15 Must-Visit Attractions in Mendoza, Argentina
Visit the vineyards of Mendoza and their wine cellars | © Mark Surman / Flickr
Mendoza is one of the most visited areas in Argentina. Known for its amazing wine region at the foot of the imposing Andes mountain range, Mendoza is perfect for couples, families, backpackers and solo travelers. We check out the 15 things you can’t miss on your visit to Mendoza.
South America’s highest peak
is located in Mendoza, so this is a unique place from which to watch the sunset. Although you don’t need to be an expert climber to make your way up the slopes of this mountain, it helps if you want to get to greater heights. If you reach Camp 2 on the Normal Route, you are almost guaranteed a mind-blowingly beautiful Andean sunset if the sky is clear .
Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Wine Seller, Bodega, Vintner, Argentina, $$$
Only about an hour’s drive from Mendoza in the Uco Valley
, Bodegas Salentein has established a great reputation for itself. The building is thoroughly modern, low-lying, and its sandy color sets it into the surrounding landscape itself. Inside, stainless-steel decor and a glass elevator complete the effect. The wines are just as exciting, with many different types of grapes as well as the classic Malbec. They range from its most luxurious Gran Uco Blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon to its young Portillo Chardonnay. Make sure to try a Malbec from their Killka range.
Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Vintner, Wine Seller, Wine Bar, Argentina, $$$
This is one of the oldest wineries in Mendoza. The main building was constructed in 1901, but was immaculately restored in the early 2000s and is now one of Lujan de Cuyo’
s main attractions. From the sprawling vineyards to the vernacular architecture, to the wine and gourmet restaurant, Bodega Benegas will take you on a journey through both time and wine.
Bodega, Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Wine Seller, Wine Bar, Vintner, Argentina, $$$
In Mendoza’s Maipu Valley
, the Trapiche Bodega and Vineyard is one of the standout attractions. The battle for the best bodega is a tough one, but Trapiche puts up a good fight, and since its foundation in 1883, this winery has been at the forefront of innovation in its wines. While the imposing stone winery and its associated buildings may have the appearance of ancient industry, Trapiche uses modern technologies to craft its famous wines.
Bike Tour Vineyards
the picturesque vineyards in the wine valleys of Mendoza is surely one of the quintessential Mendocino activities. There are plenty of places to rent bikes both in the city and the valleys, and this is a great way to spend a day cycling around and tasting wine without having to worry about driving back to your hotel in the evening. Make sure to stay hydrated and bring sunscreen, as you will be pretty exposed as you navigate your way around Mendoza’s valleys.
Chacras de Coria
For many visitors to Mendoza, it can be tricky choosing between staying in the city or out in the valleys
. Some people want the hustle and bustle of a metropolis and will be bored in the rural wine region, but others want to indulge fully in the remote Andean frontier. So this is why Chacras de Coria
, a little settlement outside the city and at the entrance to the valleys, is the perfect place to stay for those who don’t want to choose. It has a number of small scale wineries, chocolate shops and restaurants, perfect for those who don’t want to stray too far.
Whitewater rafting on the Mendoza River
Although Mendoza might be more well known for its wine region, there are also plenty of things to do, places to see and activities to participate in for those who are looking for something a bit more outdoorsy. The Mendoza River not only provides an irrigation system for the vineyards, but it is also a great place to go white water rafting. Tackle the rapids
with an experienced guide on one of the many tours to the river available in the area.
Lunch at Familia Zuccardi
Restaurant, Bodega, Argentina, $$$
Familia Zuccardi’s Vineyard and Winery is one of the most well known in all of Mendoza, making them something of a viticulture legend. Not only are they famous for producing wine, but also olive oil, which appears on restaurant tables all over Argentina
. This sprawling bodega is a great place to go for lunch, where you can sample some of Mendoza’s best wine in a luxurious setting overlooked by the Andes while you eat a four course meal at the Piedra Infinita restaurant.
Cachueta Thermal Baths
Spa, Swimming Pool
For anyone looking to get a bit of rest and relaxation from their holiday, the Cachueta thermal baths are a must-visit. Located in an incredible setting nestled in the mountains, these thermal baths provide some much needed respite from the searing sun in the summer months. Part of a larger complex that contains a health spa and a water park perfect for kids
, these thermal baths have healing properties because of the minerals in the water, but also just because of the stunning location in general.
Parque San Martin
Take a turn around one of Mendoza’s most idyllic parks
, Parque San Martin. This impressive urban oasis was designed by famous urban planner and landscape architect Carlos Thays back in the late 1800s, and still retains its 19th century charm. Check out the 34 sculptures that are dotted around the park, have a picnic beside the picturesque Regata Lake or walk around the rose garden with your paramour.
Sunset Horseback Ride
A popular activity on a Mendocino evening is to go on a horseback ride
through the foothills of the Andes. This leisurely ride will take you across dusty hillsides and through low vegetation as the sun is setting. You could be forgiven for thinking you might be in the Wild West, such is the remoteness of this particular area. At the end of the ride, you will dismount and be treated to a typical Argentine asado, or barbeque, all washed down with locally produced Malbec wine.
Wine Tasting at Catena Zapata
Wine Seller, Vintner, Bodega, Argentina, $$$
The quintessential Mendoza activity is to go wine tasting
. This can be done at any of the region’s many wineries, or at wine bars and restaurants in the city itself. These can be done independently by reserving or just showing up at a winery and asking to taste, or by taking part in group tastings or wine tasting tours. However, one of the best experiences to be had is an in-depth tasting and day-long tour where you learn about wine and get shown around the winery and vineyard at Catena Zapata.
Visit an olive grove
Not something that many visitors think about when visiting Mendoza is the fact that it is almost as well known locally for producing olives
and olive oil as it is for producing wine. Located in the Maipu region, there are many olive groves and factories where olive oil, balsamic vinegar and oil related products can be bought. It’s a great chance to bring back some tasty souvenirs from Mendoza.
Bovedas de Uspallata
This quirky museum is located in the Uspallata area of Mendoza, just over 100 kilometres (62 miles) outside the city itself. Dating from the end of the 18th century, these beehive structures were constructed as mineral treatment plants for materials that were extracted from the San Lorenzo mines. They were built by the Jesuits and as such are a unique example of industrial architecture executed by religious colonisers. The factory has been converted into a museum so that you can visit the ovens, mills and water tanks that were used in the treatment processes.
Skiing in Penitentes
Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
When visitors to Argentina think of skiing
, their minds would perhaps naturally drift to the slopes of Cerro Catedral in Bariloche
. However, Mendoza has its very own ski resort, Penitentes
. The slopes here are also perfect for hiking and trekking in the summer, so it doesn’t just need to be a winter destination.