Where the plains end and the high Andes begin you’ll find the sleepy town of Mendoza, gateway to Argentina’s most famous vineyards. Synonymous with malbec, the Mendoza region produces two thirds of the country’s wine with tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon and torrontés among other popular varieties. Mendoza itself, with its plazas and tree-lined streets, is a pleasant place to spend a few days while the scenery surrounding it is spectacular; the towering Aconcagua – the highest mountain outside of Asia – casts its shadow across the entire region.
Mendoza's urban charms
The pretty plazas and boulevards in the centre of Mendoza host a distinctly European-style café culture and a sophisticated restaurant scene. Take a walk through its atmospheric centre and enjoy long and lazy lunches in the sunshine. Then, in the evening, join the locals for a night out along the lively Avenue Arístides.
Wine tours & hotels
Out of town, vineyards spread themselves across the rolling landscape that leads up into the Andes. Tasting the region's famous malbec wine at its source is an experience not to be missed, with tours and tastings taking in grand estates and rolling valley vineyards, fed by the snow-melt from some of South America's mightiest mountains. Most tours take in two or three wineries, and include a delicious lunch amid the vines, making for a truly delicious day out. Or, for the full vineyard experience, why not spend a night at an estate. Luxury options include the stunning Vines Resort & Spa (pictured) and the boutique delights of Cavas Wine Lodge. Speak to our expert for all the available options.
Aside from the wine, Mendoza is an important stopover for hikers and climbers heading into the Andes. To the west of the city is the 6,959-metre Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere - and indeed anywhere on earth outside of the Himalayas - and a thrilling challenge for experienced climbers. However, if you don't feel like strapping on the crampons, there are several excellent hikes through the region's foothills as well as the chance for some thrill seeking on a kayak or white-water rafting trip.