You can go on many good day trips from Buenos Aires.
The capital of Argentina is a great place to visit, but let’s admit it: it can get overwhelming, especially in the summer when it gets terribly hot and sticky. The good news is that there are a bunch of good places that you can reach easily to spend a day away from the chaos. Some of these places will give you insights into the local culture and way of life away from the city. Others will conquer you with their natural, lush beauty or their interesting history.
In this post, I highlight the best places to visit on day trips, sharing practical information and useful tips to help you make the most of your day.
11 Great Day Trips From Buenos Aires
Tigre easily win the first place for best out-of-town destination. It is a truly pleasant small town about 35 km (21.7 miles) from Buenos Aires, equally appreciated by tourists and Portenos who typically go there for the weekend as it is way more relaxed than the capital – in fact, some even took the step of completely moving there!
There are many nice things to do to keep entertained in Tigre. The most enjoyable one is going on a cruise along the waterways, through the thick jungle, to admire the glorious mansions that have been built there. You can hop on one of the boats departing regularly from the Estacion Fluvial or even kayak if you are up for it.
Tigre Art Museum is another nice place to visit, located in a fabulous building. Make sure to also hop to the market at the Puerto de Frutos for some souvenirs and, if you want to learn how to master the art of mate, consider visiting the small but well curated Mate Museum.
The easiest way to get to Tigre is by train. You can hop on the Tren de la Costa which takes you there in around 30 minutes for just $1 USD.
You can book your day trip from Buenos Aires to El Tigre here.
Colonia del Sacramento (Uruguay)
One of the nicest places to visit close to Buenos Aires is the absolutely charming Colonia del Sacramento, in Uruguay. This small colonial town was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese and was often contended due to its favorable position on the Rio de la Plata. It is a truly pleasant place to explore for a day (or more, if you have time).
You can enjoy walking the cobbled alleys in search of vintage cars; sitting in one of the small restaurants overlooking the river; climbing the Lighthouse for fantastic views; drinking Tannat in one of the small wine bars. There also are a couple of interesting museums you can visit.
The best way to get to Colonia del Sacramento from Buenos Aires is by ferry. The fast one takes about one hour to get there. There are regular departures from the harbor in Puerto Madero and the most reliable company is BuqueBus. Take the earliest ferry from Buenos Aires and the last ferry back to Buenos Aires, so that you get to enjoy a gorgeous sunset over the Rio de la Plata.
Make sure to read my post 15 Great Things To Do In Colonia Del Sacramento Uruguay.
Getting out from a big city to visit another big city makes little sense to many, but I promise you Montevideo is nothing like Buenos Aires and that it actually is a cool place to visit even just for a day as the vibe is completely different and the city much more manageable.
Among the sights you should not miss in Montevideo, there are Plaza Indipendencia and Palacio Salvo. Make sure to go for a walk around the Old City – it actually is rather small. Yet, the two most enjoyable things to do are eating at Mercado del Puerto (though don’t go there looking for vegan food as we are talking a real meat feast here!) and walking along the Rambla – in fact, you may even rent a bike to explore a bit further.
If you are visiting in the summer, bring a swimsuit as there are several nice beaches along the Rambla where you may relax for a couple of hours.
The easiest way to get from Buenos Aires to Montevideo is by ferry with BuqueBus. The fast ferry takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes and you can book it online. Book well ahead for the best rates.
Check out my post 25 Cool Things To Do In Montevideo.
Some of the best day trips are to nearby estancias – ranches where you can truly experience the most traditional culture of Argentina, learning the skills of a gaucho. You will be riding horses; eating plenty of empanadas; enjoy a proper Argentine asado (barbecue).- but more than anything else, you will be in the countryside, away from the chaos of the city and in a wholly different environment.
There are several ranches you can visit. Unless you have your own car, I recommend picking one that offers hotel picks up as they are not the easiest places to reach otherwise.
One of the most fun day trips from Buenos Aires that will at the same time take you away from the city and introduce you to a new sport is a polo experience. Though this sport sounds very much British, it was actually first introduced in Argentina as early as the 1800s and it became part of the local culture, to the point that nowadays some of the best polo players are actually from Argentina.
This isn’t a cheap day trip from Buenos Aires, but it is a lot of fun. You can book it here.
San Antonio de Areco
About 115 km (83.8 miles) from the Argentine capital, San Antonio de Areco is actually a world apart. This small rural town is one of the best places to visit on day trips from Buenos Aires. If you happen to be in Argentina in November, make sure to visit on El Dia de la Tradicion (Tradition Day), when every gaucho in the area parades his horses in the city – it is quite a show to watch.
If you go on a different day, you will still find this a pleasant place to explore, with nice shops and a nice retro feeling.
The best way to get to San Antonio de Areco is by car. Alternatively, you can opt for a guided tour such as this one.
About 45 minutes drive from the center of Buenos Aires, Temaiken Biopark is a nice place to visit. Referred to as a zoo, it actually is a conservation center that does an incredible job in the research about flora and fauna. It’s a place where you will be able to admire various species of animals. There also is an aquarium and a botanical garden.
You can go there on organized day trips from Buenos Aires that you can even book online here.
Lujan and Carlos Keen
These two small towns are in the same direction outside of Buenos Aires and can be visited on the same day.
Just an hour drive northwest of Buenos Aires, Lujan is a nice place to visit for a day. It’s main attraction is the impressive gothic Basilica. The Provincial Museum Complex is a good place to learn about the history of the city.
Past Lujan, Carlos Keen, a bit further west, is one of the nicest pueblos turisticos (touristic towns) near the Argentine capital. It used to be connected to the capital via railway, but when railway transportation in Argentina was pretty much discontinued, it became less and less visited. Thanks to a new highway though, Portenos started visiting this lovely town again to enjoy eating a good parrilla (grilled meat) in one of the many restaurants located in historical buildings.
There is no public transportation connecting Buenos Aires to Carlos Keen, so if you want to go you will have to rent a car. You can do so here.
Feria de Mataderos
Actually located within the city of Buenos Aires, the Feria de Mataderos takes place every Sunday on the western borders of the city and is a cool place to learn a bit more about the local culture. Founded 20 years ago in an area where slaughterhouses were located, there you can experience shows of traditional dances, seeing people wearing traditional costumes and selling their goods. Needless to say you will also be able to eat a lot of Argentine staples such as empanadas.
You can get to Feria de Mataderos from the center of Buenos Aires by bus, but the journey may be long and, depending on where you are, you may have to take several buses. The easiest option is to catch the metro (Subte) line E all the way to the end and then catch a taxi from there. I recommend downloading the app Cabify to order taxis.
La Plata was actually meant to be the capital of the province of Buenos Aires. Its construction started in 1882 and the set out of the city is very much grid-like. The city has quite a lot to offer, with interesting buildings and attractions. The most important one is the Cathedral, which is built in neo-Gothic style and is famous for having 37 French and German stained glass windows.
Other attractions include the Museo de La Plata, which is one of the best archeology and natural sciences museums in South America and whose exhibit spans from Egyptian mummies to various species of animals. La Plata also has an observatory and – should you want a respite from city life – Punta Lara, a set of nice beaches at a short distance from the center of town.
La Plata is at about one hour from Buenos Aires. You can easily get there by train or bus. The trip will cost you in the range of $1 USD.
I have debated a lot about whether I should include Iguazu Falls in the list of day trips from Buenos Aires. Truth is: I honestly do not recommend it.
First of all, it is such an amazing place that you should spend at least two full days there, to visit both sides of the falls – the Argentine and the Brazilian one. Secondly, between the cost of the flights and the park entrance, this is a very expensive day trip from Buenos Aires.
If you still want to do it because you have limited time in the country or an extra day in town that you don’t know how to spend, you will be glad to know it is doable – provided you plan in advance.
You can book your day trip to Iguazu Falls from Buenos Aires here or here.
Read my post Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Iguazu Falls Argentina for more information.
I have seen others recommend places such as Mar del Plata, Tandil and even Mendoza as suitable destinations for a day trip from Buenos Aires, but I don’t think they are – in fact, I am not even too sure that Iguazu Falls should be mentioned at all. These are all gorgeous destinations, but – let alone the fact that they deserve more time than just a day trip – they are simply too far to reach for a day, unless you can go on an organized (and very expensive) guided tour.
Mendoza is a good two hours flight from the capital; whereas Mar del Plata and Tandil are 5 and 4.5 hours drive respectively, meaning that you’d end up driving for at least 10 hours if you were to stay there just for the day. I honestly don’t think it is worth going for just 2 hours!
To help you plan your trip make sure to read my other posts on Argentina:
- A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina
- A Flash Pack’s Argentina Itinerary
- 38 Unmissable Things To Do In Buenos Aires
- The Best Way To Get From Ezeiza To Buenos Aires
- A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Buenos Aires
- The Best Airbnbs In Buenos Aires
- A Guide To Palermo Buenos Aires
- A Complete Guide To Puerto Madryn, Argentina
- 30 Things You Should Consider Before Traveling To Patagonia
- Hiking In Patagonia: 15 Incredible Trails
- Hiking Gear And More: The Perfect Patagonia Packing List
- A Complete Guide To El Calafate Argentina
- A Complete Guide To Perito Moreno Glacier
- A Complete Guide To Hiking To Laguna Torre
- A Guide To Hiking Around Fitz Roy, In El Chalten
- Everything You Need To Know About Ushuaia Patagonia
- A Complete Guide To Hiking Laguna Esmeralda
- A Complete Guide To Salta Argentina
- The Best Argentine Movies
4 thoughts on “11 Fantastic Day Trips From Buenos Aires”
There are also some other noteworthy day trips from Buenos Aires not covered here:
– La Plata: Nicknamed “The Perfect City” for its well defined layout, it is a smaller city with a more laid back vibe, but with a similar elegance like Buenos Aires.
– Mar del Plata: A local favourite during the summer for its beach, but it also has few nice buildings and views outside the beach going period.
– San Ignacio: A very affluent town in front of Rio de la Plata, with a elegant and beautiful cathedral.
Actually a bit surprised these were not included in the listing 🙂 !
And for something more off-the-beaten path:
– Tandil: A charming town, with monuments in lakes and hills that will get you enjoying their well kept parks.
Thanks for the suggestions. I agree with you re. La Plata. I should insert it (forgot about it!). Re. Mar del Plata and Tandil: I am not sure about them. Mar del Plata is at 5 hours drive from Buenos Aires, and Tandil at about 4.5 hours. I would be reluctant to recommend them as a day trip – that’d mean spending at least 10 hours on the road!
I agree that both Tandil and Mar del Plata are better done by staying a night there, but since we have a day tour by plane to Iguazu Falls as an option thought these would be fair game as well :).
There is another notable omission I missed on my post above:
Rosario – An elegant provincial capital, 3rd largest city in Argentina (but way more laid back than Buenos Aires), home to the iconic National Monument to the Flag. It can be done for around 3.5 hrs drive from Buenos Aires.
Hello again Austin! There are many reasons Rosario hasn’t been included. First of all, for as many times I have been to Argentina, I have yet to visit Rosario. Secondly, again a 3.5 hours drive is – in my humble opinion, of course! – still too far for a day trip. I also agree that Iguazu isn’t best visited on a day trip. I wrote it all over the post 🙂 Having said that, watch this space! As soon as travel restrictions are lifted, I will visit Argentina again and include aaaaall the destinations I have yet to visit 🙂