Explore the vestiges of Spanish rule in possibly Argentina’s most romantic city, Salta. Then, head into the hills to discover fine wines and rural, indigenous cultures amid the highlands bordering Bolivia and Chile.
In the remote northwest, Salta provides a sophisticated base home to some of Argentina’s best-preserved colonial architecture. Indeed, its Catedral Basilica de Salta is worth the trip alone – a grand 19th-century gem, painted in pinks and yellows and located on the main square. Other highlights include the excellent archaeology museum and the Cerro San Bernardo – a cable car that whisks passengers to the summit of San Bernardo Hill for unmatched views across the city and its mountainous surrounds.
Argentina's northwest highlands
While Salta itself more than merits a couple of day's exploration, it's what lies beyond the city that makes this northwest region so impressive. The wider Salta province, and neighbouring Jujuy, are characterised by dense cloud forests and the dramatic Andean panoramas of the Puna Highlands. Stays here are packed with culinary treats and off-the-beaten track adventures. Head out to Cafayate to sample local wines, including delicious torrontés, malbec, chardonnay and sauvignon, explore the huge expanse of the Salinas Grandes Salt Flats and take scenic trips out through the Quebrada de las Conchas – a region of vast canyons and cactus-studded deserts.