What to see in Argentina

Bariloche

Tourist attractions Bariloche

A paradise of forests, lakes and mountains, decorated with quaint wooden architecture, Bariloche is like something from a storybook. Nicknamed the ‘South American Switzerland’, this alpine town is located at the southern edge of Lake Nahuel Huapi, inside the national park of the same name. The gateway to the Andean lake district of Argentinian Patagonia, nature lovers flock to this idyllic town to take in the spellbinding landscapes and try their hand at any number of outdoor pursuits. 

Just as you thought a trip to Bariloche couldn’t get any better, the town is also considered the ‘Argentinan capital of chocolate’, and you’ll be able to indulge your sweet tooth in the numerous chocolate shops that are dotted around town. Encircled by the spectacular peaks of Cerros Lopez, Nireco, Catedral and Shaihuenque, wherever you look you’ll encounter jaw-dropping scenery. 

The town itself is as sweet as the chocolate: wooden and stone houses and log cabins give the town an endearing appearance, but it’s actually a very well equipped destination, with great connections and excellent amenities that cater to the large number of visitors that travel to Bariloche every year. Restaurants, shops, bars and cafes abound, plus there is a thriving craft beer scene. 

A trip to Bariloche is great at any time of year, but the city gets into full swing between July and September. This time of year is ski season when nearby Cerro Catedral draws avid snow-sports enthusiasts to the area. On the other hand, visiting during Argentinan summer is equally as rewarding, with countless hiking trails and opportunities for watersports on Lake Nahuel Huapi and the surrounding rivers.

Things to see in Bariloche

There are plenty of things to see and do in Bariloche, but to truly immerse yourself in the spectacular landscapes, exploring the Nahuel Huapi National Park is a must! Bariloche is actually situated within the national park, the oldest in Argentina and surrounded by the tranquil waters of the Nahuel Huapi Lake. Covering an area of more than 7000-square-meters, the landscapes here are simply sublime and an excellent example of a true Patagonian Andes environment. Hiking, biking, rafting and kayaking are just some of the ways to enjoy this natural paradise if you visit Bariloche. You’ll also find a number of guided walks leaving directly from the center of town.

In the city itself, one of the best things to see in Bariloche is the Cathedral of San Carlos of Bariloche, located on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, this Gothic-Revival cathedral was built in the 1940s and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Bariloche. It looks particularly charming during the winter when it is covered with a delicate dusting of snow.

To learn more about the region, be sure to visit the Museo de la Patagonia. Although modest in size, the museum is a great introduction to the surrounding areas and includes details on the volcanic origins of Patagonia and traces the life of famous explorer Perito Moreno. Furthermore, highlights of the exhibition include a number of cultural artefacts from local indigenous cultures. 

You cannot travel to Bariloche without sampling the local chocolate. Bariloche and chocolate are a match made in heaven and a stroll through town will take you past countless chocolate shops and chocolatiers. You’ll find chocolate in all forms here, from animal-shaped creations to steaming mugs of thick, gooey hot chocolate! Some of the most famous chocolate establishments to visit in Bariloche include Rapa Nui, Frantom and the Havana Chocolate Factory.

Finally, whatever time of year you visit Bariloche, be sure to make the short 19-kilometer journey to nearby Cerro Catedral. The biggest ski resort in the southern hemisphere, during the winter this mountain top village is home to more than 120-kilometers of ski runs. If you visit during the summer you can enjoy brilliant hiking trails and unforgettable views of Lake Nahuel Huapi from the top of Cerro Catedral. 

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