A heady fusion of South American and European influences, Buenos Aires is the sexy, all-consuming capital of a country that otherwise identifies most strongly with its countryside.
The same melting pot of French, Italian, Spanish and British cultures that gave birth to the Argentine tango has shaped the exhilarating metropolis of Buenos Aires over the past century.
Built with a sprawling variety of architecture, Buenos Aires boasts majestic avenidas, soaring skyscrapers, Art Nouveau pavilions, lush parks and stylish streets full of restaurants, cafes and bars. Its inhabitants are invariably well dressed, and keep late hours. No one eats before 11pm, and nobody goes out before midnight. This is a city that never sleeps.
As Argentines love to look good, it’s no surprise that their capital is awash with places to shop. Bustling markets, boutique-lined streets and large shopping malls are everywhere, selling anything from trinkets to luxury chinchilla bedspreads – with plenty of fashionable clothing and leather goods in between.
But for a real taste of urban life, head to San Telmo: the oldest barrio in the city. The only district not influenced by cities elsewhere in the world, it’s a bohemian paradise bursting with antique shops, markets and impromptu tango performances.
The city’s sweeping range of styles extends to the food on offer, too. Indian, French, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Thai, Mexican, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisines aren’t hard to come by. But, as expected, Argentine beef is the star of the show here. Parrillas, or steakhouses, can be found on almost every corner, serving up juicy meat in any cut you can think of.