With its fusion of European and Latin American Heritage, buzzing, beautiful Buenos Aires is a city of contrasts: Latino passion collides with European sophistication in an explosion of colour and architecture. The result is an irresistible combination of chaos and charm, glamour and grit that will not fail to get under your skin. Argentina’s capital city is, at first glance, quintessentially European, its architecture echoing that of cities such as Paris, Barcelona and Madrid. However, beneath its demure exterior, you will find the racing pulse of Latin America. The 78-square-mile city is home to sprawling suburbs, from wealthy districts which serve as home to the rich and glamourous, to the less salubrious working-class tanguero neighbourhoods. Threads of Buenos Aires’ troubled past undulate through the streets; historical struggles for freedom and the desire to survive have left the city with a vibrant sense of joie de vivre. No matter which neighbourhood they come from, Buenos Aires’ inhabitants (known as porteños) are fiercely proud of their identity, which is derived from an exquisite blend of European influences, a passion for football and sensuous dance.
Direct flights to Buenos Aires (BUE) will bring you to Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZ), 21 miles southwest of the city. Domestic flights and flights from neighbouring countries fly into Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport (AEP).
Situated in the southern hemisphere, Buenos Aires’s seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. Because the city is at sea level, the city is more susceptible to higher temperatures in summer and can become cool in winter. Summer temperatures reach highs of 30ºC in January, although the porteños can often be heard saying that the sensación térmica (real feel) is considerably higher. In midwinter (June and July), temperatures drop as low as 9 ºC. Rain can be expected at any time of the year, but doesn’t tend to last for more than a day or so. If you are looking for cheap flights to Buenos Aires, plan your trip in spring and autumn, when the weather is temperate, the streets are not too crowded, and the city is vibrant.
Buenos Aires’ City Centre is an eclectic mix of chic 19th Century architecture, rustic cafes and contemporary office buildings. Like most cities, some areas are run-down, while others are more upmarket, but each area exudes its own pulsing energy. At the centre of the city is the Plaza de Mayo, a palm-strewn square where you can get a good insight into the city’s political and cultural past. Here, you can take in the breath-taking architecture of famous monuments including the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Piramide de Mayo, and Government House – The Pink House (Casa Rosada), which oozes with history with an obligatory splash of Latino flamboyance. Plaza de Mayo has been the stage for many significant events over the past two centuries: it was from the Casa Rosada that Eva Peron (Evita) addressed the people of Argentina. Leading off the plaza you will find the Avenida de Mayo, the “High Street”, packed with stunning examples of Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture. As you reach the western end of the ave
With its dense population and busy streets, the people of Buenos Aires place high value on green space and their gardens are a haven of peace. The Bosques de Palermo (Palermo Woods) have been offering porteños shade and tranquillity since the 19th Century. The 63-acre space includes a range of gardens, lakes and eucalyptus groves – a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle, heat and smog of city life. If you visit Palermo Woods, make your way to Paseo del Rosedal – the Rose Garden Walk, which is packed with more than 1,000 varieties of rose. As you promenade down the walk, which opens up into the Poet’s Garden, you will feel as though you have stepped back in time. The Carlos Thays Botanical Garden features 18 acres of lush green parkland. A veritable oasis within the city, the gardens boast thousands of plant species, quirky statues and peaceful fountains. Take a walk through the park, enjoy a picnic, or simply sit on a bench and watch the world go by: a perfect location for a spot of people-wat
Unsurprisingly, Buenos Aires’ cuisine is heavily influenced by Spanish and Italian traditions. Typical dishes feature a diverse range of European classics with an Argentinian twist, as well as the occasional nod to Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Fantastic steak and wine are a given, for nowhere in the world “does” beef like Argentina! Look for a good steak house frequented by locals to ensure that you experience the best cuts of fresh meat in the steak capital of the world. Meat lovers will, of course, be spoilt for choice, but as the tourism industry has grown, food choices have diversified and vegetarians should be able to find good, meat-free alternatives in most cafes and restaurants. Aside from beef, you will find plenty of delicious pizza and pasta, cooked traditionally but with a spicy Argentinian twist. From a street vendor, try Choripán, the original street food of Buenos Aires: delicious, flavoursome chorizo sausage (Chori) grilled to perfection and served in a crusty French bread roll