Often described as “the end of the world,” this Southern region of Argentina is full of natural wonders. It spans several Argentinean provinces, a portion of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, and part of Chile and is a truly magical place.
Jagged mountain peaks, primaeval glaciers, quaint seaside villages, rich pastoral steppes, and crystalline lakes make this part of the world unique. The area’s undisturbed beauty speaks of thousands of years ago, and it is protected within the confines of several national parks. Here are our most beautiful places to visit in Patagonia…
1. Cerro Fitzroy – a beautiful must-see place in Patagonia
The Fitzroy is a high peak that rises out of the Patagonian ice caps towards the East. There are several peaks in the region, but the Fitzroy is undoubtedly the most spectacular, with its rocky pinnacles that offer thrilling challenges for rock climbing enthusiasts.
Fitzroy is also located inside the Glaciares National Park. Its ascension is considered one of the greatest mountain climbing challenges in the world, not only because of its height (3,375 mts), but also because of the area’s extreme weather conditions.
2. Laguna Torre – one of the most stunning places to visit in Patagonia
The six-hour hike to Laguna Torre is completely worthwhile. The path is rather flat and offers magnificent views of the Cerro Torre peak along the way.
There are enough signs along the way that a tour guide is not needed, and the arrival at the lake is quite breathtaking. During the winter, the lake is frozen, covered with surreal-looking ice blocks, as far as the eye can see.
3. Perito Moreno Glacier – one of the best and most popular places to visit in Patagonia
Spanning 250 square kilometres of ice formations, the Perito Moreno Glacier is the third-largest freshwater reserve on Earth. It is part of the Los Glaciares National Park in the Argentinean province of Santa Cruz.
A strategically placed observation deck offers breathtaking views of the spectacular ice rupturing and floating away of giant icebergs. Visitors can also walk on ice wearing cleats.
This is one of the top natural attractions in all of South America. The best time of the year to visit is between late October and early April, but January and February, in the middle of the Argentinean summer are generally the most crowded. Tourists looking to visit the glacier often stay at nearby Calafate, which offers excellent accommodation options.
4. Escorial – a unique and striking river of dried lava
The Escorial is a river of dried lava that goes from a volcano to a lake. It is located on the way to the lahuenco hot springs, near Laguna Verde.
The best time to visit is late Spring and Summer. A narrow path leads to this spot of breathtaking beauty, which can be visited as a day trip from San Martín or Junín de los Andes.
5. Upsala Glacier – this must-see attraction is a large valley glacier
The Upsala Glacier can be visited by taking a day trip on a catamaran cruise, leaving early in the morning and returning in the evening.
Cruises are not cheap, but they are worth every penny, as the views of the glacier are quite spectacular and the service is top-notch. Photography enthusiasts will thoroughly appreciate this excursion.
6. Nahuel Huapi National Park – the oldest national park in Argentina
Created as far back as 1934, this National Park offers a number of interesting touring circuits. One of them connects the Limay and Trafuls rivers by way of the fairy-tale-like Enchanted Valley.
The valley takes its mystical name from the strange shapes that the region´s powerful winds have carved on the stone.
On the other hand, the Seven Lakes circuit is close to the Andes. Each one of the seven lakes has a little something that makes it unforgettable.
7. Punta Tombo Penguin Reserve – a super cute must-visit attraction
Only two hours away from Puerto Madryn by bus, this is a common tour for passengers on South American circumnavigating cruises. It’s a beautiful place to visit in Patagonia and a unique opportunity to see large numbers of nesting penguins in their natural habitat.
There are so many penguins in the reserve that visitors often have to stop on their way to let them go by. The walk along the trails towards the beach is not strenuous at all, and there are plenty of opportunities to take some amazing close-ups of the penguins.
8. San Martín de los Andes – the largest town in the northern lake district
This is a charming village on the banks of Lake Lacar, at the foothills of the majestic Andes, San Martín de los Andes is encircled by savage forests and numerous waterways.
Enthusiasts of water sports, horseback riding and birdwatching will be especially delighted by everything this magical town has to offer.
The place is also home to a number of interesting local artists, whose workshops are open to the public. San Martín de los Andes is located a three-hour drive from the popular ski resorts of Bariloche.
9. Adventure Park Calafate – the gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park
This is a great option for people who want to enjoy Patagonia’s beautiful scenery is a slightly different way. The park is the top attraction in the region and offers some extra excitement, in the shape of thrilling activities, such as ziplining, rappelling, and rock climbing.
Patagonia offers some spectacular views for those who dare to observe its beauty from above. The park has often been praised for its excellent guides, who can make the offered activities fun even for absolute beginners. Prices are quite convenient compared to other activities in the glacier area.
10. Villa La Angostura – a pretty resort town on Nahuel Huapi Lake
A small mountain village nestled among the Andes and a number of crystalline lakes, Villa La Angostura offers some of the best skiing in all of South America.
The town is quite charming with very nice restaurants and hotels. There is plenty to do in terms of water sports and outdoor activities, such as hiking, skiing, mountain biking and kayaking. The popular Argentinean film ¨Life according to Muriel¨was shot here.
If you visit Patagonia you’ll realise why I think its unparalleled beauty is reminiscent of the beginning of the world.
With volcanic mountains and massive glaciers, Edenic lakes and fantasy-land valleys, it gives visitors the feeling of being constantly surrounded by imposing natural wonders, of treading on undisturbed territories that hold, perhaps, the key to some of the planet’s greatest mysteries.
We also have posts on…
- The most beautiful places to visit in South America
- The most beautiful places to visit in Chile
- The most beautiful places to visit in Brazil
- The most beautiful places to visit in Peru
- The most beautiful places to visit in Colombia
- The most beautiful places to visit in Ecuador
- The most beautiful places to visit in Bolivia
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Michael Cowley – writer and photographer
Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always had an affinity for adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued seeking out new places and cultures. In his spare time he explores everywhere from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, trying all kinds of street food, playing carrom with random strangers, and fine wine – he knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Goa, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations. Find Michael on Instagram or Twitter.
Hotel Reviewing Experience –Asked by many tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Discover Greece, Barcelo Hotels, and Rickshaw Travel. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos. Also mentioned as a top UK travel journalist.