Known as the Paris of South America, this city is sensational
For the lively outdoor lifestyle and sheer exuberance of the place. It can be busy for sure, however the green spaces are a joy, particularly those designed by Carlos Thays: the Jardín Botánico, Paseo del Rosedal and Parque 3 de Febrero are filled with people and market stalls at the weekends. Enjoy the eclectic city centre architecture ranging from neo-renaissance to French/Italian Baroque. It’s easy to get around and cheap too, on a simple Metro and by an extensive bus network.
What to see
Head for the Microcentro during the day, take a tour of the acoustically fabulous Teatro Colón, where all the greats play. Concerts and theatres are fantastically popular in Buenos Aires, stroll down Avenida Corrientes to see what’s on offer. The extraordinary, vast cemetery in Recoleta houses Evita’s tomb in Duarte family mausoleum alongside an array of other famous figures in this incredible Baroque graveyard.
What to eat
It has to steak, empanadas and Havannas! Try the new El Dorado restaurant in trendy Puerto Madero for contemporary dishes or more traditional Don Julio in Palermo’s buzzing Soho district with long queues and pavement tables. Available everywhere, empanadas are akin to mini pasties, a snack for on the go, stuffed with beef, cheese, vegetables and/ or chicken. Havannas are just right with coffee – chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with dulce de leche, the favourite sweet caramel in Buenos Aires.
Head for La Boca with its vividly colourful houses, arty markets and football team. It was home to the European immigrants who arrived from 1870s to 1920s into the river port, gaining the name porteños, which has a rich cultural heritage attached to it. San Telmo’s massive indoor market on Carlos Calvo takes half a day to savour, with food cooked on the spot, drink (try yerba mate tea for a local treat), leather goods, clothes, vintage wares and more. Late Thursday afternoon here starts the weekend. On Plaza Dorrego just up the road, watch tango dancers in the square (the hat comes round) or enjoy a formal show with dinner at Todo Mundo.
It has to be to the pampas, San Antonio de Areco with its Museo Gauchesco Ricardo Güiraldes perhaps, to learn about the gauchos and see the horses. A couple of hours from the city and you’re in a different world; one where the mixed-race horsemen are celebrated. Think woollen ponchos, colourful money belts and estancias, where you can stay overnight.