No major city in South America has so many ties to Europe as Buenos Aires. After becoming - at the beginning of the twentieth century - the cultural centre of the Spanish-speaking world, the Argentine capital has received successive waves of European immigrants - mostly Spaniards and Italians - who have kept alive the connection with the Old World.
This history is still visible in architecture of the city, in its culture of cafes, scattered all over town, in food and even in the way of dressing. Still, Buenos Aires, the world capital of tango and good meat, is the head and heart of Argentina and has its own flavour. Buenos Aires is embedded on the banks of the River Plate and has one of the busiest ports in the world. Most of the constructions in the city centre date from the end of the XIXth century.
Attractions and activities
As in any global and history-rich city, the attractions of Argentina`s capital are much more wider than this short guide. There are some spots, however, that shouldn’t be missed even on the shortest stay in Buenos. A good place to start is Plaza de Mayo – the historic centre of the city and a place marked by protests and revolutions. There are five tourist attractions to be visited on the square: Casa Rosada, seat of government of Argentina, Bicentennial Museum, Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Historical Museum of Cabildo and the May Revolution and the Museum of the Federal Administration of Buenos Aires.
Make sure you experience the city’s past by passing a few hours ambling through the historic district of San Telmo. It is especially worthwhile on Sunday, fair day. The event is famous for its stalls of antiques and various other products as well as for the performances of dancers, musicians and artists in general.
Aiming to promote the art of South America, the Museum of Latin American Art (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, MALBA) is one of the best places to know the Latin culture. There you will find several works of art from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, with renowned artists on display, such as Frida Kahlo, Tarsila do Amaral and Diego Rivera. You'll find the MALBA on Avenue Figueroa Alcorta in the trendy Palermo neighbourhood.
Nearby lies the Japanese Garden, one of the most surprising and beautiful attractions of Buenos Aires. The park was built in 1967 when the Japanese emperor Hirohito visited Argentina. Inside, there is an incredible variety of plants, waterfalls, streams, and even… a library. A pleasant and relaxing park, it offers some respite from Argentina´s bustling capital.
Last but not least tango. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a tango show or a couple dancing on the streets, but if you need an indication, Caminito in the La Boca district is a 100% spot. A famous street for its colorful houses, great restaurants and bars and many crafts sellers, you are sure to find tango dancers there.
What to eat and drink
There are two culinary experiences you cannot miss in Bs As, as it is colloquially known. One is sitting in a café and munching some empanadas. Although these pastries are widespread throughout the Hispanic world, the Argentinian version is one of the most highly praised. For fans of time travel, we recommend Café Tortoni (Av. de Mayo 825) with over 150 years of history. Try visiting the Recoleta neighbourhood for some of the best empanadas in town, such as La Cocina or El Sanjuanino.
But that´s just for starters. The Argentinian grill, or asado, is an institution on its own, probably more solid than some state agencies. The locals are proud of it, and rightly so. There are countless options for tasty grilled beef, but one sure try is the traditional El Obrero in the Boca district (Calle Agustin Caffarena 64). Once a simple bar for the local workers (thus the name Obrero), since the 80’s it opted for a higher standard. The pictures on the walls show the visit of bigwigs like Mick Jagger, Bono Vox and Spanish king Juan Carlos, all of whom are probably attracted by the picturesque appearance of the neighbourhood and establishment.
At night, go for a stroll along the promenade in Puerto Madero. Renovated and modernized, the port has a beautiful view and is full of good restaurants, bars and nightclubs, meaning you can find a rich and fun nightlife.
While searching for a bus ticket, it is important to pay attention to the bus stations.
Some destinations only have routes to one bus station and others more than one station. Depending on where you will stay in the city, it can make a difference in time and price if you have a choice in bus stations. Here is a brief summary of each station: