The following itineraries will take you to every corner of the country, via both well-known sights and less visited ones, from the crashing Patagonia glaciers to off-the-beaten-track villages. Given the size of the country and cost of internal flights, don’t worry if you can’t complete the list – just visiting some will give you a good flavour of what Argentina has to offer.
Much of Argentina’s “wow” nature highlights are in Patagonia, but there are unmissable sights further north, too, if you can spare a month or so.
1 Península Valdés
Watch whales, seals and sea lions basking in the rich, cool waters off this peninsula in Chubut, northern Patagonia.
2 Punta Tombo
The biggest colony of penguins in South America is a delightful sight, and the trip there will likely take you past guanacos, armadillos and more.
At the very end of the road, Ushuaia sits on the Beagle Channel, teeming with birds, sea lions and giant crabs, and provides a base for exploring nearby Tierra del Fuego national park.
4 Glaciar Perito Moreno
Justifiably one of Argentina’s most visited sights. Watch enormous chunks of blue ice carve off the city-sized glacier and even don crampons to walk on top of it.
5 Fitz Roy
The northern part of Los Glaciares national park provides some of the country’s best trekking, among jagged peaks and turquoise lakes.
6 Quebrada de Humahuaca
Up in the dry northwest, the multicoloured hues of the pinnacles and strata of Humahuaca make it the pick of the region’s sights.
The enormous Iguazú waterfalls by the Brazilian border, set in subtropical rainforest, make a steamy, stunning contrast to the icy southern sights.
8 The Delta
A surprisingly verdant riverine community, right on Buenos Aires’ doorstep, makes for a gentle but impressive end to a tour of Argentina’s natural highlights.
Like Route 66 in the US, Argentina’s Ruta 40 – the country’s longest highway, running from Patagonia to Bolivia – has a legendary status, inspiring songs, books and of course road trips. Count on six weeks if you want to take in all 5224km.
1 Cabo Vírgenes
La Cuarenta’s beginning by the Straits of Magellan, marked by a lighthouse, heralds the start of a zigzagging route through the windswept Patagonian steppe.
2 Estancia Lagos del Furioso
Consider splurging at this Santa Cruz estancia, where you’ll find glorious views, excellent fishing and every creature comfort.
Gateway to the Nahuel Huapi park, Argentina’s Lake District has pristine alpine-like scenery, dramatic mountain lakes and ancient trees.
4 La Payunia
A remote land of rosy lava, ebony gorges, deep karstic caves and flamingo-flecked lagoons in Mendoza Province.
5 Laguna Diamante
Often inaccessible, this lagoon rewards the adventurous. Enjoy a picnic on the banks of a crystalline brook as you admire the silhouette of Volcán Maipo.
6 Cuesta de Miranda
The road in La Rioja Province winds through polychrome mountains that contrast with the verdant vegetation along the riverbanks below.
Stop off at this Catamarca highland village for a top-notch poncho – methods of weaving have been maintained since pre-Hispanic times.
8 Salinas Grandes
Ringed by mountains, this area of snow-white salt flats is a good place to spot llamas and vicuñas.
Wherever you travel in Argentina, you can find excellent-quality food and drink. Beef plays a part of course, but there’s more to the country’s culinary offering. Allow two to three weeks.
1 Buenos Aires
The country’s capital has, unsurprisingly, the most cosmopolitan selection of restaurants, with inventive cooking at reasonable prices easy to track down.
2 The Pampas
Stay on an estancia to enjoy the best barbecued beef you’re likely to taste anywhere, right in the fertile heartland where it comes from.
Spend your days – and nights if you wish – at a bodega, tasting fine malbec wines with the snow-capped Andes as a backdrop.
A good place to try the distinctive northwestern cuisine, including the classic empanada, a pasty filled with meat or vegetables, or locro stew.
5 Estancia Santa Inés
Set among plantations of mate, the tea-like beverage drunk avidly throughout Argentina, this estancia in verdant Misiones also serves delicious food.
Vibrant and stylish Rosario overlooks the Río Paraná and is an excellent place to dine on the local river fish, such as dorado, boga and surubí.