Do you like nature and outdoor activities? Then Bariloche should not be missed during a trip through Argentina. The area around San Carlos de Bariloche is also known as Little Switzerland because of the lakes, forests, mountains and specialities such as chocolate and cheese fondue. In winter, Bariloche is the skiing paradise for the Argentinians and in summer for outdoor activities. You can spend days in Bariloche, exploring a new place every day. But Bariloche itself is also a lovely city to be, because of its beautiful location on Lake Nahuel Huapi, the pleasant atmosphere and the many good restaurants. Discover the best things to do in this Bariloche Argentina travel guide, including tips for hikes, tours, restaurants, best travel time and where to stay.
- Welcome to Bariloche Argentina – Travel guide
- Bariloche Argentina travel guide | 20 tips and things to do
- Enjoy a boat trip to Puerto Blest – popular things to do in Bariloche
- Sail along the Brazo Tristeza
- Cerro Llao Llao, one of the best hikes in Bariloche
- Have a drink at Hotel Llao Llao in Bariloche
- Enjoy views from the ski slopes – top things to do in Bariloche
- Cycle the Circuito Chico
- Take a picture with a Saint Bernard dog
- Taste great chocolate and eat ice cream
- Try the Swiss Argentine cheese fondue
- Visit the Centro Civico
- Outdoor things to do in Bariloche Argentina
- Tips for things to do around Bariloche Argentina
- Mini travel guide Bariloche
- Argentina travel itineraries
- More about Argentina
- Pin "Bariloche travel guide" for later
Welcome to Bariloche Argentina – Travel guide
Bariloche is a lovely city located on the Nahuel Huapi lake. It is an important holiday destination for the Argentines in both summer and winter, and for a good reason. There are countless of things to do and activities to enjoy in Bariloche. In Bariloche you can go to viewpoints, take boat trips, go on hikes, enjoy the Swiss cheese fondue and experience fantastic skiing in the winter
Bariloche Argentina travel guide | 20 tips and things to do
Bariloche is a place I visited many times, to make television reports and as a tour guide, to guide visitors around in the area. And still, after all those years of visiting Bariloche, I love to look out for new places, hikes and restaurants all the time. Discover my tips for things to do in Bariloche Argentina in this travel guide. I hope you will enjoy them.
Enjoy a boat trip to Puerto Blest – popular things to do in Bariloche
This is probably one of the most popular things to do in Bariloche. With a large boat you sail from the port of Puerto Pañuelo in an hour across the Nahuel Huapi lake to Puerto Blest. The light and shimmer over the lake with the Andes peaks in the background make for stunning pictures.
Once you arrive in Puerto Blest Bariloche, there are several hikes you can take. Since the hiking trails are clearly marked, you can do this easily on your own. The most common hike takes about 1 hour, leading from Puerto Blest, where you arrive, to Los Cántaros, the port where you usually leave at the end of the afternoon back to Puerto Pañuelo. Along the way you can make detours and hike to waterfalls, Lago Frías and rivers.
Do you want to book your tour in advance and secure your spot? Check out prices and availability for a Puerto Blest tour here.
Sail along the Brazo Tristeza
Another lovely boat trip is the one that crosses the Brazo Tristeza, a side arm of the Lake Nahuel Huapi. You will pass idyllic waterfalls and in clear weather you will enjoy a view of the Chilean Andes peaks and the volcano Trocador. The boat stops, after 1.5 hours of sailing, for an easy hike through the woods, where you will encounter gigantic trees such as coigües and cypresses. Very characteristic for Patagonia. This hike of about 1 hour ends at a waterfall where you can take a dip or climb further up for more views. Then you walk the same way back to the boat and sail to Bariloche, while enjoying a lunch on board.
The great thing about this tour is that it is not visited by the big crowds, so you might only meet a few other people along the way. That’s why I love to highlight this tour in my Bariloche travel guide. Looking for more information? Check and book your Brazo Tristeza tour here.
Cerro Llao Llao, one of the best hikes in Bariloche
One of my favorite hikes and things to do in Bariloche is the one to the Cerro Llao Llao. In about an hour, you walk through a green and fresh forests to a viewpoint where you have an amazing view over the lakes and surroundings. Stunning. Bring some food and drinks for a picnic and take in the surroundings. You don’t want to leave anymore. The trail starts between the Hotel Llao Llao and the port of Puerto Pañuelo.
Have a drink at Hotel Llao Llao in Bariloche
You may have already seen pictures of it. Hotel Llao Llao is one of the most expensive five-star hotels in the Bariloche region and is truly beautiful. I recommend to have a drink in the lovely garden of this hotel, after one of the hikes in the Bariloche area. Or if you feel like doing nothing at all, book a high tea. It is necessary to make a reservation in time, as it is one of the popular things to do in Bariloche.
Enjoy views from the ski slopes – top things to do in Bariloche
One of the best things to do in Bariloche in summer, is to visit the ski slopes by cable car. Not to ski but to enjoy amazing views. Bariloche offers different options and these are my tips.
Cerro Catedral is the most famous and the largest ski slope. Ski lovers from all over the country flock here in winter to make use of the slopes and facilities. In the summer, most of the area is closed but a number of lifts still go up. At the top you have a stunning view and you can go for a few short walks. Cerro Catedral is a 30-minute drive from Bariloche and buses run regularly.
Another slope that you can visit in the summer is Cerro Otto. A cable car takes you to the 1400 meter high top within 10 minutes. It is also possible to hike up the mountain but it is a quite steep climb. Once at the top you have another amazing view over the Nahuel Huapi lake and the surrounding area. There are a few easy hikes to take and there is a possibility to eat and drink something in the revolving restaurant with 360 degree views of Bariloche. Cerro Otto is also about a 30-minute drive from the city and the best way to get there is by bus or taxi. You can buy your Cerro Otto tickets in advance, with guaranteed access, or on the spot.
Tips: Would you like to go for hikes in Bariloche? Then I recommend you to walk back down the mountain, in 45 minutes. Only make sure you have solid shoes because of the irregular path with loose stones. Here you will find more information about Cerro Otto.
Cerro Campanario chairlift
Cerro Campanario is the third ski slope to visit and the views are also very worth it. It is one of the things you can include in the Circuito Chico in Bariloche (scroll down in this article for more information)
Just outside town there is a cable car bringing you to the Cerro Viejo. Not as spectacular as the other mountains but still worth a visit. Especially if you are short of time, as it is only a 10-minute walk from the main square.
Cycle the Circuito Chico
A route that gives a nice impression of the surroundings is the Circuit Chico. Viewpoints are interspersed with forests and lakes, where you can stop for a photo or a hike. It is possible to rent bikes at the Circuito Chico Aventura bicycle company, which is also a good place to start the trail. Stop at the famous Cerro Campanario and take the cable car up, then continue the trail past Laguna El Trebol, Lago Moreno, the Swiss colony of Colonia Suiza, Bahia López and Hotel Llao Llao Bariloche. Click here for the full route.
There is little traffic on the way and the route is easy. However, part of it is unpaved and there are a number of hills. Of course you can also do this route by car, but if you like cycling, this is one of the cool things to do in Bariloche.
Tips: Do you want to explore the Circuito Chico in Bariloche with a guide? Check out prices and availability for a Circuito Chico tour here.
Take a picture with a Saint Bernard dog
At several places in Bariloche you can have your photo taken with a St. Bernard dog. Yes, I agree, it’s a bit touristy but since I’ve wanted a Saint Bernard all my life, I couldn’t resist taking a picture and tip this in my Bariloche travel guide.
Taste great chocolate and eat ice cream
Bariloche is known for its great chocolate. You will find chocolate shops all over the main street Mitre. Pop into El Turista, El Reino or Mamushka for an overload of bonbons, chocolate bars and Argentinian delicacies such as alfajores. The famous Argentinian chocolate chain Havana also has its factory here, where tours are given.
Besides chocolate there are many ice cream shops. Make sure to eat an ice cream at Rapa Nui. Ice cream is part of the Argentine culture, just like in Italy. The scoops are huge so choose wisely. And standing in line is quite normal. You first pick your type of ice cream, pay, receive a ticket, go to the next line and choose your flavors.
Try the Swiss Argentine cheese fondue
Swiss cheese fondue with Argentinian wine. It is delicious. Cheese fondue is everywhere in Bariloche. It is nice to spend an evening in one of the many restaurants and try the Argentinian Swiss cuisine. The best restaurants for cheese fondue are definitely La Marmite or la Casita Suiza.
Visit the Centro Civico
The Centro Civico is the central square of Bariloche. And here you can see very well how Bariloche is inspired by Switzerland, because of the chalet-like architectural style. It is a cozy gathering place for the locals. Especially when the weather is nice, there are countless locals sitting on the grass with their mates, a strong Argentinean tea. If you have the time, one of the things to do here is to visit the Bariloche city museum: Museo de la Patagonia. It explains about the first inhabitants and the Bariloche surroundings.
Outdoor things to do in Bariloche Argentina
Bariloche offers many outdoor things to do and activities such as kayaking and rafting. OKeep in mind that you still have to drive quite a bit to arrive at the suitable rivers. In the main street Mitre you will find several travel agencies that offer these tours. Do you want to book your tour in advance and secure your spot? This is an overview with outdoor activities in Bariloche.
Tips for things to do around Bariloche Argentina
One of my favorite national parks in Argentina is Los Alerces. You will find yourself between deep green forests and immense lakes, with the Andes mountains in the background. The park is known for its cypresses, hence the name Los Alerces. Also species such as cedars and conifers can be found. Los Alerces is mainly a tourist destination for the Argentinians, but if you come here outside the Argentinian holiday period, you almost have the park to yourself. It is possible to drive through the park by car and stop at various places to go for walks and enjoy nice views. It is recommended to spend the night in the town of Esquel, which is about 280 kilometers from Bariloche and visit Los Alerces from here.
Do you love the nature of Bariloche and do you want to read more about it in my national parks travel guide of Argentina? In the next article I’m taking you to the best and most beautiful national parks in Argentina, including an overview with things to do and the best time to visit.
Mini travel guide Bariloche
Bariloche restaurant travel guide | 8 tips
Bariloche offers many restaurants, coffee shops and bars. And there is nothing better than enjoying a drink and great meal after exploring the many things to do in Bariloche. Here are some of my favorite places that I’ve been visiting for years.
- Jauja – is one of the best restaurants in Bariloche for steak, pasta and regional dishes.
- De la Familia Weiz – dine in typical Swiss style.
- For cheese fondue and other Swiss delicacies, go to La Marmite or la Casita Suiza.
- You will find the best ice creams at Rapa Nui.
- Almado – here you can sit right by the water. Enjoy a glass of wine, tasty lunch or snack.
- For a nice coffee – go to Delirante
- Looking for a great bakery? Make sure you go to Vélo.
Where to stay in Bariloche Argentina | hotel tips
The most beautiful hotel around Bariloche is Hotel Llao Llao. It is certainly pricey, but if you compare it to the price of an average hotel room in a European city, you get worth for your money here: A luxurious room with incredible views in a unique environment. Check out the latest rates and availability at Hotel Llao Llao in Bariloche here.
Keep in mind that this 5-star hotel is located 20 kilometers from Bariloche. Do you prefer to stay in the city and have a starting point to explore the many things to do in Bariloche and surrounding hikes? Here you will find a comprehensive overview of hotels in Bariloche.
Best time to visit Bariloche in Argentina
If you want to enjoy the many outdoor things to do and hikes in Bariloche, the best time to visit is between November and April, the Argentinian spring, summer and autumn. Please note that January is also one of the busiest months with Argentine visitors due to the Argentinian holiday season. You want to avoid this month as much as possible. Want to hit the slopes and go for a skiing holiday? Then you should visit Bariloche in Argentinian winter, june and july.
Transportation in and around Bariloche
In Bariloche, all attractions are within walking distance and most tours include transportation. Do you want to explore the Bariloche area? Then it is best to use public transportation. You buy a SUBE card, charge it in one of the kiosks and scan it when boarding the bus. Very easy. There are also taxis and private shuttles. Want to see more of Bariloche and the Lake District? Then I recommend you to rent a car. The Bariloche area has so many things to do and to offer. By car you are independent and are able to enjoy many road trips in the area.
Need a rental car for your trip to Bariloche? Use Rental Cars to search and compare your car rental options. A quick and easy tool and no need to have up multiple tabs trying to figure out which company is the most affordable. They also have great discounts and cancellation policies.
How to get to Bariloche in Argentina
Bariloche is a 2-hour flight from Buenos Aires and a 1 hour and 45 minutes flight from El Calafate. Aerolineas Argentinas and JetSmart offer different flights within Patagonia.
Best tours in Bariloche
I didn’t participate in these tours myself yet, but others did and they are well-reviewed and therefore on my to do list for next time:
- Victoria Island en Arrayanes Forest tour
- Cerro Tronador
- Looking for more tours in Bariloche? This is an overview of tours in Bariloche.
Argentina travel itineraries
Argentina is such a beautiful and diverse country that you can explore it for months. But what if you a limited amount of time and still want to get the most out of your travels? What should you see and do? Have a look in my Argentina itineraries, I will give you tips for destinations, hikes, national parks, tours, things to do and restaurants to include in your trip. Enjoy and get inspired to visit Argentina!
More about Argentina
Did you enjoy reading this Bariloche travel guide with tips and things to do in? Do you want to learn more about this beautiful country? With Passport the World I am taking you on a journey to discover Argentina. Discover more in my next articles.
- Things to do in Argentina
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- El Calafate – a comprehensive guide with everything you want to know
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