Known as the ‘Switzerland of Argentina’, Bariloche’s mountainous landscapes and Nahuel Huapi Lake, provide the gateway to many of Patagonia’s outdoor adventures. Visitors have flocked to the region’s national parks for decades, with most heading to the Cerro Catedral – one of the southern hemisphere’s largest ski resorts. Alternatively, the beaches of Playa Bonita and Villa Tacul provide glacial swimming, while the area’s Oceanic/Mediterranean climate creates a suitable temperature for Andes hikes up the Lanín and Tronador Volcano.
Translating roughly to the ‘People Behind the Mountain’, Bariloche’s name offers insight into its unique topography. While evidence of cave paintings have been found dating back to the Neolithic period, it would be some time before European explorers managed to conquer the perilous Vuriloche pass. Amid the Araucanization of Patagonia during the 17th century, Spanish colonials gained a foothold in the region, while its residents grappled between Chilean and Argentinian sovereignty. The German expansionism of the 1930s triggered the beginnings of Bariloche’s tourist boom, transforming the land with modern infrastructure and hotels.
Renowned for its traditional Swiss-German architecture, Barichole offers quaint Alpine structures atypical of wider Argentina. After a day on the slopes, explore the chocolatiers of Bartolomé Mitre to find European chateaus serving warm cocoa, while elsewhere the Centro Cívico Bariloche is a historic town hall featuring a museum showcasing the history of the region’s indigenous people.