Around 50km south of Alta Gracia and reached along attractive corniches skirting the blue waters of the Embalse Los Molinos is the demure resort of VILLA GENERAL BELGRANO. The unspoiled alpine scenery of its back country, the folksy architecture and decor and the Teutonic traditions of the local population all give the place a distinctly alpine feel. Many of the townspeople are of German, Swiss or Austrian origin, some of them descended from escapees from the Graf Spee, the pocket battleship scuttled by its captain off the Uruguayan coast on December 13, 1939, after it was surrounded by Allied cruisers during World War II’s landmark Battle of the River Plate. The older generations still converse in German, maintain a Lutheran outlook and read the local German-language newspaper, while souvenir shops sell cuckoo clocks, tapes of oompah music and other such curios.

Whether or not the place’s kitsch cosiness holds appeal, Villa General Belgrano is a decent base for the region if you’d rather avoid Córdoba, with plentiful and varied accommodation choices and easy access to the great Sierra de Comechingones. However, if adventure sports or nightclubs are what you’re after, you’re better off heading for nearby Santa Rosa de Calamuchita.