Trade Your Trousers for Chaps in Córdoba!

Córdoba, Argentina is a beautiful example of the diversity of South America. Situated on the Humid Pampa and just east of the Sierras Chicas, Córdoba is very different looking and feeling to either Buenos Aires to the southeast or Ushuaia to the far south. To give an analogy from better known locations, if Buenos Aires is like New York City and Ushuaia is like Seattle, then Córdoba feels like Denver.

Cordoba church

Córdoba Cathedral is a beautiful remnant of the 17th Century

Founded on 6 July 1573 by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, who named the new world settlement after Córdoba in Spain, the Argentinian city was an early settlement of the Spanish in South America. Selected for its rich farmland and abundant water, Córdoba was initially a battle ground between Spanish settlers and the aboriginal peoples. In 1599, the religious order of the Jesuits was invited into the settlement to help convert the local peoples.

They established churches, a monastery and a university – the fourth oldest in all of the Americas.  This early settlement and far-thinking preservation gives Córdoba its old-world feel from its core of Spanish colonial buildings. Today, Córdoba is a vigorous city of 1.5 Million residents who are multi-cultural, friendly and hospitable.

Here’s a Pro-tip: Córdoba has a humid, subtropical climate which means the best time to visit is the winter months from May to September. During this period, the temperature is nice, cool and pleasant without a lot of rainfall.

You’ll probably fly into the International Airport, Ingeniero Taravella; it’s just 10 km (6 mi) north of the city centre. You can fly in from most major cities in Argentina and, if you’re flying internationally, you may transfer in Buenos Aires before reaching the city. It’s important to note that at that stage of your journey you will likely need to transfer from Ezeiza airport on the edge of Buenos Aires to Aeroparque Jorge Newbery in the centre of the city. Transfer can occur via taxi or shuttle and, luckily, connections take this travel time into consideration.

There are so many cultural and historical sites to experience in Córdoba. You’re really spoilt for choice! Here are my top sights to see:

  • Plaza de San Martin– This central square is a great place to start your explorations. You’ll find the statue of the famous General Jose de San Martin, the liberator of Argentina, and some beautiful buildings surrounding the square.
  • The Cathedral of Córdoba – This is the oldest church in Argentina to be in continuous service. It was recently restored and is a must-see. It’s a National Historical Monument. It’s alsothe seat of the region’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese.
  • Paseo de las Artes– This weekend street market is an amazing shopping spot. Browse through local crafts, art, jewellery, and souvenirs. Even if you’re not in the mood for shopping, it’s a great way to learn more about the residents of the city.
  • Museo Superior de Bellas Artes Evita– This museum is as amazing on the inside as it is on the outside. Housed in an an opulent Beaux-Arts mansion, there are over 500 works by world-famous artists. Browse paintings by Picasso and don’t miss the sculpture garden just outside. This museum is named after the famous first lady of Argentina, Evita Peron.
  • Parque Sarmiento– This is a perfect spot for a picnic by the picturesque lake. Take a walk through the rose garden and breathe its wonderful scents. It’s centrally located making it easily accessible to take a break from sightseeing.
  • Jesuit Block– This fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site is the centre of the Society of Jesus and its religious and educational buildings that date back to the 17th These buildings all feature the iconic Spanish architectural style known throughout the world. This block comprises of the University of Córdoba, the church, residences and several estancias (cattle ranches). The one hour guided tour is the best way to learn about this interesting venue.
  • La Cumbre– This small village lies in the nearby Sierras Chicas mountain range and is less than two hours away from the city. It’s the perfect spot to experience the great outdoors of Argentina. There, you might try:
  • Paragliding is very popular in this area due to the winds and launch cliffs. If your feeling brave you definitely need to book this with a local tour operator.
  • – It’s the perfect spot to visit one of the local estancias (cattle ranch) for horseback riding. The mountains provide the perfect picturesque landscape as your backdrop!
  • Teatro del Libertador General San Martín– This historic theatre was completed in 1891 and is the cities oldest. It’s opulent interiors and excellent acoustics will have you wanting to dress up to enjoy a ballet or classical music performance!
  • Rally Argentina– If there’s one thing Cordobeses love, it’s rally car racing! If you happen to be visiting during April you can join the masses at this exciting competition and embrace all the fun. The race covers rugged terrain, mountains, rivers and challenging roadways. Then, it turns into one gigantic party.
Cordoba Rally Argentina

Rally round your favourite!

Argentinian food is known worldwide for featuring succulent meats, the famous asado/parillada, along with provoleta cheese and empanadas. All of these are staples of Córdoba. This is my list of top restaurants in the city:

  • El Papagayo– This fine dining restaurant offers an amazing array of dishes worthy of a Michelin Star restaurant. Try the 8-course tasting menu for surprising dishes from an inventive chef.
  • Alcorto Carnes y Vinos– This exceptional steakhouse is a must when visiting Córdoba. There’s nothing like a parillada and this restaurant prepares some of the best and most savoury meat to accompany world class wines.
Cordoba empanadas

Empa-nada? More like Empa-total!

  • La Vieja Esquina– This local and quaint restaurant serves up incredible empanadas cordobeses, unlike the rest of Argentina. Empanadas from Córdoba tend to be sweeter and more delicious! This is a great little spot to try authentic Argentinian food.

Here’s another pro-tip – Cordobeses are obsessed with Fernet, a bitter, brown, herbal liqueur that was originally brought to the country by the Italians and is traditionally mixed with Coke. Have a local experience and order yourself one to say you’ve tried this favourite.

Grab your dancing shoes, here’s my guide to the best nightlife in the city, from cool cocktails to dancing the tango:

  • Tsunami Tango– What’s a trip to amazing Argentina without learning to dance the Tango? This excellent club offers Tango lessons on Tuesdays and Saturdays so you can show off your moves. Then, you can watch the professionals during a dinner show.
Cordoba Tango

Authorities don’t allow sex while standing up. It leads to the Tango!

  • Güemes– This area is the coolest and most hipster place to enjoy your evening! Full of bars and clubs where you can relax. I recommend you visit Rooftop Güemes for some cool cocktails and a relaxing vibe.
  • La Sala del Rey– Cordobeses love to dance along to cuarteto beats; a sound that includes a blend of piano, accordion, bass, and violin. This venue hosts popular bands and it is a great place to enjoy live music.

Córdoba has some beautiful accommodation options available. I love staying in local and boutique hotels when I visit this vibrant city. Here are my recommendations:

  • Azur Real Hotel Boutique– This designer hotel has an amazing rooftop pool and deck that make a perfect escape from the city below. This charming boutique hotel has a full-service spa with massage and relaxing treatments.
  • Virreinato Hotel Boutique– This stunning hotel will have you taking Instagram-worthy snapshots around every corner. This venue has maintained its antiques at museum quality and yet is still a wonderful and comfortable place to stay.
  • Windsor Hotel & Tower Argentina– Enjoy city views from every room in this romantic hotel with a heated rooftop swimming pool. This hotel is perfectly located in the centre and offers comfortable rooms. My favourite part? The Windsor offers a pillow menu with selections to fit anyone’s favourites.

Cordoba plaza

No horsing around in the Plaza de San Martin!

Córdoba is a beautiful and friendly city surrounded by striking nature. It keeps its frontier and colonial feel while still providing all of the amenities of a modern city. Visit Córdoba and feel like a Gaucho!

Love,

Isabella

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Plaza de San Martin, The Cathedral of Córdoba, Paseo de las Artes (https://www.welcomeargentina.com)

Where to stay:  Azur Real Hotel Boutique, Virreinato Hotel Boutique, Windsor Hotel & Tower Argentina (https://www.azurrealhotel.com/?cur=ARS, http://virreinato.com.ar/, https://www.windsortower.com/)

Nightlife: Güemes, Tsunami Tango, La Sala del Rey (https://www.facebook.com/wearerooftop/, http://tsunamitango.blogspot.com/, https://www.instagram.com/saladelrey/)

Where to eat: La Vieja Esquina, El Papagayo, Alcorto Carnes y Vinos (https://www.elpapagayo.com.ar/restaurant/, https://www.facebook.com/AlcortaCarnes/)

What to buy: handmade crafts, leather goods, dulce de leche

Córdoba, it takes two to tango!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Plaza de San Martin, The Cathedral of Córdoba, Paseo de las Artes (https://www.welcomeargentina.com)

Where to stay:  Azur Real Hotel Boutique, Virreinato Hotel Boutique, Windsor Hotel & Tower Argentina (https://www.azurrealhotel.com/?cur=ARS, http://virreinato.com.ar/, https://www.windsortower.com/)

Nightlife: Güemes, Tsunami Tango, La Sala del Rey (https://www.facebook.com/wearerooftop/, http://tsunamitango.blogspot.com/, https://www.instagram.com/saladelrey/)

Where to eat: La Vieja Esquina, El Papagayo, Alcorto Carnes y Vinos (https://www.elpapagayo.com.ar/restaurant/, https://www.facebook.com/AlcortaCarnes/)

What to buy: handmade crafts, leather goods, dulce de leche

Córdoba, it takes two to tango!

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