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Bariloche has been one of my top childhood dream destinations. I know that sounds strange and that I was supposed to be dreaming about places like Paris or Italy, but all I wanted was to visit Argentina (and if you’ve gotten to know me, you know why). I have to admit that before my trip, I had been wondering if Bariloche was worth visiting or if I had an unrealistic image of it in my head. But when I got there, I was thrilled to discover an incredible place that offered so many things to do and see.
It’s not just about the city itself but the nature around it, and it’s kind of amazing that you can enjoy the best of both worlds in one little place. So whether you’ve never heard of Bariloche or you’re not sure if you should add it to your Argentina itinerary, here are all the reasons to give this magnificent Patagonian city a visit.
NINE REASONS WHY BARILOCHE IS TOTALLY WORTH VISITING
IT’S A RELAXING SUMMER DESTINATION
The region of Patagonia is all about wild, raw nature, and it is a paradise for hikers. But if you want to lay back and relax for a while, Bariloche is the place to do it.
Sitting on Nahuel Huapi Lake, Bariloche and its surroundings offer quite a few beaches where you can go for a swim or relax and do absolutely nothing (which is sometimes my favorite thing to do). On many beaches, you also can rent a kayak, which is a fun little activity to add to your day. Summer in Argentina starts in December and ends in February, so this is a great option for a winter sun destination.
IT HAS A TOUCH OF A EUROPEAN VIBE
Walking through Bariloche’s city center or exploring its surroundings, you can easily forget that you are in Argentina. The houses and cabins on the outskirts of the city, as well as some buildings inside it, make it seem like you’re traveling through Switzerland countryside rather than South America.
25 km (about 15.5 miles) from Bariloche, you can also visit Colonia Suiza (‘Swiss Colony’), which is the first Swiss settlement in Patagonia dating back to the late 19th century.
YOU CAN ENJOY STUNNING VIEWS EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT A HIKER
Who said you have to work hard to enjoy beautiful sceneries of mountains and lakes? While I do love the satisfaction of being rewarded with picture-perfect landscapes after taking a hike, I also love to simply enjoy the views without the fuss. So if you’re not much of a hiker or you want to take a break after hiking through other parts of Patagonia, Bariloche has you covered.
Whether it’s taking a chairlift to feast on the most incredible panoramic views over Nahuel Huapi National Park at the Cerro Campanario lookout point or take a short and super easy walk to the waterfall of Cascada de los Duendes, you don’t need to do much to enjoy Bariloche’s natural scenery.
ADVENTURERS WILL LOVE THE HIKES AND TREKS AROUND IT
If you are an avid hiker and want to enjoy even more stunning landscapes, you have plenty of day hikes or multi-day treks you can take around Bariloche. Easier ones include Cerro LLao Llao and Lago Escondido, and the more challenging ones include Refugio Frey and Cerro Tronador. No matter what your level is, you’ll find the perfect hike for you.
THERE ARE COUNTLESS OTHER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES YOU CAN TRY
From paragliding and climbing to canyoning and rafting, Bariloche and its surroundings are essentially one big adventure park. Truly, anyone can find an exciting activity to enjoy. For the full list of outdoor activities in Bariloche, read here.
IT’S THE ARGENTINIAN CAPITAL OF CHOCOLATE AND ICE CREAM
If you’ve ever had a fantasy about living inside a chocolate factory (because I totally have), then you’ll love Bariloche. Strolling through its main streets, the smell of melted chocolate will literally call your name. With shops located one next to the other and some that look like actual chocolate wonderlands, you’ll never want to leave this place.
Ice cream is another one of Bariloche’s crowning glories, and it is addictive. Beyond the usual flavors, you should try classic Argentinian flavors like Dulce de Leche (a caramel made from sweetened milk). Good to know – the mountains of ice cream they pile up on your cone are insane, but vacation calories don’t count, right?
IT’S A GREAT BASE FOR OTHER DAY TRIPS OR WEEKEND GETAWAYS
Bariloche resembles a village or a small town rather than a city. Still, it’s fun to mix things up and take a day trip or even spend a weekend away at a more tranquil place. Whether it’s by bus, car, or with an organized day tour, there are a few places you can visit from Bariloche like El Bolson, Villa la Angostura, and San Martin de los Andes.
YOU CAN ALSO VISIT IN WINTER
Did you know that Bariloche is one of the most popular ski destinations in South America? Surprising, huh? If by any chance you prefer spending July and August engaging in winter sports instead of resting on the beach, consider Bariloche as your cold-weather summer destination.
ALL OF THIS GOOD STUFF IS ONLY A SHORT BUS RIDE AWAY
Many of the activities and places you can visit around Bariloche including lookout points, beaches, and national parks are easily reachable by bus from the city center. Although buses are not always on time, it’s still amazing that you can enjoy nature at its best without too much effort.
So, is Bariloche worth visiting? If I have convinced you to travel to Bariloche, tell me in the comments!