Visit Bariloche: what are the best things to do and see in this city nicknamed the “Argentinian Switzerland” by the Argentinians?
- 1. The city of Bariloche
- 2. The Seven Lakes Circuit
- 3. Cathedral Hill
- 4. Frey Hut
- 5. Victoria Island
- 6. Local gastronomy
- 7. Nahuel Huapi National Park
- 8. The most beautiful views of Bariloche
- 9. Hiking and trekking
At the tip of the extreme south of the American continent, there is a region 3,000 km long, which covers a third of Argentina and almost as much of Chile : Patagonia. Literary myth and exceptional land, the last land inhabited by men offers breathtaking landscapes: mountains, glaciers, islands, archipelagos… Discover this region of the world still preserved and more precisely San Carlos de Bariloche (commonly called Bariloche).
This city of about 150,000 inhabitants is located 1,650 km southwest of Buenos Aires , at the foot of the Andes, on the edge of Lake Nahuel Huapi, in the national park of the same name. Known for its landscapes of lakes and mountains and its Swiss Alpine-style architecture and its chocolate (hence its nickname of “Swiss Argentina”), it is the ideal starting point for lovers of hiking or skiing. Wondering what to do in Bariloche? Discover the essential activities during your stay.
1. The city of Bariloche
If you go to visit Bariloche, the first thing to do is of course to explore the city. You will fall under the spell of this Swiss-style city and its small historic center lined with old stone or wooden houses.
Do not miss to visit the magnificent Nuestra Señora de Nahuel Huapi cathedral , the civic center with a museum and a library or the San Eduardo chapel. Other sites like the Museum of Patagonia , the Mapuche Craft House, the Geological and Paleontological Museum Rosenda Pascual and the Cerro Otto Art Gallery are also worth a visit if you are wondering what to do in Bariloche!
2. The Seven Lakes Circuit
This is the unmissable barn if you go to visit Bariloche! This 200 km path crosses forests and rivers to take you along the coasts of the most beautiful lakes in Argentina. It starts in Bariloche and ends in San Martin des Andes and can be done by bus, car or bike for the bravest! You will discover sublime views of these famous lakes Lago Espejo, Correntoso, Villarino, Falkner, Hermoso, Machonico and Lacar.
3. Cathedral Hill
Built on the slopes of Cerro Catedral (2,405 m), it is one of the oldest and largest ski areas in South America and therefore a must if you are looking for what to do in Bariloche. The area includes more than 120 kilometers of ski slopes, 34 ski lifts and 14 restaurants. Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, sledding or even snowmobiling… You’ll be spoiled for choice!
4. Frey Hut
Wondering what to do in Bariloche? The walk to the Frey refuge ( Refugio Frey ) is one of the essential hikes! This refuge is located on the shore of the Toncek lagoon , a lake 1,700m above sea level whose incredibly transparent water you will appreciate.
5. Victoria Island
Enjoy a breathtaking spectacle from the boat on which you will cross Nahuel Huapi Lake towards the Quetrihue Peninsula. From there, you will reach the forest of arrayanes, a very rare species of tree found only in Japan and Bariloche.
6. Local gastronomy
You should know if you are going to visit Bariloche, that the city is considered the “National Capital of Chocolate”. Swiss immigration has enabled the region to become the reference in this field. The city even has a chocolate museum, the “ Havanna Museo del Chocolate ”.
German immigration, meanwhile, made beer very popular too! Do not hesitate to try a local beer in one of the many traditional beer bars in the city. Finally, don’t forget to also taste the trout and the Patagonian lamb.
7. Nahuel Huapi National Park
What else to do in Bariloche during your stay? Discover its most beautiful national park of course! You will fall head over heels in front of the extremely rich fauna and flora of the Nahuel Huapi National Park , which is also the oldest national park in Argentina!
8. The most beautiful views of Bariloche
What to do in Bariloche? Several circuits departing from Bariloche or the surrounding area will take you to breathtaking views! The Cerro Campanario will offer you an unforgettable view and is easy to access. Take the cable car and admire the view, comfortably installed to the top, or embark on a short hike of 30-40 minutes.
For Cerro Otto , another cable car will take you in less than 15 minutes (or a 1h30 hike) to more than 1400 meters above sea level to admire the superb viewpoints of Lago Gutierrez and Cerro Catedral.
Much further (about 2h30 by car from Bariloche), the Cerro Tronador is really worth the detour because it is a volcano at rest that beats records with its 3478 meters and its breathtaking view. Enjoy a unique experience by watching the incredible spectacle of blocks of ice breaking off from the seven hanging glaciers.
9. Hiking and trekking
You cannot visit Bariloche without planning hikes! Due to its location between lakes and mountains, it is a truly exceptional setting for all walking enthusiasts. In the circuits that we have just mentioned above, be aware that many hikes are marked once on site, or along the road that will take you to the viewpoints. The Circuito Chico is a small path that starts from the south coast of Lake Nahuel Huapi, along which you can stop on one of the many beaches and enjoy the view of the lakes, islands and mountains of the region.