Now known as the ‘Paris of South America,’ Buenos Aires is one of my favourite destinations. Travel + Leisure voted it the second most desirable city to visit after Florence, which should tell you how stylish the place is. There’s nothing to not like about Buenos Aires. It boasts beautiful architecture, incredibly delicious food, a good night-life and a lot of opportunity for retail therapy. What more could you want?
The majority of the most popular sites in Buenos Aires are actually based in the core of the city (which is the most historic region). The Catedral Metropolitana is one such location, having stood since the country’s earliest colonial days. As the city’s main Catholic church, it wouldn’t look out of place in Rome, the classical portico and high dome perfect examples of religious architecture.
The Cabildo – which is set in the west of the city – is another sight well worth visiting. A public space, it was initially used by the Ayuntamiento during colonial times. Now, it’s one of the city’s noted museums, playing host to a range of paintings, artefacts, clothes and jewellery from the 18th century.
The Illuminated Block area is another essential must-see. In addition to the San Ignacio Church (which is another example of stunning architecture), the area features a range of tunnels and catacombs originally used to cross beneath the Plaza de Mayo during the city’s colonial days. The Plaza Dorrego area is also well worth exploring, especially at weekends, where the daily tango shows expand to involve the visiting tourists!
For the foodies out there (and I’m with you – enjoying the local cuisine is one of my favourite things about travelling), Buenos Aires is a veritable feast. Whatever your favourite dish is, you’ll be able to find it. The steak is, of course, awesome, but the city also boasts a whole host of local pizza joints and Latin fusion restaurants. Each to their own, of course, but I try and have at least one meal at Don Julio in Palermo, which makes a seriously arguable case for offering the best beef in the city. The Michelin Star system doesn’t reach Argentina, but that doesn’t mean the chefs aren’t brilliant. Dante Liporace, a particularly notable shining light, is currently serving up some stunning seven-course fine-dining at the Tarquino in Recoleta.
Like almost all major cities, it’s possible to find every type of accommodation in Buenos Aires, from luxurious five-star hotels to budget rooms a bit further away from the centre. Wherever you end up, though, Buenos Aires boasts a really good public transport system that’ll allow you to reach the centre easily. Unlike some public transport systems (I’m looking at you, London) it’s not too expensive. Another potential option (one that a friend of mine chose) is to visit as part of a tour of Argentina, the likes of which Dragoman feature. Their overland tours travel all around South America saving you the trouble of planning your own itinerary.