Spirited Argentina, with its frantic capital, vast pampas, rolling wine regions and snowy peaks, is a land bursting with adventure. In the north, scorched red mountains and otherworldly rock formations characterise the Salta region, with its blend of Spanish and Gaucho traditions, and where flourishes Argentina’s famous white Torrontés grape. Down south in Patagonia find an astonishing backdrop of expansive lakes, jagged peaks and mile upon empty mile of space.
Argentina is also a popular ski destination; the powdery white slopes of the Andes offer plenty of snow-filled entertainment, from the modern resort Las Leñas near Mendoza, to the magnificent Mount Chapelco, behind San Martín de los Andes.
For those who fancy their outdoor pursuits a little more relaxed, find plenty of romantic walks in Argentina’s glistening Lake District, spot whales off the coast at Puerto Madryn, meet baby penguins in Punta Tombo and discover picturesque 17-18th century Jesuit chapels and farmhouses in beautiful Córdoba.
Another of the country’s majestic natural beauties is the mighty Iguazu Falls, bordering Argentina and Brazil. Stand in the spray of these mighty cascades, surrounded by clouds of beautifully coloured butterflies and the plentiful wildlife of the national park.
And, of course, there’s Buenos Aires, the country’s brash, chaotic, enticing, hypnotic and addictive capital, with its all night fiestas, piled high plates of sizzling meats and ever flowing smooth red wine.
The majority of international flights come into Buenos Aires’ Ministro Pistarini International Airport, and so the city’s seductive tango halls, bustling parillas (grill restaurants) and feisty residents are a gutsy introduction to the country for many. In high-end neighbourhoods Recoleta and Palermo you can delight in designer boutiques and picturesque lunch spots, whilst historic San Telmo offers up antique stalls for browsing, ancient cafés to sip coffee in and listen to an abundance of live music.
Sports fans are famously well catered for in this football mad city: don your blue and gold shirt and feel the foundations rock when Boca Juniors score a goal in La Bombonera, or alternatively pin your allegiance to their bitter rivals River Plate and roar on los millionarios (the millionaires) at El Monumental.
Despite living through a dark military dictatorship and a spectacularly devastating economic crisis, Argentineans still have a vivacious and infectious lust for life. This forthright passion shines through in three of Argentina’s greatest loves: football, food and partying. Football is a national obsession; the fortunes of la albiceleste (the white and sky blue) are just as important to many Argentines as the current economic or political situation. The likes of Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Daniel Passarella are treated like deities, and the celebrated Buenos Aires clubs have become just as synonymous with Argentina as the smooth, sultry call of the tango or its signature thick chunks of grilled beef steak.
From its sub-tropical top to its icy tip, it is impossible to sum up Argentina as a whole. It is a mesmerising and impactful jigsaw of extremes, ready to captivate and enthral all those who allow it.