Wander the streets of Buenos Aires for an hour or so and you’ll find yourself falling head over heels in love with this city. Its grand European architecture, vibrant food culture and passionate people will charm you. But if you have limited time here you better hop to it! There are places to see, things to do and MANY foods to eat. Here is our 24 hours in Buenos Aires travel guide…
Note: all addresses & directions for restaurants, activities and sights are listed at the bottom of this post.
Disclaimer: Chasing a Plate’s attendance on the Palermo food tour with Parrilla Tour was complimentary. All opinions are our own.
Traditionally Argentines don’t really eat breakfast. They might eat some fruit and drink some Yerba mate (a type of tea) before indulging in a big lunch and a late and even bigger dinner. And typically when in Rome do as the Roman’s do but you’ve got a busy day ahead so we’re making an exception!
Jump in a cab or catch the metro (to Piedras station) to Cafe Tortoni the oldest cafe in the city. Opened in 1858 Cafe Tortoni was a meeting place for the cultural elite; a spot where writers, painters, musicians and politicians would congregate. This classic porteño cafe is the perfect spot to sip a coffee and nibble on a medialuna (croissant) whilst you take in the stunning glass ceiling and historical photos which line the walls.
Once you’re well caffeinated make your way to the famous La Recoleta Cemetery. Inaugurated in 1822, Buenos Aires’ first public cemetery has become the resting place for many of Argentina’s most important historical figures including Eva Perón ‘Evita’, the Former First Lady. You can spend hours wandering the laneways of crypts and statues and whilst it’s definitely a little eerie it is undeniably fascinating.
At the time of our visit the English tours which usually operate at 11:00am on Tuesdays and Thursdays had been cancelled so we suggest reading a bit about the place here so you know what mausoleums and tombs to look out for and to learn about the resident ghost! Visiting La Recoleta Cemetery is definitely one of our top things to do in Buenos Aires.
If you lost track of time wandering the labyrinth that is La Recoleta you’re probably hungry again right? Argentine food is deeply influenced by Italian cuisine. Argentina has seen many waves of Italian immigrants and Italian culture is firmly embedded here. So, it’s pizza for lunch!
Unassuming from the outside, fling open the door to El Cuartito and you’ll find yourself enveloped by activity, noisy chatter and the mouthwatering smell of dough baking in the oven and melted cheese, lots of cheese. We suggest ordering by the slice as you get to sample more toppings that way and whatever you do, order the fuggazetta. This will be one of the cheesiest things you’ve ever eaten in your life! Literally just a cheese and onion pizza, you won’t believe the lightness of the base nor the creaminess of the mozzarella. Delicioso! Don’t forget to order a litre of Quilmes (the Budweiser of Argentina) to wash it all down.
It’s time to get moving again! Grab a cab or ride the metro (to Independencia Station) to San Telmo the oldest barrio (neighbourhood) of Buenos Aires. Its cobbled streets, architecture and interesting shops are full of personality. Nip into the market to marvel at the array of fresh produce on offer, people watch in the shade at Plaza Dorrego and if you’re here over the weekend look out for the tango dancers. If you’re peckish, make a stop at Nonna Bianca for some of grandma’s helado (ice cream). The dulce de leche (milk caramel) is amazing!
You’ve managed to fit a lot in, but it’s not over yet! And we hope you’ve worked up an appetite during your exploration of San Telmo as here comes a highlight of the day. We believe there is no better way to come to grips with a new country, its people and its culture then through its food. Parrilla Tour offer walking food tours around Palermo and San Telmo and introduce you to the world of parrillas (Argentine restaurants serving traditional food) which might otherwise be hard to discover on your own.
Be prepared to eat and drink A LOT over the course of a couple of hours- you might try empanada (a stuffed pastry), the famous choripan (chorizo sausage sandwich), a tonne of meat (of course!) and to top it all off copious amounts of wine. The friendly guides are full of knowledge and anecdotes- why is beef such a staple in Argentina? How do Argentine’s cook BBQ? Why is the wine carafe on your table shaped like a penguin? All your questions answered including the ones you didn’t know you had plus excellent food and wine. It’s the perfect way to discover a bit more about this incredible city.
24 hours in Buenos Aires, DONE! We hope this Buenos Aires travel guide has helped you eat and explore like a traveller, not a tourist.
Uber or taxis are a convenient way of getting around Buenos Aires if you have limited time. If you’re here for a bit longer then consider buying a SUBE card for the subway and buses. These can be bought at subway stations or at kioscos around the city. SUBES cards cost $25 pesos/ $1.60USD and you can load money onto them. Subway rides cost $7.50 pesos/$0.50USD and bus rides cost $6.50 pesos/$0.40USD.
We use the app Maps.Me to guide us around cities by GPS using offline maps.
No matter where you’re travelling to we always recommend you have travel insurance. We use and love World Nomads. The great thing about them is that you can purchase travel insurance while you’re already travelling!
Explore like a traveller:
The Palermo tour: every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 12 pm (noon), and Tuesday at 7:30 PM, lasts 2.5 hours.
The San Telmo tour: every Monday and Wednesday at 12 pm (noon), lasts 2.5 hours.
$79USD per pax
Book in advance on Parrilla Tour’s website.
La Recoleta Cemetery
Junín 1760, 1113 Buenos Aires
Closest subway stations: Retiro & Callao
Open daily 8:00am to 6:00pm
Sleep like a traveller:
If you’re new to a city consider booking a room in a house on Airbnb. We find that meeting locals straight off the bat is a great way to get tips on where to eat, how to get around and things to do from an authentic, local perspective. We stayed in an apartment in Palermo with a couple who were helpful, very friendly and who spoke English well.
Chasing a Plate’s Pricing Guide
$ under $100 pesos/$6.50USD per person
$$ around $150 pesos/$10USD per person
Eat like a traveller:
Cafe Tortoni $
Av. de Mayo 825, 1084
Open daily 8:00am to 1:00am
El Cuartito $-$$
Talcahuano 937, C1013AAS CABA
Tuesday to Sunday 12:30pm to 1:00am (open until 2:00am on Friday and Saturday evenings)
Nonna Bianca $
425 Estados Unidos, San Telmo
Open daily, 9:00am to late
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