I honestly fell head over heels with Buenos Aires within seconds and I was amazed by how different it is from the other big South American cities I have visited. It is a really, really beautiful city with amazing architecture and a very European vibe and it also felt so much safer than Rio and São Paulo. We spent four days here, but I even could see myself living here for a while and I am a hundred per cent certain I will return at one point.
Where to stay
Next to the city just being absolutely gorgeous and finally getting a real coffee with foamed milk outside of a Starbucks again, one of the reasons I enjoyed our time in Buenos Aires so much was the amazing hostel we stayed in. Out of all the different places I slept in my 9 weeks in South America the Chill House was my absolute favourite. The entire house was absolutely beautiful and the rooms truly felt like home. We had a double room with an ensuite bathroom and then for our last two nights we actually got to stay in the superior double, with a darling little balcony and a bath tub. The decor was just beyond cool and the great service, little library and roof top terrace did the rest. The hostel is right next to a subway station, a big mall and a super market and it was really easy to get around.
My personal highlights
If you know anything about me you are aware that I am a huge bookworm. I LOVE books. I spent so much money on them, my favourite books are literally like old friends to me and I can spend hours just completely getting sucked into a book, reading until 3 am and forgetting everything around me. So for me the Ateneo Grand Splendid was literally heaven. It is an old theatre, that is remodeled into a beautiful book store. It really blew my mind just to wonder in such a tribute to books and even though basically all of the books are in Spanish the atmosphere alone is incredible. So if you in any way like books, come here for a coffee and cake and enjoy.
Another thing I think you simply cannot miss in Buenos Aires is a tango show. I know they are dancers in San Telmo who perform during the weekends on the street, but we opted for a package deal at Complejo Tango, where you get a Tango class, a three course dinner (including all you can drink wine!!) and a really, really nice tango show. They usually have cooperations with hostels so if you talk to your reception you will probably get the whole thing a little cheaper.
Palermo and San Telmo
Palermo is Buenos Aires very own hipster quarter and the hotspot for all sorts of nightlife. I honestly cannot live without cute little cafés, nice restaurants and cool bars and this vibe is something I really missed even in Rio, which I truly love dearly. Palermo has all of this and also so many cool, unique little shops. Not to forget the amazing street art everywhere. I was so in love with Palermo and we spent an entire day strolling around, sipping actual lattes (god I missed them!) and just enjoying the scenery. I would also recommend to find a hostel here in Palermo, it is simply the nicest part of town.
San Telmo is the old bohemian quarter of Buenos Aires and where the most original Tango is danced and the biggest fleamarket in town takes place on weekends. It is also where you might want to go and get some Pizza and just do some people watching.
Free Walking Tour and Recoleta
Buenos Aires has such an incredibly interesting and unique history and I would have never been able to grasp it as well if I would not have done the Centre Tour by Free Tours. I am a huge advocate of free walking tours especially because I am such a history nerd and while we only covered a very small part of the city, we dug really deep into Buenos Aires´ rich history. We also decided to head to Puerto Madero, the very modern harbour region from where you have a great view over the skyline. and I was also forced to go on a war ship, so if you are into that that option exists.
Free Tours also offer a tour for Recoleta, which is the most posh neighborhood of Buenos Aires and full of mindblowing houses, chic restaurants and parks. We decided to explore Recoleta by ourself as the main attraction is its graveyard, where the who is who of Buenos Aires including famous Evita is buried. It sounds a little macabre, but it truly is hauntingly beautiful and the different gravestones, little chapels and statues are so interesting so you really should check it out.
What to eat
Well obviously Argentina is famous for its steak, so there is no way around it. The best steak I had was actually part of the dinner we had at Complejo Tango, which was truly splendid! We were also lucky enough to have a really, really nice local guide who showed us around. Next to more steak he took us on a great Pizza tour along Avenida Corrientes. We just stopped at basically every Pizza place and boy there are many and just had a slice of Cheese pizza at every single one of them. As you can imagine it was the absolute best, thankyou very much. And on top of all that great fun, ice cream is apparently really huge in Buenos Aires? How could I not love this place?! We usually opted for Dulce de Leche and we were never disappointed. Then again how does ice cream and caramel disappoint.
In terms of drinks you obviously have to try Mate (which I hate in every form) the traditional Argentinian tea and Fernet Branca with Coca Cola. Let´s say I was a bigger fan of the culinary arts in Buenos Aires compared to the drinks. Sorry Argentina. However one highlight for me was the oldest café in Buenos Aires Cafe Tortoni. It is an absolute gorgeous art decor dream in the city centre and used to be the hotspot for Buenos Aires upper class in the 30s and 40s. More importantly today it serves amazing Churros and cakes and a little speciality called submarino (submarine), which is a block of chocolate that is dumped in milk to create the most amazing hot chocolate. This café is quite touristy and you may have to wait for a bit at the door as you will only be let in by the doorman when a table is available, but it is absolutely worth it.
What we missed
Obviously there are 5000 other amazing things we could have done in Buenos Aires, but I feel like you always have to have a reason to return right? For example we missed the flea market in San Telmo, that I would have loved to visit, we did not make it to La Boca and we did not see that huge metal flower. So that is some other cool stuff you could do. Just keep in mind that La Boca is a little rough and as with so many rough places in South America you have to be completely sure to not go into the wrong streets (for La Boca probably every street except the main street) and invest in a taxi or Uber instead of taking local buses. Other than that I am sure you will have an amazing time in Buenos Aires no matter what you do. Have you ever been? And if yes what did you like best?
, by Céline