South America’s top European country: such is Argentina.
Paradoxical? Undoubtedly. But so Argentines style themselves. And shockingly, once you visit hot spots like Buenos Aires (“The Paris of South America”) and Bariloche (a ski resort dotted with Alpine chateaus), this local loopiness becomes eerily convincing.
Glamor is what makes it happen. With its expansive boulevards and atmospheric old bars, Buenos Aires is a place where even the cemeteries ooze sophistication. Here, the mystique of legends like Eva Perón and tango god Carlos Gardel hovers over every obelisk and Art Deco hotel.
Argentina’s landscapes are no less bewitching. Sapphire lakes, thundering falls, a glacier that’s actually expanding: this is a region where nature decks herself out to dazzle even the most casual visitor. Wherever you go in South America’s largest Spanish-speaking country, the views are nothing less than awesome.
Here are just a few of the marvels on display in the “land of silver”:
- Care to tango? Do so in style in one of Buenos Aires’s many milongas, traditional ballrooms dedicated to the brothel-born national dance. For those with two left feet, the professional shows at the city’s tango clubs are no less seductive.
- Wanting a fine Malbec or Merlot? Head to Mendoza, Argentina’s wine country, for a sampling of its intimate, artisanal bodegas and vineyards.
- Chocoholics rave about Bariloche, a Swiss-style village in the Andes with some of the most luscious cacao on the continent. But this Euro-outpost has its dark side. Did the Nazis make this a hideout after the end of World War II?
- The plains around Buenos Aires are gaucho country. Visiting one of their storied estancias, you’ll experience the romance and horsemanship of this real-life figure of legend.
- Argentina is also a naturalists’ dream. In the Valdes Peninsula, sharp-eyed animal lovers can spot all manner of sea creatures: orcas, elephant seals, right whales, sea lions, even rare Magellanic penguins.
- If you like your adventures frosty, the Perito Moreno glacier is as cool as it gets. A thrilling boat ride takes you past its massive, neon-blue front wall. Afterwards, strap on your crampons and trek across the top.
- For those seeking extremes, Tierra del Fuego delivers. Ocean cruises departing from Ushuaia, the southernmost city on Earth, take you through the Beagle channel to Les Eclaireurs, the lighthouse at the end of the world.