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A busy schedule on my current trip to northern Argentina and Bolivia meant that I only had a day's stopover in Buenos Aires. This is barely enough time to scratch the surface of the sprawling capital, but plenty of time to shake off the jet-lag and sample some of its delights.
During the week the city's roads are very busy for most of the day, including the road from the airport. It is much quieter at the weekend, so arriving on a Saturday is a good idea, the city centre is calmer and you will be able to explore it with ease.
Most flights from Europe arrive early in the morning, however most hotel check-in times are not until 3pm. If you prefer not to have an early check-in, some hotels in Buenos Aires offer the option to drop your bags, shower and freshen up before getting out and about.
This year I decided to stay in the San Telmo neighbourhood, which was formed in the 17th Century, making it the oldest in the city.
A lazy lunch at Aldos wine bar and restaurant- the wines come first in this art-deco gem, but the brunch was tasty and the vibe was very relaxing.
Afterwards we hit San Telmo's cobbled streets, which are undoubtedly a bit crumbly and run-down in places. But the area has bags of character and is a few minutes walk from the historic Plaza de Mayo, the Obelisco, most of the city's best tango shows and the modern wharf development of Puerto Maduro, which in summer is a nice place for a walk along the river banks while enjoying an ice cream.
Lacking the time for a full-on tango dinner show, San Telmo's Plaza Dorrego has more informal street performances from pro dancers, as well as several restaurants serving traditional parrilladas (grilled meats), quirky antique shops (supplemented by a Sunday flea market we were sad to miss) and plenty of opportunities for people-watching among the diverse group of locals.
I ate dinner at a restaurant called Desnivel, far from luxurious, but the clientele wonderfully raucous and our waiter was very helpful in helping with choosing the right meal (the menu had every possible cut of meat you can imagine).
The meal was a feast and I didn't leave until around 1am. This is pretty early for Portenos, the city's inhabitants who surely keep the latest hours of anywhere in the world. An early start the next day meant I went to bed while BA partied and arose in time to see a few late-late-nighters making their way home having beaten the sunrise.