throughout the capital of Argentina for the sprawling market that takes over the entire neighbourhood every Sunday. From early morning until late afternoon, this historic district is transformed into a lively bazaar. Walking through the beautiful cobbled streets you’ll find everything from antique wedding dresses to some of the most delicious barbecued food in Argentina. And don’t miss the open air Tango performances in Plaza Dorrego, where professional dancers come to show off their skills.
The architecture in San Telmo is made up of strikingly grand, multi-storey city mansions, a nod to its illustrious past. But look closer and you’ll notice the majority of these palatial buildings are faded and crumbling. Formerly home to the elite of Buenos Aires society, San Telmo was quickly abandoned following a devastating Yellow Fever outbreak in the late 19th Century.
Many of the affluent families that left San Telmo relocated to Recoleta, and you’ll see the similarity in the grand architecture that graces both districts. Recoleta remains to this day the place to be seen for Argentine celebrities, and you’ll spot plenty of glamorous locals sporting designer shades and fur coats as they browse the high end boutiques.
Recoleta is also well known for being the resting place of Eva “Evita” Peron, and the area is home to the eerily alluring Recoleta Cemetery which holds her tomb. Built to house the intricate mausoleums of Argentina’s most celebrated families, it’s a complex rabbit warren of narrow streets laid out like a mini city.
Lying slightly to the north of the capital of Argentina, but still within the bounds of Buenos Aires Province, Tigre is a world away from the bustling metropolis. Little known to non-Argentines, this is where Buenos Aires residents come to relax in tranquil surroundings for a weekend getaway. Built on the scenic Parana Delta, Tigre is essentially a series of interconnected waterways dotted with hundreds of tiny islands.
At first glance it may seem like a standard riverside retreat, with rowing clubs and restaurants lining the banks of the main waterway. But a boat trip into the depths of this unique area will reveal why it’s often likened to Venice. Stilted houses stand on individual islands, the only modes of transport are boats and residents rely on floating shops that visit once a week. It’s a fascinating insight into the special lifestyle enjoyed here.
The capital of Argentina is the birthplace of Tango and this passionate, fiery and seductive dance is an embodiment of the city’s culture. Many people make the journey to Buenos Aires just to study the 150 year old dance, and learning a few steps must be on everyone’s list of things to do in Buenos Aires.
You’ll see Tango taking place all over the city, in pretty much any open space, but by far the best place to try the dance out for yourself is what’s known as a Milonga. These popular events, where ordinary people go to dance their cares away, are held all over the city on various nights. Many have lessons for newcomers that take place early on, before the dancehall is overcome by hundreds of couples of all ages, gracefully twirling to a live band until the early hours of the morning.
This picture postcard, port neighbourhood is popular for the multiple rows of brightly coloured houses, made from corrugated iron that adorn its cobbled streets. At one time it also had a reputation as being overridingly dangerous for outsiders, but this has eased in recent years as residents have started to tap into the tourist trade.
The streets are filled with tango dancers performing at outdoor restaurants and bars, as well as shops and market stalls offering local souvenirs. You’ll notice there is also plenty of Maradona memorabilia on display. The famous footballer and national icon was once the star player for local football team Boca Juniors, whose stadium is also in the vicinity.
Wine is one of the country’s biggest exports and there are many regions that produce world class vintages. So where better to sample them than in the capital of Argentina? There are lots of tasting rooms and bars, that offer the chance to discover just why Argentina is now one of the biggest players in the global wine market.
Specialities to try that have become synonymous with Argentina include Malbec and Merlot if you’re a fan of red, or Torrontes and Chardonnay for white lovers. The wine tasting sessions are run by passionate but unpretentious wine buffs, and are often paired with food depending on which one you choose.
The sociable nature of the capital of Argentina is exemplified by the residents’ love of eating out. Enjoying the outstanding restaurants is one of the essential things to do in Buenos Aires and the cuisine in this city is some of the best food in Argentina. Argentine steak is considered by many to be the finest in the world and you’ll find it on virtually every menu. Parilla or Asado, which are both terms for barbecue, are the ideal way to sample it.
But don’t let steak be the end of your culinary adventure, there are plenty of tasty traditional dishes that typify the food in Argentina. Empanadas are mini pastries stuffed with various delicious fillings, Tamales is a corn bread parcel filled with stewed meat or vegetables and Locro is a hearty peasant stew. For those with a sweet tooth, Dulce de Leche is an ubiquitous caramel-like sauce used in everything from ice cream to pastries and is the basis for most desserts in Argentina.
If you’d like to discover Buenos Aires for yourself, an Argentina fly drive holiday
is a great way to take in the sights. Alternatively our Amazing Argentina escorted tour
will show you Buenos Aires as well as more of the untamed Argentinian landscape.